In today's Ticket cover story, I mentioned that we had a little difficulty lining up interviews for the second week of the fair.
I've actually written about a couple of the acts — George Thorogood and Chicago – in the past. Lady Antebellum shot us down. And when I asked to speak to the lead singer of the Spin Doctors, they offered the drummer, leading me to think: Really? The Spin Doctors couldn't offer more than the drummer?
But the craziest pursuit was with Charlie Musselwhite, the blues harmonica player.
Part of the problem is that Musselwhite had been on tour in Europe, which often complicates things. But we have interviewed musicians touring in Europe before.
Still, Musselwhite's people initially wanted to set up an email interview. But we usually avoid email interviews because they're terrible. For one thing, they often come off very stiff. You can't always assure that the responses are not written by — or previewed by — a publicist. And email interviews offer no chance for follow-up questions, which is often the source of the best material.
So I declined and wondered if he would be available the following week. The next week, on a late afternoon, I was told Musselwhite would be available the next morning, for ten minutes.
Well, for one thing, it was a busy week, and I wouldn't have had time to prepare for the interview. Secondly, ten minutes is not nearly enough time for what would have been a cover story. When I interviewed Weird Al Yankovic a while back, they gave me 15 — and I was rushing through my questions like that speed talking guy who used to do the commercials.
Finally, I was told that Musselwhite, who would be in Germany, could talk to me on a Saturday, at 2 p.m. his time.
So I went to a time conversion site and learned that would be 5 a.m. California time.
Now, I don't normally work on Saturdays, but I might make time for an interview if we couldn't schedule it during the week.
But not at five in the morning.
If it were Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen or Paul McCartney, well — okay. But for most mortals, no. I'm sleeping at 5 a.m.
Enter the roundup story.
Since the fair is the major entertainment event in the county during the summer, we can't ignore it. So without a good interview, we have to find some other way to write about the fair. So we offered (hopefully) an interesting summary of each of the acts appearing during the rest of the fair. At the very least, it tells readers who's going to be at the fair and offers some interesting nuggets about each act.
As for Musselwhite, well — maybe we'll catch him next time around. But how about 5 p.m. next time?
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