Subscribe Now!
GannettUSA Today


Thursday, March 30, 2006

F.A.Q. #1

Q: What was your favorite interview?

A: The one that started it all: Ali. When I asked if he had any advice for the children of Holy Rosary School, he said, "Get your brains ready, because automation's takin' over. Choose your profession while you're young and start workin' towards it, like I did boxing at 12, and by the time you're in your 20s, you'll be well perfected." Alas, automation DID take over, so gettin' our brains ready was spot-on advice.

Q: What was your craziest interview?

A: Bo Diddley was angry at the world the night I got him on the phone, and he let me have it. He also began every sentence with, "Well, I'm 72 years old ..." Brian Wilson was there but he wasn't there. Michael J. Pollard is the master of the monosyllabic answer. I thought I could crack him -- I even boasted to his agent that I could crack him -- but he killed me with his amazing technique, making me work like a dog for scraps and smiling wanly the whole time.

Q: Who do you want to interview most that you haven't interviewed?

A: Boris Karloff.

Q: He's dead.

A: You didn't say he or she had to be living.

Q: What would you ask him?

A: "Remember that time you played Frankenstein? That was awesome."

Q: What LIVING person would you most want to interview?

A: Keith Richards. I did get three questions out of him on tape in a crowded bar once, but I've always coveted a proper, knock-down, drag-out interview.

Q: What would you ask him?

A: "Remember that time you recorded 'Satisfaction?' That was awesome."

Q: Shortest interview?

A: Ringo Starr, five minutes.

Q: Longest interview?

A: Larry Harmon, better known as Bozo the Clown and the cartoon voice of Stan Laurel. Ninety minutes. I should make that: Ninety minutes of fun.

Q: Do you record your interviews?

A: Is there any other way to ensure that you've got every syllable?

Q: Who was your most recent interview?

A: Tommy Chong, a cell-phone quickie. Here's what he had to say about serving time in federal prison for selling drug paraphernalia: "It was all an excuse. It just showed me and it should show America how frightened the Bush administration is of people like me, that they would have to spend that kind of money, go to that length, to try to shut me up." Read the rest this Sunday (April 2, 2006) on my CELEBS page in the Asbury Park Press and Home News Tribune.

Q: What interviews do you have coming up?

A: I have nothing scheduled at this moment, but I always have at least five or six "feelers" out. But being Irish and superstitious, I never talk about upcoming interviews. That's a surefire way to get a cancellation.

Q: Thank you for your time.

A: No, thank YOU.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Today for breakfast, I had two strips of turkey bacon, two toasted waffles, a banana, some apple juice and filtered water. I then downed a multi-vitamin, a fish-oil pill and a calcium pill. Not that I'm a complainer, but the waffles were slightly burnt and the banana was softer than I would prefer.

Just kidding.

Well, I mean, I really DID have all that for breakfast, but that's not the reason I'm jumping into this Blog thing. (An old traditionalist like myself hates to even use that B word. It's not a real word.) I'm a columnist at the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey -- I do the Friday PAGE X retro pop-culture page and the Sunday CELEBS celebrity news, views and fashions page -- and I think it will be kind of fun to write a just-between-you-and-me type Web column a few days a week. Maybe do some things I'd never do in print. A little behind-the-scenes stuff, a few self-indulgent rants, a lot of movie, music and pop-culture talk, some stuff about journalism (an endlessly fascinating subject whether you're in the field or not), a hint of politics (not my bailiwick in the newspaper, but don't get me started). Maybe I'll even write about something I hardly EVER write about in print: My life.

You see, I come from the school of journalism where the words "I" and "me" are only used in case of emergency. In other words, don't insert yourself between the reader and the story. Also, I'm a private person. Militantly so. But if I'm going to tell the occasional cool behind-the-scenes story, I'll probably mention Kathy, who was my photographer and wife of 19 years and went on just about every field assignment with me. The world lost Kathy last year; she was only 42. She was my life, and now I'm just a graying, 47-year-old zombie walking around like a moron wondering what the hell just happened and when I'm going to wake up from it. And I have DEFINITELY just exceeded the deeply-personal-rumination limit for a Voger column.

Anyway, time's up for today. We'll talk about some fun stuff tomorrow, I promise.