I just interviewed Jason Lytle from the rock band Grandaddy over email, and I was nervous. Again, over email, and I was nervous.
I have always been in awe of rock stars, and even before I knew I liked rock music, I still wanted to know everything about the rock. When I was seven, in my spare time, which was most of my time, I wanted to spend it with G.I. Joe, but an unavoidable seed was planted by guys with guitars, not little plastic guns. I wasn't even sure I liked the Rolling Stones yet, but I intently listened to my dad tell about the time they hired the Hell's Angels biker gang for security and someone got stabbed. Cool! I didn't necessarily know that I wanted MTV or cable (I was the last on my block to get both), but whenever I was at a friend's place, that's all I wanted to watch. I'd watch Sting knock over that tall maze of candles in the "Wrapped Around Your Finger," video and I was transfixed.
In high school and especially college, I started to become a student of rock. Everything I heard about it went into my brain where it would stay forever, pushing out the ever shrinking space for more pertinent information. I studied liner notes to learn every member of Anthrax, just in case it would ever win me any money on a game show. So far it's only made me kick ass at the name game when I'm drinking, but I'm confident knowing the correct spelling of Joey Belladona will pay off some day, some way.
I have little daydreams where I meet rock stars. You would think, since they are fantasies, after all, that in these day dreams I'd end up doing mounds of cocaine, chasing groupies, and running away from the cops with these rockers until dawn. Actually, I just walk up to, let's say Dave Gilmour from Pink Floyd, and I say, "Your music has been so very important to me, and I thank you." That's it. Even in my fantasies, I can't allow myself to be anything but humble, brief, polite, and unobtrusive in the presence of my rock heroes.
This is the way I was in my interview with Jason. I was humble and in awe, despite the fact that it was flipping email. I eagerly contacted all my friends with discerning taste in music to let them know that it was going to happen and that I was getting an early leak of the album from his publicist. I was stoked!
I'm not getting paid for any of this, but it's still very exciting for me. In my rock journalist fantasies I typically allow myself to get paid, and usually I have a high rise condominium with a minimalist modern vibe and lots of black leather, but for now I'm happy doing it just for the excitement of the whole thing from my shitty apartment with four too many roommates.