Friday, April 8, 2011

MJK, Jaxon & the Art of the Interview

Yesterday, my friend Jaxon texted me to let me know that he scored an interview with none other than Maynard James Keenan of Tool/A Perfect Circle/Puscifer/Caduceus Cellars/Merkin Vineyards fame. The multi-talented Keenan is one of my rock idols, has written some of my favorite music and is an artist through and through. This also means he's moody, idiosyncratic and has a notoriously dry sense of humor. He may be a prolific artist - and an intriguing person - but a difficult interview.

I've got to say that Jax handled him really well. If you've never actually interviewed someone (let alone someone whose work you're a fan of), I don't think you can appreciate how difficult it really is. When I interviewed Mike Doughty, I brought up Soul Coughing (because, you know... duh) and he pulled the "That's the past and I don't want to talk about it" card (and I didn't have a heads up from his publicist either). You have to then scramble to regain your train of thought and find something else to talk about; it's even more dire because you're worried about accidentally pissing them off again. It's difficult enough to do this when you're a print reporter, but radio presents a wholly unique challenge. While jocks can edit their audio, they can't fake comfort or rapport. There's only so much you can do in Audacity to make a segment sound natural. The flow just has to be there (IMO, Pierre Robert is one of the best at this. Click around and see for yourself).

I'm jealous of and proud of and excited for my friend because he 1) landed this interview 2) asked some great stuff and 3) rolled with the Puscifer-flavored punches and ended up with an interesting product for his listeners (and I know it's not his first trip to this rodeo, but no matter how long you've been in the game, interviewing consistently well is an accomplishment). Take 15 minutes and listen for yourself.

Jaxon interviews Maynard James Keenan

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