Sooner or later in the pursuit of a career writing about music comes the moment of truth when you are put to the ultimate test — interviewing actual rock stars. Sounds like fun doesn't it? And to tell the truth, it actually is. At least when said rock stars choose to make the process easy.
Of course, with rock stars often being the overly rich and pampered egomaniacs they can be — such qualifications seem to be requirements for the job title — this is not always the case.
I've been interviewing rock stars since I was in high school, and by my own estimate I've racked up a semi-impressive resume of at least several dozen successes. My first rock star interview — later published by my high school newspaper The West Seattle Chinook — was actually obtained the old fashioned way. I staked out the hotel that the band was staying at before their gig that night at Seattle's Paramount Theatre.
While the groupies crowded the hotel lobby hoping to catch a glimpse (or better) of touring rock royalty, I noticed no one was paying attention to the road guys who handle such mediocre tasks as booking the rooms. So I struck up a conversation with one such roadie at the front desk. I gained his confidence by offering him one of my cigarettes. The roadie must have taken a shine to me, because he actually invited me back to the band's room after the show.
Before you could say Cameron Crowe in Almost Famous, I had scored an interview with T. Rex's Marc Bolan. Man, were those groupies pissed.
Of course, I had obviously got lucky here. This was also the seventies, and I was a fairly harmless kid who didn't really have that much of an agenda. Well at least, not compared to the garishly made up, and largely undressed ladies who otherwise prowled the lobby and the elevators in the hotel. Even so, I definitely wouldn't recommend using this method today.
More often, the way it works is you usually go through the record company, the publicity firm, management, or whoever else happens to be the rock star's "handler." This method will yield results most often when a band is either on its way up the ladder of success, or conversely on the slide back down the other side. This is especially true for the ever-rare, face-to-face "in-person" discussion.