My band, the Podunk Poets, recently did a gig at the Peavey Showroom in Hollywood. In addition to the company’s guitars and amplifiers, they have a stage set up in there, some casino-style cameras mounted in the ceiling and webcast capabilities.
We figured: great! We play our set and we’ll walk away with some concert footage, or at least some B-roll footage and something to paste on our facebook page.
What we didn’t expect or figure on, was a host for the webcast. Ten minutes before broadcast time, we were informed that the host, Jamie, was not only going to introduce the band, but also give a little pre-show interview.
We had rehearsed for the show; we have never rehearsed for an interview.
It didn’t go bad, but it didn’t have the pop, bang, wow that it could have had. What difference did it, or would it, make?
Hard to say.
If we knocked it out of the park, perhaps someone would take notice of our posh and polished answers and presented us with some offer. Highly unlikely (as with any gig), but when you do remarkable things, remarkable things happen.
If we were able to at least connect with the ball, and some person of influence heard the interview, their thought process might not be as enthusiastic as it would be witnessing a homerun. Most likely they’d want to wait and see how we develop.
If we struck out, they might think: they suck. And that is a hard one to overcome.
What makes a good live interview?
Fun and Memorable are good answers.
With a name like the Podunk Poets, one question any interviewer might ask is, “How did your band come up with the name the Podunk Poets?”
In fact, that is what happened.
The Podunk Poets: (l-r) Jake Kelly, Kelly Kidd, Patrick Generosa, Cindy Jollotta and Doug Carrion.
My unprepared answer was somewhat along the lines of: Country music is everywhere in America, especially those small nowhere towns…the podunk town. And, we’re all songwriters, one step away from poetry.
Except…I wasn’t so elegant or articulate.
But, with the virtue of hindsight and Monday morning quarterbacking, I was able to come up with a few better answers:
Well, we wanted to call the band Led Zepplin, but the name was already taken.
Well, the band is based out of a little podunk town south of Bakersfield; maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called Los Angeles.
Kelly Kidd had some great names for the band, but I won the coin toss.
We did the interview, and while we didn’t knock the ball out of the park, we played a fairly good game. And now we walk away a little bit smarter.
So, how would you prep for an interview?
First, prepare your own questions first. Before more professional interviews there is usually pre-show meeting. The interviewer or their rep will be fishing for questions to ask, if you have good questions (with equally as good answers) this would be the time to suggest them.
For the Podunk Poets, these questions would be:
How did you come up with the name of your band?
Being from Los Angeles, how did you all get involved in country music?
Who are your biggest influences?
Where and when is your next show?
Sure, these are stock questions, and somewhat boring. But, we’re not asking them…but, we will be the ones giving the witty memorable answers.
Remember that on stage you are larger than life, and to viewers and listeners you are living the dream. So, if your asked about when and where your next show is, and you don’t have one, saying something long the lines of “We have the next two months blocked out for writing and recording our new CD” is much better than “We don’t currently have anything on the books.”
You will also want to feed the interviewer or rep the question that pertains what you want to plug – the real reason for the interview. This might be your next show, the release of your new CD, some charity or event you’re taking part in, or, at the very least, your website or facebook page.
(To watch the Podunk Poets’ interview and show click here.)
It certainly wouldn’t hurt to practice your band doing interviews, and perhaps video taping the practice sessions for review. Will this be embarrassing? Perhaps, but wouldn’t you, and your band mates, rather make your flubs and mistakes in private rather than in real life situations where you can’t destroy the tape?
With a little practice, it will be second nature the same way playing your show does. And, when you do remarkable things, remarkable things happen.
Two worthy interviews from 1965: A Beatles press conference and a interview with the Minneapolis Chief of Police on the Beatles naughty behavior.
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Originally posted 2013-02-20 22:41:15.