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A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step

January 5, 2009

I met up with John Fernandes tonight at the Taco Stand, where I had one of the better quesadillas I’ve had in some time. But that’s not important.

The meeting (that sounds a bit too formal, but I guess that’s what it was) went well. At this point, I’m not trying to do any real interviews or anything. I’m just trying to get to know people and let them get to know me. The way I see it, actual interviews can be done over the phone, but if I can meet up in person beforehand and make a bit of a connection, the phone conversations tend to flow a lot more organically and are just in general more productive for both sides.

At the very least, I’m cognizant of the fact that, to these folks, I’m really just “some guy,” so I want to establish my legitimacy so they can actually trust me (to the extent that I have any legitimacy, I suppose). I want to explain a bit about my ideas for the project, see where everyone else is coming from, get their thoughts on it. Those sorts of things.

In that regard, the couple hours I spent with John Fernandes went well. I stammered and rambled and said “like” too much and in a lot of ways sort of felt like I was on a first date, but he said he’d like to meet up again tomorrow and introduce me to some other folks around town, so I guess I didn’t screw up too badly.

These sort of interviews are always sort of a weird dynamic, given how much more I know about the musician than he would know about me. Naturally, I try to do a bit of research before talking to someone, and but for a few guys who have taken the initiative to read a few of my articles before talking to me, I’m a complete stranger to everyone.

The difference is, in the case of a random concert preview or band feature, I’m still a stranger to them when I finish the interview, when I write the story, and even now. And that’s fine — I don’t need to really get to know them. For a book, though, something with way more depth than a 600-word article, I’m going to have to really get to know some of these people. Simply being a disinterested stranger probably won’t afford me that sort of depth. To get to the level I want, I’m going to have to work much more intimately with some people than I’m used to, which is going to require a step out of my comfort zone.

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