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April 13, 2010

I haven’t posted in a few days, so I figured I’d check in with what I’ve been up to and a few small musings.

  • I’m continuing on with the interviews. I’ve done a few more in the past week and have some more scheduled for next week.
  • I’ll be out of town from Thursday to Monday (visiting the girlfriend in DC), so obviously I won’t be doing much relative to this book. That said, the Apples in Stereo will be playing the Rock and Roll Hotel (where, months ago, I saw A Hawk and a Hacksaw and met Jeremy Barnes). No interviews, but I’ll hang out a bit with Robert Schneider, Bill Doss, et al.
  • Lots of local shows lately as well. This past weekend, I hit up AUX4, an all-day experimental arts festival. John Fernandes played a solo bit, Davey Wrathgabar and Raleigh Hatfield played a few songs as The Visitations, and Eric Harris led the Flashcard Orchestra, 15 random musicians who happened to have instruments on them improvising based on the suggestions of cue cards Harris would hold up intermittently. Sunday night, Nana Grizol and Scott Spillane played a show together at Minx, a thrift store that often doubles as an Elephant 6 practice space, and those same two acts will share the stage Wednesday night at the 40 Watt. Spillane is playing with Andy Gonzales (and possibly all of Marshmallow Coast) on April 23 at Flicker.
  • To continue with what I was talking about here, sometimes it’s good to play dumb and act like you don’t know something you do. Sometimes people will bite their tongues, fearing they’ll contradict something someone else had (they all admit to having shaky memories sometimes) or that repeating something someone else already said is a waste of my time. Really, though, getting multiple perspectives on the same event or person or whatever leads to a clearer, more comprehensive picture.
  • To take that idea a little further, another impulse that one has to bury is the one that makes a person want to avoid uncomfortable topics. I’ve done my best to make these interviews resemble normal conversation, but in normal conversation, you can usually tell when someone doesn’t want to talk about something, and in those cases, one usually changes the subject. But in this context, it’s important I swallow the awkwardness and press a little harder; if the person really doesn’t want to talk about something, I won’t force it out, but I can at least ask. Because I’m doing multiple interviews with people, though, there’s a delicate balance of getting good information during the interview but also making sure I don’t scare them off for future meetings. The standard journalism trick in this instance is to wait until the end to ask about the hard stuff, so that if the subject gets offended, at least you’ve got a lot of stuff from the rest of the interview, but in my experience, I’ve learned that some of the best answers come when a subject is defensive or a bit irritated (so long as he is focused).
  • Finally, while straightening up my desk yesterday, I managed to knock my camera into a full mug of tea. The camera no longer works, and the tea tasted kind of metallic. I am not happy about this. Hope you guys like cell phone pictures.
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