12 Reasons Your Music Writer Hates You

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Nicki Escudero
Please, don't be this guy

Sometimes being a musician is really hard. You drop a new album, or you're about to embark on a huge tour, and the big, bad publicist at your label drops a bomb: you have to do an interview. For some artists, both new and old, it's no problem to hold a conversation with a stranger. You promote your music, are cordial and funny, and the call is done. But for others, talking with a journalist is so horrible, you sabotage it at any cost. This list is for you. These are all things I, as an interviewer, have experienced, and they can really drive a journalist crazy.

And, yeah, New Times has done a lot of these "why your ______" hates you posts, so please indulge us on this one, which comes straight from the heart.

1. You give us 10 minutes or less

We've done our research. We've written out 20 questions to ask. We really, truly want to get to know you on as much of an intimate level as possible, even if that means we're not even meeting face-to-face. Anything less than 15 minutes makes us lose out on the opportunity to really get to the nitty-gritty. And really, you don't need that extra five minutes of sleep when you're already planning on getting up at noon.

2. You over-share

If we're interviewing you about your music, we don't need to know that you just peed, or that you love to have sex with your girlfriend, or that your only hobby besides performing is smoking pot. Well, unless your publicist isn't going to mind if we use that quote. (But she will -- and she'll bitch at us for making you look dumb and shallow, even if that's what you gave us.) It's also probably not a good idea to go off on how much you hate a certain peer band, only to later retract your statements because you somehow got on tour with them. (Again, we'll use what we get, so make imagine your publicist is listening in on the call, even if she isn't.) When you're talking with us, focus on us. Don't tell us that the guy sitting next to you in the van just passed gas.

3. You close yourself off

If you're a musician, face the fact that you will probably have to do interviews with strangers at some point. Unless you just get some huge you don't need any free publicity. Press gets people to your shows, which ups your exposure and makes you money. Even if you're painfully shy, let your guard down, and don't just give one-sentence answers to complex questions. If you agree to do the interview, at least have the respect to actually talk and open up a little bit.

4. You make certain topics off-limits

If there's a nasty picture of you covered in semen floating around the Internet, don't pretend that you don't know about it and refuse to make a statement. Interviews are your chances to clear things up or acknowledge that you made a mistake, and you're looking to move forward. It's not fair to keep the public and your fans wondering about something. And for gosh sake, if you're going to get personal in lyrics, be prepared to explain them. If you write a scathing song about your ex-boyfriend's substance abuse but don't want to give any background, it makes the song start to lose some meaning.

5. You're more than 15 minutes late

When interviews are scheduled more than a day in advance, there is no excuse to be tardy. Stick to the schedule, even if the interviewer before me is really fun and flirty, or have your publicist build in some cushion. Make sure your cell phone is on and you're ready to answer. That may mean you'll have to use an alarm clock to wake up. It may mean that you'll have to kick the groupie off the bus. It may mean that you'll have to cut your trip to the local Hot Topic short. We're busy people, too, so don't waste our time.

6. You hand the phone to someone else

If you have an interview scheduled, no matter how much you don't want to do it, never give your phone to someone else to do the interview. It makes you look like an idiot and a punk when the interviewer calls the other person out on it, and it completely negates any seriousness of the interview. It also makes the interviewer lose respect for you really, really quickly.

7. You're under the influence while you're talking

You may think that you're the best stoner who can totally pass off as sober, but believe me, it's totally obvious when you are drunk or high. We can hear you slur your speech, and when you start dreamily talking about stardust, it's pretty evident you smoked a joint before you got on the phone. Some people claim they're the most honest when they're tipsy or high, but you can also come across as looking really stupid. Again, we'll use what we get, so be prepared for that and don't blame us.

8. You go on your computer while you're talking with us

Yes, we can hear your keyboard clicking. We're the ones, if anyone, who are supposed to be typing during the interview, and it's pretty deflating when we can tell you're updating your Twitter while you're talking with us. Go into a neutral space where the only thing to focus on is the person you're talking to. It will make your answers more clear and will make the interview go more efficiently.

9. You talk in the third person

We don't care if you're the baddest, most thug rapper alive: talking in the third person is obnoxious and pretentious. There is no one in the world who should be talking in the third person, and that includes you, you 90's one-hit wonder, you.

10. You eat during the interview

We can hear every disgusting chewing noise you make, and oftentimes it makes you impossible to understand. Put down the sandwich for 15 minutes, don't slurp on your drink, and speak clearly.

11. Your reception sucks

It really bites when you're saying something really juicy, and then all of a sudden the call ends. We then have to call the publicist back up, who then has to call you back up, and by then we've probably lost you to eating tacos because you were high to begin with. Get a clear signal and stay in a place where the call won't be dropped. Or, hey, go old school and use a landline in your hotel!

12. You talk to us in a crowded room

Standing off to the side of the stage while your opening band rehearses is not the best place to do an interview. We don't want to hear muffled three-chord progressions, we want to hear your voice, and that is it. Go to the dressing room or wherever it's quiet enough where you can talk without yelling and we don't have to ask you, "What was that?" after every question.

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15 comments
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Myke
Myke

Firstly, good article! If I ever get to the point of being interviewed, I'd hope to prioritize the actual interview. Otherwise, why do it?Secondly, all the "No one cares about the NOBODY Interviewer, who's a real NOBODY, you NOBODY!" comments are really unexpected! What 13-yr old's parents went away for the evening and left the computer on??

No
No

I love the flagrant use of the word "talent" below.

Well..fuck the Ramones knew 4 chords, so anyone can play in a band eh?

Talent...hahaha.

BTW - You get famous, and get followers, and make a name for yourself...when you give interviews and don't act like a toolbag. Wanna actually sell tickets to your shows?

:::coughs::: Oasis :::couchs::: Metallica :::coughs:::

Hmm

Ccctierney
Ccctierney

Everyone should treat everyone else just like they would like to be treated themselves. Everyone is a human being. Period.

Rob2700
Rob2700

No way. Whatever. You're the interviewer. You're not special at all. You're just journalist scum. I'll answer the questions however I want. And I'll eat a cookie during the interview if I want too.

Arizona's Politics
Arizona's Politics

Come ON, lighten up, commenters! Or, light up, if you haven't already.

This is a light-hearted series pointing out how many people have lost sight of common courtesies - in many walks of life and in many interpersonal interactions.

Maybe the next in the series should be about the worst characteristics of people commenting on blog posts!

Thanks, Nicki, for reminding musicians and aspiring musicians that - even if they are rock gods/goddesses - they are people and still need to treat others as people, too!

Guest who's back
Guest who's back

1) we hate you cuz you're busy2) we hate you cuz you talk too much 3) we hate you cuz you DON"T talk enough4) we hate you cuz you won't let us into your most intimate personal secrets so we can publish them online for all the world to fill our pockets. 5 & 6) we hate you cuz you're more important than us .....11) we hate you because you use tmobile

what kind of nonsensical inconsistent rambling is this?!

Sam
Sam

I hate when people bitch. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK

Benjamin J Bunting
Benjamin J Bunting

It is pretty eye-opening to know that the writers are human and are affected by the same common courtesy flaws that we as musicians have just accepted as a cost to perform our craft. I think many musicians view the writers as a necessary adversary and decide somewhere along the line to either embrace their relationship with the press or otherwise treat it with a pretentious indifference to justify the bad press!

Lame Griping
Lame Griping

Nobody gives a flying shit about the interviewer. At all. Recognize that you're the one interviewing the talent, not the other way around, and do the best you can with whatever they give you to work with. If you've gotta write up the flaws in the interview process, right it up, but don't expect people to give a flying honk about a random 10 minute boring question and answer session that they've probably given 100 times already. When you're a big enough name in the journalism business that you're worth taking seriously, then the people you're interviewing will start taking you seriously.

CryBaby
CryBaby

Who even cares. You are GIVING the interview. You aren't the star BEING interviewed. So nobody cares about you, and we REALLY don't care about your piss pants gripes. Interviewer = NOBODY. Just like the rest of us. Deal with the celeb, get your answers to your run of the mill boring canned questions, and write up your article 5 or 10 people might read. stfu and gtfo kthnxbai.

Guest
Guest

Being on tour means phone reception changes often. You can't just pull over and park somewhere with reception. The person who wrote this sounds like a baby. Interviews on the phone are equivalent to going to the dentist to have your teeth pulled.

Justin
Justin

Another "Why your ____ hates you" article. Great.

Ken Wohl
Ken Wohl

I hate when artists just sit there and try to fit some image of themselves. Can't they just simply answer the question without playing some role? It's like, for example, we understand you're some hardcore rocker badass (if you're in a metal band) but that doesn't mean you have to be some asshole during the interview. Can't you answer the question. Anyhow, you can hear me venting so I'd just like to say, great post. Every artist (especially the wannabes) need to read this asap

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