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How to interview musicians

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Just read this article where the writer shares some of his knowledge about interviewing musicians, and it had such a cool story about Tom I had to post it:

"Sometimes when you request an interview, publicists will try to strike a deal. It typically works like this: “Yes, you can interview [insert name of well-known musician here], if your publication also agrees to also do an interview with [insert name of lesser-known musician here].” Sometimes this is even applied within a band. Around the time Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” was a hit, I wanted to interview Tom Petty about songwriting and rhythm guitar. At the time, I didn’t even have any Heartbreakers albums, although I liked some of their songs. A deal was struck: If we wanted to interview Tom Petty for Guitar Player, we had to run his image on the magazine’s banner and do a companion feature on the band’s other guitarist, Mike Campbell. I was happy to agree, since Campbell plays beautifully. Flew down to L.A., took a cab to the Beverly Hills office of a super manager, and had a great hour-plus conversation with Campbell, who seemed delighted to be getting some coverage. As we spoke, I could see Tom sitting on a couch in another room.

Once we’d finished, the publicist came in to inform me that I would not be interviewing Tom. I called her bluff: “We agreed to publish articles on both musicians. If I don’t get to interview Tom, I’m pulling the article on Mike, and you can explain to him why this happened.” Flustered, she left the room for a few minutes. She returned and said, “You can talk to Tom for 15 minutes – that’s it. And no questions about drugs or sex.” A few minutes later Tom walked in. “I guess they’re afraid I’m gonna ask you the wrong questions,” I said. “Oh, yeah?” Petty said. “Fuck ’em.” He locked the door behind him and pulled his chair so close to mine that our knees touched. “How’s your sex life?” he began. “Great,” I responded. “Getting some good drugs?” “Yes,” I answered. “Good. We can talk about anything you want.” Ignoring the knocks on the door, Petty went on to give me a no-nonsense 45-minute interview. I found him to be exceptionally charismatic and walked out of that room a diehard Tom Petty fan, which I remain to this day."

For those who want to read the rest of it, here's the whole article:


It also has great bits about other musicians, such as some of the Stones, John Lee Hooker, Carlos Santana and some others, it's a great read!

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