Saturday, March 10, 2012

Little Bit Of Sympathy

There have been a few times I've been severely toungue tied or had a brain fart while interviewing someone. In 1978, at the ripe old age of 22, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ann and Nancy Wilson, who just blew me away with their beauty.

I was interviewing them for 97X in the Quad Cities in a trailer back stage where we were set up. Their manager opened the door for them and I swear I could hear the dramatic music swell in the background. They walked in, fresh faced and smelling so nice. Me? I was trying to keep my tongue in my mouth and not drool. They were both stunningly beautiful and they played me like a banjo.
While I was interviewing them I really tried to keep my composure but all I wanted to do was say ..."either one, I'm in. I'll peel your grapes and soothe you with palm fronds. I'll bathe your feet in oil every night. Either one, really, I'm in." But, i didn't.
They, however,were as nice about it as could be. If you were to just pull out my part of the interview , it would probably sound like ..."uh, well, hey, I'm uh well, Ann, hey, um, Nancy..uh, what do you, er,"...

This was early in my career. I remember being so nervous, I called them the "Heart" sisters. They laughed and said, "that's cute, we like that, the Heart sisters it is." Gah. Whenever I introduced them on the radio, it was Ann and Nancy, "the Heart sisters". I will always have a soft spot in my "heart" for those ladies.

When I first got to KY 102 in 1979, the studio was way inside a building that also housed a TV station and a full service country station. By full service, I mean they had a news team full staffed 24/7. Along with the TV station, that building was a bevy of activity pretty much all the time. The studio was literally a closet down a winding hall and behind two huge, thick doors. After you opened the first thick door, the next thick door was right behind the first one. After you opened that door, the studio looked liked a closet that had carpeting all over the walls and floors.

While some may have been claustrophobic in that studio, I found the coziness quite refreshing. Locked away in that room behind the big doors lent itself to a bit of a comforting feeling. I have always liked cozy.

In 1980, my buddies in Shooting Star went on tour with Robin Trower. Robin Trower! I have been a fan of Robin's since I first heard "Bridge of Sighs" on 8 track while working at J.I. Case in Bettendorf Iowa in 1974. "Bridge of Sighs" quickly became one of the releases that held my 8 track hostage. It literally would not let anyone else play anything else. Meeting Robin Trower was a huge deal for me.

They were on a bill at Memorial Hall in Kansas City and Robin was doing the dog and pony show talking to radio stations that really never played his music much. The way it worked was you had to follow format unless you got a star in the studio and then you could only play their "hits". Well, with Robin, the hits were things the station didn't play anyway, so I felt pretty sure playing something from the new album (Victims of the Fury)and a couple from Bridge of Sighs would do it.

I don't remember the record guy's name but I know that Robin was with a man named Derek Sutton, who, in his own right, was a big name in the music business. They walked in and I was just flummoxed. I shouldn't have been but this was Robin Trower. Robin sat down and I asked if I could get him anything but he was fine. I started the interview and I was pretty impressed on how I was keeping my composure. We talkied about Procul Harum, the massive popularity of Bridge of Sighs and then I played "Victims of The Fury".

Talk about nervous. I wanted to make some small talk while the song was playing so, I asked him something about something. Being as nervous as I was, without thinking, I reached over and lifted the needle off the song that was playing on the air and proceded to take the album off the turntable, slip it into the sleeve, then into the album and file it away. Robin started to laugh. I couldnt figure out what he was laughing about. For a couple of uncomfortable seconds, I realized there was nothing going over the airwaves. I looked at the VU meters and they were not moving. I then looked over at the turntables and there was nothing on either one of them.

Dead air. He knew it. What an idiot.


I struggled to pull myself together, keyed the mic and said something about technical problems and we would be right back. It doesn't matter what happened after that, I was deflated and humiliated. Another lesson learned.

I saw him the next night at the Shooting Star/Robin Trower show, he was very nice and congenial. He greeted me with a nice handshake. The guys in Shooting Star said he was one of the nicest, most professional people they had pleasure to know.

Nice to know. He certainly was to me.

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