Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Bob Edwards and more radio tales

I am off to be interviewed by Bob Edwards, which is exciting. I only wish Red Barber could join us on air.

My first big interview for the book was last Thursday on Wisconsin Public Radio for an hour-long live radio program; I was the only guest and the hour actually flew by for me. The first half was almost exclusively focused on the band. I was sitting in NPR New York's studio, staring at the npr logo - npr, which has been a huge part of my life as long as I remember. I'm sitting in there alone, with a mic and these great studio headphones on and they start blasting "Beijing Blues" and I got all misted up.

Hearing Beijing Blues blasting through npr was just unreal. If you had asked me any time in the last 20 years if I would have said that I could write a good book given the right subject and the right opportunity, I would have said, “Of course.” So doing so is incredibly exciting and gratifying – but it’s not surprising and certainly not shocking. I never would have said the same thing about writing and recording a blues song that can sound just fine blasting through npr, and that’s what made it so remarkable for me.

I was emotional because this crazy dream we all had together of making music together that the world would some day embrace was sort of coming true. And emotional because I was so sad that my three Chinese bandmates couldn’t share the joy= with me, having been turned down for visas by the US State Department.

It was in many ways my Chinese partner Woodie Wu’s dream of doing this that fueled my dream. I only dared to be that ambitious because of him. Luckily they went to the news after the interview and I had 4 minutes to comport myself and pull it together. And it went really well. I am being very self critical with myself as I try to master the interviewee process, and I did hear flaws, but it went very well.