MIRP sat down with some of the best music interviewers in the Pacific Northwest, and asked them all the same questions. Here is what they had to say.
Who was your first interview with?
- I honestly, can’t recall because I’ve been at this since around ’98. It was probably some new power metal act at the time? I really can’t recall.
- Trey Williams of Dying Fetus. I was terrified. The photographer captured the interview and I have this ridiculous smile on my face and my hands in my crotch so that they didn’t flail about. I told Trey he was the first and he was very nice and gentle with me.
- Oh man…that is a VERY hard one…jeeze…I guess it would date back to my college years, I interviewed this band called From Zero (1995).
- My first phoner was with Nickelback, the day of the Sept. 11th 2001 World Trade Center bombings. We mutually decided half way through our hearts weren’t in it. We never rescheduled.
- Wallpaper. It was fun! It was with the lead singer and a backup singer on their bus.
- Don’t recall for sure, but I think it was Dave Peters from Throwdown or Randy Blythe from Lamb of God in person. Phone interview was Mitch James (bassist) Crossfade.
What was your most recent interview?
- It was Billy Rowe who I spoke with last week; the name probably means nothing to you but he’s in a band called Jetboy. Rock Candy Records [U.K.] is reissuing their debut album ‘Feel The Shake’ and I figured I’d reach out to the guy to talk about the album. It was a blast and that will go online at some point in the middle of June  to coincide with the release of the album.
- At the time of this release it will either be Jungle Rot or Lita Ford. The Lita Ford questions were interesting to research for, because in 1985 I married a local guitar player who had spent some time in LA with his band, and bragged that he and Lita had a relationship. I was always a bit jealous, so researching her was interesting. I put a call out to my ex-husband to tell him, but he hasn’t responded.
- Gloam, from Oakland.
- Kevin Lyman at last year at Warped Tour, he’s a force to be reckoned with!
- Butcher Babies. They are cool. They are very against questions regarding their gender, they just want to be known as metal musicians.
- 10 years ago most recent but Nick Jett (drummer) from Terror.
What was your biggest interview blunder?
- Oh, that’s an easy one. I was interviewing [guitarist] Ernie C. [Body Count] when they were about to release ‘Murder 4 Hire’ and I mistakenly commented on a guitar solo that was done by the other guitarist Bendix and well…you could have looked at it as bordering on offending the man because it sounded like one of those ‘all black people look alike’ type of thing. It wasn’t, but that was embarrassing and he was a good sport about it.
- Orion of Behemoth. I was so blinded by his beauty, and the interview I had written was for Nergal, but he was not feeling well. I said to Orion, “I hear you have a new bass player.” But I meant guitar player. He said, “Um, not that I know of. I’m the bass player.” From that point on I could tell he thought I knew nothing about metal and proceeded to talk about where to get good Thai food. I never recovered well from the interview. He is beautiful, and quite a presence.
- Well crap, hahaha I don’t really remember…I really try VERY hard not to have many of them…I can say this though…I was on stage to say thank you to some sponsors of the show…and was blinded by the light and could not read a damn thing hahah stood on stage mouth open…nothing coming out…(I wanted to crawl into a hole.
- When I dropped an entire, warm, gooey Lasagna on Chimaira’s bus, which I had brought to feed them before the interview. I wanted to be swallowed by a hole in the ground!
- I haven’t really had one.
- Interviewing God Forbid back in 2004. I was prepared just not a good interview.
What interview did you yield new, previously unheard information?
- Oh man, I’d say my first two with John Corabi [formerly of Motley Crue, 2010 and 2016] lots of new stuff on The Scream, Union and his work with Motley, my second with King Diamond it was election time and he throttled Sarah Palin, he made mention of the ‘Bridge to Nowhere.’ That was some cool stuff. My second interview with Marc Storace [of Krokus] he spoke about being asked to audition for AC/DC and why he declined. There’s many Jon Schaffer [Iced Earth], David Ellefson [Megadeth], Zakk Wylde…there so many.
- Necrobutcher of Mayhem. We spoke for a long time in the arranged 10-minute slot. The question I asked him was how he felt about the notoriety being based on the events of the band and members (church burnings, brain fragments as jewelry) rather than talent, and did he ever get tired of it. He spoke very eloquently about how that made him feel, how promoters demanded or encouraged them to do things they didn’t plan/or really want to do, and how he wished the music was the focus always.
- Watain (Eric Danielsson revealed his inspiration behind the song Stellarvore).
- All of them. Something new always arises.
- HELLYEAH changing bass players (Vinnie Paul) while I was in Texas attending the HELLYEAH CD release party at the clubhouse. The rest of that night, well let’s just say I’m still sworn to secrecy!
- There were a few interviews where I was not too familiar with the band I was interviewing but did the research ahead of time so I was prepared. At the time, I didn’t know much about Every Time I Die when I interviewed Keith Buckley (singer)
What interview would you consider to be “perfect”?
- I’m waiting for that, but I’ll tell you what my favorite one is the ones that are ‘off the cuff’ and are smooth and seamless. That’s what I go for.
- Max Cavalera on the Bloody Roots Tour. I planned for it, and was so excited. I had a list of questions, but did it without. Just the two of us on the back of the bus, talking like friends, and it was 22 minutes of amazing. However, when I got home, I realized the recorder failed and I lost everything. I sent it out to a computer specialist, and he could retrieve nothing.
- The Devils Blood with Selim Lemouchi.
- Randy Blythe, Lamb of God, somewhere I have a framed copy of the email he sent the publicist saying it was the most intelligent interview he had ever done, high praise from a man notoriously hard on press! It was a great interview, it flowed.
- Grant Wilson of Ghost Hunter. I was a big fan, wasn’t even nervous. It went very smoothly.
- Interviewing Dave Peters from Throwdown. Easy to talk to, big fan of the band and similar interests in music.
What interview felt the most organic/natural?
- Again, so many to list; most recently I will say Brian Tatler [Diamond Head]. I swear to you I did zero research for it because I’m familiar with the band’s early work and it was really good. Another that comes to mind is [drummer] Nigel Glockler [of Saxon] comes to mind. I was shooting for singer Biff Byford and scheduling didn’t work out, that turned out to be a good once, again based on knowledge of the band’s history and work.
- Pelle Åhman of In Solitude. There was no scheduled interview, but after the show, my publisher said, go interview them, so I did. I walked across the parking lot with him after he vomited from the intensity of his performance, and joined him in his travel van (usually something I don’t do unaccompanied), but it all happened so fast and for some reason he felt really safe. I had no questions prepared, knew nothing about them, but had just seen them perform. We laid the seats back and just talked. I self-divulged that I was ill prepared. He laughed. He told me about the first time he heard rock/metal music and I could almost feel and smell the cabin he was in. It was such a great interview. As he talked and spoke about it, his passion was so evident, the hair on my arms and neck stood up. The other was Tommy Church of Mushroomhead. He took a liking to one of the girls in our group, and as she walked to the bus, she grabbed me. I grabbed my recorder. As the other two girls embarked on beers and giggling, I asked questions. He told me about how he came to love music and how he would borrow the LPs of a family member and listen for hours. That interview was never aired, but I have it somewhere in my files. It never aired because the publisher of the radio station was so mad at us for getting on the bus without telling someone.
- The Devils Blood with Selim Lemouchi.
- It ended up being a 4-hour conversation, and I had to recreate our interview from memory because my recording equipment malfunctioned midway.
- American Me. Bossonova. Stairway. Duncan and me.
- Again, interviewing Dave Peters from Throwdown. Talked about Pantera and Sepultura, two of our mutual favorite bands. He could tell I was prepared and asked genuine questions.
What was your favorite Interview?
- I can’t just pick one. I would say that if I had a gun to the head I would go with the Corabi interview from 2010.
- My favorite band to interview is Revocation. I often get the entire band and they are so fun and forthcoming. They are the band I’ve interviewed the most. So, I guess my answer is: the first time I interviewed all of the members of Revocation. I was so prepared. I knew all of the lyrics of their new release and everything that went into it. When I was finished they said, “That was the best interview we have ever had. It was so thorough and enjoyable.” No wait, I’d say Ralph Santolla. My hour and a half interview was thoroughly enjoyable. Talking to a legend like that, asking him questions like a fan, but him responding like a friend. Mikael from Dark Tranquillity. He was so peaceful and attentive.
- Tom Angelripper from Sodom (he is funny, dry sense of humor) OR Chuck Billy from Testament.
- Chi Cheng from the Deftones. He was the sweetest, purest soul. We shared poetry. And a notorious water gun fight with Corey Taylor.
- Wallpaper. Because it was my first one.
- Dave Peters from Throwdown and Randy Blythe from Lamb of God.
What was your worst Interview?
- Easy, no it wasn’t the Ernie C. interview; it was an interview with an intoxicated Chris Barnes. It was via phone and it was clearly on speaker, the label patched my in. Anyway, as you can imagine it was a nightmare. I love Chris and love the band but I had all these great questions [in my opinion] and they were open ended to ensure further dialogue and well he fucked it up! He was giving one word responses to these questions and what should have been a 2—25 minute affair lasted like 5 minutes! Anyway, like a week later I received this decent sized box from the label jam packed with Six Feet Under stuff, decals, posters, post cards, t-shirts, etc. There was a note that read “Thanks for your effort.” I had suspected that someone was listening in on the call–that pretty much proved it. I couldn’t do anything with that. I still have a mirco cassette with that on it, somewhere.
- Chris Barnes…hands down. I waited for 20 minutes while he took his time in the back of the bus with two pretty girls. He finally came up to the front where I was and he clearly didn’t want to do it. He gave me one word answers, and I cut the interview short after about 5 minutes. I didn’t bother to take a photo or anything…I just got off the bus and said never mind. And, Keiffer Sutherland, but I blew the interview by an hour due to the time zone mishap. Jerimia still reminds me of this blunder.
- Opeth with bass player Martín Méndez, he DID NOT WANT TO BE THERE.
- hmmmm….There have been a few tense ones. Maybe when from autumn to ashes spent an hour describing the ‘favors’ they got from some ‘hot’ Canadian border guards? HAHAH it was funnier than anything. Probably, when I fell off Superjoint Rituals bus, busting up both my knees. I would say they have all been incredible experiences, some more anxiety ridden than others!
- Gemini Syndrom. I didn’t write the questions, and I just saw the questions as I did the interview. My game was thrown off a bit.
- God Forbid.
What was your most awkward interview?
- I had this photographer years ago that insisted on sitting in on interviews and ‘shooting’ the bands while I spoke to them. I didn’t like that. It sucked the energy out of the whole thing. I remember I was taking to Butcher Babies and he followed me onto their RV and was about to shoot when they shut him down! That was awkward. He sat there deflated and it wasn’t a great start to the interview. The thing went on without a hitch but that was awkward.
- Evan Seinfeld of Biohazard, but he was playing with Attika 7. He asked me if I’d seen his porn videos, and I said yes, but I hadn’t. He looked at me with a smirk and asked me what I thought of them, and I said, “Oh, they are great.”
- Two long hours with Otep Shemaya, while she traveled via bus through mountains, a crappy connection, a few questions followed by LOOOOOOOOONGGGG answers. It was a hard interview to direct! It was a long, rambling, difficult to put together diatribe. Interesting though!
- Devil Driver. Dez was sick, so we got the drummer and he didn’t want to be there.
- God Forbid.
What interview were you most nervous for?
- King Diamond! The first time around he had his cat ‘Magic’ on his lap and he was talking to it. You could hear the cat purring through the phone! I was nervous because it was King Diamond, you know the guy that I saw on MTV when I was like 14 years old!
- Ray Luzier of Korn. I stepped in at the last minute as the original interviewer was making a stage announcement at a festival. I was prepared enough, and wasn’t nervous until he sat down and a camera crew came in for KORN TV. It was going to be edited into a special on the Portland Show. It was towards the end of a really hot summer day. I had mascara down my face, no other makeup on, and I was filthy dirty from the venue. Not my prettiest moment, and it’s on the internet for all to see…
- Randy Blythe, Lamb of God because he tears press apart if they don’t do their research.
- I don’t really get nervous for interviews.
- The first couple of interviews and then I was fine.
Where is the weirdest place you interviewed?
- I spoke to Eddie Trunk at the lounge of the hotel that he was staying at in April of 2015. I was hoping to catch him at the venue but he texted back asking if I knew my way around the airport and told me which hotel he was at. Bam! I’m there and it was like two guys talking in the bar but with a recorder. It was loud in there but we caught everything.
- In front of the dumpster on a really hot summer day after Watain was here and their bloody decomposing props were in the dumpster. I absolutely can’t remember who I interviewed, but it smelled so bad. I opened the dumpster to peek in and it was disgusting.
- By a dumpster…hahaha ended up being a GREAT interview!
- Phil Anselmo…in the bathroom. Tony Campos…Taco Bell. Lots of them in my car!!!
- The front seat of the van for Butcher Babies (they were in the back seat).
- All interviews were over the phone, on a bus, or in venues.
Who is the nicest person you’ve interviewed?
- I don’t know these people really well, but I’d say the nicest guy I’ve spoken to that comes to mind instantly is Ricky Phillips [Styx, Bad English, The Babies]. He’s such a fan friendly guy and a total pro.
- Rich Ward from Fozzy/Stuck Mojo. We sat in the back of the bus after his show at a festival. He was in sweat pants and looked like he was ready for bed. We finished the interview and then continued to talk. He walked us outside, we hugged, and then he invited us back after our next interview. I enjoyed his company so much.
- THIS IS HARD!!! Damn near everyone is sooo nice…BUT…I have to say Paul Speckmann…from Master…Jake Superchi from Uada…Selim Lemouchi from the Devils Blood, Eric Danielsson from Watain…ALL the guys from Krisiun.
- In Flames, in spite of the language barrier! They were the sweetest guys, although we could barely understand each other at all. Jimmy Bower is another of my favorites, I always request him.
- Grant Wilson.
- Mitch James from Crossfade.
Who was the biggest jerk you’ve interviewed?
- Frankie Banali [Quiet Riot]. He did a Led Zeppelin or John Bonham Tribute album many moons ago and he didn’t want to answer anything related to his work with Quiet Riot and W.A.S.P. or his work with Billy Idol. I wanted to go deep and he wanted ‘fluff.’ He reluctantly answered some stuff but was too much work. Later when Quiet Riot hired Mark Huff [who grew up in The Dalles, OR] I sent in a request and he declined it. Oh, well his loss. Mark was unceremoniously sacked from QR later that year.
- Chris Barnes. He even made me not like Six Feet Under any more. Just kidding.
- Mike Patton (I am still a huge fan, but he is a DICK).
- Evan Seinfeld from Biohazard. He was so rude I got up halfway through, abruptly concluded the interview and left. He actually tried to contact me years later and I didn’t respond.
- No one has been a jerk to me yet. It will probably happen, but hasn’t yet.
- Singer and drummer for God Forbid.
What is your proudest moment in an interview?
- Honestly? When you can do a Google search and find all sorts of stuff you’ve written online. Or when stuff makes it on to Wikipedia; I was contacted a few years ago by a guy that was writing a book about UFO and he wanted to use my interviews. Of course, I said that was fine, as long as he sent me a copy of the book! Well, the book never arrived! I should look him up, maybe he did release it?!
- Any time a band specifically asks you to interview them. Any time a band says, “That was the best interview I’ve ever done.” Especially if they have been around for decades. And…that time I declined the invitation to suck someone’s exposed erect penis in the car during the interview.
- When Selim Lemouchi spoke about death, fire and life, he opened up and shared some deep thoughts with us….it was magical.
- When I didn’t lose my cool when the band Zo2 took me backstage after their interview to play whiffle ball with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Bret Michaels and crew, followed by the opportunity to watch KISS come out of their dressing room in full regalia, and then watch the entire show from side stage and shoot pictures. (Some of my favorite I’ve ever taken).
- Wallpaper. After the interview they said it was one of their favorite interviews.
- I enjoyed most of the interviews. But, when we got going on the subject of mutual love for Pantera with Dave Peters from Throwdown and Randy Blythe from Lamb of God, it was great.
Where is your favorite place to conduct an interview (bus, venue, outside, etc.)?
- Anywhere is fine, well unless there are toilets in the room.
- Bus. It is their home away from home and where they are most comfortable.
- Outside, parking lot.
- On an empty, or nearly empty bus. The artist is at home in their own surroundings. But if the bus is loaded, you won’t be able to hear your recording! For local bands, definitely at band practice.
- Back of the bus. That is the quietest.
- Bus. Throwdown played some songs from their new album at the time. They had just got the masters back on it. Also drinking beers with Trevor Phipps (vocalist) from Unearth.
What is your signature interview question?
- I don’t have one. I would say avoid asking about the ‘writing of the record,’ or ‘how the tour is going.’ Those are the kiss of death and are pedestrian.
- I always ask: “Is there anything else you’d like to talk about.”
- I don’t really have one…
- What got you started in music, and what was the first album you EVER owned? It might seem generic but sometimes encourages the best stories.
- I don’t have one. I keep each interview unique.
- Oh, do you like Pantera and Biohazard?
What are the top 5 interviews you have not done yet?
- ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Sammy Hagar, Mick Mars, come to mind…I had Dio and Lemmy on my list though I met them I didn’t ever interview them.
- Yngwie Malmsteen, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Jesper Stromblad (ex: In Flames/Current Cyhra), Joe Duplantier (Gojira), Michael Schenker.
- Skogen (Sweden) Dead Congregation Bolzer Inquisition Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats.
- Most of them are departed now! But living artists, Steven Tyler, Mike Patton, Maynard Keenan, Chino Moreno, Ozzy Osbourne. I could keep adding to this forever!
- KoRn, Vanilla Ice, Slipknot, Lamb of God, Rob Zombie.
- Phil Anselmo, Freddy Cricien (Madball), Max Cavalera, B. Real and Sen Dog, Cypress Hill, Luther Campbell (2 Live Crew).
MIRP wishes to thank: Mark, Tricia, 55 Dimes, Susie, Ruben, and Robin for their candid responses.