Tuesday, August 18, 2009


i'll be the first to admit that, back in high school when i listened to KNAC, KROQ, and KXLU obsessively, the decision to pursue "radio DJ" as my career path was made based solely on the fact that playing cool music and hanging out with rockstars sounded like a good way to spend a day. when "dangerous darren" had anthrax in studio with him or tami heide was interviewing depeche mode backstage and it sounded like one big party - that's where i wanted to be.

fast forward to 1996: i'm trying to interview goldfinger on the air in denver, but the band members are acting like naughty 10 year olds, defacing all the studio's autographed posters (of other bands, mind you) with a sharpie. or to 1999, when i had to cut short my interview with rancid's lars because he kept cussing, and really didn't seem to care that, hey! i could totally get fired because you feel like being belligerent and rude. or to around 2000, when blink 182's record label sent me a gift basket after one interview that involved mark hoppus talking to me with his pants - and boxers - around his ankles. or to sometime around 2002, when anthony of the red hot chili peppers brought his then-girlfriend into the studio with him for our interview, and he was about as exciting as a wet noodle on the air, and then turned around and made out with his girlfriend... while i stood there, twiddling my thumbs... just the three of us in that TINY, windowless, 10 foot by 12 foot old 91X studio... that was fun.

my point is, it's not all it's cracked up to be, hanging out with rockstars. it can be nerve-wracking and frustrating and sometimes it even feels like babysitting, or pulling teeth. but on the good days, which thankfully, are most of them: it can be truly sublime. it's the "pinch me pinch me somebody PINCH ME" experiences that make all the crappy ones worth it, you know? like when liz phair brought her son to the studio with her, and he sat on our cruddy little couch while she serenaded us, just liz, her guitar, her son, and i. or when ben harper played live on my show; wow. and when mike ness did. and morcheeba, and dave grohl from the foo fighters, and when lars from metallica asked me if i was "ok" when we were standing together in the KNAC studio as the station played its last-ever song. and when beck asked me what i wanted him to play and i told him "debra" and he laughed, but then launched into an a cappella version that made my heart leap. and my fascinating talks with wayne coyne of the flaming lips and omar rodriguez-lopez of the mars volta. and seeing jane's addiction rehearse in front of about 100 people, perry farrell right in our faces. or hosting a performance by death cab for cutie on november 5th, 2004, when ben gibbard ran out during the second song because he was starting to cry, he was so distraught about the country's re-election of bush. or that.

but one of the best, most pinch me moments, one of the ones that make me feel so humble with gratitude for this crazy job, was when coldplay came to town. my pal chris reminded me of this the other day - he'd just watched the 60 minutes piece on coldplay and was talking to me about how, wow, they are one of the biggest bands in the world, and we got to hang out with them! how they were so damn cool and funny and mellow! and how all the sales staff crowded around in the hallway so they could watch through the studio window as i interviewed chris martin and jonny buckland, laughing with them and mixing their guitar and vocals on the fly as they played some songs acoustically on my show. at one point, chris asked me if i had a request for them, any coldplay song i wanted to hear. so i said "green eyes", because, yes, i have green eyes, and i'm a sucker for a sweet love song like that. they obliged and it sounded great and i think we all sorta fell in love with them that day as they charmed the pants off of all of us who got to meet them. but it was that night at their concert at the open air theater when they really got me. they opened with "politik", which is a powerful, BIG song to open with. and they played a few more, and they sounded great again, and then chris martin says, right before they play "green eyes", "this one's for hilary!" and holy lamaze breathing, i just about fell over. um, did he really just dedicate a song to me, right here, in front of thousands of screaming people? that is nuts. pinch me. i love this job.

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