This week, Panic at the Disco hits town with the Rock Band Live Tour. Some music journalists might jump at the opportunity to interview the dance-punk band, but I've already had my chance, and the experience proved to so unpleasant that I just couldn't bother again. Even for good money. It got me dwelling on the worst interviews I've ever had the misfortune to endure, just in case you're wondering whom you shouldn't want to chat with on the phone any time soon.
Panic at the Disco
Shortly after Panic's debut, A Fever You Just Can't Sweat Out, hit shelves, I connected with guitarist Ryan Ross while he was on tour in England. The first call had to be reconnected because I couldn't understand half of what Ross was saying. But, on the second, I realized the problem was that Ross wouldn't lift his face from the pillow his face was buried in. Why do I think it was a pillow? Well, he admitted he was still in bed and didn't even know where the hell he was: "I'm not really sure. I just woke up, so . . . yeah, I don't know. I'm somewhere." When I asked him if, perhaps, he could collect himself a bit, maybe sit up, as I had to write a pretty lengthy feature off this conversation, he became even less intelligible — a combination of muffled responses and indifferent replies. The guy hadn't even been a rock star for six months, and he was already acting like a bad cliché.
Rock Band Live Tour
The Rock Band Live Tour, featuring Panic at the Disco, Dashboard Confessional, and The Plain White T's, takes place Wednesday, October 8.
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Gym Class Heroes
I've interviewed members of the Gym Class Heroes twice. The first time, drummer Matt McGinley proved verbally unexpressive but friendly. The second time, my editor asked to string together a quirky Q&A with frontman Travis McCoy. The gimmicky premise was simple: All McCoy had to do was say a few hopefully humorous sentences about whether or not various celebrities, politicians and pop-culture figures were heroes or not — this, given his band's name. Of the 20-something potential heroes I posed, he proclaimed ignorance to almost all. When I asked him to choose his own heroes instead, he couldn't do that either. Most of his answers were six words or less. The shortest was a grunt, but I'm not sure if that counts as an actual word.
Death Cab for Cutie
A few years ago, I got on the phone with Death Cab frontman Ben Gibbard. I was geeked to be chatting with a songwriter whose career I had been following with enthusiasm for some time. He subsequently attacked the majority of my questions, irrationally dismissed the value of The OC to his band's sudden success before declaring he was tired of talking about the show, and then went on a 10-minute rant about how little he cared for critics or whiny fans who bemoaned the band's leap from indie to major label. Afterwards, perhaps realizing he had been an utter douche, Gibbard explained, "I'm a little crotchety and hung-over this morning." He then went on to restate his feelings in a much less "crotchety" way. I, however, made sure to point out how he really felt when I wrote the article.