By James Keller
When in Rome…
Okay, so the Rheostatics apparently aren’t media scholars. Even so, you’d think it was a matter of common sense to know that if you’re getting free press from someone, you should probably take it.
I’m no expert–well, in a number of ways, being in the biz and all, I sort of am–but there are a number of things you shouldn’t do in an interview, and I’ll take you through them one by one. And if Rheostatic Dave Bidini is out there, take notes.
First, do not have your publicist reschedule the interview three times in one hour.
"Now we’re running late," says Tom from Perimeter Records–I didn’t catch his last name. "These things happen."
Yes Tom, they apparently do, but we’ll get to more of that later. This was after they needed to move
the interview up half an hour.
I have this quote on tape (to scare the lawyers away), because from
the time we talked, he was now 10 minutes late and it was already
Second, make sure you have no clue what medium you’re going to be featured on.
"Hello? Hello?" bellows Bidini. "Are we on the radio?"
This behaviour, however insulting, is also very annoying especially when yelled into the phone. In keeping with the theme of this story, this is again something you should try to avoid.
Third, unsuccessfully try to be funny. In fact, give smart-ass replies to every question the interviewer asks, rendering yourself not funny and just plain irritating. When asked where you’re touring, list off "Germany and Mexico, and the Hundora, too. The Cook Islands." When asked what you’ve done since your last album, list "shopping, making dinner [and] having some drinks." Most people would take this opportunity to discuss their careers. Unfortunately, Dave Bidini isn’t most people.
Next, be unresponsive. Reply with one word answers or sometimes not at all.
"Are you guys getting ready to tour?" I ask.
"Yeah," replies Bidini.
"How’s that all going?"
Nothing. Exactly six seconds of silence. So, I repeat.
"So how are the preperations for touring going?"
"Preperations are now in order," says Bidini, and that’s it. This pattern of articulation continues through the remainder of what became a very short interview. That leads us to the last section.
Finally, make sure you’re talking on a poorly made portable phone, which will render your interview unsalvageable. Have it cut out numerous times and, eventually, forever.
"Well, there was–" Bidini begins, followed by a disheartening (or perhaps relieving) click. Then, silence. Yes, his cordless phone, the innovation of technology, cut the interview down to a staggering three minutes.
Lastly, if you’ve somehow managed to steer down this bumpy path and want to create an even worse fate for yourself, don’t call back. Forget the fact that the interviewer doesn’t have your phone number and, even if he did, you’ve made him not want to make any sort of effort to call you. So, do what makes sense. Do nothing.
So I didn’t hear back from the Rheostatics and, no, I didn’t get to hear what they thought of Canadian music, their status as veteran Canadian songwriters or if they even know why their coming to Calgary. I’m just assuming that they’re not familiar with CJSW or their funding drive, which is the reason they’re in town in the first place.
What I did gain from this experience is advice to other musicians looking for free exposure: don’t be like Bidini and everything should be okay.
Okay, so I lied. I did learn one more thing. I realized that you can’t get fans by being an asshole. And without fans or any hope of success, you can’t afford a good cordless phone.