Gerry Fialka is one of the most important people in my life. I met him through his wife, Suzy Williams, years ago when I lived in Los Angeles and I've been making regular trips out there ever since to visit. I was inspired to start interviewing people because of him and so consequently in this interview we talk a lot about interview people! Thanks Ger.
Recorded on 2018-12-07
Speakers: Joseph Weidinger and Gerry Fialka
Jerry Fianca. I first met you almost exactly six years ago, and I remember the moment with clarity when I lived in Lebak, then is a twenty two year old. I found a job of sorts assisting Steve Weisberg with his jazz orchestra. He invited me to watch him play piano with the singer named Susie Williams at Danny's on the beach here in Venice. I went to watch it at some point evening, he pointed out, You Suzie's husband, he said, You used to work Frank Zappa, and I was so anxious to start asking you questions.
Except, as I recall, you asked me most of the questions and I was surprised I had met a more inquisitive person than myself. You gave me that legendary giant list of events coming up, and I was so excited that when I got home later on that evening, I opened up my calendar and road and every single one of your events for the next few months, until I left away. I knew with confidence then, as I do now, that I had met one of the most important people in my life.
Jerry, you've been a mentor, but, I mean more thrilled to have you as friends. Thank you for joining me today. Wow, I'm crying. Do that's nice and ripe. Okay, so I want to talk a lot about interviewing here. Um, and it's an interview, so it's kind of meta here, but we'll start with the first question with, um I have always been interested in asking people questions or more specifically, getting people to talk about themselves for themselves.
This was amplified further when I read a Dale Carnegie book as a teenager. And it was much more formalised when I met you. The interview king. Where does your desire to ask questions come from? Very good question, Joseph. I wouldn't want to ruin it with things. How this is going to give you what I will. I'll ruin that. Well, the second one of the, uh, interview question. Okay. Where is it I'm from? Is what I study a lot.
It's called cause ality. So I can say it came from the d. N A. Or the The physiological stuff my parents gave me when they created me. There's something they put in to me that Oh, I'm thin bone. Why are you so skinny? You're thin. But when my dad was thin bones, Oh, I think being inquisitive is in the DNA of my parents, Delores Falcon, Albert Field. But I don't think it's exclusively that, and no one can prove that so great article on Wall Street urinal just a week ago saying it's all genetics and no the way your mom raised you because most of us are raised by her mom Maur than her dad.
Now that Barry's sometimes in the In the land of Stay Home dads and all the power to it, I loved changes. But Teo, answer the question. Where did it come from? I I like your question because I find that questions make people sort of think. Well, that's who I am. When I answer, I'm going to show you identity. Oh, you're asking me You're making me feel good. Like I I've talked to you in the past. You can't say when you're hitting on a woman anymore.
So you're in a public place and you're talking to people of the opposite sex, and the potential might be you might get a date or a lifetime partner out of it. And someone said, All you say is they go. What do you do on the nurse? Tell me more about that and immediately you put it in their court. Most men are like I do this. I do that and they don't let the woman tell them. So I think if you say it to a man or a woman and they go cover boy, you go tell me more about that that's opening up the floodgates of this person's interested in something that I have to say, but that's that's not necessarily what is happening there.
It's that you put it in that form of Oh, I'm going to tell you about my identity, Who I think I am Sorry. So the basic long, short of it is used that started asking questions so you could talk to girls. Yeah, that's it, I would say. It starts in in. Ah, the way you approach organized education. So when you're a kid, you're naturally going. What's this? Why's that? And the parent cliche is Go ask your other parents, you know, or they answer it, and then you keep.
Why? Why? Well, after ten wise appearing gets up fed up, gold could go after. So I think everyone's inquisitive by impulse. Buy in eight by DNA. We're all inquisitive. It's how much we apply it and go Well, I'm gonna ask other people, you know the great way. The great quotes I start my book with is I don't know what I think until I write it. That's Joan Didion, a great writer. She goes hundred McClure. And I don't know what I think until I say it.
Well, that's like what? And I put my quote. I don't know what I think until I asked somebody else with anything. So I I'm not even saying I know anything. I rather hear someone else say something, and then I'll play off of that. So it's a complex question back to the question is, where did I get what caused me to be inquisitive? Is that the basic question, right? Yeah, I would say it's innate for humans to be inquisitive, and for me to be Mohr inquisitive than the next person was because it's in my parent's DNA.
The way they raised me the way my my three siblings reacted with me in the way I reacted with all the kids in my neighborhood growing up and then eventually, somehow I was having Ah, important Hollywood, um, character actor on campus when I was in college and I was having him come and show his films. Timothy Carey. Amazing. Worked with James Dean. John cast values and stand Cooper pretty good, you know.
A group of folks he worked with, and all of a sudden I went, Wow, they have public access and someone said, Well, you should ah, interview him on public access. I would love to see that first tape. I hope it exists somewhere, but I don't I don't think I don't have it. I think it might be on audio Tio here how I was asking questions that I do have a tape of me on the radio in Ann Arbor in the mid seventies talking about the film festival.
And I try to analyze how I was thinking then, was I inquisitive or like, you know? So you know, I really stretch it out. I'm sorry it took so long, but it's it's from many sources. So cause ality is such a huge question. So again, it's it's meta and that it's about what we're doing, that when you asked me the question where it came from, then I go into all these things. It's unanswerable, but we're going.
It isn't going to stop me from trying. That's good. I like how you know that. So was Are you telling me that the first person you interviewed was a movie Hollywood character actor character. And he's the guy who gave Frank Zappa's first job. So scoring a film, you're okay? Yeah. Scored world's greatest center. Oh, yeah. You were just talking about him the other day. Yeah. So I think he's the one first person.
No, I got it. That's funny. You loaded my first audio cassette up on archive dot org's a few years ago, and I never really listened to it in probably deep by sixty years. No, I probably did when I was eight to twelve. So let's say fifty years. It's about a fifty year old audio cassette. You loaded it up on. I listened to it. And in that I goes Mr Fiocchi of what happens when you dream Are I asked my dad a question, and then I asked my mom a question.
So somehow I'll tell you what caused me. My parents get me a little audio cassette machine. Then it's like, Why do you record? Because you're gonna have a pad of paper. Know I came from an era where we had little audiocassette. Dude, I cried, too, to audio cassette tapes a lot. Jimi Hendrix, Electric Lady Land and Dionne Warwick singing, huh? Upper back rack songs on that little audio cassette. And I could, at the same time play music, explore the magic of music.
I could also go Wow, I can record and you hear me playing some music and sounds like the shags. And I'm like, Oh, boy, I'm proud of you. So, yeah, it could be The machine in my life caused me to want to interview, So it caused you wanna interview? But the recordings you're talking about are Are those little snapshots of time in asking a question? Specific? OK, so me asking questions, so yeah, back to thing.
Yeah. Then when I got in college, there might have been some other moments. I was interviewing somebody, but that was one that I remember specifically because I was in a little TV studio and I interviewed him. Well, you know, dear, how much did I prepare? What did I do? Well, how'd I mature? You know, You know, I'd love to review it, you know? Sure. So how do you decide when you want to interview someone? Really good question?
I want to interview the person I specifically say when you feel freshest up and willing to talk for ninety minutes. So I'm sorry. Only cleared another question here. I meant When do you? When you want to ask to interview somebody when you are, well, appointments who what determines who. That's a good It's a better what determines who I want to want to interview anybody. I loved the interview people on the street and and I don't know anything about them.
And I love to interview important people and you know, I would say Woody Allen, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits. You know the Rebecca Solnit in AA Marine? Abramovich are my top five I haven't done, but I don't want to interview him and pursue him because they've already been interviewed a million times. But if I got the opportunity, says Dude, I know Marie shall set you up with interview with her Great, like my friend was going to do with the Richard Linklater.
He says. I think I could arrange that. Then it won. It didn't happen. So I want I want to interview anybody. If I have to set the bar, it's like people who r oh, have a lot to say, and I know they're willing to sit for ninety minutes, and they're not interviewed a lot. That's really that's your perfect combination, for I'm going to pursue this, but But there are people like, Whoa, I need that person on my resume I really have and it will help, and it's good in one.
I'll give you a good example. William Pope, out One of the he's called America's Friendly is black artist. He's in immense important performance artists, and I had a run through the hoops for it. And I was like, OK, well, I'll do that exception because I want to interview him so bad. And he said, You got to send me the questions for a cycles I never do that I refuse to that a lot of people go for then I'm not going to be interviewed.
And I said, Okay, and I sent him and I told him at the nicest No one's ever I've never done that before and no one's ever. And I don't like to do it. He goes What? Did you read him? He goes. No, I was OK. Thanks for telling me. He just for some reason what it do? You think he had someone else read them and know kind of no filter? Nope. He just sort of said, I don't know, I don't know its exact reason And another guy really important music Person said, I want to see you nail someone else before you nail me.
I goes, Dude, I'm not out to nail. You are about to have fun. And so, yeah, it is. I'll give you a really quick a better example. There's a woman on the boardwalk who is totally who cannot do a linear sentence with you, and she is one of the greatest dancers I've ever seen in my life. And I want to do a piece where she dances her natural way in two of my dancers there next to her, mining her, and it would be.
And that's because she's like Martha grammar some hip hippie woman in a Grateful Dead moves. She's amazing how she moves and I go up to her and I say, Hey, I really like your dancer dancing and she goes, Oh, I broke my neck ones you know it cannot have dozen goal in here and in And so I I like to interview you because we're trying to find out what happened to her and why she's in the state. She is. But I'll tell you more about her in a while.
Off off Mike. All right. Doesn't that make people in chief? That's funny s so In my opinion, deciding to interview someone is somewhat personal. And thanks for sharing your reasons so But I occasionally get a bit defensive personally when someone asked me, Asks me you should interview so and so Or you should interview me. Do you have similar feelings or do deal with similar situations? Joseph, you brought up the word should this week a lot with me here's So I I I prefer people to talk.
May I suggest someone to interview? They're saying should because they're nudging you like, Hey, I really want this toe happen. You should play this song. You should interview that person. You should go too. Hi. Ah, this church with me. You should. It's all should It's like I always go there's no should've Zor would've There's no should haves in the world. It's your suggested. But that's a word that helps people nudge.
Like, I'm really hoping I would like to encourage you to interview this person. I I think you're ah, good interviewer and you should go for, you know, so they're like why? But that's the way you would prefer to be asked or that's the way you get? Asked asked. No, I would say both that's what you prefer is that you want enlightened someone about tobacco essential one o one communication. It's called the Art of Persuasion.
Do you want someone to interview someone? My friend has a new movie, A new album, and they need PR. Well, now, how you gonna persuade Joseph today? You don't maybe need to say that I have a friend who's a musician. I really record Hope. Hope you'd interview. Why? Well, they've studied this kind of music and they're articulate and they're willing to sit and talk to you for a Knauer. Those are in the ingredients, but in essence, that person doesn't have to tell you.
Well, they got a brand new album, so I'll tell people look atyou. Got a brand new book or you got a brand new album. I'm not going to ask you about that. I'm going to say a question and you can go one. My new album, There's this so you could plug it all you want. But I'm not gonna you know, but is there any sort of rejection? Like I guess I'm talking about. There's a feeling that I get when someone says something like that is just immediate.
I don't know. I'm at heart a punk. And when someone says interview this person or in any which way I'm like, I don't interview whoever I want to because you're you're you're carrying the baggage of someone telling you what to do. Yeah, that's that's you could say, Well, that's who I am or that's how I'm failing, You know, you can't We can't really say is that, uh, Mohr failing of Joseph or more strength?
Well, right, right, right. It's more strength or Morris, it's your are you're being discerning. You're saying I want interview? People were unknown and I want to pick. OK, that's a most cure. Raiders. I'd work. I I try to get them to book me or something. They're like, Get away from me. I pick my own. I'm just I I would love to see this person in your venue there Let get away. So you're saying that the forest first Faras Jerry Falk is concerned like you're more open.
You're open to that open to suggestions and nudging nudges. I would. I would interview a person a day and I would go for all the people you Something says you should interviews person goes. Thanks for the suggestion. Do you have the contact information? And it goes on this sheet of paper I have and there's so many there that I'm so backed up and I'm not doing my projects because I'm interviewing people.
So now I'm going Well, why don't you incorporate your interviews with? But I love interviewing people, and I would do it more often, but it's mainly because of the button pushing is getting it from the zoom onto the hard drive. It was like, I don't know well, and that's leads into my next question because even in normal conversations, I've witnessed you basically interviewing someone, and I was wondering if people ever gave you crap about that, like you're asking them questions and they're like, Are you interrogating me or is that all that?
All that happens all the time, right? And how do you react to that? I just sort of go, OK, I don't try to make it an issue because I'm generally showing them intention attention and I'm letting them, but they they think like, Ah, I interviewed a really important film, archivists and and I said, So I want to interview and he's okay. And if they're not like love to, let's do it and you've got to convince him that's like a big neon flag saying, Don't push it.
But sometimes I want to push it a little because I wanted nudge it and bases Can we just sit and talk? And I love that coming back to me saying, Yeah, why? You know it Some things people I never meet they come over here and I learned their life story in ninety minutes and they're like, Jeez, I would have liked to know you before I gave you my life story, but they go ahead. That was school. One guy goes Now I know why you need ninety minutes.
I get only gave you sixty. And he was That was like a compliment. It was like, Yeah, we could have done more One of my best friends wouldn't do it for ten years and he's not healthy. I go to his house to big furious and died often, and he's hanging in there and about there's four, five months a couple months ago, I just said, OK, I'm starting the interview right now, and I literally forced him. He goes, Nope, I'm not doing it.
It goes No, it's rolling. Let's just talk. It's work. Ninety minutes. I got it and I was like, Wow, it happened. So it depends on the personality. But again, if I met you six years ago and I said Allah, Joseph, come on over. I want to interview. You will wait. Can't we be friends? First that happened, we became friends. So in the midst of becoming friends, you learned interviewing. I learned you and we were naturally interviewing each other all the time.
That's called conversation. Most great interviewers study him all. They're all James Lipton. Mel Merv Griffin might Douglas Charlie Rose. The list is endless. Study them all and they wanna have a conversation. Then they'll then the observable goal. There's too much Charlie Rose in the interview. Well, what do you want? It's a conversation. So some people are like this guy jumped out my case after an interview one day and he goes, That dude that was horribles all about you and you in Mobile and I goes here and I sent him like five quotes from people going.
Juries Interviews are great below great conversation. And he goes, Oh, sorry that I criticized you. I goes. No, that was important. You criticized me. I appreciate that. I get too much. That was great. Well, give me some feedback. Why? What wasn't great about it? Because I want to get better. But you probably didn't put that quote on your on your on my press kit. Fresca. I have. I have not put that. I have not put that quarter that That's probably a good idea.
So you have a list of many. Great, by the way, let People great John Cage line is, It doesn't matter what the press says about you. It's how thick your press kit is. All right? No, that's true. Glass filled glass had a famous Ah, is that you said that famously, basically the same thing, but real quickly he would he I think its family members that would come up to him early on and give him, like, clips out of the New York Times.
And when you're in The New York Times and be like, Look, here's the article and they give it to him. And they have no idea that their article was pan bashing him the whole time. You know what, dude? Getting in The New York Times is the whole victory. It doesn't matter. It doesn't set. And so, Jos doubt that's ah, important part. What you just brought up is essential to be. I want people two psycho. Analyze the question while I'm interviewing, They'll go.
That question is, I don't like that question. Why don't you like it? Because of love? A block. Oh, how do you think I could improve it? That's more important me than them answering it because we're to talk in the form, not Mohr important but really important. But most times they don't want the form in an interview situation. You want the form to be changed like I like Terry grows, But I have some quality there.
She's great, and I don't like Marc Maron's so much, but he's good yet Obama and his garage and and I heard an interview with both of them, and they interviewed each other, and it was very enlightening. It wasn't like it could have been. Hey, I'm Terry Gross from fresh air and I'm interviewing Marc Maron. Yeah, I think it was sort of set up. They're both talking, so they're both professional interviewers.
So the criticism is the most important thing anyone can do for you in any form. But it's how they do it the way we did Susie today was Mohr balance because I'm too much of our and you're like, Hey, I like that song right off. The guy says, Would you like what you just like? I it was That is hard. It won't work unless she balanced. Well, you know, I I said I'm not the best of that skill that I learned a little bit of this at the dining.
All I worked at in college and I was a supervisor. Um, there's like, the normal employees, their supervisors, and then their managers and Justus Faras the students. And so I was in the middle. But I had to give people like reviews and something, And they're like, Let me tell you how to make review the this is the full time of the murders told numbers, You say? They said, Make a compliment sandwich. Oh, my God, The funds.
The buns are the compliments, and the criticism is in the middle. So you start worth compliment. You say a little bit of criticism, how they could improve, and then you end with a compliment. And I I remember that my whole life just being social and in courteous being kind of people does help. Yeah, Um, so speaking of questions that you asking that you said that you're always trying to revise them and make them better, that's a big priority.
How do you come up with those questions in general and let me just go back? I'm not trying to really make them better. I want people to give me feedback. The perfect examples. Kidding or be a productive motion. Yes, You know that that's a no, that's a Gerry questions I don't think I came up with. It's a question that you asked about an example of one the Russians, So I'm going to answer your questions. Secondly, I'm going to go back a second can and will be a productive motion.
They could go yes or no. And then I have to go. What? Could you elaborate? It's easy, Yes or no? You don't want to ask questions that air yes or no and in general. So Susie's dad, Social Marxist Freud, Freudian Marks is really smart social worker Isis. Help me reword any My questions is no. Ask Anger can be a productive emotion when Phil in the blank. So I switched it, and I like that because it's more like they, they Khun, elaborate a little.
It's not a just yes or no, I asked that guy. Anger can be a productive emotion when Phil in the blank he goes, anger can't be a productive emotion. So he went right back and it proved to me it really doesn't matter. But in general, if you ask questions that aren't leading one of my questions, I go. I'm asking this with a bias. I tell them if you ask it without a bias which way you're leaning right off the bat.
They know where you're trying to direct by thinking because of the wording of the question alone. But you try to ask, it's so it's so wide open, it doesn't indicate your desired answer. You kind of go. Why? I think it's probably what they go out of line, you know? Well, how would you answer that? They flip it back on you. Now, tell me your question again. Whole. How do I find my questions or how do I pick up?
How do you find them? How do you come up with a mme? I already read something. And you're like, This is a This is a question I want to ask me. I admit my riel interviewing gear started turning when I was reading Christine McKenna's interviews, Probably in the weekly of Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart and David Lind. What year is this? Um, probably eighties or not. We could find out her books are ready. So in the ladies what?
She put out two books, which you should get him both. They're probably per pani, and they're really cool books of many interviews she did. And she says, What's more important, conviction or compromise? Boom that became top of my list. Ah, is ambition based More on fear, joy boom. Second question. I asked the bones from the get go and then I every interview, I would read, I go. That's a good question and start rained out.
So I I I like my clue in here. You contract down his monster maxims, meaning massage from Ashley bombing you Global village from Wyndham Lewis. People like he did. He didn't come up with that. No, he's just sort of more. But I've told Christine who I've interviewed twice. I interview people with a lot of your questions, and I'm going to flip him and ask you them right now. So what, you've talked to this? Kristine McKenna, her her?
Her interviews really infected me with those first two big questions, and I have my favorite was ever was Roy Zimmerman's kids who were like eight and ten I goes. What's more important, conviction or compromise, and they went. Those words are too big for us. Ah, but she then I interviewed her and I said I've complimented her in public several times. I've got a lot of my questions from you, and I asked her own questions.
She went on to work for Playboy, which is the interview thing, the Playboy interview and she you could breed. McLuhan's interview in Playboy is very important document. She interviewed the Coen brothers for Playboy, and she'll tell you the whole process of how she spent hours. You know, we go, Oh, here's by ninety minute interview with no edits. She spent hours with them, and then probably her and then it editor, and they're moving him around.
And so that was like her going into the super professional world, you know? And then I think she sort of says, I'm out of here. I don't want to do Playboy memories anymore, which I'm not sure of that. But, you know, so I am. Every time I read any interview, I just got one the other day, a great new question I forgot what it is, but I think I got it written down somewhere. I can't think of it, but yeah, I find new questions.
I'd try to put him in my file and say, this is a great new question. Ask it, you know? So I throw off that regular routine I have, you know, But I pretty much have that regular routine going for ten, fifteen, twenty years, you know? And it's more the little. No, I think it's it's a good routine. I especially like the fact that it's almost like an incantation to get to know somebody. For example, I remember one instance.
I was probably soon after I met you. I wrote down, or I printed out a list of your questions Ah, and just carried around with me everywhere, and I would ask people, And so I was working in Alaska and won my co workers there. Ah, well, you know, we have the whole summer to bond, basically, and and I just whipped out that list and start at going down the list. And over the course of like, a day or two, you know, I have got into nowhere on such a personal level that she was a little bit startled.
She was like, I can't believe I'm telling you all this stuff because we've only just know each other for a day or two. Whatever. But it's almost like an incantation. They get people to spill their guts on everything or just share with you, you know, tell me another word. That and can't a shin mi, um, like a ritual, but with words. Got you. OK, so, you know, like a witches incantation to a spell conjure up something.
It's like, say, these five questions and you know, And there's I think there's a bunch of buzzfeed articles, like four questions that will make anyone wobble wobble that I got his book over there. That guy who invented how to pick up women. Oh, dear. What's his name? You know, You know, I can I want to say Neil some Oh, dude, he's a master at it. Well, and, you know, it was in Esquire magazine, Okay. Like, how did pick up Britney Spears but that specific question?
Oh, and it was our that question of it. You know how to pick a pretty spirits. And he interviewed Brittany and she was like, Here's my home number and it was like he He knew it's called How to pick up women. He wrote the book How to Pick Up Women. But he's very smart interviewer, and I've studied his questions to and how he publishes his books. Let me just tell you for a second, he interviews Chuck Berry, Jeff Beck, You know, this rock book of everybody, and then he cuts them up.
So he gives you two pages of Chuck Berry and the last Chuck Berry question is about this topic, and it slips right into the jeff back for two pages. So he he, like, he, does my litany of questions in sort of chapter eyes. Is it so that the questions give you the through line instead of the people? Yeah, I like that idea a lot. And what I've always been experimenting with recently is having a computer do that work.
That's what I that's like a dream and that, you know, like no, you to me that the other day I thought that was brilliant. Well, it's like, you know, I want the list. Everybody is. Which way should toilet paper come off the roll over under and then list eighty answers. You know, right after that so they can see eighty percent of the people say over Some say, under some say, a dozen matter. Some say Get out of here, Quit asking me stupid questions.
And usually the audience roars and goes finally, a question I could relate to. Yeah, it's just the idea that right of organizing things differently because he had to see the interview an hour and a half length a chunk and that you were kind like forces see it in that, ah, path. But if if it could be organized differently lights like what these people do when that woman were for Playboy, you said like she spent all this time editing it into a different path.
And that's hard work. That's yeah, and so Ah, but in it's like this book that's written. I'm interested in that book now. Um, you know, it follow you, takes people through a different path, can like YouTube. Ah, you two does this so well with videos, and it's just like related videos, right? They all kinds, some of similar, and it forms this like movie. And and after an hour. You're like, wherever it's it's called What Michael Shields likes Call it's called Curating is the big thing.
Now it's called It's what we used to do. We go into the record store, even go. Hey, what new records came out on the guy who go well, it's this. And then Pandora and Spotify, they tell you. Well, why don't you listen to this? And it was like we like when humans did that. Well, you know, now someone built it, and I was totally against that. I hated that's this machine. Now I love. As soon as I put some on YouTube, I love to see what they put after it, and then I go.
Wait a minute. I was thinking about this guy the other day. I didn't do anything. How did they know? Well, it might have been because you went to a web page on that guy and it's, like, stored in your browser somehow, I swear, there are some that I didn't do anything, but anyways, you know, it's interesting there. It's called It's the Tell me, put it on tape. The Arthur C. Clarke quote Technology is it? And you know any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
I believe that. Yeah, yeah, that's it. You got a perfect right, and it's not. It's not Annie, and it's not indistinguishable. It's like it can be a form of magic. It is magical sometimes share, you know, So But going back to your questions, and I promise I'll stop asking questions about your questions. Maybe that's Ah, well, is there anything about the order that you deliberately set out to Teo organized big time.
Okay, I used to start off with what's your favorite form of information so we could start out at information because we're basically trading information. We're trading information. I'm saying this information words and you're saying that information where it's personal information, it's a guess it's how your parents raise you. It's in your DNA for trading information. So I like that somehow. And then I was talk about information is do we collect information?
Cause it's hardwired in its and native nous, or it is something we learned. And ah, then I go into memory all What's your earliest memory? And then I try to stay on them. What religion? When you raised, how do you feel about enemies? Stay on them in their background. I found that I shifted these general neuroscientist thick questions before or I went deep into down. So I somehow got this question that I love.
What's the best thing for human being? It startles people right off the bat. O tto be, you know, to realize your life is important and I love the guy says animals. I goes that he goes No humans relationship with animals. I've got so many great question my favorite which besting for human being pizza. What's the best? What's the best thing for him being spaghetti? You know, it doesn't matter, you know, without ever love.
Okay, whatever it is, they matters, but it doesn't. It just gets the ball rolling. I liked if I feel it in them that they're going to participate. What do you pursue? More meaning or happiness? No. What's you know is the consciousness question Is the brain detect consciousness or created? I like to go to those now for some reason and then go into their background. But if they're fighting it, boy, I have to.
I have to ju jitsu. I have to work around it because there's there's often I want to say, twenty percent people you can tell right off the bat. They don't know what they're in for. And I tried to explain it, but they're they're like, Hey, I'm here to talk about the movie, right? And you're thinking, Oh, boy, there's gonna be a long interview. No, I'm thing. Or maybe it's going to be a really short and no, no, I I I've had a guy go turn off the tape recorder and then I have to talk him into it.
And then he continued, It's rare that they walk off, but I've had people. Those are the best interviews for me because it teaches me and at the comfort of its it's just like, Oh, wow, I love this. This is so fun. You're asking a great question. I love that. I'm glad when it works, but when it doesn't work and put you out on spot and makes you you know, learn how to adapt. Sure. No, that's that's not what was the question you asked the order or the order.
So then it I don't know how much I I thought about it, but if you if you took by Master List which I should have capped in there, probably in boxes, but my let master list. Over the years, you would have seen how things sort of shifted, you know? So now I have the hundred questions, so memorize, I'll jump out of order. They'll go blah, blah, blah, go. I'm going to jump out of order. And I tell him and I yank a question eighty and move it up to number ten.
So why do you tell him I'm curious? It's probably just working out. But I was like, I'm just sort of tell them I have a new order to my questions and oh, that reminds me of I don't know why. I tell you, I just do. Well, sometimes I've been trying to go with the flow. And if I have, like, two thirty questions and they start talking about something that's number twenty nine, I switch to twenty nine. But then it makes it the end of the interview.
More hectic, because it's just like, Okay, now, what did I ask him? This question already? And and I sort of might skip a couple because I knew that I already did one of those questions, and it kind of put No, I think that's part Parlay the order is is so you don't forget, I've done right. I left out the most important. So I tried toe highlight or have little notes on my script page like, here's the music questions.
So I didn't know their in the music. And then I switch. Oh, I didn't know they were going to be political, So I switched the political questions, and I go all we got to go back, right? Well, the one big thing I like about the order of the questions and that I've kind of someone copied from Ah, is that the feeling you used to get right into the interview with, like, what's the best thing for human for a human being?
And then you start to get real personal about this or that. But then the very end you kind of come up, too. The the sea level, you know, and take a breath of air with a bunch of, like, lighthearted questions. Rather that kind of libel backing like, Oh, I'm ah, I'm in and a house I'm getting ready to leave right? You know, lighthearted. It is good and playful is good. And I I totally That was the George Clinton great.
Okay, the three hours into it, too. I mean, it's three hour interview. Two and a half hours into it. Almost the angles. Okay. Can I ask you a few? Aah! What? What's the word? That lighthearted, playful, playful questions he goes. I've been playful all along. You just nailed me. That was perfect comeback, you know? So, yeah, the order is a constant shifting thing, but you generally find safety and keep into it, I think.
Yeah, so you host your interview's any variety of places and over of riding mediums, for example, over the phone or privately in person, at your house or publicly at a coffee shop in front of an audience. What's your favorite venue and or medium? And why? Probably what we're doing right now. I contact in a quiet room with no one else put possibly my favorite because I contact is so important. If you stare into someone's eyes for ninety minutes, that's like, intense it is cos it's very exhausting.
Dude, I pence six hours interviews in New Mexico before you went to meet with the film. I can't I can't figure out how I did three in a row before I went to the Film Festival in the last part of the day. But I said, Okay, I'll do you a ten. You at, ah, ten, eleven, thirty and you have one thirty there, like, okay. And it was like one on one like this and one guy start fall asleep. He's really important to me that it wasn't.
He was because he was tired from watching films all day. I know, so that's good. But if I had one more person right here, I love that. And one more person right here, because at the end, I go, So, Michael, do you know whoever sitting there, Do you have anything else? And they go, Yeah, I was wondering about this out of my realm totally shifts and fills that fills it out. So that's why the coffeehouse situations great.
It's just in coffee House. You get noise, you get people who want to go on a ramp for five minutes and you don't get a mike good. And so there's many things. But I love it when there's forty people in the room, and then they start asking like quick questions that's helpful and flushes it out. But, you know, I'm I'm I'm I'm actually switched from because venues they're so hard to find. I'm I'm switching at all to my own now.
Basically, yeah, well, it's not cool because people walk into a coffee house ago. What's this right? There's something that's lost, but at the same time, it's It's what you enjoy the most, too, and it's logistically easier, too. But people probably like being interviewed in front of an audience. Let me tell you one story that I love will never leave my interview to six or seven year old kid. Once he was like, he's like he's Jeff son.
He's like a map whiz, but now he's like he's older. Die must be sixteen or seventeen now, and he was so intriguing because it could talk about singularity and string theory. And there's a guy in the back of the coffeehouse, and he'd bring in his Wall Street journals every Saturday and read, Um, and so he's reading him in the room where I'm interviewing Jet of Donovan the Kid. And, uh, he's, like, very interesting.
You know he's interested by this little kid's answers to all my complex adult questions. And then I cause okay, as anybody in the audience having questions in the guy from the back reading his newspaper say, I got a question and he ask it in. Donovan got up from the stage and walked over all the seats that were empty because the room was basically empty and walked up to the guy to answer his questions.
Just that act was I've got to go address this human in front of them. Yeah, it's only something a kid would dio. Right. But it was just so enlightening now that if I would have interviewed Donovan in my living room and that wouldn't have happened, so I you know what's my favorite? It's they're all good, but they work smoother when it's just you one on one, you know, right? No. Good answer. I like that. So, um, let's talk about some other things for a few more minutes, and then we'll wrap up here.
Ah, I have a lot more questions and what we're going to get to, but I don't want to talk forever. I want to save him for another day because we will probably do this again. Um, so, ah, if you're biking or walking around preparing for an interview, would not You're always doing it as swiftly as possible. You wake up. It's six a. M. At the latest. Every day. It sounds like more. Four five. You don't drink coffee, though, And you don't take any sort of enhancers or whatever.
Um, the question is, what motivates you. Ah, that Get that's cause ality again. It's it's back to the major. What motivates me? So I would say that that is the human condition is that you don't stop and you keep going. That doesn't mean is like I need a nap. I want to crash out. That is part of the human condition. You rise and you fall, and there's nothing that motivates a six. Except that that is the human condition.
But we can because we've been in words we can put on like I'm motivated because I want to get that screening in New York of my new film. What more of it? Why? Because it would be cool. Whatever. You know, like you're motivated to do cool things. Whatever. I mean, I can say any answer there. You know, I can meet new people. What? The people? Why do you put on seven events? That goes Why not? I mean, I I I can romanticize.
I'll give you my one of my favorites is Frank. What brings up? Why do you write this music? I write it for myself. And if other people like it, that's a bonus. It's like Give me a break You grew up in a capitalistic society, and you grew up listening to Papa. Rating of radio just said, Let's that's a pop. It was art Black are greasy R and B on a jukebox had a chili joy, and he says, I'll buy. I'll buy Ebola, Chili and your restaurant every day if you let me put some of the records in your jukebox or tell you what to put.
Best of Frank did. Yeah, when you think, kid, he says, Yeah, I'll help drop quarters in your machine so that you could so I could go there and listen to what you could have done him at home or whatever. But you could say that what was his motivation to hear the music? So it's like he's saying that I'm I get a bonus. I write this music for his up. No, he knows he's writing that music for other reasons. But you're asking.
The big question is what causes what motivates you. And you know where there's a big thing and filmmaking are, Aren't they? Go What informs your work were forged like what's behind you're why you're doing this? There's nothing else to what else is there to do? We're picks up melts. OK, well, I'm going to go run and have been Farfan's. It gives me a buzz. There's a million answers I'd give you. I like people.
I like interacting with people and like the woman calls, says So I want to want to come in your events where there's interaction is looking. We show a film and then we have interaction. We don't show film. I show of newspaper article. We have interaction. Well, I don't wantto sit through the films. Okay, then we have. But But I I found that hurts saying that's too limiting, because if you flip into your opposite, it's probably the most important thing you can do.
And we find our comfort zone. So if I go well, it's so much easier for me to do this. And then I'll go. Why don't you do the opposite? Why would I do that? That's like, carefully make plans, then do the opposite. That is a wise McLuhan is well, so so. I mean, I'm tribe dating answering your question because I can give you, Ah, lot of the answer's in sound romantic. Oh, I loved to share the creative process in the Freedom of, oh, I love barrel.
Tell Barack he goes Brookie and his great bride Department Doc egos, Brookie, and I'm like, Whoa, that's a great name to drop, he goes. I don't want to hurt that trances you out. I want to hurt that. Activate you. It's like Dude, both types of artwork. But he he thinks he's got political agenda. You know, he's like, I want activate people. You know, we're going to sing Joe Hill on Sunday. That is that cool.
He has an agenda by got an agenda. Just he has a n a n the article and agenda he has when he has any. And it's kind of like George Lucas when he said that I oh, I wanted to create Star Wars because I just wanted to see it and no one else is doing it. You know, when you told me that that's broke, that's what Bruce Kaner, my hero and experimental film, says. Why did you make these films? Because I didn't see anyone else doing it.
So that's that. But still, he's got the lexicon, the language that he learned from the others, that he goes really what I want to do is take what I've seen people already do and mix it up a little differently and come up with something different. There's nothing new under the sun. Did you ever hear that? Is that a song? It's It's a cliche in Bob Dobbs, either. Got it From a clue I think got from a Clooney says.
There's nothing old under the sun. There's nothing older now. Which one? No, there's nothing new under the sun. I think you got to go in on online to this great source. I do. It's quote investigator and they tell you who said this then Then they live in all these people go so and so first setup. But really, we found it in a newspaper in New England in twenty hundred years before that, right? So I'm just saying that I like to romanticize my motives because I have words and I've studied artist.
Why do you do thiss right? You know, and it's all good. But in general, it's a bunch of romanticizing. So you think by giving me an answer first, all their many answers, the question and if you gave me an answer, you don't want to come across as romanticizing. I want I Well, it's romantic to be creative. It's II want freedom. And you know, I want Teo. I'd do what artists do. They disobey, and they get are the probably the best quote to answer.
This is art is anything you can get away with. So that's both Andy Warhol and McClure. And that's hard to say who said it, But that's the motivation. I can get away with that. So that's why art is the ultimate You, Khun, do anything in art and people go. That's horrible. The guy jerked off in an art gallery, gold art that sick people do that has been done. Veto. A Conti is one of the greatest performance artists ever, and and he doesn't do any harm to anyone they didn't know he was in there.
He they walk into the art gallery and he's in the Raptor, and he sort of sees them any masturbates. That's a huge step in. And that's part of his art, that is, isn't one of his performance art piece? Was he stalk someone? He didn't hurt him. And so, then stalking forty years later became Oh my God, so he would do shop invented it. It's conceptual are basically but do shop, got it from other people. But it's basically the start where they said is conceptual art.
So I love our where people go. You call that art? That's a horrible. But I like Nice are due. But it's like I like when people do it. George Caan says comedy is drawing the line and then crossing. You like to see people doing new and different things and exciting. Yeah, it does. Created to be so exciting. Creative again. That's romanticizing. That's like, Why do you do this? It's creative. It's it's exciting. Do you just want to see something original than doesn't matter?
It can be the same old thing that you just want to see people doing things, not even that not doing things. So I don't do that's why I always say they go. How was that? They go interesting. I goes, That's a wimpy were And they go Well, sorry. You know, like Khalil last night. Awesome. Awesome. And you convey field Brad every time. Go, because it's just a new word that ever cool. Oh, you like cool things, you know?
So it's you're tryingto I I'm I'm being asked to nail with. Why do you do this with work words? There's no answer. I don't want a limited, but course I all those apply. Cool. Let's finish up with the whole. You know what's funny is that I I have heard those words all my life, So they sound like really old phrases, like cool, awesome or it's just something that's normal to me. That's normal and it's in. It's in.
It's called fatty communication. By the way, have you ever heard speaking of quotes and misquoting, have you ever seen those those maims where people they make up a quote like Ah! Like Michael Jordan's the best basketball player of all time in this in quotes and on an inspirational photo or something. And it says, Albert Einstein, Chris something like ridiculous. And they like Mismatch a quote within with names and and then and Miss match that with a picture that just makes no sense.
And it's it's hilarious. Oh, I love it. It lookit. I love messing with quotes and learning the origins of them. And the most important about all is a game, a workshop that I want to do that I've never done, where you get five really sharp witted, intelligent people and everybody brings in a quote and go nothing new under the sun reword it. Then immediately they gotta reword it. Everybody and then the next person's air.
No prep. The next person goes here's mine and go. You mean that whole fallacy is wrong? Reword it and then everybody goes around the room and they got to reword it because quotes have nothing to do with the quote. It's how you use it and how you transform it. The best examples bobs. We're all set in the future. Everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes. That's YouTube. You'll be famous. Fifteen minutes. It's easy.
It's that is a Warhol really sailing the future in a way, Bob says in the future, everyone will have privacy for fifteen minutes, so it's endless. All right, last question. So when you think about the projects that you made, the people you met, the places you went, generally speaking things they've done. Is there ever a deliberate goals such as this year? I want to accomplish X and Y Or by the time of seventy, I want to have done Z or do you play it by ear?
Yeah, I played by here, but I love to set goals. What some goals that you have for two thousand nineteen lots. I'm book Susie at a house concert in New York City, March ninth, and then I'm trying to book by screening of my film right around there. So that's to me. Is our big goal going Tio Meet Ecology conference at the end of June and then to a film making Ah out in the Woods workshop right after that in Toronto in May, I was hoping you would come.
Neither those in May going to see my friend Dylan bustin show, I think in Indiana, always. In August, we go to Swan's Island Music Festival, Sweet Chariot and then I Missed in late March. Go to the Andover Film Festival. So, yeah, there's always goals and, like I always do, Siri's and projects where I go Well, that projects looks like it's working. Let's do a trick trilogy. Let's do so. As soon as the Brother side the Wake, my first feature film was getting made, I goes, Oh, somewhere When I says what, we can't limit the brother, We gotto the mother side.
The wake that sister, by the way, and the father's side way already the mother side. The wake has taken priority in my head because I feel brother side is done, though I don't ever want to finish it. I want to say it's always in test screenings. Then are you going to not have a tech screening? Can you say it's finished? I got no way. But I love holding on to that But I'm so much into mother side Awakened I'd love to do mother side the wake in six months You know, if I found all there right ingredients and working with Bruno was amazing.
But, you know, he just had his kid and all my other co filmmaking friends. It's been hard cause I made three films with Mark Xie goes lots bigger another And he went to graduate school and he's found his life's pass and we happen Will. I made a lot of things with will that or been amazing. He had twins. So his life went off and and I you know, I can only say with Dr Seuss says, You can't cry. It's not happening.
You just smile because what happened happened, you know? So yeah, I mean, I think goals and destinies were good. Ah, at my at my age, I always do go. Nothing really matters. Nothing. You know, Just have fun and not like, Oh, that didn't work out. So what? You know, like the book and the tape archive thing really could get to me. And be frustrating, because friends what? Where? What's that? What? What's happening?
When you're both bub, I'm like, well, and I try to have the right attitude. So setting goals in destinations, um, is the theme to brother side the way it simply this. Why do we have to set a goal? A destination? When the cliche everybody knows the journey is more important, Then why do you even have to And you see and brother side all these people Because you got to be focused. You got to do this. If you don't do that, what are you gonna do?
Want around aimlessly? And I went to one of the women in the film. You hear me respond? You ever hear of Psycho Jr Griffey? And she goes? No, thanks. That's where you wander aimlessly and have an epiphany. She goes, I can agree with that. So I convinced her to think differently right on screen. And it's so funny because one guy watch our first test screening. You went. I like your feeling film because it doesn't tell me how to think.
And it's like our film is so didactic. Sartain gain Davey. But somehow we accomplished what I wanted. I says There's no content in this film is just a bunch of gobbledygook, especially you being that tentacled. The whole film gets to Joseph's wrappings on There's forty four thousand other particles. Man, I remember this rap I know freaking me out, but you will. You'll hear it. You know, it will be fun and you'll hear it and you'll use too.
Go take that out. But there's no there's Nobody knows it's you How do you know It's just there's No I d It's just subtitles over this psychedelic and in you know that's partly the beauty is Bruno decide to put it in If I in retrospect, I goes I say this often brutal in editing our feature, I go I hate that part. But leave it in because you put it in. And I don't want this film to be so nice and cozy, you know.
And it could be cozy. Some people go Bradley about somebody seeing gold that was brilliant wrapped Joseph. That was you had Quantum down. Teo. Teo. Well, thank you. Well, cool. Hey, So, what was that Dr Seuss cold again? Ah, well, we'll get it exact, but it's basically the feeling is don't cried that something isn't goingto happen or didn't happen. Be glad that some part of it did happen, like, Oh, my God. You know, it's sort of like Yu back to yur Dale Carnegie.
It's power. Positive thinking. Okay, Well, I was just going to end it with. I'm glad this interview happen. And thanks for joining me, Jack. Ah, Jos, you're the best. I love you. I love you too, man. Thanks.