The Secret To A Great Interview

Neil StraussNeil

Since writing Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead, I’ve received hundreds of emails and Tweets and Facebook messages from writers, journalists, and students asking for interview tips. And in a future blog post, I may try to codify some of the techniques I use.

For today, though, I’m solely going to share the most important one—and make this a fun post to make up for the heavy reading of last week’s book list.

The secret to a good interview is not necessarily to get the best, most revealing disclosures from the most famous person in the world: But simply to enjoy people being people. Because sometimes the worst interview with the most inarticulate, stranger can be just as fascinating as the best interview with the most articulate celebrity.

With that in mind, I present to you: Two metal fans outside a Mötley Crüe concert in Tucson, Arizona.

What are your names?
Fan One: Mike.
Fan Two: Ow-ow-ow-ow. Owwwww

Is that your brother? What’s his name?
Fan One: That’s my twin brother. He’s my twin brother right there.

So how long have you been into the band?
Fan One: Aaaaaaahhh.
Fan Two: Since 1984, man. 1984, man.

Have you seen the video of Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson?
Fan One: I’ve seen part of it where Tommy Lee is videotaping Pamela
Lee in the fucking bathtub. I’ve seen part of that.
Fan Two: Heh-heh-heh.
Fan One: Dude, I’ve seen part of that.
Fan Two: That’s cool. That was really cool.

What would you pay to see the whole thing?
Fan One: I would pay. I would definitely pay fucking thirty bucks to
fucking see that motherfucking video.

How much would you pay to be in his place?
Fan One: Dude, that is priceless, man. That is fucking priceless.
Fan Two: Whooo.
Fan One: Fuck yeah.
Fan Two: Aaaooooohh.
Fan One: To fucking be in his place to videotape her in a bathtub full
of suds, brother? Fuck yeah!

What if she had AIDS, would you have sex with her?
Fan Two: Oh yeah. Sure, why not?
Fan One: No, no.
Fan Two: Oh yeah, oh yeah. Why not? Get AIDS, man. Bring it on.
Fan One: Protected?

Okay, how about protected?
Fan One: Protected, yeah.
Fan Two: Oh yeah. Aaaooooh
Fan One: Protected. Definitely protected, yeah.
Fan Two: Aoooooohhhhhh.

Want to hear more pearls of wisdom from heavy metal fans?

I know you do.

Then I implore you to watch the greatest metal fan documentary of all time, as captured in the 17-minute short Heavy Metal Parking Lot, filmed outside a Judas Priest concert in 1986.

Here’s a teaser clip:

If you’re feeling ambitious, and want to see a lot of bad eighties fashion, watch the whole movie.

I wonder how some of these people felt when singer Rob Halford later came out of the closet.

What’s more amazing is how they didn’t know–it’s not like he ever made it a secret: