As a freelance writer, and as Managing Editor of Modern Drummer magazine, every interview was an opportunity to ask a famous musician or music personality for his or her autograph.
I didn’t do that because I felt that asking for a signature was like saying goodbye: “We will never pass this way again, so how about your autograph?” I was interested in keeping relationships alive, keeping doors open. In some cases, those relationships became lifelong friendships.
Also, when meeting someone – famous musicians or otherwise – I think of it as one human being meeting another. Not music writer meeting a star. My job is to stay focused, to be the best interviewer I can be, and to then edit the whole, according to magazine’s specifications, into an accurate, readable presentation of what the interviewee said.
Caveat: I once asked Mel Lewis to autograph his, “Mel Lewis & Friends” album. I saved letters, notes, Christmas cards, audiotapes from famous musicians. I save letters, notes, Christmas cards from family members too.
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