Tag Archives: interviews

Hot Buzz: I interviewed Simon Pegg for Air & Space/Smithsonian

Sofia Boutella and Simon Pegg in "Star Trek Beyond." (Kimberly French/Paramount)

What a pleasure it was to speak with Simon Pegg, an actor and writer whose work I’ve long admired, for my day job with Air & Space / Smithsonian magazine. I’ve been overseeing a special section of our September issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, and I was especially keen to have Pegg — as the co-screenwriter of the new movie Star Trek Beyond, as well as one of its key cast members — be a part of our coverage. He was as enthusiastic and smart and funny as I’d dared hope. You can read the interview here, and my NPR review of Star Trek Beyond will be up Friday. Continue reading

No Guilty Pleasures: Talking with alt-country chanteuse Lydia Loveless

Lydia Loveless (Patrick Crawford/Blackletter)

I spoke with the great singer-songwriter (and Ke$ha song-improver) Lydia Loveless for the Washington City Paper’s Arts Desk in advance of her show at the 9:30 Club Saturday night in support of Old 97’s, (sic) one of my favorite bands. Read a gently edited transcript here.

When the 97’s last came through town, in October 2012, I had a really good talk with their frontmanRhett Miller. In 2008 I talked to their second singer-songwriter, Murry Hammond, too.

The Tyranny of the Written Interview: A Transcribed Conversation with Monologist Mike Daisey

Mike-Daisey-by-Ursa-WazI’ve written about monologuist Mike Daisey a lot in the last four years, but especially last year, in the wake of damaging revelations about his show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.

He and I met again at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, his performing home here in DC since 2008, last Friday to talk about his new piece, American Utopias, which I review in this week’s Washington City Paper.  I’ve just posted an edited, partial transcript of that talk up on Arts Desk. Continue reading

“I haven’t had any undecided moments in my life.” Talking Capitalism with Henry Rollins

If Uncle Sam is now reading PARADE magazine, we’re screwed. Photo by Heidi May.

I’ve had the privilege of speaking with the great raconteur Henry Rollins a few times now. When I interviewed him in 2008 about his plan to play the Birchmere on Election Eve, we spoke in September, several weeks before the show. He was predicting at that time John McCain would be elected president. A few days after our conversation, Lehman Brothers collapsed, the fiscal dominoes started falling and the dynamic of the race changed dramatically.

Once again, Rollins will be speaking here in DC — in DC, where we don’t have voting representation in Congress; not the “DC area” this time, at the 9:30 Club — the night before America chooses a president. I’ll be there. I was surprised to learn when we spoke the other week that he hadn’t heard of Mike Daisey.

The interview is on Washington City Paper Arts Desk today.

We Still Care: A Conversation with Rhett Miller of Old 97s

Old 97s play their best album, 1997’s “Too Far to Care,” at the 9:30 Club tonight. Miller is second from the left.

Formed in Dallas in 1993, the alt-country act Old 97s combines the heart-tugging wordplay of Townes van Zandt with the attack of The Clash. After a couple of indie releases in the mid-90s, the group were the beneficiaries of a bidding war, signing with Elektra Records. Their major-label debut, 1997’s Too Far to Care, remains their best and best-loved album. Despite retaining a substantial following — their show at the 9:30 Club tonight is sold out — the group never reached the level of stardom their big label demanded. Since 2004, they’ve been recording for the New West label.

Their current tour supports a 15th anniversary reissue of Too Far to Care, which they’re playing in its entirety in sequence, along with a selection of other songs. I spoke with singer-songwriter Rhett Miller (whose career as a solo artist runs parallel to that of his band) by phone about the quest for perfect setlist, the excesses of major label recording contracts and the perils of singing songs you wrote at 25 when you’re 42.

This interview appears today on the Washington City Paper’s Arts Desk. Continue reading

Patterson Hood & Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers Take Your Questions!

(Okay, my questions. But still.)

The Drive-By Truckers are one of my favorite bands, and I’ve had the privilege of speaking with singer-songwriters Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley on several occasions during the last three-and-a-half years. I talked to them again, separately, for Washingtonian about their plans for their year-ending three-night stand at the 9:30 Club, which kicked off last night.

One of the things we discussed was Cooley’s two-night-only battlefield promotion to full-time frontman when Hood fell too ill to perform just before a weekend of 9:30 Club concerts in February 2009. I reviewed the first of those shows for the Washington Post. Continue reading

Deleted Scene: Hayes Carll

Hayes Carll's devotion to the songwriter's art entails contemplating sex with Ann Coulter if necessary.

I’m a big fan of Austin singer-songwriter Hayes Carll, whose work I have written about before. I talked to him last week for Washingtonian; you can read that here. In honor of his appearance at the Birchmere tonight, I’d like to share a question I asked him when last I interviewed him, in June of this year. I wasn’t able to use what he said in the piece I wrote then, so here it is now for you enjoyment and/or edification. Take it away, Me. Continue reading