September 2, 2004

Don't Stand So Close to Me

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When interviewing people for this column, I always ask, “What music do you like?” To which they always reply, “everything.” Which is bullshit, of course. Case in point: This woman I interview in the Statler lobby. I ask her for favorite bands, and she derisively replies, “How many do you want me to rattle off?” Her answer impresses me, so I start low and ask for three bands. She fails. Trying to think of three, she can only name two. Asking for three bands is just out of her league. I tell her that I’m confused, because I thought she liked everything. Using rude language, she tells me to go interview someone else.

Taking the lady’s advice to heart, I move on. The next man I interview is unkempt, portly, and spectacled, with a “Free Tibet” sticker on his water bottle. He tells me his favorite band is Van Halen, which is strange considering his neo-hippie vibe. But he shoots down my pretentious stereotype: “I grew up in Pittsburg, which is a working class city, so we like classic rock, like Van Halen.” Apparently my white-collar background keeps me from a true understanding of the band. I apologize to the man, telling him I was unaware that Edward Van Halen, Sammy Hagar, and David Lee Roth liberated the common folk, insped the proletariat and gave the finger to the man. Continuing to apologize, I say, “I don’t think Van Halen know they are the head of a working class movement, however, because their ticket prices are currently at $95 for general admission.” He doesn’t let me take his picture.

Who knew young thugs liked Black Sabbath? I don’t know if LeBron James is a big fan of the Sabbath, but he should talk to this guy wearing his jersey. The white LeBron James says Black Sabbath makes great B-ball music. When we finish the interview, the guy flashes a great hand sign. If you’re a fan of college football, it’s the University of Texas sign turned one-eighty degrees. It reminds me of the old days in elementary school where we’d screw our hands up trying to twist our fingers into spelling out “blood” or the Westside “W” like all the young bucks in Compton.

And the last guy I see, I don’t even interview. I just take his picture. It’s too good. I don’t know if it’s the grimace-like smile, the hair, the glasses, the gap in his teeth, or the why-are-you-pulling-out-your-camera look in his eyes, but I just love this guy. Look at him. I put it on my desktop as my background. His face is like a great work of art, every time you examine it you find something new, something undiscovered. At times funny, at others sublimely beautiful, his face renews in me a desire to enjoy life. God bless that man.

Archived article by Will Lanier
Red Letter Daze Staff Writer