Last week a preview of the Rolling Stone cover story on Howard Stern intrigued me enough to put a quote up here and to buy the issue. As an interviewer myself, writer Neil Strauss’ interview blew me away with its insightfulness and candor. Check out these highlights.
On his interviewing skills:
… the fact is you can’t allow people to drone on. You are the orchestra leader. You are the one who is saying, ‘My audience wants something new. I gotta keep it fresh.’ I don’t want my guests to bomb. My analysis is that a good interviewer not only asks the right questions but has sort of an inherent sense of what’s interesting to this mass audience. And I don’t know if you can teach that anywhere.
On sleeping around a bit after his divorce:
It seemed really bad when you were with somebody and you’re not that into them. And you’re saying, ‘OK, I’m done with you,’ and throwing someone out with the garbage. I mean, I don’t know how guys do it. It’s not fair. And sure, for any guy, of course, if no one’s feelings got hurt and you could just fuck everyone, that’s great, but it just doesn’t work that way.
On his image:
It’s funny that people’s perception of me is that I’m some sort of wild animal when, in fact, I’m interested in interviewing the wild animal because I am so controlled.
On evolving in radio:
I get angry with performers like Rush Limbaugh who are just shills for the Republican Party. I’m not a big listener of his, but wouldn’t it be a lot more interesting if once in a while he was for something that the Republican Party was against? I thought he had a real opportunity with that whole drug-addiction thing to maybe open up and say, ‘Man, I’m as confused as all of you.’ But no, he has to keep the persona. He’s an expert. He knows everything. It’s boring. You’ve gotta grow. The audience has to feel that growth.