Quick Take Tuesday, a blog of tasteful, yet shameless, self-promotion involving an author or someone of equal social standing. I ask two questions, and then my guest turns the table and asks me two questions, as long as they don’t involve pounds or pant size.
LN: You know, My Love’s In Jeopardy just talking to you now. I mean, that voice of yours! You’re like a sex machine with a microphone. And you’re a busy writer. I had no idea. Tell me everything, and just lean over and whisper it right here in my ear.
GK: I can’t help it, I have this animal magnetism. But let’s be honest, it took years of abuse to get this voice. I’m lucky I’m still alive after what I did back in the 80’s. I think I’m channeling the spirits of other, better writers because I feel like I’m surfing the big waves now. And I seem to be in the middle of a super creative period. I’ve written the pilot and several episodes for a TV series that we’ll be shopping to the major networks next month. And I’ve already had some interest, so that’s really exciting. The show combines rock and roll, the mafia and the record business in the 1960s. Rockers and wiseguys. Something I know a lot about. Meantime, I’ve also written the screenplay for my first novel called “Horror Show” and I’m slowly but surely moving along with that production. And I’ve written another novel that I’ll be publishing online, with the audio book leading the way. It’s called “Rubber Soul.”
LN: Wow, They Don’t Write ‘em Like That Anymore! I’ve got rubber knees from just listening to you. And yet you’re still pumping out the music. And you’re waking up millions of people every morning from Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz. Do you ever sleep?
GK: Well, it keeps me busy during the week. My unique (some might call inhuman) hours of getting up at 3:45am, gives me my afternoons free for writing (if I can keep my eyes open) and it’s nice to be finished with all my radio work by lunchtime. I need down time to come up with ideas. I have a ton of stuff going on at the moment. I’ve released a new digital 3-CD boxed set of Greg Kihn Band nuggets called KIHNPLETE. Yeah, I know! It’s important because it contains the work of all these famous musicians who have been in my band over the decades, like Joe Satriani, Steve Douglas, Jimmy Lyon. Guys like that. It has historical juice, but it’s just a whole bunch of great music, live versions of the hits and some rare studio takes. It’s great, easy to promote and all post-Bezerkeley! And other than that, I’ve been doing the morning show for 15 years and now that we’ve got a new owner, Entercom, I work in a beautiful penthouse studio in downtown SF!
//BUZZER NOISE AND SOUND OF TABLE BEING TURNED//
GK: Okay, your turn, Laura. I get to interview a lot of interesting people. Just this week I interviewed the great Dick Van Dyke. I asked him 2 questions, which I thought were the heart of the interview and revealed quite a lot, so now I’ll ask you the same two: What do you hate most about yourself? What is your best trait?
LN: I hate that I am loyal to people long after they have shown me that I should not be. I’ve gotten better about that, though. By the same token, my best trait is my loyalty toward and love for the greatest people in my life: My husband and son. But a close second is my resiliency. Against so many odds, I am preparing to launch my novel this year: “Finding Clarity: A Mom, A Dwarf and a Posh Private School in the People’s Republic of Berkeley” is going to hit electronic devices near you soon and I am immensely proud of that. One of the top literary agents in the country burned me and the editor I hired turned out to be the biggest fraud. Two people I was foolishly loyal to took a year apiece out of this novel’s life. Setbacks like that eventually propel me forward and I am thankful for that strength.
GK: Imagine free speech heroes like Lenny Bruce, Richard Prior, or George Carlin trying to break in with today’s public discourse. Do you find that it’s hard to stay creative in this overly P-C world?
LN: There is something nostalgic about those names and how unique and risqué it was to find voices willing to say the things society wouldn’t accept. That no one else dared breath. And yet where would we be if everyone existed without boundaries? Well, we’d be where we are and you’re right, how would their comedic talents even be noticed? Personally, I don’t have a problem being polite. Manners are a good thing. Yet, now that I am older, it is nice to let my proverbial hair down and use words in my writing that I certainly could not while writing for The New York Times, or while reporting on-air. “Finding Clarity” is full of slang, swear words, and certain references that are bound to insult and infuriate. I didn’t write it for that purpose alone. I wrote what I did because that’s who the characters are. It’s what they needed to say. So, I can’t define my novel as overly P-C at all. It’s bound to piss off some people. And see? What kind of lady uses the word “piss” in her blog? One who is fifty, and finally free, that’s who.
//BUZZER NOISE AND SOUND OF INCREDIBLY LOUD APPLAUSE//
LN: Thank you for joining me on Quick Take Tuesday, morning man, rock legend and sex pistol of my dreams, Greg Kihn! I think I’ve got a contact high just from talking to you. But I would be remiss in my duties as a host if I didn’t wind on down the road and tell you I was just listening to your station and I’ve got a bustle in my hedgerow. Seriously, final request: Stairway to Heaven, break it down for me in 126 words.
GK: About Stairway- I have looked at the song from every conceivable angle, having played it on the air for 15 years, and for me, even past the songwriting, the lyrics, Robert's vocal, the beautiful recorder arrangement by JP Jones, even past all that brilliance - and the fact that it is the most played song on the radio of all time - it's all about Jimmy Page. His guitars are Zen-like. He uses 5 different guitars in that one song, overdubbed standing on his head basically, that makes the song special. The 12 string intro on the acoustic, the reedy-sounding Danelectro, the Gibson Les Paul beefy chords, and the incredible Telecaster solo at the end – wow - it's a tour de force. It's all about the guitars!
LN: And it’s all about your encyclopedic knowledge of rock ‘n roll. I might not remember all of the 70’s, but I do remember the 80’s in San Francisco. Come back some day and riff with me about Huey, Boz,Carlos…and I’ll tell you about the time I went back stage with Bob Seger and Silver Bullet Band. Deal?
GK: You got it.