Saturday, September 16, 2006

Like Eating Glass

After being available in limited release earlier this year, the God Bless Bloc Party DVD saw a wide release a couple of months ago. Part of that wide release included being available on Netflix, so I was finally able to see it. Despite some lackluster reviews, I wanted to see it. Well, I'm glad I saw it, but a certain percentage rubbed me the wrong way.

Bloc Party is an incredible live band and a full live set alone is worth putting onto a DVD. Yet God Bless features a documentary that splices interviews with parts of a live set in LA. To be frank, the presentation comes across as a distraction. Featuring a number of awkward moments during interviews, this stuff made me wonder about the nature of interviews in general.

I remember seeing Matt Pinfield trying to get the guys from Blur to talk on 120 Minutes. He might have had better luck doing dental surgery without morphine. Speaking just above a whisper, getting a full sentence out of them was hard. I felt the same watching a bored Bloc Party answer questions I'm sure they've been asked many times before. No matter how annoying answering the same questions over and over again can be, interviews are a part of the game when you want to play music in front of people.

Not to toot my horn, but I always do some research on someone before I interview him or her. I figure there's always room for meatier stuff beyond the standard questions (What are your influences?, How long have been a band? and so on), so I want to get to that as quickly as possible. The person might have answered this question hundreds of times over a handful of years, but I argue that I should give people the benefit of the doubt. Usually, my interview is my first conversation with the person, so how could know his/her's life story off the top of my head?

When I meet new people and I bring up my traffic reporting gig, I'm usually asked if I fly in a helicopter. I don't get angry, shrug or roll my eyes at this question because this is my first conversation with this person. Now, if I was asked this question twenty times a day for six months straight, it could get annoying, but still, this is always a first conversation situation.

I look forward to Bloc Party's new record (due early next year) and I'm sure they'll do plenty of press. Here's to hoping that another DVD comes out. Maybe someone will commission a documentary on their story and hopefully these guys will be up for talking about themselves.

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