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Rewind

Welcome to Rewind.

 

Over 36 years I have been fortunate (and sometimes unfortunate) to interview many hundreds of singers, songwriters and musicians - mostly as a staff journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Telegraph. 

I was also published as a freelance writer in titles including Billboard, Rolling Stone, Juice, Juke, On The Street and Countdown

Many of these interviews were conducted by phone, as the subjects were either in another country or another state or city.

Generally interview slots were 20 minutes. The musicians would be at home, or in a studio, or - worst case scenario in later years - on a sketchy mobile phone.

You'd be forgiven for assuming that interviewing by phone would be less intimate than a face-to-face interview. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

 

When you interview face-to-face you are often at a record label, or a cafe, or a music venue. The interviews always run late, and it's not unusual to have a publicist sit in on the interview. It's a completely unnatural environment.

Most of the time you have the subject's complete attention on the phone, and they can be more relaxed than when doing face-to-face interviews.

 

Phone interviews are typically 20 minutes. In that time you can canvas a wide range of topics, however most of what you get in quotes in never used.

In 20 minutes a subject may speak, for example, 4,000 words. Of those, 2,500 words might be usable quotes. Of those 2,500 words of usable quotes, you might get to use 350 or 400 in a 750-word article.

 

In print, you are always cruelled by space. And deadlines. Much of the good stuff ends up on the cutting room floor because you simply don't have the space or time to write a 3,500-word story.

 

Nor does your editor, who is trying to squeeze 250 stories into Sunday's paper, want it. 

To ensure accuracy, I taped many of these interviews. In boxes sit tapes containing interviews with the likes of Meat Loaf, Ringo Starr, Suzi Quatro, Daniel Johns, Roger Daltrey, Mavis Staples, Brian Wilson and Mike Love, Tim and Neil Finn, Ray Manzarek, James Burton, Peter Garrett, Delta Goodrem, Boy George and Sir Cliff Richard. 

On this page I will revisit some of these music interviews and tell the stories behind what happened.

I will also revisit interviews with people such as chef Rick Stein and  author Bill Bryson. 

New stories will be added, so please check back in. 

 

Peter Holmes

Editor

The Orange News Examiner   

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