Even the artist interviews I've had the chance to do have been by phone and arranged by a publicist. It's not exactly just hanging out and chatting.
I finally got the chance on Saturday night in Bloomington.
I was in town to cover a show by Citay, a San Francisco-based band on the Bloomington-based label Dead Oceans.
Through various circumstances, the start of the show was delayed an hour, but nobody really seemed to care. The Bishop is a nice, little bar with a variety of quality beers and a wonderfully laid back atmosphere.
Best of all, after the sound check, the band joined the concert goers in the bar area.
Over the course of the night, I had the chance to at least shake hands with all seven band members. It was pretty cool, especially when I had the chance to tell them all how much I enjoyed the show.
Even better, I was able to have a rather lengthy conversation with the lead guitarist Josh and my contact at the label, Abe.
These were a couple of chilled out dudes who made the evening fun.
On the other hand, the chance to get so close to the band also backfired on me at one point.
During the opening set by the Cains and Abels, I was standing alone, aparently talking to myself about the music. (I do this a lot, trust me.)
My conversation with myself must have gotten a bit animated because I started using my hands to make a point. Unfortunately, at about the same time, Tahlia, one of the singers, was walking by me with a beer in her hand.
Of course, the beer went all over her dress and the floor.
I felt about three inches tall. To spill beer on anyone, especially a woman, makes me feel guilty. To spill it on the talent is absolutely mortifying.
She told me several times it was OK, but I felt I'd ruined the night.
Likewise, her bandmates told me it was OK, but I still wanted to make it right.
Finally, Meryl, the other woman in the band, came over a told me if I wanted to be a hero I could buy Tahlia another beer.
So I did.
But once I had the beer in hand, she had disappeared. Ten minutes passed before she re-emerged. She had gone back to the van and changed into a new dress.
I suppose the one advantage to spilling a drink on a band member was she had a change of clothes nearby.
After that, the band did a great show. Tahlia's singing was beautiful, as expected. The weird guy talking to himself must not have marred her performance.