Several years back, I came up with the idea to shake up the traditional interview a little bit. A dirty little not-so-secret among musicians is they aren’t really a fan of doing them, mainly because it’s the same old questions that have been addressed ad nauseam.
Enter the 617 Q&A , which is exclusive to Vanyaland.
As the primary area code for the City of Boston, 617 also inspired the format. There are six questions, which follow the standard, let’s talk about what you’re pimping. Then I ask for one recommendation from the interviewee, which could be anything. Billy Duffy of The Cult famously answered with “water,” and was dead serious about it. Tim Wheeler from Ash was super hyped on Muay Thai kickboxing at the time and suggested people try that out.
The most fun part of the 617 by far is the “seven of something.” It’s a great way to end the conversation and has provided some incredibly fun answers. I asked Wheeler, a massive Star Wars fan, to name his seven favorite characters from the series. Ian Astbury was promoting a the 30th anniversary of The Cult LP Sonic Temple, and I threw out things that were “sonic,” and had him tell me the first thing that came to his mind. Think Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Youth and the Seattle Supersonics. Similarly, I threw words and phrases that had “king” in them at Slayer’s Kerry King, and ended up finding out he was a big Jackson 5 fan.
The most recent 617 Q&A I did was with Craig Finn from The Hold Steady, who this week embarks on the North American leg of his solo tour. It was such a good time speaking with him, and the whole piece is up now. Also, be sure to check out all of the previous ones I’ve done over the years below, and look for many, many more to come.