Rockstar Interview Realities: Mayhem Festival in Detroit
I'd be lying if I said getting free concert tickets and interviewing my favorite bands wasn't one of my favorite perks of my job.
As many of you know, I'm a massive King Diamond fan, and last year, before his big North American tour, I had the pleasure of speaking with the King on the phone. Well, this year, King Diamond was co-headlining the Rockstar Mayhem Festival with Slayer. As a huge King Diamond and Slayer fan, I used my radio credentials to get tickets and try to interview the bands.
HOW I SCORE INTERVIEWS WITH BIG-NAME BANDS:
The way radio credentials work with an event like Mayhem Fest is you fill out a form to an agency running Mayhem to let them know who you are, where you work, and what you want to accomplish; in this case, my goals were to interview Slayer and King Diamond.
INTERVIEWS DON'T ALWAYS GO AS PLANNED:
About three or four weeks before the show, I received an email from the agency letting me know that they received my form, and the respective artist's record labels would contact me about interviewing their artists.
I eventually received an email from my boy, Munsey, who was trying to set up an interview with Slayer for me. Initially, I was going to meet Slayer frontman Tom Araya at the venue and interview him there. Well, a week before the show, that fell through and Munsey could only get me a phone interview with Slayer's new drummer, Paul Bostaph. Unfortunately, our schedules conflicted and the Slayer interview was put on the back burner.
Around this time, my buddy Vince from Metal Blade Records reached out about interviewing King Diamond. He told me that King isn't doing any press at the show, however, King's long-time guitarist, Andy LaRocque, is. The day before the show, Vince emailed me with King Diamond's tour manager's phone number and tells me to reach out to him the day of the show.
King was scheduled to take the stage just after 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 11, and I was going to speak with Andy at 5 p.m. The day of the show, I texted the tour manager and he told me that the band won't be at the venue until just after 6 p.m., and to text him just before then.
I arrived at DTE Energy Music Theater in Detroit around 5 p.m., collected my tickets and my press wristband. Now, I was under the impression that there was going to be a certain area that members of the press would congregate to interview the artists. So, I asked the fine folks at the will call window where the press area is, and of course, they didn't know. I walked around and asked some more people from DTE where the press area is, and surprise, they didn't know either.
Finally, I'm told that the press area is most likely backstage and that King Diamond's tour manager is going to have to bring me backstage. Around 5:45 p.m., I texted the tour manager and explained this to him, and he told me the band is running a little late.
Just after 6 p.m., the tour manager told me that the band has arrived and to meet him backstage. I tell him my "press" wristband is completely worthless, will not gain me backstage access, and he has to meet me at the backstage entrance to bring me back to speak with Andy. This dude has no idea what I'm talking about or where the backstage entrance is. Dude, there's only one entrance backstage...
We text back and forth, and he told me it's getting late and the band is going to take the stage soon. I keep telling this guy that I cannot get backstage without his help and he needs to meet me. He's seriously wasn't getting it.
Dude, meet me at the backstage entrance. What don't you understand?
By now, it's 7:15 p.m., Hellyeah is on stage, and I have a feeling this thing isn't happening. He finally texted back and said this is probably going to have to take place over the phone at a later date, since Andy is warming up and after King's set, the band is going to leave the venue.
WHY INTERVIEWS DON'T ALWAYS WORK OUT:
What people don't know is that at an event like Rockstar Mayhem Festival, the bands aren't hanging around all day, doing interviews, and drinking and partying. The big bands, like Slayer and King Diamond, arrive at the venue a few hours before they go on stage, eat, get dressed, warm up, play, and leave. I have to hope their tour managers can do their jobs of pulling the artist aside for 10 freaking minutes to do a radio interview. And believe me, it's not like there was a line out the door to interview Andy.
So there you have it folks. That's what I have to go through to not interview my favorite artists. And I can't get mad at anyone because the interviews didn't happen — that's rock n' roll! Things happen last minute. Am I upset? No. Disappointed. Yeah, a little. But hey, I'm thankful I got free tickets and got to watch Slayer and King Diamond on a big stage in Detroit.