Archive for January, 2011

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Record Hits To The Blog…And The Show Goes On

January 24, 2011

Not only did you watch ON THE SCENE this weekend…the blog set an all time record for views. I guess everybody was looking for more about what they’d seen and that’s cool.

If you missed Darlene Love and Timothy White, I’m hoping we get a timeslot for an encore of this show soon. But for now, the work starts again on the next episode, more interviews, more stars and more of those fascinating artists you haven’t heard of…but won’t forget once we introduce them to you ON THE SCENE.

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ON THE SCENE: Baby’s Got Back Story

January 22, 2011

So you are watching this weekend…blog hits are spiking after ON THE SCENE airs, thanks for that. I appreciate it.

Since a lot of you are coming here for more on the show I wanted to give a little more behind the scenes info and give my impressions of the artists who are on this weekend: Darlene Love and Timothy White.

There were many unknowns for me going into both interviews because I had never met Love or White, had seen very little video of them, and until I sat down to interview Love, never had the chance to speak to her. That’s not uncommon for a tv interview, but I just didn’t have a sense of her personality.  I had read Love’s autobiography the weekend before the interview.

I knew immediately Darlene Love came ready to talk and reveal. The expression on her face is open, she’s vibrant, friendly, and on a high with her upcoming induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. As I say in my previous post, what locks her in for me is the up and down story of her career, all those almost-but-not-quite big breaks, trying to emerge from being a background singer to stand in the light. All those things the rest of us can relate to in our own lives. Three things I am hearing about her from people who have seen the show: she looks amazing at 69 years old, her voice sounds stronger now than on her early recordings, and her story about gun-toting Phil Spector shooting up the bathroom at A&M Records has people stunned.

I reached Timothy White about three weeks ago, I got his email from someone we have in common. I had just recently become aware of White’s photographs. He called me and we had a short conversation and that’s when I asked him to be on the show. But he asked one question that stood out.

“Is this going to be sound bites or a conversation?”

I’ve heard the question before and it’s a dead give-away…he’s no doubt had bad interviews in the past, or a disinterested interviewer just wanting to get it over with, or felt pressured to synthesize his thoughts into 10 second snippets to make the editing easy.

“It’s a conversation,” I assured him. “I want to hear about why you decided to be a photographer, your relationship with the camera and of course stories about the celebrities you’ve shot, people are very interested in that.”

The studio you see in my show is his work space on 54th Street. It’s where he keeps his digital and analog archive (that’s what’s in the rows and rows of metal file cabinets you see behind me at one point.)

I think it’s a fascinating juxtaposition…here’s Darlene Love whose career didn’t go as she wanted for decades….she ended up working as a maid after 20 years in show business. And Timothy White, a success since he was in his 20s…one of the most prolific celebrity photographers in the United States, a Hollywood insider with a lucrative specialty in shooting movie posters. I understand his success, now. Besides his talent for photography, he has a way of connecting with people one on one, and an engaging energy that the stars he shoots respond to.

If my tv station is available on your cable system, you also have access to  its premium website http://www.news12.com where I have another blog, and there’s video posted there of Darlene Love describing the role Bruce Springsteen played in her getting into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.

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ON THE SCENE Star Power

January 22, 2011

Everywhere you look there’s a star on this weekend’s ON THE SCENE. In person, and in photographs.

The show features my interviews with singer Darlene Love and celebrity and movie poster photographer, Timothy White.

We taped the interview with Love just a few days after she got word she’s being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame…her dream come true.

“It’s like winning the Oscar, the Tony, the Grammy, all together, that’s what I feel about getting into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame,” she told me as tears welled up in her eyes and her voice cracked with emotion.

Her life story is what compels me  most and it’s a story for all of us who didn’t peak at age 23, who have faced roadblock after roadblock and pushed our way around them, and who keep setting goals…and celebrating hard earned successes.

Timothy White photographs Hollywood’s A-list…Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson and just about every other star you can think of.  We interviewed him at his studio on 54th Street and every drawer he opens has another celebrity photo inside and another fascinating story behind getting “the shot.”

So if you’re local tune in January 22nd and 23rd at any of these times: 6:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM either day…the show must really have star power to get that much air time!

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My Most Fascinating Interviews of 2010

January 1, 2011

I don’t spend a lot of time in the past. Sometimes I think “reminisce” is another word for “can’t get on with life.”  Show me the person who’s always talking about the “old days” and I’ll show you someone who’s stuck there.

But I also know there’s a place for taking stock of what’s happened in life, how we dealt with it and pinpointing what we learned from it.

And here it is New Year’s Day, 2011, and I’m feeling strongly about the year just ended.

I interviewed some memorable talents for ON THE SCENE who left an impression on me.  In 2010, the show became more in depth, the interviews more revealing than ever. To get there, I demanded more of myself, extended myself, and dived into creative risks that I know I wouldn’t have just a couple years ago. Now that’s progress.

Maybe it’s natural I would do those things because the artists I interviewed who impressed me most are those who went outside their comfort zone and moved their careers into new directions.

For starters, David Bryan. For almost 30 years, now, the keyboardist in Bon Jovi.  But in 2010 he became a triple-Tony Award winner for “Memphis,” the musical which he wrote and co-produced. I interviewed him at his New Jersey beach house on a sweltering July afternoon. It was shortly after the Tony awards and he was reliving the winning moments. We also talked about how life altering it was for him to step outside Bon Jovi and helm a project in his own right and how it’s forever changed his career.

Oscar winners Geoffrey Fletcher, who won the Academy Award for writing the screenplay for “Precious,” and Roger Ross Williams who received his Oscar for directing the documentary, “Music By Prudence,” both saw their long efforts pay off in 2010. When I interviewed Geoffrey he described how just a year before “Precious,” hit the screen, agents would hang-up on him. Suddenly, they were calling him. I interviewed Roger (and the subject of his film, Prudence Mabhena) on stage for an audience q and a after a screening of his film. After a long career producing and directing television news and entertainment programs, he headed to Zimbabwe and shot this documentary for theatrical release. Look where it led.

And there was refreshingly honest singer Duncan Sheik, who went broke after scoring a big hit with “Barely Breathing,” then came back strong writing songs for “Spring Awakening” (another rocker turned Broadway success story).

Joy Behar was the year’s lightning rod. God, the hate mail. And that was before the interview even aired.

That’s only a few. Read the blog archives for more on these interviews and many others if you’re interested,  and there are interview photos in the gallery of http://www.johnbathke.com.

Now let’s see what we can make happen in 2011. All of us. Happy New Year.