What would you ask if you had just one question?
February 15, 2011 5:08 PM   Subscribe

What question should I ask my favorite musician, or at least propose asking so that I can meet him?

A local radio station is holding a contest to win a meet and greet with one of my favorite musicians before his concert next week. Listeners have to submit an answer to "If you could ask (artist) one question, what would it be?"

He's a relatively famous dude, but I don't want to give away his identity, lest someone steal my awesome question.

So I ask -- what would you consider an interesting type of question, assuming you were judging the contest? Do you think it's best to ask something about a particular song? Something related to our city? Something totally off the wall? Something that shows a vast and enduring non-stalkerish love of his extensive catalog? Thanks!
posted by supramarginal to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Does the artist pick the winner based on the merits of the question? Or does the radio station? That totally changes your strategy I think.
posted by ian1977 at 5:34 PM on February 15, 2011


Ian1997 is totally right, of course.

If the artist gets to pick, it's been my experience that relatively well known musicians love to talk about lesser known musicians they are into at the moment. So, something more elegant than, "Who are you listening to now?" but along those same lines.
posted by digitalprimate at 5:52 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good: If you could record with/jam with/write a song with anybody in the world, who would you pick?

Bad: On your 5th album, what kind of amp/effects setup did you use in the chorus to the fourth track?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:56 PM on February 15, 2011


Good: If you could record with/jam with/write a song with anybody in the world, who would you pick?
Bad: On your 5th album, what kind of amp/effects setup did you use in the chorus to the fourth track?


As a musician, I enjoy being asked the second sort of question more.
posted by dfan at 6:18 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think this question is unanswerable with the OP telling us who the musician is. Musicians are not some generic ubiquitous entity. They are unique humans, and "the" really awesome question is going to be different for each one.
posted by COD at 6:36 PM on February 15, 2011


Seconding COD. Try to know what's really important or interesting to that individual person, and ask a question that gives them a chance to tell you something you don't know that he would want you to know.
posted by amtho at 7:47 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks so far. The radio station chooses, I assume.
posted by supramarginal at 7:57 PM on February 15, 2011


Lester Bangs advises: "Don't do it!"

Meeting inspiring musicians is often a big disappointment. Most of the time, there are exceptions.
posted by ovvl at 8:11 PM on February 15, 2011


I expect famous people get asked all sorts of things about their craft and their personal lives, so you want something different, but interesting that provides additional insight into this person.

How about something like, "What do you think you would be doing with your life if you never got into music" or something similar?
posted by smirkette at 8:47 PM on February 15, 2011


dfan, my thinking was that if he was a relatively famous musician, he probably gets asked that kind of question a lot, especially by stalker-y type fans. And he probably wouldn't remember the particulars of recording one track on an album from whatever-many-years ago.

But I'm no expert, I've never been a famous interviewee. :)
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:51 PM on February 15, 2011


You could ask his guilty-pleasure music, music that he likes to listen to despite it being total and utter crap. Or music he likes to listen to that doesn't fit his personality/genre at all [Like Manson listening to Barry Manilow or something]. Both of those are interesting enough for the musician and the audience, and if the radio is picking, they're probably going to pick a question that they want an answer to, or whatever will get them the most ratings.
posted by shesaysgo at 6:18 AM on February 16, 2011


Pinched from the late, great Hearsay magazine, all of whose interviews are worth reading:

Would you prefer to have your rubbish sorted through by an obsessive fan or be wiretapped by the federal authorities?

If you had to choose a celebrity to stalk, who would you pick?

Do the people you write about in your songs recognise themselves? And are their reactions favourable?

Have you compiled yourself a suitable epitaph from rhyming couplets?

Who would play you in the film version of your life?
posted by vickyverky at 10:14 AM on February 16, 2011


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