Every so often I score an interview with a musician who’s so famous that I wonder if said musician can hear my heart thumping through the phone. But after the five to 15 minute rush of the actual interview is over, it’s just me and a tiny tape recorder blaring back the sound of my voice. Funny how I never noticed how squeaky/valley girl/soft-spoken I was before!
In the dry and barren landscape of interviews that blur together with talks of tours and new albums and songwriting processes, though, there is always an interview or two that sticks out.
With that in mind, be on the lookout for the Gibson editorial staff to introduce our new series of blogs about interviews that were simply unforgettable.
My own stand-out interview wasn't so much an interview as a run-in. Four years ago I was working for an alternative weekly newspaper in Knoxville and wrote a blurb in our calendar section announcing that Jared Leto's rock band 30 Seconds To Mars would be playing that weekend. Having been almost too fixated on Leto's mid-'90s TV show My So-Called Life
and his portrayl of the hunky-but-brainless Jordan Catalano, I could never really wrap my head around Leto's identity as a brooding musician. And frankly I didn't care for his tunes. Most of my write-up centered around the fact that the fabled Jordan Catalano would be coming to town.
The afternoon before the 30 Seconds to Mars show, the phone in my office rang.
"Hi, is this Ellen Mallernee
?" said a voice filled with so much derision that I choked out that, yes, yes it was.
"This is Jared Leto."
I could barely catch my breath before Leto launched into a tirade about people like me and how I really needed to get over the whole My So-Called Life
thing. He'd been in that show years and years earlier! And his band deserved attention of its own!
Jared Leto was screaming at me, and I thought it was the most fantastic thing in the entire world. In fact, I could hardly wait to get off the phone so I could tell my co-workers who I'd just been on the phone with.
But then Leto said the truly irrational thing that will make the phone call forever unforgettable to me.
"Ellen, you're going to be a terrible mother. It's people like you who really screw up little kids."
All I cared was, I'd gotten to talk to Jordan Catalano on the phone, and that's something not even Angela Chase can say.