Musicians are people just like us, so why does it feel so extra embarrassing when we do something dumb in front of them? The AP editorial staff have seen their fair share of humiliation in the presence of musicians both as fans and as writers. Even so much as reflecting on them for this Throwback Thursday is making us cringe.
Have you ever embarrassed yourself in front of a band you love? Tell us about it in the comments!
In the fall of 2009, my then-girlfriend surprised me with tickets to go see AFI at the Fillmore Detroit. As one of, like, four people who actually enjoyed Crash Love, I was extremely excited to see the band play both new and old material. The show went flawlessly. As we were leaving, I noticed a hoard of fans by AFI’s tour bus, waiting to meet the band. We decided to wait. “Davey’s such a diva; he’s probably having a wardrobe change before he comes out,” someone said, as fans grew impatient with the chilly night. Eventually, guitarist Jade Puget and drummer Adam Carson came out to sign autographs. Why I did what I did next, I have no idea (maybe it was my inner-nosey music journalist mentality starting to develop), but I eventually asked Carson a rude and blunt question: “How much money do you make off each record you sell?” In front of a now-dead-silent crowd, he looked at me, sort of offended, and said, “I don’t want to answer that question, man.” (Maybe I had touched a nerve, given that Crash Love wasn't selling.) He then walked away and went back on the tour bus. The fans around me thought I had offended him and made him leave. It was the worst. —Matt Crane
I am an awkward person in general, but, having been a touring musician myself, and having worked in music since basically high school, I tend to shrug off any would-be “embarrassing” situations involving bands. I did, however, totally embarrass myself around actress Alyssa Milano (of Who's The Boss? and Charmed fame). A few years back, in my small hometown in Virginia, I agreed to help drive wedding guests around for a family friend. A couple who had just flown in from Los Angeles gave me call, and asked if I could bring them from their hotel to the reception. I showed up in my '92 Volvo station wagon, greeted by an astonishingly attractive woman and her fiancé, who proceeded to make business calls in the backseat; clearly they were very well-to-do. The woman and I chatted about music, her ranch in LA, her family, my upcoming tour, and, after she spied the iPhone on my lap, our shared obsession with Twitter. I almost asked her her Twitter handle before dropping them off, but decided that it might be too forward. Her response, of course, would have been @alyssamilano. Because she was Alyssa Milano. And I'm an idiot. —Philip Obenschain
During the spring of my sophomore year in college, I managed to get on a conference call with Alanis Morissette. I was one of a dozen or so journalists, so we were all allowed one question, maybe two if there was time. An hour before the interview, I tucked away into a spare office in our newsroom. I wanted time to go over my questions and also figure out how to use these newfangled phones. Earlier in the year, the newspaper staff was blessed with a renovated newsroom, complete with new furniture, Macs and telephones. All I had to do was put the phone on speaker, turn my tape recorder on and hit record. Sounds simple enough, right? I connect to the conference call, Morissette comes on, I have a minor heart attack because it's Alanis fucking Morissette, and the interview begins. Seeing as I'm a lowly college journalist, I'm at the back of the line, and before I know it, several of the questions I had written down to ask her have already been asked. Fortunately, I had a couple left in my arsenal, so I decided to ask her why she decided to incorporate electronic music and dance beats on some of her songs. (It was a pretty great question, considering she's known as the angry chick with a guitar.) So it comes time for me to ask my question. The moderator announces me—and totally butchers the name of my school newspaper—and I start my spiel. “Hi Alanis! What inspired you to use—”Then the moderator asks, “Brittany Moseley, are you there?” And I panic, because I realize this fucking phone isn't working and Alanis can't hear me. I think I let out an “Oh, shit!” but seeing as no one can hear me, it doesn't matter. Then Morissette says jokingly—in that surprisingly mellow voice of hers—”She's communicating with me through osmosis.” I grab the phone and rush out my question. Alanis answers, but hell if I know what she said because now that the phone is no longer on speaker, my voice recorder isn't picking up anything. I sat there clutching the phone to my ear, afraid to put it back on speaker because I was sure if I did, I'd somehow manage to hang up on Morissette and she'd never talk to me again because I'd be known as that stupid college kid who hung up on Alanis fucking Morissette. Finally—after realizing the only sound my voice recorder was recording was my heavy breathing—I put the phone back on speaker (without hanging up!) and resume listening to the other journalists who know how to work their telephones. —Brittany Moseley
I am a huge fan of Saves The Day, ever since the first time a high school friend lent me Can't Slow Down in 1998 and I drove around in a community college parking lot in my mom's Windstar listening to it all the way through. So when I ended up at AP in the mid-2000s, it was a thrill to write about one of the bands that helped shape my musical taste. Of course, the very first time I interviewed STD braintrust Chris Conley, I planted my foot ever-so-firmly into my mouth. It was a quick phone interview for our In The Studio section, regarding the album that would eventually become Sound The Alarm. After a number of basic, detail-gathering, softball questions, and Chris repeatedly saying how excited he was about the new material, I let loose a massive stinkbomb of a follow-up, that went something like this: “So, many people view In Reverie as a total failure on all fronts. Do you think this record will be any better?” That question was followed by what I can only presume to be stunned silence on the part of Mr. Conley, before he regained his composure, put on a brave face and once again reiterated how excited he was about the band's new material. It was one of those moments where I felt the stupidity leaking out of my mouth as it was happening, but could do absolutely nothing to stop it. Kudos to Chris Conley for not replying, “Fuck off, kid,” and hanging up the phone. As I've gotten to know Chris throughout the past decade, sometimes I wonder if he remembers this first exchange we had, and I always kind of brace for a suckerpunch because of it every time we’re in the same room. However, the last time I saw him, he kissed me on the lips, so I think we're cool now. —Scott Heisel
My most embarrassing moment with a band actually came during one of my first interviews as an APTV correspondent. On the first day of last year’s Riot Fest in Chicago, I was scheduled to interview Yellowcard (my all-time favorite band) the morning after my 23rd birthday. I met up with our managing editor Scott Heisel at the AP tent, and we took off to find their tour manager. After hanging outside the band’s tour bus for a minute, Ryan Key and Sean Mackin came out and introduced themselves. We set up for the interview right outside the main gates. We were filming on my iPhone, so I plugged in the microphone and gave the phone to Scott to start filming. About 30 seconds into the interview, Scott yells, “Hold up! Hold up! You’re getting a phone call.” Derp. I had forgot to set my phone to airplane mode. It was my mom calling me to see how my birthday went.. —TJ Horansky
PROBABLY EVERYONE I’VE EVER MET…
I’ve fallen down in front of My Chemical Romance, bought gifts for Greeley Estates that were, in retrospect, ridiculous and gotten stupid levels of sweaty in front of everyone from Asking Alexandria to We Came As Romans while directing APTV shoots. I was once mortified by but powered through an interview with a veteran artist who felt I was so unworthy that he asked, “Are we done here?” I’ve fidgeted and stared at walls when dudes have decided to change out of their stage clothes in front of me. I’ve slipped up and used my fake English accent in front of English bands. I once offered some metalcore band toilet paper when our bathroom ran out, only to be met with blank stares and supreme weird vibes. (Not my fault I didn’t realize you guys don’t clean up at all after you pee!) Basically, I live in a perpetual state of mild embarrassment, but I’m too self-conscious to let myself commit life-shattering doozies (knock on wood). I just have an ever-accumulating mental card catalog filled with all instances of mildly awkward situations that haunt me at night. I think I’ve blacked the big ones out for my own stability, which is why I’m blanking on this prompt. We’ll just say falling in front of MCR was the worst, but I’ve already written about (and gotten over) that. —Cassie Whitt