Put the fanboy aside and report the story

Seth Roy

Tom Delonge was running late to the mtvU conference call.

“I just had some caffeine, so you’ve gotta bear with me,” he said as he joined.

The Angels and Airwaves lead singer has been one of my favorite musicians since I first saw him running naked through the streets with his Blink 182 bandmates in 1999’s “What’s My Age Again?” video.

And now I was interviewing him.

Sort of.

In a conference call, 10 to 15 reporters take turns asking a question or two to the guest.

Tom answered a few questions about the mtvU Woodie Awards and his family (his wife recently gave birth to their second child) before the moderator said my name.

“Seth Roy, Daily Kent Stater,” she said.

So here I am. I’ve listened to this man’s music for seven years. I saw him in Cleveland in July, and have pretty much liked every album he’s been involved in.

Now we’re talking one-on-one.

I could be like some of the other reporters on the call and tell him how much I admire him, or how good his music is.

But I really don’t know him, and he already knows his band’s music is special.

So I asked what he thinks about Angels and Airwaves being compared to this generation’s U2.

“I could never possibly in a million years compare (this band) to U2,” he replied.

Why the comparison?

“Our sound is more sophisticated than most rock bands from America,” he said.

Then it was over.

My interview with Tom Delonge was finished.

So why didn’t I tell him about the tiny man-crush my friends tell me I have on Mr. Delonge?

Why didn’t I tell him he’s been one of my favorite artists of the past seven years? Or that his concert in July gave me the chills?

Entertainment journalists enjoy privileges that many fans don’t.

In Tom Delonge’s career, he’s undoubtedly had thousands, maybe millions, of fans admonishing him for how much his music changed their lives. Or how much “Stay Together for the Kids” helped them cope with their parents’ divorce.

That’s great.

But it’s not my place to praise him during an interview. It’s unprofessional, and many artists really don’t give a crap what I think.

Since I’ve worked for the Stater I’ve been able to interview a few so-called celebrities: Jack Black, 50 Cent, Gerard Way and Keri Russell, to name a few.

The trick to a successful interview is to forget whether you actually like their products. Rather, you need to do a little research. If you really want the artist to remember you, ask an interesting question.

Slug from the hip-hop group Atmosphere said during the same call that he’s tired of talking about himself.

“I’m into questions about how we do what we do,” he said. “Quite honestly, I bore myself. Let’s talk about how important it was for Chuck D and Ice Cube to collaborate in 1993.”

When entertainment reporters figure this out, stories will improve and artists will enjoy the interviews more.

And I’ll enjoy sitting through conference calls a little more.

Contact managing editor Seth Roy at [email protected].