Beyond ELG Interview


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Craig Garber (00:05.662)
Hey guys, today we’re going to do another Beyond Everyone Loves Guitar. And these are the episodes where you can ask me questions about myself or about the show. Today, I’m going to answer some pretty good questions I got from Barry Sebastian. Barry’s been a listener to the show for quite some time. Lovely guy. He’s also an amazing jazz player out of Ohio. So go follow him on Instagram. It’s Barry Sebastian. And you’ll know it’s him. He plays a blonde telecaster or sometimes he plays a red telly, I think too. Anyway,

His question is what’s your process for the interviews? Do you research the guests, then send them questions based on what seems appropriate? Or do you have a standard list and then pick and choose during the interview? I actually think that’s a pretty good question and it’s because it’s one that I get asked pretty often. So let me go through the process. And again, first off, if you like these behind the scenes or beyond ELG interviews, just let me know by sending in some more questions for me to answer and you can do that by going to

completing the short form there. All right. So first of all, you need to know that the total prep time on average for most interviews is eight hours. Sometimes it’s a little more, sometimes it’s a little less. And I’ll tell you why in a couple of minutes, but you know, figure from start to finish everything all in it’s eight hours, some of them a little more, but I’d say eight hours, a conservative average for, for all the interviews. All right.

And how it works is I initially like to have a pre-meeting conversation with my guests and that’s really done for two reasons. But the primary reason is I want them to get a feel for me that I’m not. I’m open and I have no agenda. I’m not looking for anything. I explained to them how the process works, that it’s a fun thing. It’s a fun hang. If you’re uncomfortable with anything, I’ll edit it out. All true by the way. And I just want people to get a feel for me.

A lot of times it’s not really an issue because nowadays, you know, thank goodness, the show has got some recognition. And a lot of times people know the show, which always blows my mind. Um, anyway, so, but that pre, I like that pre interview conversation to give people a level of comfort. So they’re talking to me, they have any questions for me, they could ask, ask them and I’ll answer them. And it’s just a way to, so that when you get on a call,

Craig Garber (02:27.138)
to do the interview, if you haven’t met each other before, it’s always a little bit, slight uncomfortable, slight discomfort for the guest. So I like them to not have that discomfort. And it’s kind of like, you know, meeting your neighbor or something like that. So when you bump into him, like, Oh, Hey, how you doing? It’s not like who the hell is this person or I gotta be a little defensive, especially the nature of my questions. You know, I can easily see somebody being a little defensive about them. Okay. Next.

depending upon here’s where the split goes, how much work is involved. If I’m familiar with my guests catalog versus if I’m not familiar with their catalog, I try to listen to as much as possible of their catalog because it’s nice to see the arc that people have had in their music. But sometimes if someone’s got 20 albums out or 16 albums out, I can’t do that. And some of my guests have 50, 60, 70 records out over a very long career.

There’s no way I could do that. So in that case, I have to develop a separate strategy, but I still try to listen to as much of the catalog as possible. So that gives me kind of a vibe about them and it helps me to know what questions to ask and it also allows me to customize questions based upon their music. Okay. The other thing I do is I do a lot of online research and that basically involves reading articles and listening to other interviews and

I like to, I try to key on things that my guests are excited about. Like if I’m listening to them or reading an article and I had, excuse me, some sense of enthusiasm that they had a sense of enthusiasm about what they’re talking about, I’d like to talk about that because the whole point of this interview is to. Learn about them. But from my perspective, it’s to connect with them. And obviously you’re going to connect better with people when you’re talking to them about stuff they enjoy. You know, if, if they.

talk about they had this miserable divorce, you know, I’m not going to bring that up. Now they may bring it up during the interview. And at which point I’ll say, Hey, are you cool answering a question or two about that? If I have any, if I don’t, I won’t ask them a question, but so I try to see what they’re interested in, what motivates them, what gets them excited, because that’s how you get a good interview with people. You know, you talk about stuff they like, talk about stuff they’re passionate about. They’ll go on, they’ll share things with you. And also it shows them that I took the time

Craig Garber (04:54.474)
And that’s kind of like a comment I get, thank you for doing all the research and the prepared work, but you know, how do you do an interview without doing that? I don’t really know how that’s possible, but when you do it, a lot of good things come out of it besides a good interview. You have a good connection with people. They respect you and they know that you didn’t take them for granted and you worked hard for them. Uh, the other, okay. Interviewing, reading interviews, as far as how do I pick the questions, you know, that’s a good question and it’s kind of like part dark art, part science.

So I do have a master list of questions. And interestingly enough, that list is constantly growing and changing. There are questions on there that when I periodically review them, like, man, I’ve never asked this before. And if I’ve never asked it like five, 10 interviews, there’s no reason to have it on there. There’s a reason I’m not asking it because it seemed like a good idea, but in practice, when you’re talking to someone, it just doesn’t feel right. So I scrap it and I’m always looking for new questions. How do I get ideas from them? I I’m.

I don’t read as much as I used to, but I’d still say I’m an above average reader. I mean, I, there was a period of, I don’t know, 20 years of my life where I read like one or two books a month, in addition to reading magazines, articles, you know, online stuff. I just don’t have the time for that now. And frankly, I play guitar now and I get more joy out of that. So, but reading helps me. I’ll read something and I’ll or I’ll see somebody doing an interview and I’ll say,

You know what, let me twist that around and I can make a good question out of that. So a good question to me is an interesting question. You know, that’s why we don’t talk about which is string gauge. Oh, it’s, you know, nine to 45. Okay, great. Next. That’s not interesting. Interesting is like, you know, what are some of the low points in your life and how did you handle them? That’s a reasonably heavy question, but it’s like, and I don’t think everybody’s a hundred percent forthright on that. No, do I expect them to be. But.

If someone’s willing to answer that and tell you like, you know, Hey, this is a tough period for me. That’s really nice. I mean, it’s interesting because how people handle things and how they come out of them, I think is what we all learn and grow from. You know, I mentioned in the last video, you could only, you only can do what’s already in your head, but if you hear something else, then you can proceed and maybe expand your, your options, you know, the arrows in your quiver that you have to draw on to help you solve problems or think of solutions. Uh, also.

Craig Garber (07:17.638)
I do ask a lot of customized questions based on things that the guest has going on today, based on certain records. I might read something about, for example, their parents were musicians under odd circumstances. That’s pretty interesting that just growing up in that scenario. So I’ll ask a question about that. So it’s, it’s a combination. Like I said, of art,

and science, you know, somebody once sent in a, an email to me or something and said, it’s kind of like a dark art. I don’t know if it’s a dark art, maybe in the sense of you kind of have to use a little, a lot of intuition and a gut feel about things. And again, that goes back to that first conversation. If I’ve had the opportunity to sit and connect with someone, even for 10 minutes, the conversation usually is very pleasant and it, it tends to somehow

get a little serious or just, that’s a bad word, a little revealing. And all I need is to get a little bit of somebody to reveal themselves. Okay. And then that gives me some intuition and a gut feel. What’s the best way to handle this person? What’s the best way to make them happy? And the overall, you know, there’s like a big sort of picture around all of this is that I feel I have to sort of.

clients. My guest is a client and you as a listener are a client. So my goal is how do I maximize the happiness, joy, engagement and interest in both of these two people? Because plenty of times I’ll have a question. I’m like, you know, I can ask this question, but I don’t really think my listeners are going to give a shit about it. So I won’t ask it.

The corollary to that is sometimes I’m like, man, I think my listeners are really into this, but my guest has been asked this 5,000 times. Example that comes to mind, I had Ron Carter, the world famous amazing jazz bassist on the show. Everybody’s asked him about Miles Davis, and they all ask him the same question. Did you, you know, Miles had this reputation of being very difficult and

Craig Garber (09:45.682)
you know, uh, I don’t suffer fools easy, which I think Ron doesn’t suffer fools easy either, ironically. And everybody asked, literally every interview he’s done, he’s asked about that. And his response is unequivocally the same in all these interviews. I never saw that. Mr. Davis was very instrumental in launching my career and I’m really grateful to play for him. And that’s the best answer to give. And to be honest with you, what is he going to do? Sit and

He’s not that kind of guy. He’s a super classy guy. So I didn’t ask him about Miles Davis. I focused on his career, his solo records, and because I knew I couldn’t handle, you know, I knew I wasn’t going to have like 90 minutes with him. I had like maybe 45 minutes or I think I was supposed to have 30 and he went 45 or 50, he was very generous. And so I had to ask him things that would engage him and engage the listener and asking him another question about Miles Davis, where he’s just going to.

Mr. Davis is great, blah, blah. Waste his time, my time, and your time as a listener. So that’s pretty much how we, that’s how I set up the interviews, and that’s how I select the questions, and that’s the interview process that I go through before I meet the guest for the actual interview. I thought that was a really interesting question. Again, I’ve heard that a couple of times, and I was glad Barry sent that in. So again, thanks so much for listening. Check out Barry Sebastian on Instagram, and I will see you on the next video. And.

Take care of yourself and hey, have a great new year and whatever it is you’re celebrating. If you’re celebrating, I hope you and your family have a lot of joy warmth togetherness. I hope you get to relax, have fun, think about next year in a positive light and what you’re going to bring into yourself and what the world’s going to bring to you and enjoy yourself. Take care.

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