I was thinking the other day, who would be my dream interview? Very egotistical of me I know, but I have been fortunate during my tenure at my college radio station, both as a student broadcaster and General Manager, to interview some amazing individuals. Ziggy Marley, Ken Casey from the Dropkick Murphys, Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, and Ralph Nader just to name a few; so you cannot blame me for letting my mind wander from time to time. After some thought I came up with three individuals who would be my dream interview, John Lennon, Audrey Hepburn, and Johnny Cash. For those of you who know me these names are pretty obvious, nevertheless allow me to explain.
John Lennon. Lennon has been my hero since grade school. I think because he was the rebel I could never be. The way he carried himself, his sense of humor, or the way he sneered at authority. These characteristics are the complete opposite of my personal characteristics. He did what he pleased.
However what I admired most about him was his tireless efforts for peace. He would discuss peace whenever he could. Even deportations from the United States because of his anti-war views in the early 1970s were not enough to silence him. After winning his immigration battles, he retired from the spot light for five years to raise his son and live an ordinary life. I think that best sums up John Lennon. He was a regular guy.
There are countless stories in the countless Lennon biographies of people meeting John during this period of time, and striking up conversations with him. Lennon himself said, “The best part of New York is that I can go anywhere and no one hassles me.” The tragedy is that on December 8th, 1980 a crazed fan murdered him as he was entering his apartment building. Nevertheless to interview John Lennon would have been amazing. Besides all the reasons mentioned above, he was John Lennon after all, the made who started the greatest rock band of all time and wrote Across the Universe.
Audrey Hepburn. Director Billy Wilder described Hepburn as: “God kissed her on the cheek and there she was.” I have never heard of an individual being described like this. A special description for a special person. Always polite she would discuss her career in interviews, but her true passion was her work for UNICEF.
For the final years of her life, she made it her mission to help the under privileged children of the world. Using her celebrity, she made Americans aware of the travesties happening in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Vietnam. While being interviewed you got the sense that her work with UNICEF was far more important to her than her movie career. She was the female movie star of the 1950s and 1960s, but that did not matter. The only thing that mattered was the children and the help they needed.
Although taken away too soon, her work continues on through the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Foundation. This foundation founded by her two children and her companion, works with UNICEF on the All Children in School Program. The goal, to educate 150 million children in third world countries, 2/3 of which are female. The best way to end poverty is through education, and the whole aim of this program is that.
Johnny Cash. There are bad asses, and then there is Johnny Cash. All the bad asses want to be Cash, but will never come close. Cash never cared what others thought of him, he did what he liked. If others liked it great, if not so what. Whether he was speaking about the plight of Native Americans, the needs of the poor or under privileged or his faith, he spoke with conviction. He gave voice to those who were voiceless. Every society needs someone to do this, and for fifty plus years, Cash did just that. There will never be another like him.
Musically no other sounds close. Cash had the perfect blend of country, rockabilly, Gospel, and folk. Along with lyrics that told you a story, Johnny had a career that spanned from the dawn of television to the rise of the Internet. Songs like Ring of Fire, Man in Black, A Boy Named Sue, and Walk The Line are apart of American culture. It is hard to imagine a world without these songs.
The final point I would like to make about Johnny Cash is this, he was such a badass that his life could not be contained by a single autobiography, he need two to tell his life story. Epic.
These three individuals all have something in common. And that is they used their celebrity to help advance a cause that was near and dear to them. Compared to the cause, the successes in their respective fields were secondary. They wanted to help and found a way to do so. They did this with a great humility. Even though they were reach and famous, they all seemed very approachable. There you have it, my dream interviews. I hope you enjoyed the videos I have included with this blog. You have to love digital technology, so interactive.