Have you ever had a bad day on – well, a really bad day? I did last week.
John Waite, the former lead singer of the Babys and Bad English, was supposed to call me to talk about his upcoming appearance with Survivor at the Egyptian Theatre. I was expecting a call on Thursday, but through some mixed communication, he called Wednesday. Three times, in fact. Since I wasn’t expecting him, I was out of the office.
The first time, he left a message saying he’d get back in 15 minutes. The second time, he just laughed. The third time, which I just missed by minutes, he left a polite but humorous message.
I emailed his manager, apologizing for the mishap, but I couldn’t get over what had just happened – or hadn’t. It’s not every day I have a rock star call me; then, of all things, stupid me isn’t there to answer.
On top of everything, I was coming down with a cold.
To my amazement, Waite’s manager called me the next morning – presumably to make sure I was there – and set up another phone interview.
I was afraid to leave my desk even for a few seconds for fear of missing him again.
Fortunately, it was worth the wait. Mr. Waite was just as charming as many of his songs.
“It’s the nearest thing I have to a religion,” he said about music. “The only time I really feel complete is when I finish a piece of music.”
Although he’s had a number of them, a hit song surprisingly “doesn’t mean a thing” to him, and he said they’re hard to predict.
“With certain songs, you just know you’ve broken through some fourth wall and gotten out of yourself,” Waite said. “You look back and there it is. ...You can’t plan those babies.”
The 61-year-old Englishman said you can always tell when someone tries to create a hit. “It always sounds like someone trying to push all the buttons at once,” he said. “I can’t compromise a song. I’m serious about this (music). I don’t just write songs to pass the time.”
Mr. Waite ended the interview philosophically.
“Read the newspaper and be nice to each other,” he told me. “There is this fantastic world where everyone is looking for the light. How can you say music and business in the same breath without smiling?”
Never get too down about anything, because you never know what’s going to happen to make up for it. Instead of a bust, the interview turned into one of the most enjoyable and memorable I’ve had in a long time.
Plus, my cold is getting better. I’m a happy boy.