The Keith Larson Interview (or: Strapping on)

I was on the Keith Larson show today (WBT radio in Charlotte, NC), thanks to a recommendation from Portland’s own Scott the Name Tag Guy (thanks, Scott)! Here’s what happened.

(Note that everything here is transcribed from memory and may be slightly inaccurate, but not Jayson Blair inaccurate.)

“All right, give me just a second to strap it on.”

Whenever they make a transition from commericals back to the Keith Larson show, they play a montage of sound bites from previous shows. Usually these sound bites are of either Keith or one of his guests, taken out of context and incredibly funny. Near the start of the interview Keith asked me to play little ditty, “just to prove that you are indeed an accordion guy”, to which I replied “All right, give me just a second to strap it on.”

Someone in their studio’s pretty quick with a sampler or recording tool of some kind, because that quickly got incorporated into the sound bite montage and even played as punctuation when a caller chimed in.

Being a fan of saucy double entendres, I heartily approve. And hey, you could hear the smile in my sound bite. Nice one, guys!

The interview

The interview was pretty quick, being in two parts broken up by a commercial break. I told Keith the story of how I got into the accordion in the first place, followed by a quick summary of some of the neat things that happen when you go out about the town with an accordion.

When explaining how I played Happy Birthday Marilyn Manson style for Marky Mark the bouncer at the Sanctuary Vampire Sex Bar, he asked me to play a short piece of the tune, which I obliged. They got a sample of that one, too. They’ve got some pretty great recording tools.

Luckily for me — or them — I was using a good phone for the interview. The book Negotiating for Dummies stresses that you cannot go cheap when buying telephones if communicating a part of your job, and now I truly understand.

(By the way, I used my Bang & Olufsen Beocom 2400 phone for the interview. It’s the best, clearest-sounding phone I’ve ever owned, and it has a good hands-free mode. Thanks to my sister for giving to me all those years ago.)

Sorry, no polkas. But I did get one new fan…

Part of the commercial-back-to-show montages featured classic polkas by the greats, including Frankie Yankovic playing Too Fat Polka (you know the one: “I don’t want her, you can have her, she’s too fat for me!”). Keith then asked me about what polkas I played.

Keith: So, Joey the Accordion Guy, what polkas do you play? Too Fat Polka? Who Stole the Kishka?

Me: Well, I’m familiar with both of them — in fact, I even own a CD of Frank Yankovic’s I Wish I Was 18 Again. But I don’t actually play any polkas.

Keith: [feigning horror] You…don’t…know…any…polkas?

Me: ‘Fraid not. Polka technique is really difficult, much more difficult than straight our rock or punk. I’m not formally trained on the accordion — I just taught myself and learn songs by listening to radio, Internet radio or CDs. But yeah, I’m really more of a rock and pop guy.

Keith: You mean like AC/DC?

I’m not sure how much research they’d done on me. Maybe Keith’s producer had read this blog and found that I had a penchant for AC/DC covers, what with their being one of my all-time favourite classic rock bands. Or maybe it’s just that all good ol’ boys love AC/DC. Either way, this was perfect.

Me: I love AC/DC, and I cover them!

Keith: You mean like You Shook Me All Night Long?

All too easy! One of my signature songs. I know the song so well and have played it so often that I could probably do it in my sleep, or after a dozen shots of Jagermeister.

Me: I could do that for you if you liked.

Keith: All right. We’ll do just that…after the commercial break. Keith Larson here on WBT 1110 News/Talk radio, back after these messages with Joey the Accordion Guy playing AC/DC! And if my friend Todd is out there listening to the show, please forgive me!

Sample of me: All right, give me just a second to strap it on.

They cut to commercials, which were also being fed to me over the phone. Ads about real estate and sales seminars, mostly. The producer cut in to tell me I was going great. A number of commercials later — talk radio is very heavily ad-driven — the audio montage came on, this time with the “strap it on” sound bite, as well as a recording of an quick E-G-A riff I played for them earlier.

Keith: Keith Larson, WBT 1110 here with Joey the Accordion Guy from Toe-ron-toe, Canada.

(Only Americans pronounce it Toe-ron-toe — most Canadians call it “Tronno” or “Tronna”.)

Me: Good morning, Charlotte!

Keith: And we’ve got a caller. Pat, you’re on.

Woman’s voice: Hi, Uncle Keith!

Keith: Um, hi…Pat. I’m not your uncle, you know.

Pat: Well, you’re not my family uncle, but I’ve listened to you for so long that I think of you as my uncle!

Keith: Oh, please, call me anything, but not uncle, if I’m not really you uncle. [Mock “bad-touch-uncle-relapse” voice] It brings up…you know…Tell you what, why don’t you call me “Big Daddy”?

Pat: Oh no, I’m going to call Joey the Accordion Guy “Big Daddy”! I’m in looooove with him!

Keith: D’you get many groupies, Joey?

Me: I have a small following…

Pat: D’you like older women, Joey?

(In an earlier part of the interview, Keith asked me how old I was, and I answered truthfully: “35. But a young-looking 35.”)

Me: Sure I do. How much older are we talking?

Pat: 37.

Me: That’s not really older.

Keith: That’s nothing!

Pat: Keith, is Joey single?

Keith: I don’t know. Joey, are you single?

Me: For the moment, yes.

Pat: I wanna maaaaary you!

Keith: Now Pat, it is the voice, the personality or the accordion?

Pat: Well, to be honest, it’s partly the accordion.

Me: I’m cool with that.

Keith: Okay, Joey, why don’t you play You Shook Me All Night Long and dedicate it to Pat?

Me: Sure! Pat, this goes out to you…and your fine American thighs!

Yeah, I had a blast.

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