Hi, hi there. Little nervous. I love your offices here. Okay, so…
It seems these days everyone has a podcast or public radio show. But nobody’s doing a public radio show where the host sits in chain restaurants in the middle of America, listening to Hall and Oates, Kansas, and Blue Oyster Cult, wondering what went wrong. Yet. Can you even point to one example; because I feel like you can’t look me in the eye and tell me you’ve already got a show with a middle-aged man listening to music in a steak house across the parking lot from an Old Navy asking strangers questions like “Can I crash at your place?” and “Where does time go?” If you guys already have a show like that, I’ll get up and walk out of your office here, no harm, no foul. Just look me in the eye and say, “Oh, yeah, we got a thing called Man Rambler or whatever, comes on during the weekends, a guy sits in the bar of a Red Lobster listening to Skynrd and asking people rhetorical questions like, ‘Is it enough to dream and visualize things, or have we been mislead by fairytales and self-help books that never mention hard work, dead ends, and years spent struggling?’” If you’ve got that show already, I’ll hold my hands up, tell you to have a great day, and that’s the end of it. But I’m looking around the room here and I’m not seeing anybody flapping their gums about having anything like this on the air, so I’m gonna keep going. How many people come in here in a month and pitch you shows? Tons, I bet. I can hear them now: “Oh, hi, I’m some Einstein and I was thinking I could host a show where I yammer about super smart things, how’s that sound?” And you guys are sitting there thinking, ‘Uh, pretty sure we got that covered, Sherlock.’ and you feel bad for that person. But I’m looking around the room right now and I’m seeing a lot of jaws hitting the floor, I’m seeing wide-eyed stares, you’re all looking at each other then back at me, and I’m guessing that means we’re on to something good, so let’s keep jamming here.
Sometimes during my show, aside from asking normal people questions about life and love, I might challenge someone to drum on the bar with their hands better than me for fifty bucks; they pick the song, but the deal is you gotta put some of your own drum licks into it. So if it’s “Jump” by Van Halen or whatever, you have to bring something to it, some awesome fill, some, like, quad or triplet or something that’s not on the track to begin with; you can’t just, like, copy the drum part. Okay, you guys are looking at me like you can’t believe this idea just came walking through the door today, so I’m going to really start unpacking this thing for you. Man Rambler may in fact be our title, I used it earlier as an impromptu example and the second I heard it come out of my mouth, I was like, “Goddammit, that’s actually a good name for this.” My working title up to that point was, well, I don’t even think I had one, to tell you the truth. Okay, so, obviously, I’ll be driving across the country for the shows, I might even record some of the driving especially if I pick up a hitchhiker — boom, that’s a segment idea, right there; hitchhiker in every episode, as long as it doesn’t feel forced.
So, let’s see, what do we have? We’ve got hitchhikers, eating, music listening, staying at people’s houses. I’m basically trying to get strangers to help me understand my feelings as well as theirs, or maybe we’re just trading stories to distract ourselves from feelings; could go either way. Maybe I can visit ex-girlfriends, nope, scratch that, bad idea for me, let’s keep spitballing this though — let’s keep the dialogue going, this is feeling good. There’s a music component, we said that, I record episodes in chain restaurants in random American suburbs, we said that.There’s the drumming thing, there’s the self-help component… OH, I REMEMBER NOW: There’s also, like, a taboo component to it. Out of nowhere I’ll just ask someone, “How much money do you make?” or “You in any kind of recovery program for over eating or acting out sexually?” So now we have normal everyday people talking about the things nobody really ever talks about.
I’ve given you a lot to chew on, holy christ, that just happened, new title: A Lot to Chew On. Because I’m in restaurants, but I’m giving listeners a lot to think about. Or, I don’t know, that might sound too much like a food show — your call. We can continue the conversation on titles, but most importantly I think I speak for everyone in the room when I say, “Yes. We want to do this show. Let’s start looking at the development process as a collaborative effort, this is really exciting.” Well, to that I say, “Thank you, that’s great to hear, and I would just like to add that the feeling’s mutual.”
I can show myself out, please let go of me.