Extraordinary questions are the impetus of exceptional answers.
Truth Be Told: "Behind the Set"
I had interviewed the members of Chicago numerous times, but upon learning that the band was scheduled to tape a PBS "Soundstage" performance, I thought of offering an interview to the PBS affiliates, as a companion piece to air before – or after – the local stations broadcasted the concert.
When I contacted David Milman, their publicist (whom I had known over the years), he told me the guys were coming in from Boston and were to arrive at the Mohegan Sun around 5 p.m. We could conduct the interview and finish up just in time for the gentlemen to take the stage by 7. I made a request to have the original four members (Jimmy Pankow, Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane and Walt Parizaider), because our program was being offered to the PBS affiliates and thought having all four would be the best possible scenario. David informed me he could guarantee two and would see what he could do about the others. That never proves to be the response best desired. However, this time every component, every single element fell into place.
The stage, cameras and mikes were set for four guests, yet I was apprehensive about the outcome and didn't let on to the director and crew. Finally, from behind the set, I saw the curtain move and out came one of the members. The thought crossed my mind that I was about to see one more musician and that would be it. Much to my surprise came the second, followed by the third and lastly the fourth. I was elated. When the guys came over to shake my hand and hug me without even asking how I came to get all of them, they told me – and I'll paraphrase: "We were on the bus when our tour manager came over to tell us about an interview that had been set up before the concert. He said I need two of you to do the interview and the rest of you can relax before the show. When we asked about the interview he told us someone by the name of Lich is doing a PBS interview, and we all said if Lich is doing it, we all want to go!" Truth be told… I couldn't have been more thrilled.
As a side bar, of all the interviews with Chicago I had ever done, this was truly the best and one my top favorites to date. Every particular was precisely how I envisioned it to be. Getting all four original members, all the questions and answers I had hoped for were complete. Every subtle nuance of the shoot (pre and post) was executed with seamless, flawless detail and the response from the viewers after the broadcast was overwhelming. A more perfect experience could not have been asked for.