Friday, Jun. 26, 2009

Carson Daly

Carson Daly is the host of NBC's Late Night with Carson Daly. He was the host of MTV's Total Request Live from 1998 to 2002.

I interviewed him once, when Invincible came out. It was crazy. I remember staying up late to write my questions like I always did, and I wrote a bunch of questions for Michael Jackson. I had to turn them in to the record company, and then the day of the interview, they basically regurgitated one question and gave it back to me and said, "Here — just ask him this." It was very well crafted, well worded. Something to the effect of: How does it feel to have a No. 1 album again in 13 countries? That just spoke to the team that was around him. I walked over across the street maybe an hour before we went live. It reminded me of a presidential process in the sense of the handlers and the route I was to walk: across Times Square and through Virgin Megastore, through the back door. I finally got in. I remember coming down the huge escalator at Virgin Megastore, and it was empty. And Michael was sitting in an aisle, flipping through records. The last handler sort of took me maybe 50 feet away, and I started walking down this aisle toward one of the greatest men ever. The first thing that struck me was how tall he was. Everybody I had met in Hollywood up until that point was disappointingly short and sort of underwhelming. I remember he made a bunch of very humble social gestures that just made me take a great liking to him. He took his glasses off — he was wearing gloves — he took his glove off, and I shook his hand. And he was gracious and, of course, famously soft-spoken. He said, "Very nice to meet you, Carson," and then we just sort of sat there for a minute and flipped through vinyl. We talked about music and how much he loved vinyl. It was just a very bizarre, amazing 20 minutes with Michael Jackson in the aisle of a record store talking about music.