Rock star interviews used to be the province of professional journalists, but computer technology has democratized that. With the help of personal computers, fans can now address questions directly to their idols. An increasing number of bands are submitting to interviews at rest stops on the information superhighway, notably on RockNet, part of the CompuServe Music Hall, which offers 24-hour access to all sorts of services. Besides RockNet, there's All Music Guide (GO ALLMUSIC), through which CompuServe members can get titles, reviews, ratings and song lists for more than 200,000 albums; Music Vendor Forum (GO MUSICVEN), where Warner Bros., Geffen and RCA offer tour schedules, band bios and photos, reviews of albums, and soundwave files; and RockNet Forum (GO ROCKNET), which features Late Rock News and a live conference nightly at 10, as well as occasional on-line interviews. An increasing number of labels are also participating in CompuServe's Electronic Mall (GO MALL). Prodigy, Internet and America Online also offer music services.
Among those artists who have participated in RockNet interviews: Ted Nugent, Lou Reed, Barry Manilow, Pavement, Hank Ballard and John Sebastian. Below are selections of dialogue from a March 16 conference with Vinnie Paul of the speed-metal band Pantera and 104 subscribers, all typing -- and typo-ing -- at the same time and desperately trying to get their questions answered. Over two hours, certain themes emerged: Pantera and other metal bands tended to "RULE!" (particularly Sepultura) and bonding seemed as important as information, despite frequent questions about itineraries, release dates and track listings for the band's new "Far Beyond Driven" album. Serious questions were few and far between, and the whole thing resembled a fanzine convention with Beavis and Butt-head interviewing Spinal Tap. Because of delays between specific questions and Vinnie Paul's responses, some portions of the transcript resemble dada poetry. Or something like that:
HELLO EVERYONE AND WELCOME
(1-4,The Pipper) Pantera, rules.
(1-19,Joe Schmidt) I have soooo much to ask them
(1-23,Gravy Train) Hey, Joe -- are you psyched?!
(1-17,James Gower) Is this gonna be organized questions of Chaos
(1-11,Sepultarean) PANTERA PANTERA PANTERA PANTERA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(1-16,Lori) Get your questions ready
(1-10,Terry) They kick ass! uh huh---uh ya!
(1-13,Sid Vicous) Hey People!!!!
(1-19,Bill Jr) Chaos is cool!
(1-18,Joe Schmidt) HELL YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(1-13) Pantera Rules
(1-11,Sepultarean) HEY SID WHAT'S UP?
(1-4,The Pipper) Sid, how come you ar alive.
(1-18,Joe Schmidt) Pantera kicks ass!!!!!
(1-13,Sid Vicous) Chaos kicks AS*
(1-19,Bill Jr) I had chaos once ...
(1-11,Sepultarean) so like uh where's pantera? huh huuhuuu
(1-28,Sepultura) Pantera..anyone seen pantera? ... .
(1-16,VINNIE P.) Hi guys ...
(1-9,Beavis&Butthead) these guys rock ...
(1,10,Terry) Vinnie, is that really you?!?!?!?
(1-22,Simware) Yeah man Uh Where are they now uhuhuhuhuh I'm
(1,22,Simware) going to puke uhuhuhuhuhuhu
(1-13,Sid Vicous) SEPULTURA RULES
(1-28) Sepultura does rule bud!
(1-23,Gravy Train) Vinny, how do you get such separation in your drum sounds? (If I may be so bland)!
(1-13,Sid Vicous) I wish I was 21 too.
(1-16,VINNIE P.) Gravy, I don't use any special techniques ...
(1-16,VINNIE P) there is a lot of definition in the sound
(1-9,Beavis&Butthead) can I get a autograph vinny
(1-28,Sepultura) uh ... is pantera here yet?
(1-4,Badd Girl) i'm not worthy
(1-28,Sepultura) This is a party room ... PANTERA -- let's party!
(1-4,Badd Girl) woah, this is too kewl
(1-28,Sepultura) Vinnie ... I just want you to know I'm ripping off my dad to talk to you!!!Yes!!! huh huh ...
(1-16,VINNIE P.) Specail release was this week
(1-28,Sepultura) TUE I rob the CD shop!
(1-4,Baad Girl) this is too confusing
(1-14,Presto) VINNIE, PLEASE, DO YOU USE QUARTERS ON YOUR BASS DRUM TO GET A "CLICK!" PLEASE!
(1-4,Vinnie) i'm a vinnie impersonator
(1-13,Sid Vicous) this sux eveeryone's talking. I can't hear a thing.
(1-16,VINNIE P.) I do a lot of set up
(1-16,VINNIE P.) jump and jacks (sit ups)
(1-4,Vinnie) yeah, me too
(1-16,VINNIE P.) common drum stretches
(1-21,Pam S. Reilly) Thank you Vinnie ...
(1-30,The Pipper) Vinnie, did you kill the rest of the band or something? ...
(1-27,Lars) Are you married Vinnie?
(1-16,VINNIE P.) NO WAY Lars
(1-16,VINNIE P.) WLars are you a male or female?
(1-27,Lars) How many chicks ... I mean sticks do you go through in a night?
(1-16,VINNIE P.) about 30 Lars
(1-27,Lars) All right? I wish I could afford that many siicks
(1-4,Nicole Manning) vinnie how old are you?
(1-17,James Gower) Anyone have the new NailBomb that came out yesterday?
(1-16,VINNIE P.) just turned 30 on MArch 11
(1-9,Beavis&Butthead) HAPPY B DAY
(1-17,Lars) How much can you bench press Vin?
(1-8,---Daniel---) Whoa! You're old!
(1-11,Sepultarean) what does nailbomb sound like?
(1-9,Beavis&Butthead) EVEN KNOW IT IS LATE
(1-17,James Gower) Nailbomb: Sepultura/Fudge Tunnel=Awesome!
(1-33,COWBOY FROM HELL) DAMN VINNY WHY WON'T U ANSWER MY QUESTION?????? WHAT OTHER BANDS DO U LISTEN 2???????????
(1-9,Beavis&Butthead) CHILL OUT DUDE ...
(1-9,Beavis&Butthead) OHHHHHH-HHHHHH VINNIE PLEASE ANSWER THIS WHO IS THROWING
(1-9),Beavis&Butthead) UP IN THE TOILET ON THE VULGAR VIDEO
(1-20,Rob Doyle) Vinnie: do you just smoke a lot of pot?
(1-21,Pam S. Reilley) VINNIE: do you use any Weight Lifting/Power/Energy/gatorade type of drinks when
(1-21 Pam S. Reilley) you play?
(1-16,VINNIE P.) Pam ... yea it'
(1-16,VINNIE P.) s called Corona ...
(1-20,Rob Doyle) Vinnie: what do you think of "CARCOPHAGE" as a band name? (too death metal or what ...
(1-16,VINNIE P.) Are there any females callin in from Dallas Texas?