This year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony not only provided many artists with the honour of being recognized as giants of their genre, but also provided us with a gleefully drab Robert Smith being interviewed while failing to hide his desire to be anywhere else in the world. Smith’s almost charming bluntness obviously caught the attention of the internet…
this is the funniest start to an interview i have ever seen i love robert smith man pic.twitter.com/7H4okzPX0L
— al (@_hidingwithboys) March 30, 2019
… But also sent us down a black hole of pure interview discomfort regarding the musicians we love. We’ve put together a cringe-filled report of our findings (in addition to the full Cure interview from the red carpet). Consider yourself warned.
Robert Smith searches for a Cure to boredom
The Cure frontman’s signature mopey vibe meshes with this bubbly interviewer’s demeanor like peanut butter and vinegar. In all fairness to Smith, it’s this same trademark gothy aura that earned him his spot in the Hall, so maybe she should’ve done her homework.
Rivers Cuomo vs. Jetlag & Hangovers
Appearing on an Australian morning show while waiting on a layover, watch as “River Weezer” (as his interviewer refers to him as) barely fights through the after-effects of red eye flights and Jägermeister through the power of one-word answers and long, detached stares into the distance.
Grace Jones will not be ignored
It’s obvious that Grace Jones (and her immediately-striking presence) is impossible to take your eyes off. That’s probably for the best—watch what happens when British journalist Russell Harty does just that and suffers her stylish wrath.
“Kanye Goes Off” Casefile No. 264
Mr. West’s interview antics have ranged from the endearingly-entertaining to the completely appalling, but for a juicy middle ground check out this Yeezus-era clip from Sway in the Morning where Kanye goes off on the host for interrupting a manic monologue where the rapper was comparing himself to everyone from DaVinci to Disney.
Courtney (does not) Love Madonna
If you need a time out from the sun, there’s plenty of shade to be found in this clip. The ex-Hole singer crashes a post-VMA interview with Madonna (via the always-friendly method throwing things at Madge, no less) and once Love joins in, the question-and-answer time quickly turns into one of the most passive-aggressive roast sessions you’ve ever seen.
Serge is a creep (ugh)
Serge Gainsbourg’s duet with Jane Birkin, “Je T’aime,…Moi Non Plus”, might be the lusty French anthem of your dreams, but the singer proved he still has some learning to do in this interview where an overly-handsy (and evidently-tipsy) Gainsbourg, despite the translator’s best efforts, comes right out and makes his skeevy intentions clear to a shocked Whitney Houston. Not cool, dude!
Prince’s first television interview
Though the late singer was effortlessly enigmatic, we have this awkward interview to thank in part for adding to his mysterious nature, which the then-19-year-old claimed made him so uncomfortable that he swore off of televised interviews for several decades. On the upside, next time that big presentation is giving you the heebie-jeebies, watch this clip to remember that yes, even Prince got nervous.
Thurston Moore “interviews” Beck
Whether the two truly hate each other or this was all part of some elaborate Gen-X joke is up for debate. The palpable cringe emanating off of this clip, however, is not. Watch (and try not to die) as the two clash via Moore’s open mocking of Beck’s newfound, “Loser”-fueled success and Beck’s inhuman ability to avoid anything resembling a straight answer.
Bowie buries Russell Harty
Before the current-day awkwardness of on-screen Skype interviews was the latter-day even-more-awkwardness of, uh remote televised interviews? In his second appearance on this list (having recovered nicely from a Grace Jones beating), watch as Russell Harty invites the open disdain of David Bowie through such aloof remarks including comparing the singer to, uh… The Bay City Rollers?
Nardwuar vs. Everybody
Everyone’s favourite Human Serviette has doot-doota-lott-doo’ed his way into the hearts of many musicians, but his obsessive, in-your-face interview persona isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Below are three of the most memorable Nardwuar catastrophes, featuring Josh Homme hating on his personal space being invaded, a charmingly-paranoid Lil Uzi Vert, and a Blur interview so combative that the band would later issue an apology.
Mary J. Blige: when the “J” stands for “Just stop”
Blige has been making music for over 25 years which means a whole lot of press tours. In this brief Much interview, the singer bluntly airs her grievances with the whole song-and-dance of having to answer the same questions over and over again. It’s a saltiness that only thirteen dope studio albums can justify.