I’m sitting in a barely lit basement, the air musty with dried beer stains, mold, sex, cocaine, and a lifetime’s worth of living the dream. He wears the same busted old jeans he sported on the cover of Rolling Stone 40 years ago. I wonder if half the smell of the basement isn’t coming from his pants. He sits calmly, resolute as I shuffle through my notes like a buffoon. What can I ask that hasn’t been asked a million times over. His publicist reminds me that Johnny’s Skeleton only has fifteen minutes before he has to bounce. I don’t think he’s had a show in years, but I’m sure that somewhere, in some other dimly lit basement, there is a sexy, scantily clad woman just waiting to…grind against that pelvis, to feel his bones through the denim. I clear my throat as I finally muster the courage to look at his face, the pale bleached tone of his skull, the empty hollowness he conveys as I stare him eye-to-eye socket.
ME: Hey, Johnny. Thanks for making the time. I know you’re a very busy man and all, but this, well, this is a dream come true for me.
ME: A lot of people say that you were mailing it in on your last album, but I don’t see it that way. Some of the guitar licks and vocal melodies are some of the most intricate we’ve ever seen from you. I wondered if you could talk a bit about where that material came from. Was there anything in particular from your life that helped to emotionally inform such tonal perfection?
ME: I understand. It must be very difficult to discuss matters so close to your heart. If I had to choose only one song from your catalog to listen to for the rest of my life, it would have to be ‘Live from My Funeral’. The way you keep singing even after one of the pall bearers drops his end of your casket, so honest and true. I think it had something to do with you singing ‘I won’t stop watching you.’ I think it made him nervous somehow. But another deeply personal song would have to be ‘How I Died Riding Harleys.’ Which do you think cuts further to your core? Which was harder to write?
ME: Take your time. I know it would take me forever to answer a question like that! It’s like, ‘which baby do you like more?’ Impossible!
ME: We’ll come back to that one. You keep thinking about it. Just stop me when you have an answer. People have asked before about some of your steamy affairs. But now that you’re looking back on a long career, full of stories, trials and love, are there any ladies, or hell, fellas, that stand out to you as being the ones that were really memorable? Any moments that made you think, now these are breasts that I’ve been building toward, this the ass. Anything like that?
ME: Sorry. That question did get a bit weird at the end there, huh? I guess I just mean, were there any real connections? Were there any moments where you truly felt alive, or times you think back to and wish you could live in that time forever?
JOHNNY’S PUBLICIST: Hey, asshole. That guy is dead.
ME: Yeah, I know. I know.