Author’s Reflection on the Interview:
Like so many of us, I have been a Dan Fogelberg fan for many, many years. The first album I ever listened to was “Captured Angel” which was being played at a party I attended while I was still in my high school years. The wonderful voice carrying those extraordinary lyrics, as well as the brilliant musical accompaniment, hooked me for life. Through the years, I saw Dan in concert several times and I was always checking the industry “trades” to learn about Dan’s next recording project or tour. With the release of each of his albums, I embraced his songs with the same passion that I would give to the “songs” that I write. I do not play an instrument nor do I read music, but I do write what I tend to refer to as “songs” even though they are merely pieces of simple “poetry” at best.
From my early years in grade school, I always enjoyed writing because of the freedom it provided me with. When I discovered Dan’s music, I felt the desire to challenge myself to improve my writing skills. I found myself carefully studying his insightful lyrics and admiring his ability to paint such vivid pictures with words. Of course, I also admired the extraordinary guitar and piano pieces he wrote to accompany his phenomenal lyrics. Dan’s work inspired me to push myself to write more intelligent and meaningful “songs.” Most of what I have written are tales of travel and romance. Many of my “songs” were written in New Hampshire and Maine, which are my two favorite travel destinations. Though none of my “songs” are remotely close to being in the same league as Dan’s, they provide me with a strong sense of accomplishment. I will always be thankful for the motivation I receive just from listening to Dan’s songs. The fact that I eventually had the opportunity to personally thank him was quite gratifying.
I am a sales manager for a manufacturer of industrial and electronic connectors. My occupation requires me to be on the road a great deal but it also provides me with material for my “songs.” In the 1990’s, I began contributing concert reviews, CD reviews, and interviews for Brevard Live magazine (now known as Brevard Florida Live) as a hobby. Most of the interviews that I conducted were with local artists, but I did have the opportunity to also interview some top artists that performed at the King Center in Melbourne, Florida. I have interviewed Boz Scaggs, Larry Carlton, and several members of the rock group Chicago, a band that I am still closely associated with.
Through some connections I had with Dan’s management, I was granted permission to conduct an interview with Dan prior to the start of the tour supporting the release of his box set, “Portrait: The Music of Dan Fogelberg From 1972-1997.” In the days leading up to the interview, I was extremely excited that I would actually have a conversation with not only one of my musical heroes, but with my all-time favorite singer/songwriter. Once Dan’s management confirmed the date and time of the telephone interview I was going to conduct, I was ready. What made this even more special, I thought, was that Dan was an extremely private person who just did not do a lot of interviews. I prepared some questions about Dan’s music and enduring career that I felt he would be receptive to. It was my goal to provide something not only interesting to the readers of the magazine, but especially to his fans.
On the day of the interview, Dan’s management called me at the exact time they told me they would and patched me in with Dan. From the beginning, I found Dan to be an extremely good listener and conversationalist. He was genuinely friendly and answered every question I had without hesitation. Towards the end of my interview with Dan, I asked if I could tell him something “off the record” that was very important to me on a personal level, and he said “yes.” I told him about the party I attended years ago when I heard his music for the very first time and how his songwriting had positively influenced my life. I told him that I knew he must get similar comments from his fans from time to time, yet it was very important for me to take this opportunity to tell him directly. He said that he appreciated the fact that I was not afraid to bring forth my personal feelings and we chatted a little more about that. We finished up our conversation discussing the environment and politics, but I was watching the time, as I knew he had another interview scheduled immediately after mine. I certainly did not want to be rude and run past my allotted time, but if I could have, I would have kept Dan on the phone for hours!
Before going to print, the publisher re-typed my interview for reasons still unknown to me. I knew that the interview might have to be edited due to space limitations, but the rewrite does contain some mistakes that were not mine. The good news was that, at my request, we would feature Dan on the cover of the July 1997 issue. I provided a photograph from one of the color slides that came with the “Portrait” press kit for the cover. That very same photograph was framed and is still proudly displayed in my office, along with some other Dan memorabilia that I acquired through the years.
To this day, I am still appreciative of the fact that I was fortunate enough to have that conversation with Dan and no one can ever take that away from me. The music of Dan Fogelberg will continue to be a special part of my life. I will always be grateful for having had that opportunity to share words with Dan in that small space in time back in the summer of 1997. I shall treasure those moments for the rest of my years. Ever on…