I'm hoping that a Slate article on Canadian music journalist Nardwuar, the self-proclaimed "Human Serviette," inspires more artists to give him guest passes. He never departs from his wacky interview style--asking "Who are you?" and handing the guests a series of gifts, usually rare vinyl or music magazines. He always ends with "Keep on rockin' in the free world, and 'Doot-doodle-loot-doot,'" motioning to the guest to finish the "Shave and a Haircut" rhythm. The result is sometimes disastrous.
He wears a silly hat and speaks with a high pitch, Dustin Diamond meets Jar Jar Binks voice that probably didn't earn him a lot of friends in high school. Yet his interviews are fearless and fascinating. Like a cheerier Howard Stern, Nardwuar can bring out the best or the worst in his subjects. It's agonizing to watch Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo bully him, or to see Blur let their drummer knock off the Serviette's hat and glasses. The Transplants are even ruder than you'd think. But you can tell that it's worth it to Nardwuar when he gets Duff McKagan to muse on Sir Mixalot, or Rob Halford to pick a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Slayer and Motörhead, both of whom I'd assume had seen everything, seem unable to believe that this guy exists. Oderus Urungus almost falls out of character. Gene Simmons' boorish answers don't deter him at all. Marilyn Manson looks right at home. I can't stop watching these interviews.