Published on April 10th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Exclusive: Dan Rather Answers Questions About R.E.M. & His AXS TV Hit Series “The Big Interview”
One of America’s most respected journalists of all time, Dan Rather began his journalism career in 1950 as an Associated Press report. Shortly after leaving the CBS Evening News in 2005, Rather joined Mark Cuban’s cable network AXS TV, which was originally called HDNet. Since 2013, Rather has been the host of The Big Interview on AXS TV in which he interviews important musicians and entertainers.
The seventh season of AXS TV’s The Big Interview is set to premiere on April 16, 2019 at 8:00 PM EST (5:00 PM PST), as featuring a rare sit-down interview with former Journey frontman Steve Perry. Rather amazingly gets Perry to open up about his decision to leave Journey at the peak of its success. The new season also includes episodes with beloved KISS frontman Paul Stanley, pop pioneer Cyndi Lauper, Foreigner members Mick Jones and Lou Gramm, Oscar®-winning actor, writer, director and musician Billy Bob Thornton, comedy icon Carl Reiner and acclaimed filmmaker Rob Reiner, and multi-talented musician, television personality, and radio host Paul Shaffer.
I had the pleasure of asking a few questions to Dan Rather himself during an April 9, 2019 media conference call, and below are the highlights from that Q&A. More information on Rather and the upcoming season of The Big Interview can be found online at www.axs.tv/the-big-interview.
On The Big Interview you have interviewed a lot of top musicians. When did you first become a fan of music?
Dan Rather: Well, I’ve always been a fan of music. But keep in mind that I grew up in Texas in the 1930s and early 1940s. For the early part of my life, if Hank Williams or Ernest Tubb or Roy Acuff didn’t sing it, I didn’t know it… I want to emphasize I’ve never been musically-inclined. That is, I don’t play an instrument, which was to my late mother’s chagrin as she gave me lessons…
As life went on, I developed a liking for just about all kinds of music. I think it’s fair to say I know the least about classical music. In later years I have become acquainted with opera and classical music. Rock & roll, like nearly everybody else, I got onto it fairly early in the 1950s with the likes of Elvis [Presley]. But I do want to emphasize that my knowledge about music has never been very broad or deep. By doing The Big Interview, it’s increased some.
But I don’t play an instrument, I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket with a lid on it, which is one reason I enjoy doing these Big Interview interviews. By the time I do my homework — and I’m pretty much a homework kid in preparation — and then do the interviews, it’s just been a real education for me.
You are famously associated with the R.E.M. song “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” Are you aware of any other songs that reference you? And was that song a big honor within your career?
Dan Rather: Well first of all, certainly I remember the R.E.M. song, “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” I’m not aware of any other songs that reference me. I’m not saying there aren’t any, but I’m not aware of any. And was that a big honor within my career, you bet. I have a song sung by R.E.M., which you mentioned. Is that an honor? You bet.