Journalism as a career can be both exciting and downright draining. There are definite advantages: journalists know everything that happens in the world before the rest of the general population. We have access to public officials, celebrities and small town heroes. Days typically move fast, but that's where the negatives come into play. Journalism is a grind, make no mistake. Sitcoms that are set in T.V. affiliates continue to glamorize the industry without making the average viewer aware of the amount of work that goes into producing the evening news (or daily newspaper for that matter). In a medium sized T.V. market, there's an average of eight people working to get 30 minutes of content on the air. At my station, our evening news is a 90 minute block, so you do the math and figure out just how many people it takes (on average) to tell you about a fatal fire, tornado damage to the house next door and the latest lead paint recall.
The six o'clock news is my responsibility. Like any job, producing a daily newscast takes practice. It takes time to hone a craft and acquire the speed necessary to keep up with a million changes, all the while facing a hard deadline. At this point, I'm quite fast and accurate at my job. That's not bragging, it's just brass tacks. For all that speed and news judgement, there comes a price. People in "unique" career fields tend to form strong bonds with their coworkers. It's a "united we stand, divided we fall" sort of mentality. No one person can get a newscast on the air. Without an integral piece of the pie, the newscast will fail, right before the eyes of thousands of viewers.
The journalism industry has a revolving door. People come and go in droves. The work is tedious, emotions run high and egos are huge. Plus, the pay is not great. Yesterday, one of my good friends bid our station farewell. It's interesting how relationships intersect, and coworkers suddenly become true friends. This dear friend is moving from Ohio to our nation's capitol without a job, but with many dreams. I'm sure he will have much success in the future. Like every person on this planet I too have dreams, but don't know how to go about making them a reality. When I was in college, I wanted a career in broadcast journalism and I've done that. I wanted a graduate degree, so I went ahead and picked up a Masters, too. Still, I don't think I possess the guts needed to leave my relatively secure life, and move to New York or Los Angeles for a music career. I'm at the point where I must have some stability and earn a certain amount of income to support a home, a car, and gigantic music habit.
Back to friendship. Special relationships come from everywhere, when you least expect them. If you're a regular reader of this website, then you know the name Christian Graus. He's a regular commentor and he knows a ton about Metal music. He's also a brilliant computer programmer, and he had the guts to follow his dreams right into that field. Christian and I have only met face to face one time: at Rocklahoma 2007. Now, we exchange e-mail messages daily and talk about more than just music. To me, this constitutes a very nice friendship. Christian recently agreed to an interview for this site. No, he's not a famous musician or even a former member of Bang Tango but he lives a pretty interesting life, halfway around the world in Tasmania.
Bring Back Glam! What originally got you interested in Metal?
Christian Graus: AC/DC. I was into pop music as a young teenager, and we visited my cousin, who played me T.N.T (the album that was not released in the U.S.). I listened to AC/DC for six months and bought a couple of Metal compilations on cassette, because they had AC/DC, and branched off from there.
BBG: How long have you been a die hard Metal fan?
CG: Since about 1984. I was into Iron Maiden a little before then, but that's when it got serious.
BBG: Who are your favorite bands...and do you have any favorite albums?
CG: Metallica - Master of Puppets is my number one album of all time. My all time favorite live album is Iron Maiden - Live After Death (seeing the tour three times next February). Other bands I love include Accept, Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, Kix, The Angels, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Ozzy.
BBG: Has your love for Metal ever helped you through an incredibly difficult time in your life?
CG: First of all, it got me through my teens. I know Metal was big in the US, it didn't get big here (Australia) until I was in the final year of high school. Being a Metalhead and not fitting in were the same thing as far as I was concerned, but that just made me love it more. There was a lot of conflict in my family life, and I spent hours with a walkman, just getting out of the house, walking and listening to music. When my first wife left me, I also listened to music a lot. In fact, just whenever anything bad happens, the first thing I would do is put on music. I remember my house being robbed, I listened to "Fade to Black" for hours.
BBG: How often do you listen to Metal?
CG: All day! I work from home as a software developer, I get up, grab a CD and start coding. I listen to music at least 80% of the time, and apart from Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, my collection of 1200 CDs is pretty much all Metal.
BBG: Have you turned friends onto your music passion?
CG: Yes - I travel to the U.S. a lot for work, in the past two years I have seen (at home or in the U.S.) Poison/Cinderella/Enderafter, Aerosmith/Motley Crue, Down/Megadeth/Heaven and Hell, Down/Heaven and Hell (again), Mortal Sin/Anthrax, Journey/Def Leppard, Rose Tattoo/Sebastian Bach/the Axl Rose band, Rocklahoma, BFMV/Iron Maiden, Th3ee/Scorpions, Motorhead/Motley Crue, etc. For all the Aussie concerts, I've taken friends who are into Metal a bit, and got them more into it. For the U.S. concerts, I've taken a friend who was scared of the first one (Poison, would you believe) and now is telling me about Ozzy/Rob Zombie if I get over (to America) in November.
BBG: So, what's your best concert experience?
CG: I've had so many great concerts this past few years. I'd say that until I see Maiden next year, my best experience will be Heaven and Hell in Adelaide. They played in an old town hall, it was tiny and run down. I waited from midday to be at the front, there was one 16 year old in front of me (his first gig), and a couple who came along just after. A really cool day meeting those guys, then I got right to the barrier on the Tony Iommi side (I knew where to go, I saw the show in Toronto ). Down opened, and they totally suck. I've seen a number of bands I was only vaguely interested in (Scorpions on my last trip, Def Leppard), and all of them, I left the show loving them more, and listening to them a lot more. Down, still suck, even from the front row. But, I stuck it out. Actually, before the show, a woman offered me money for my spot. I told her I didn't want her money. She said "I was hoping you were not a big Dio fan." Say what? Anyhow, I told her she could have my spot for the last song. So, Heaven and Hell come out. It was incredible. Dio was amazing, he owned the stage. Tony kept walking forward, right in front of me, and looking up and smiling at me and others in the front. I caught a pick from him that night. Vinnie Appice did the only good drum solo I've ever heard or seen. His kit was all around him, he got up and played facing the back, and worked his way around. "Heaven and Hell," the song, went for 12 minutes, they stretched it right out. I could see the set list from where I was, so I knew what was coming. I did move for the crazy lady for "Neon Nights." As they left the stage, she kept yelling "Dio, I love you!" He came over and said "I love you too." She nearly fainted.
BBG: Do you have a fantasy concert?
If Rocklahoma's line up includes these bands, that would be it:
Whitesnake, Judas Priest, Kix, Accept, Baton Rouge, Primal Fear, Edguy, Hammerfall, Jorn, suicidal tendencies, Dio
Or if Vince Neil did a solo show where he played songs from Exposed (with Steve Stevens).
Photo: Allyson with Christian Graus on the final day of Rocklahoma 2007.