Howard Stern Rolling Stone Interview

by admin on March 16, 2011

Howard’s Interview Style
“The biggest criticism of my interviews is that I cut people off. I think my biggest asset is that I cut people off. It sounds like a contradiction, but the fact is you can’t allow people to drone on. You are the orchestra leader. You are the one who is saying, ‘My audience wants something new. I’ve got to get out of this. I gotta keep it fresh.’”

Howard’s Early Training
“The ability to interview people and read your subject comes from my mother being very demanding of me with one thing: That I should be able to read her mood and know what she wanted. I could look in my mother’s eyes and know everything. I was trained to make my mother happy. And I swear to you, when I sit there on the radio, I don’t miss a trick because I’ll study it. I count how many times you blink. I watch everything.”

Howard’s Neurotic Attention
“I enjoy doing the radio show every day. But the neurotic attention I devote to it and the inability to get rid of that insecurity is very fatiguing for me. The curse is that I take it so seriously. I just can’t walk out of here and say, “I did a good show today and I’m very satisfied.” No, I gotta know, do you think I did a good show and are you satisfied? And that’s the neurosis and that’s the source of all problems for me.”

Howard Cares Too Much
“I sort of admire Charlie Sheen’s ability to say fuck you to the world. It’s a fascinating car wreck because, you know, how many people are in Hollywood dying for a hit television show? I don’t know whether to give him a medal or to throw him in a loony bin. He doesn’t care, and that’s not me. Oh, I care! I care what my parents think, I care what you think, I care too much. In a way, I’m in as weird a place as Charlie Sheen. He doesn’t care at all and I care too much. Where’s the middle ground?”

Howard’s Addiction
“I’m a people addict. That’s what an addiction to people is: [The need for] attention, acclaim, validation. I think all of that is operating there. It’s desperate.”

Howard and the Wild Animals
“It’s funny that people’s perception of me is that I’m some sort of wild animal when, in fact, I’m interested in interviewing the wild animal because I am so controlled. I’m fascinated by the out-of-control guy or exploring the porn star who has completely defied her family, her morality and values. And I’m like, ‘Wow, tell me about that. How do you get to that point? Part of what you’re saying I kind of admire, but then again, you’re destroying yourself too.'”

Why Howard Won’t Hire Prostitutes
“I’m too germ-phobic.”

Howard on Single Life
“After my divorce, I realized, “Oh, wow, I can go have sex.” And I was running around, picking up women. Then all of a sudden, it dawned on me that I really didn’t need that much sex. I just wanted somebody with me every minute. I was using women as a surrogate mother. When I tapped into that, it suddenly became very childish behavior. And really, was it so great fucking every night? They’re using me for my fame, I’m using them for their beauty, and the whole fucking thing seemed empty.”

Howard’s One-Track Mind
“Radio was everything. I had to win – at all costs, no holds barred. Not to sound like Charlie Sheen, but losing was not an option. I put in a lot of hours of work on it. I listened to every show back on tape. I sat there and thought everything through. I spent thousands of hours editing tapes, writing commercials, incorporating sound effects. I spent endless days and nights thinking about this and nothing else.”

Howard on Marriage
“In many ways, my marriage now is so easy, but I’m also aware that I could fuck things up very easily. I could start getting more into my work, and ignoring what’s important to Beth. I’m awfully narcissistic, and I have to keep that in check. I can’t be like King Tut sitting there and expect to be taken care of, because so many times we can turn our wives into mothers.”

Howard on Artie Lange
“Finding Artie was a great joy. But Artie’s demons got a hold of him, and I’m probably the last one to really have realized what he was going through. To me, Artie was coming in and doing his job and he did it so well that I really didn’t think he had a problem. Toward the end, I got it. You’d have to be blind not to see it. But I’m not a drug guy, really. Early in my life, I took drugs, but I’m very naive about it. Maybe I just wanted to have blinders on, I don’t know.”

Howard on Therapy
“Therapy has opened up new sides to me. I’m more willing to explore areas that I didn’t understand before with people. I was more one-dimensional, like Cro-Magnon in a way, banging people over the head in my early years. Sometimes when I hear the old shows broadcast, I want to cringe.”

Howard’s Career Advice
“Absolutely. I get angry with performers like Rush Limbaugh who are just shills for the Republican Party. I’m not a big listener of his, but wouldn’t he be a lot more interesting if once in a while he was for something that the Republican Party was against? I thought he had a real opportunity with that whole drug-addiction thing to maybe open up and say, “Man, I’m as confused as all of you.” But, no, he has to keep the persona. He’s an expert. He knows everything. It’s boring. You’ve gotta grow. The audience has to feel that growth. There are so many guys doing the same act, like Sean Hannity. If Limbaugh was the one guy who started talking about his insecurities, then he’d have a following that would be 10 times the size. If you want to go to the next level, you gotta open up a whole bunch more. That’s the secret for anybody who’s considering a career in radio.”

Howard Gets Bitten in the Ass
“Those [old] shows can bite you in the ass, because I think the war in Iraq is ridiculous, but you can hear old shows of me screaming, “Come on, we have to go to Iraq and blow everyone up.” Oh, fuck, I sounded like an idiot.”

Howard Becomes a Human
“Talking on the radio is a performance. Even though it’s pretty raw, what I do, and I do open up, it’s still a performance. If you go to a therapy session, it’s a whole ‘nother level. It’s been useful to me because I think it’s just opened me up as a human being. I feel less like a detached robot. I actually feel human. I don’t think I did before.”

Howard’s Radio Strategy
“When I was starting out, I came to the revelation that if I was going to go anywhere in radio, I can’t be playing records. I said, ‘I can’t rely on the Beatles or the Rolling Stones to get me ratings. Every asshole can play those. But if what I have to say was important, no one can replicate that.'”

Howard Makes Friends
“I notice when I’m able to break through my fear and hesitance and create some friendships, it really feels good. I missed a lot of that by not fully being human. It’s really hard, because I’m the first one to tend to shut down. I’m the type of guy who will invite you to my home and then all of a sudden, I’ll be angry you’re at my house, like, ‘When can I be by myself?'”

Howard on His Divorce
“[Getting a divorce] felt like such a failure. It’s so complicated, and it’s hard for me even to figure out at this point what went wrong and how things that were so good could go so bad. It’s tough. I think I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to analyze that.”

Howard on Competition
“[In the past] I was a slug, and I was down in the mud. I felt very defensive. I had to do whatever I had to do to make a living, and that I would tear the fucking head off of anyone who got in my way. And now I’m more comfortable with my place and what I’ve done. I don’t feel as threatened by anybody else. I have a really nice friendship with Jimmy Kimmel. Years ago, I could have had a friendship with anybody in show business, and I didn’t, because everyone was a competitor.”

Howard Seeks Balance
“I had something to prove to the world, to my father, to every woman that never fucked me. You know, everything. I’m not saying I’m fully evolved now. I’m not Buddha. Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept that I don’t have every listener and I haven’t written every good joke. I get competitive. But that’s no way to live. I’m tired of walking around angry. It’s a burden. And that’s why I’m trying to find balance.”

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