Interview on MSN Australia Today Show
By Richard Wilkinson
May 11, 2005
(Thanks to starcrossed for this transcript)
Wilkinson: Josh Groban, thank you for your time. How are you doing?
Josh: Iím wonderful. Thanks for having me!
Wilkinson: Thatís okay. Your life is wonderful at the moment, is it? Everything good?
Josh: Life is great; just hanging out, you know, getting ready to make the new album and very excited about this DVD. Iíve been on the road for sixteen months, so itís nice to have some time off and reconnect with the people that Iíve lost contact with for a year and a half.
Wilkinson: Sixteen months on the road, thatís a long time in your little cocoon traveling around the world. Give us a snapshot of what itís like.
Josh: Itís true. Itís got its own stresses and itís pretty stressful but on the other hand all youíre doing is paying attention to two hours of concert every night. So you can pretty much stay up all night and sleep till two in the afternoon and the cocoon, which is the tour bus, is actually not so bad cause itís got a bed and a TV and video games and itís nice. Youíre in this kinda like little sheltered world and then when you get home you realize thereís a whole other world out there and Iím slowly readjusting.
Wilkinson: Yeah, whatís it like waking up in the morning and not having a tour manager to tell you what youíre doing that day?
Josh: -laughs- Oh, itís really, really nice to wake up at my own time and not to a pounding at my door. So yeah, itís great; itís great.
Wilkinson: What is the best thing about your job, Josh, what do you enjoy the most?
Josh: I think making the music has always been the top thing but being on the road and connecting with the fans in the way that touring only canÖ I mean, I didnít know what to expect when I went on the road. I didnít know if Iíd like the discipline of it. I didnít know if Iíd like the constant traveling around having to do the same show every night, but it wound up really just being one of the greatest experiences of my life and seeing the diverse audiences and just being able to connect with them in that wayÖ My first love was live theatre and musical theatre so you know, I kinda had that bug really early on to do live performance and thereís just something from that you can get that you canít get from just doing a TV performance or a Ö you know, whatever else. So it really, really reaffirmed my love of doing what I do.
Wilkinson: It must be a great feeling to walk out on stage knowing that youíve got a number of aces up your sleeve, youíve got an arsenal of wonderful songs, youíve got the whole show pretty much down after being on the road for so long, knowing that youíve got your guns loaded and having your audience out there ready to hear what youíre gonna do, that must be a very empowering feeling.
Josh: Itís a very, very empowering feeling, uh, just, just in terms of, not so much empowering, but I mean when youíre on the road and you do a tour, it takes a few shows or a few weeks or a few months even to just kind of get into the groove and find out what works and what doesnít and what song sounds good after what song and it really kind of Ö it improves your chops on so many levels, as a singer you just get that much stronger and as an entertainer. You know for me this tour was the first time that Iíve ever done more than like five songs in a row in front of an audience, so all of a sudden youíre kind of thrown into the fire and you have to find out those ways to keep an audience entertained for two hours. So you do, you have to find kind of the aces in your sleeve and the things that you can pull out Ėgrins- in case things arenít going so well.
Wilkinson: Yeah, I mean itís one thing to be a songwriter and a great singer and all that sort of stuff and a recording artist, but you do have to learn to entertain, donít you, and itís a different skill entirely.
Josh: Yes, unlike an album you have to do things between the songs Ėgrins- on a tour and thatís kind of uh ... You know, thereís nothing like stalling in front of fifteen thousand people. Youíve gotta have jokes to tell, youíve gotta have things to ... youíve gotta be able to improvise because people will throw the craziest things at you while youíre on stage. Theyíll yell something at you or theyíll throw something on stage that you have to play around with or youíll see a sign -holds up hands to demonstrate the sign- that canít be ignored, you know, and you just have to kind of work with it and thatís ...
Wilkinson: Like what?
Josh: -laughs- I donít know, you know, things that get thrown on stage. They throw like stuffed animals and they throw Ö there was one point where this woman came up to the stage with gift bags for every single person in the band and I had to hand them out to everybody in the band. Stuff that really just sometimes is Ėlaughs desperately- if you donít handle it right can just be a dead moment in the show or it can be good, you have to find ways to make it funnyÖ
Wilkinson: Or if you handle it right it can make the show, right?
Josh: Öor it can make the show; it can be reallyÖ. Exactly, like I remember specifically I just came back from Kentucky actually, I was there for the Kentucky Derby, and last time I played in Louisville I was in a hotel and the bedpost from my bed traveled across the bed and whacked me on the head Ėdemonstrates the post hitting his head- and I only found out afterwards that the hotel was haunted. But I was so mad at the bedpost that I decided to steal it and take it to the audience and tell the story and tell them what happened. And there were some people in the audience actually from the hotel that I stole it from so I had to give it back, but it made an interesting story just for that night. So you just find stuff to work with.
Wilkinson: Wow, I think thatís more than a story, thatís a miniseries!
Wilkinson: So youíre staying in a hotel and the bedpost came off the bed and whacked you on the head?
Josh: Yes, whacked me on the headÖHurt like hellÖ
Wilkinson: I, I donít know how to ask this question but, I mean, weíre you alone at the time?
Josh: -laughs- I was alone at the time! Ėlaughs- Yeah, I was alone at the time and there was no funny business going on. I was just trying to go to sleep and uh, no earthquake, nothing like that, and it justÖall of a sudden I felt just -demonstrates bedpost hitting his head again- you know, a whack on the head and I looked down and saw the bedpost and I looked up -turns to the side and demonstrates- and it wasnít any of the ones close to my head and I looked over and it was the one from the foot of my bed, so creeeepy!
Wilkinson: Thatís a spooky story Josh Groban, but thank you for sharing it with us anyway!
Josh: Thank you, yes, thank you- grins- youíre very welcome!
Wilkinson: Live At The Greek CD and DVD, packaged togetherÖtell us about those three nights at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles thereÖnice spot.
Josh: We, um, itís a beautiful spot and it seemed like a really great place to film a concert just because itís surrounded by trees, itís up on a hill, the air was fresh and the audience was great. It was the last night of our summer tour, so it was very special for all of us. The inspiration to do it was really more for us to just have a document of this great time we had doing these summer shed tours outdoors. We filmed it over three nights, but we really only used the second night. The entire concert is all from one night. Itís not edited from three nights as we thought we might, we didnít wind up doing that, itís all one night. Itís something Iím very, very proud of. This is a show that came very naturally and it was just something that kinda came together and we didnít know where it would go or how long Iíd be doing it for, but it wound up just being one of the great, great highlights of my life and I wanted to have a DVD that kind of showed, as best you can on DVD, the excitement of the tour. So Iím very happy about it and Iím thrilled that itís being released in Australia and I canít wait to get over there and do a live concert. I think itís -laughs a little- unfortunately the DVD has to come out first before the live show, but I promise to get over there really soon and do a concert.
Wilkinson: Have you got plans? Have you got promoters beating a path to your door? Is it at that stage yet?
Josh: Weíve got a definite plan to go to Australia and do what we have so wanted to do for the last three years which has been to do a full-length if not many concerts over there and the DVD is just kind of -in a slightly mocking voice- an appetizer to the main thing that hopefully weíll be able to bring very, very shortly.
Wilkinson: So itís just one night? I mean you didnít walk out on stage wearing the same clothes three consecutive nights and edit the best bits together?
Josh: -laughs- Like I said, we taped it over three nights but we wound up only using the second night from beginning to end because you know itís like you said, when you edit it together from different nights it can be a little bit strange. So we actually just used one full concert.
Wilkinson: Whatís the easier, Josh, becoming a star or maintaining stardom?
Josh: -pause- Um Ö I donít know because I still think Iím very new and I think that Iíve still got a lot of work to do and I think that Iíve been very, very lucky and very, very kind of pleasantly surprised at the amount of attention the musicís had. But I donít think Ö the one thing I have learned is that in places where I do definitely need to do a lot more work to reach that level, itís a great feeling to be kind of starting from scratch and to be kind of getting that energy for the first time. In places like the States where Iíve been able to feel it for a little over a year, the fear never goes away. Youíre constantly raising the bar and youíre constantly thinking to yourself, ďI have to beat what I just did. I have to maintain what the fans have built me up as.Ē So I think theyíre both equally challenging in great ways. When youíre unknown thereís that fear plus the anonymity and the feeling of, ďWhat do I need to do to get the music listened to?Ē and then after you have fans that listen to it and hold it up Ėraises his hands- you have to match it and not disappoint them. So theyíre both equally important.
Wilkinson: How has your life changed in the past year since youíve become a major star? I mean, youíre a Los Angeles boyÖ
Wilkinson: ...plenty of stars in LA, can you walk around town? Can you still go to the movies without Ö
Josh: -turns around, looks at the ďHOLLYWOODĒ sign behind him-
Wilkinson: Nice view, too...
Wilkinson: ÖCan you still go to the movies without security and stuff like that without being hassled?
Josh: Oh yeah. I mean honestly it depends on what side of the bed I wake up on in the morning. I mean, I do travel with security at times
Wilkinson: Well with your problems with beds, I not sure which side youÖ
Josh: -laughs- Yeah I, um, yeah Ėlaughs- Exactly! I, you know, I get, people come up to me and theyíll ask for a picture or an autograph or something and I think itís great because itís not at the point where I feel like what I do is a spectacle, you know. Itís not like, you know, Britney Spears walking around. Itís not like, ďOh, weíve seen you in a hundred tabloids so we just have to have that picture.Ē I think the people that come up to me are people that genuinely are coming up to me because they like the music or theyíve heard the music and itís something that interests them. Itís not a circus, so itísÖ. It depends on the day. Sometimes I feel like, ďOh my God, you know, Iím really famous! This personís Ö Iíve been stopped all day!Ē and then some days will be like, ďTime to promote!Ē -laughs- So, it depends.
Wilkinson: -laughs- So where are you up to now? Whatís happening? Youíre on a little break at the moment then I guess youíre what? Writing, recording, getting ready to do the whole thing again?
Josh: All those things. I just kind of officially came off the road about three weeks ago, so Iím still just kind of in that recharge phase and Iím doing a lot of writing and Iím doing a lot of meeting with different people. I just canít wait to get back into the studio and be able to kind of play and just be able to fail and experiment and try different sounds and try different things. Thereís nothing like being on the road for a year and a half to get you excited about new music and so Iím very much looking forward to getting out there and doing that and hopefully Iíll have a new album out ... uh... Ėshrugs- within the next year!
Wilkinson: Okay. Well, you have an officially good time, Josh Groban, thank you forÖ
Josh: Thank you!
Wilkinson: Thank you for spending some time with us, and good luck with Live At The Greek. Josh Groban, thank you!
Josh: Anytime! Thank you so much!