Tuesday, September 13, 2005

MTV Hanging Out with Neil Gaiman part 5 (of 10)

Don: All right, well we got another question by another fan, what's your name?

Quark: I am Quark, hello sir. This is a funny MTV trick question but I hear your friend Stephen King has a rock band with Amy Tan and other writers so I was just wondering if you were to form a rock band with your writer friends or the artists who would comprise the band?

Neil: That's scary. I actually have, before I answer that I should actually say that I have actually sung—with—the Rock Bottom Remainders, which is Stephen King and Amy Tan and Dave Barry and those guys and I was standing, watching them in the Last Book Expo America in New York about three years ago, and I was in the audience going, well it went well for the old guys. That kind of thing going and suddenly Stephen King comes up to the microphone and says Neil Gaiman's in the audience, Neil, come on up and I say, oh. So I come up on stage and they hand me a Rock Bottom Remainder's Kazoo, and I play Kazoo, on their version of New Wave, and you have to be honest, you haven't played until you've played Kazoo on the Rock Bottom Remainder's. I knew my place in rock history was never assured. And if I were to form a band, it would be fellow writers and actually what I probably do is try and shoot and get writers like, you know, people like Steven Brust. Dave McKean is an amazing musician. I'd get all these guys who can actually play things. And then I'd just sit in a corner and play music.

Claire: Okay, well I have a question for you. How did you feel as a young writer when you wrote Don't Panic and meeting Douglas Adams and all of that?

Neil: Douglas Adams, it was really educational. And really cool. And enormous, getting to work with Douglas. I was very lucky. I got a phone call one day from a publisher saying we have the rights to do the book about Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Douglas has given his permission, but we don't have a writer. Our writers just went out on us. You've interviewed Douglas a couple of times for magazines, would you be interested in doing it? I went wow, this is a chance of a lifetime for a journalist, and I did. The best of it was just having access to Douglas and his files, and sitting and going through Douglas's filing cabinets, reading all drafts of things, reading his press files, going through the various different drafts of the Shadow script and stuff. It's amazing. And of course getting to know Douglas, who was hilarious. Hilarious and a very dry sort of tripping over things way. My favorite Douglas Adams moment, looking back on it, just because I felt like it qualified for me what kind of person Douglas was, there's a thing in Hitchhiker's about knowing where your towel is. Some kind of people know where their towel is, and these are people who know where their towel is. Which means that you're cool, you know what's going on. You have your towel and you go with them. And a lot of people today love to honor Douglas by saying to me, you know, Douglas, you up for a towel day every year, we carry our towels because Douglas was a free piece sort of who, who knew where his towel. I remember being a city in Douglas's office, going through the scripts through Shadow and whatever was going through during that day, and Douglas's stepmother was wandering around and she suddenly came downstairs and she says, where are the towels? Douglas was shouting, he's in the bath, and he doesn't have a towel in there. We were wandering around the house, they'd just move into this new house, hunting for the towels and I'll let you know. The whole point about Douglas was he was the kind of person who didn't know where his towel is, because they're the kind of person who notice that he went through the divide to those of us who know where the towels are, and those who don't.

Claire: Okay, that's very very cool. We'll have more with Mr. Gaiman later. We have a music video right now.



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