This morning, the morning of Friday the 13th, I had a teleconference with Yanni, the world renowned, multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated, Cheez Wiz clown-composer. I’m not kidding. Approximately two hours ago, I went to a location downtown, was lead into an office with three other people, and Yanni was Skyped on a 17-inch Macbook computer. In support of his newest album Truth of Touch, Yanni is doing “teleconferences.” I planned to get kicked out quickly. I’d ask him something about balls and touching their truth, or something about the Truth of Touching my balls.
I didn’t have it exactly worked out. All I knew is I wasn’t going to last long.
On the computer screen, Yanni looked tired. He was wearing a robe, drinking coffee, and he has over-manicured chest hair. He was in San Diego where he plays tonight. His hair is shorter, and his molester stache is gone. Whatever accent he has I think is fake. I don’t think he’s from Kalamata, Greece, I think he’s from Cleveland. The three people at the teleconference were allowed two questions each for Mr. Yanni, which we had to have ok’d beforehand. I said I was going to ask him about micing techniques for string sections, and something about where he was most looking forward to playing on this tour.
I was told I would ask my questions 2nd, so I had a few minutes to take it all in. The first guy began, “Blah, blah, blah.” Yanni is an extremely confident and cunningly cheesy man. He’s got this accent, and goes on about how much he likes his own album, and how it’s fun, and that this one’s something different, and how he was playing with the rhythms, and about new sound design. Everything he says, he’s said 1000 times before. Yanni really wants people to believe that he’s into what he’s doing. But I think it’s pretty obvious he’s just in it for the money. The guy is from Cleveland. The whole Greece thing is a terrible adult contemporary act. I know that he knows how mind-bogglingly cheesy it is. He may be fooling Republicans and the elderly, but there’s no way he actually thinks the music he’s making is good. Come on. And he knows that I know he’s being cheesy all the way to the bank, in Cleveland.
It came time for my questions too soon. I thought I would have a few more minutes to work out my thing about balls and truly touching them or whatever. But the first person was finished with their Yanni time and looked satisfied. My moment of Yanni was upon me. The agent in the room turned the computer toward me, signaled for me to go ahead, and Yanni smiled like he was a cartoon gopher. I froze. Went blank. I didn’t know what I was going to say. Yanni waited, sipping his mug (like someone from Cleveland would sip a mug). I felt like Ralphie in A Christmas Story when he finally gets to Santa, and forgets what to ask for.
Finally I said, “So your new album is called Truth of Touch… Have you ever gotten high and put your balls on a gerbil?” Totally not what I meant to say. I meant to say something witty about the Truth of Touching the Underside of My Balls. But I screwed it up. My heart was exploding, I was screwing up my Yanni ball-moment. I had been waiting weeks for this.
Yanni said, “Excuse me?” And with my second chance I said, “Have you ever done blow and put a gerbil in your fanny?” Which was not really what I meant to say either, but at this point, I was just firing off words. Then I said, “What is the truth behind Touching my Balls??”
With that, it was over. The agent pulled the firewire cable out of the computer and told me I needed to leave. He pulled the computer screen shut, and escorted me out of the building. We said nothing to each other. As I was walking out of the parking lot, I looked over my shoulder, and could see him standing inside the glass door laughing to himself. I can’t be the first person to have been thrown out of a Yanni interview, I mean teleconference.