Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Questions for Michael Beziat, bellman and blogger to the stars

Favorite Tower Records memory
As a teen interested in seeking out music not heard on local radio, I developed a fondness for jazz. My dad started me off with some safe bets for a kid who was mainly into heavy metal by recommending jazz fusion with lots of guitars and high energy. So I listened to a lot of Weather Report and Spyro Gyra and the like. I remember hearing the name Ornette Coleman from someone and I went to Tower and brought something by him up to the counter and asked the guy at the counter if he thought I would like it. He asked me a few questions about other jazz records I liked and ultimately decided that I might like Ornette Coleman later but that I probably wasn't ready for his sound just yet. I decided to go with my gut and buy the tape anyway. As it turns out, the guy was right. I love Ornette now but I wasn't ready then. I love that the clerk was both interested and honest. I tried to take that same approach to customers years later when I too worked in a record store.

What is your favorite music venue in Nashville and what is your favorite concert there?
Historically, I'd have to choose between The Ace Of Clubs and 328 Performance Hall. I lived and breathed rock 'n' roll at those venues during most of the '90s. But they are no longer in existence so I'd have to say that The Mercy Lounge is my recent favorite. They get it right - from the aggressive bookings to the always polite and friendly barstaff and doormen. My favorite concert at The Mercy Lounge is easily World Party's appearance there a few months back. Absolutely mesmerizing.

Good or funny hotel story.

A Nashville memory...something that is so Nashville.
Wandering into a free concert featuring acts ranging from Raul Malo to Kirk Whalem. It's so typical of this city that with so much great talent, even the inexpensive shows can be just as great as the expensive ones.

What do you think Nashville should have or should bring back?
While I understand that Dancin' In The District just became too expensive to put on year in and year out, there needs to be some sort of free music event downtown on a weekly basis if only during seasonal months. The civic pride I felt while attending some of those show was always very energizing.

What is your favorite concert of all time and where was it?
While Tom Waits at the Ryman is a close second (and easily the more recognized name), Peter Himmelman wins out for my fave concert of all time. He played at The Ace Of Clubs sometime in the early '90s. His ability to play for a disappointingly small crowd as if it was ten times its actual size was remarkable. I'm a fan for life.

Who are some famous or interesting people you have met while traveling or working in a hotel.
Blair Underwood, Pat Boone, and Reba have all stayed at my hotel and I found them all to be exceptionally gracious and kind.

If you were stuck in a hotel during a snowstorm and had to share a room with someone, who would it be? They can be alive or dead. Also what music would you have to have to get through it and what book or reading material?
Maybe because I am thinking of him now, but I'd love to spend some time with Peter Himmelman. I didn't meet him when I saw his concert but I did talk with one of his backup singers at the bar afterward and she shared with me how amazing it was to spend time with him. Based on his songwriting and what she said, he seems to be a very intense and profound thinker. I imagine that I could learn a lot from him. As for the second question, I'd bring a mix of Himmelman, Geoff Baker, and Tom Waits. Book? Anything from Adam Gopnik or Chuck Klosterman.

What do you love most about your job?
I love that Wednesday is never like Tuesday and Thursday is never like Wednesday. Even on the bad days, I prefer it to other jobs I have worked where drudgery is the only adjective that can come to mind.

Michael has a blog that I think you should have a look at. Chez Bez -the blog

More interviews coming soon on WebbspunIdeas.com

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