I’ll admit it, I’m addicted to Howard Stern. When he goes on vacation there’s a hole in my heart, I count the days until he comes back, sometimes I don’t even want him to come back, like a jilted lover I want to teach him a lesson, and I don’t want to go through the pain of withdrawal one more time.
You see he’s just that good.
Don’t compare him with the Howard of yore. They play reruns on Howard 101 and they make me wince. There was an air of desperation back then, Howard hadn’t yet found his voice, he wasn’t comfortable in his skin.
But he is now.
And today they’re doing some shtick about a staffer wanting time off to pursue a pro bowling career. Sounds ridiculous, I know. But that’s the skill of an expert, he keeps you listening, he makes the uninteresting interesting. And what Howard wrapped up the entire segment in was sacrifice.
He told of his producer Gary screwing up at work because he’d partaken of a perk that derived from the show. Howard said without this, the show, there’s none of that.
But then it got better.
Howard talked about an offer he just received. It would require only one day a week’s work, and some late nights. Howard said no, because he felt the show would suffer. He needed to be alone, each night before going on the air, to look in the mirror, be in his own cocoon, run ideas through his head, be alone with his anxiety, so he could deliver the next morning. Whew!
The pros make it look easy.
But don’t think there was no preparation, that you can get there without the work. And to be great you have to continue to sacrifice. Which is one of the reasons the rock stars of yore can no longer deliver. They’re just not hungry, they’re pursuing lifestyle instead of art. We’ll go see them perform the old hits, but we want to hear nothing new, it’s torture.
That’s when they wrote those great songs. When they were tortured. When they wanted recognition, sex and money and these were as distant as Tierra del Fuego. They’d work around the clock, life was solely about the band. As for the rest of the world…
Howard admitted his personal life suffered. Maybe he should have spent more time with his children. You can judge the rich and famous, but it’s always this way. It takes an incredible amount of time, dedication and sacrifice to make it. You can’t do it all. If you’re lucky, you can do one thing.
Howard was comparing himself with Letterman. Saying he’s got a larger audience and is better paid. That’s true. Letterman gets the ink, but Howard’s got the power. And he’s got no competitors. David Lee Roth on terrestrial after Howard moved to Sirius? Don’t make me laugh.
Because not just anybody can do it, just a special few.
And then Howard talked about turning down Robert Kraft.
Kraft’s the owner of the New England Patriots. Howard’s talked him up, spoken about Kraft enduring the death of his long-term wife. This is how you cement a relationship. By saying yes to the social occasion. Kraft wanted Howard to come to the game, sit in his box.
But Howard said no.
Because he’d have to be up too late. The show would suffer.
Imagine being so into your art as to let nothing else impinge upon it.
That describes the greats.
You may think they’re pricks. They might not have time for you. But the true story is they only have time for their art.