Date: June 2003
WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Zane Lowe talks to Eminem
Source: BBC Radio 1
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ZANE'S TOKYO DIARY
Here we go again. Another journey into Shady's crazy world. Last time Buffalo. This time Tokyo. Every time an experience. Much as I relish each opportunity to talk to Eminem, I can't help feeling like Pacino in Godfather 3, "...just when I think I'm out they pull me back in". This is my first job at Radio 1, so the new kid in school needs some mates. Luckily, my producer Hannah and man mountain engineer Keith are warm people and soon the 11 hour flight doesn't seem so cold. Last time I talked with Em, I had the added pressure of terrestial TV to deal with and, honestly, that got to me. As I board the plane today, I am determined to enjoy the conversation this time. I got my game plan. There are no cameras and my sources tell me that Em is feeling relaxed and content. All of this is bad news. I eat my free dinner, watch Gangs of New York and wake up in Japan.
An airport like any other airport. Hook up with Neil from the record company, someone I have known for a few years. He is solid and knows the Shady experience. There is a shared unspoken understanding we are shielding from our team mates like Generals leading new recruits into battle for the first time.
The drive into Tokyo is long and sticky. I need a shower and a cold beer to straighten me out. Arrive at the hotel. I am relieved to find it's comfortable. I hate it when you're asked to do a job and people skimp on the accom. Shower. Beer. Hannah gets out 'the book' for the first time. 'The book' is a travellers' guide to Tokyo and will feature largely during our stay. News that my buddies D4 are playing tonight is soon dampened by the realisation that it was yesterday. I let that one go and we get out into it.
It's 2pm. Feels like 2am. No interview today. Tokyo is as I expected it. Condensed, rushed and fastidious. Also very helpful. We eat dinner in a traditional restaurant that specialises in cooking the part of the animal you don't normally eat. Ask the head waiter for a good spot to drink. He recommends Planet Hollywood. In the end, alcohol is consumed in a bar called G Martinis (recommended by 'the book') that used to be famous and now just trades on the fact that it used to be famous. A good time all round.
This morning the big question is, "will he, won't he?!". By midday we have our answer. Lunch with my good friend Don who reps Shady at Interscope in the US. Back to our hotel where I have the choice of joining my touring party on the streets of Japan or retreating to my room for some much needed sleep. Four hours later I wake up hungry and disorientated. I'd like to think after 10 years of shifting schedules and changing priorities that I am pretty good at playing the waiting game. But the truth is, I'm not. It's a disconcerting aspect of what I love to do. The bigger the artist, the more disconcerting. I feel bad. Jet lag has cost me a day in a really cool city. I have to remind myself I am here to do a job and that it is better that I rest. But really, I wish I had gone trainer shopping. I'm thinking about the interview tomorrow. The whole world wants a piece of this dude and here I am. Looking for 45 minutes to satiate their appetite. His time is so important and yet today, I feel like mine is worthless. Irony. Where would we be without it.
Woken by an impossible piece of good news. We are to travel 45 minutes to the hotel where Em has agreed to do our interview. Over and out by midday!? No way!? As it turns out, no way. We are told that the interview will now take place at the venue after sound check. Now that's more like it. I know it sounds weird, but all this waiting makes me tired. We kick it at his hotel for 4 hours, pack up and head to the venue. It's about a 90 minute drive and is part of a huge entertainment complex consisting of 3 huge halls, each the size of, or bigger than Wembley Arena. Despite the absence of anything resembling a pass, we are escorted by security backstage where we set up in a production room.
Wait. Walk around a bit. Wait. OK here we go. Wait. Bathroom. Wait. 10 minutes. Wait. Are you ready? Bathroom. Wait. I'll go get him. Wait. Bathroom. Wait. He's just coming. Wait...wait...............wait for it............................
By now any sense of calm and well being that I had three days ago is out the wind..."Hey man, how are you?"
45 minutes later and there's the usual anticlimax of "Is that it?" combined with a few shaky moments early on in the interview where Em was a little 'playful' and I'm knackered! Overall, I enjoyed catching up again. I have always had the utmost respect for Eminem. He is a brilliant, unpredictable artist and he is of immense value to hip hop music. I truly consider my working relationship with him a high point in my career to date. F%^kin' tardy though!
Am woken by the sound of human panic.
"Up! Get up! We're gonna miss our plane"
90 seconds later we are in a taxi speeding to the airport. As long as I live, I will never get the hang of that whole 'early night before a flight' motto.
Thank you Hannah. Happy Birthday Keith. Goodbye Tokyo. Hellooooo Cleveland.