As I type this, it's 8:17am on Tuesday April 24. It's been exactly 24 hours since my press junket began. Here's the rundown...
8:00am- Almost miss my on-air interview with Zito and Karen at 93.1 MIX FM. Apparently there's something called "rush hour". I wouldn't know. I'm not much of a commuter. Anyway- Karen meets me at the door after I park in front of a fire hydrant w/ my flashers on. We run upstairs (via the elevator) and I sit for my first ever on-air interview. This was the first time anyone has heard Dr. Westchesterson speak. Zito and Karen were great. Had a few laughs- I think I didn't make a complete ass of myself. It must've gone well because after finishing with Zito and Karen, I was whisked next door to the country affiliate 100.9 KIX FM to chat with Mike & Kira. I was surprised that a country station wanted to hear from a hip hop artist. Apparently the country fans were hip to the "413" video and wanted answers. Didn't have the heart to tell them contemporary country makes me want to barf.
8:26am- After finishing with Mike & Kira, I find out the local NBC affiliate Channel 22 WWLP is next door with Zito & Karen talking with local news anchor Barry Krieger who has just recovered from a nasty car accident in Mexico. The TV 22 producer is prepping Mike & Kira for their interview with Barry then turns to me and says, "...and we want to talk to YOU next". OK- so within a half hour I've done two radio stations and a TV interview. Barry Krieger, by the way, is one of the nicest guys in the world. And he's a crazy extreme sport, hang gliding, squirrel suit-wearing, BASE jumping style adrenaline junkie! Who would've known?!?! I offered to "prescribe" something for any pain or discomfort he may be feeling. "What do you have in mind?", he asks. Without missing a beat- "Meet me in the parking lot in 20 minutes". Everyone laughs. I just offered to get Barry Krieger high.
9:13am- In the car. Cell phone rings. It's Bruno calling from Parrotta's Auto (he's the guy in the babushka smoking my pipe in the video). He's practically crying because he's laughing so hard at the ridiculousness that is happening. Bruno let me live at his house back in 97' when I was homeless. We used to hang out in his garage, get bombed and build motorcycles. He's got a wonderful family. My old room in his house belongs to one of his kids now. He puts Mike on the phone. Mike and I graduated AHS together in 91'. We make plans to meet up at his house that night to watch the news and have cocktails.
9:35am- I get back to makeshift Dr. W headquarters (my parents' kitchen) and bum my Dad's MacBook Air to check stats. We're up to 34,000 plus views. I check FB. I check my email. There are multiple requests for interviews and well-wishings from old friends and new fans. Last week I had reached out to an old schoolmate who freelances for Masslive.com asking her if she might do a story on the release of the video. After brainstorming how to approach the piece we set a tentative interview date of Thursday April 26- two days from today. She needs to push the interview to Friday.
9:54am- A FB post alerts me that local ABC affiliate Channel 40 WGGB has posted "413" on their website. I make a pot of coffee. I start responding to FB posts thanking people for their kind words. I exchange txts with Peter Cowles who operates an internet radio show out of his basement near Barnes airport in Westfield. He'd contacted me the night before via FB to book me at 7pm. We confirm our interview.
10:47am- I realize that previously when typing "Dr. Westchesterson" into the YouTube search window you needed to type the entire name in then hit enter. Now, when you get to the first "s" in Westchesterson, the name "Dr. Westchesterson" appears as the fourth option automatically. YouTube itself has become aware.
11:32am- Dad takes a break from steam-cleaning the carpet upstairs and starts asking questions. He seems a little confused as to what exactly is happening. Mom's in Eastern Mass visiting Sis and the kids. They may be the only two people in E. Mass that are aware we are plotting a takeover of the Commonwealth.
11:46am- My friend Jon O'Neil txts to congratulate. He wants to get together for coffee. More coffee... That's a good idea. We make plans to meet at Starbucks in the Holyoke Mall at 2pm. Maybe while I'm there I'll pick up some new Adidas.
12:26pm- Steve Nagle from WAQY 102.1 FM calls to arrange an interview on the Baxx and O'Brien morning show at 7:00am tomorrow morning. I'm going to be on fucking Baxx and O'Brien talking about my music. On the frequency that has been my default station since I popped out of the chute. I used to call and harass the DJ's to play KISS songs when I was 7 years old.
12:27pm- I realize that I've made it.
12:28pm- Dad leaves the house to return the steam cleaner he'd rented.
12:29pm- I go on the back deck and get incredibly, retardedly high and sit quietly for about five minutes.
12:34pm- Approaching 37,000 views.
2:00pm- Arrive at mall Starbucks to find Jon and his wife Kim waiting. We catch up and talk about the craziness. People are looking at me funny. Must be the brown polyester suit, pipe and custom brown and orange shell-top Adidas. This one guy at a table about ten feet away points and says, "Hey. I saw you in that music video". His name is John too (but with an "h"). I give him a sticker and tell him he's the first to recognize Dr. Westchesterson in public.
2:35pm- Jon O'Neil and I wander around the mall. Stop into the skate shop. Cool Adidas there. I left my wallet in the car. Shit. Stop into Hot Topic. Why? I don't know. Still a little high I guess.
3:15pm- Back at Dr. W headquarters we've hit 40,000 views.
4-ish pm: My parents' landline rings. It's WGGB TV 40 looking for an interview. The nice girl on the phone, Jessica, asks if when I'm available. "Well- I've got this internet thing at 7pm. I can do it between now and then." She says she'll get a camera guy lined up and call me back.
5-ish pm: Jessica calls back and asks where I'd like to meet for the interview. I think of what locations I'd meant to put in the music video but either forgot or didn't have time to get to. Almost instantly I tell Jessica to have the camera meet me in front of Bruno's Pizza (no relation to Bruno Parrotta) on Springfield St. in Agawam. As we're choosing a time my cell phone rings. It's TV 3 the CBS affiliate. I ask Jessica to hold on. I ask CBS to hold on. I tell Jessica six o'clock and hang up. CBS wants me at 7pm in the studio downtown. I say ok then realize I'm about to double book myself against Peter's internet radio show. I weigh things. I decide I'll be a little late to Peter's house. I call Peter and let him know. He's cool with it. Tragedy averted.
5:45pm: I arrive in front of Bruno's Pizza and call my Mom. She's freaking out.
6:00 pm: Channel 40 arrives. A tall, guy named Tom emerges with a big smile, takes a camera from the trunk and sets it up on a tripod. He begins to interview me with the Bruno's Pizza sign in the background. A red Mercedes station wagon creeps by as the driver stares. The Mercedes parks about 30 ft. away and watches. Tom forgets some of the questions he wanted to ask. He appears more nervous about this than I am. We both laugh, easing the tension. A guy gets out of the Mercedes and walks towards us. It's Tony Suffritti. He graduated from Agawam a year ahead of me. I graduated with his sister, Lisa. He shakes my hand and we bro-hug. He congratulates me sincerely and I'm again amazed at how it seems like everyone I know is claiming this phenomenon as a victory for us all. I experience a warm sense of community.
6:10 pm: Realizing I haven't eaten all day, I go inside Bruno's Pizza and order a cold cut grinder from Earl Hollister. I played baseball with Earl's son, Brian. Earl tells the guys behind the counter about when I played the piano at his house during a party about 20 years ago. Earl was at the Headquarters show last month. He explains Dr. Westchesterson to the guys. I try to pay for my grinder but they won't let me.
6:25 pm: I'm going to be early for Channel 3. I stop off at Lattitudes restaurant in West Springfield, sit at the bar and order a Maker's on the rocks. Jessica from TV 40 calls and asks if I'd like to do the morning show with Dan & Kim at 7am. I tell her I have Baxx and O'Brien at 7am. I feel like a big shot. She asks if I can do it earlier. When I ask how much earlier she replies, "5:30". "I'll be there", says the Dr. I take about three sips and realize I still haven't eaten the grinder that's sitting on the front seat of my car. I decide not to finish the cocktail but rather go get some gum at a gas station so the interviewer at Channel 3 won't think I'm a booze-bag.
6:32 pm: Pass the giant yellow slide at the Big E.
6:33 pm: Pass the White Hut.
6:35 pm: Buy gum.
6:45 pm: Park in front of City Hall downtown and realize I never wrote down the address for the CBS studios. I walk around aimlessly. I start to panic. I'm going to be late AGAIN! This time because I'm an idiot. I call Jessica at TV 40 and ask her if she can guide me to her station's competitor. She graciously obliges after kind of chuckling at what a dope I am.
7:00 pm: Channel 3- the guy interviewing me (why can't I remember his name?) is enormously tall. I look like a dwarf next to him. Weather guy Nick Morganelli busts my balls and offers to get me a stool to stand on. He has a bag of ties his Dad gave him to bring to Goodwill. I politely decline his offer of a tie that features the cartoon character "Dilbert" on it. For some reason, he has two of the exact same tie. I like these guys. Interview is short but sweet.
7:24 pm: Arrive at Peter Cowles' home near Barnes Airport and am welcomed by his wife, Stefanie and their son, Timmy. Peter leads me into the basement where he's got a bank of computer monitors set up on a desk in front of a green screen. Looks pretty Mickey Mouse after having been in a real TV studio. The set up actually ends up to be rather impressive. Peter has watched all of my videos, has studied them, has them cued up and is ready to dissect each one for his listeners. I realize I'm in Wayne's World as during the interview Stefanie yells comments down the cellar stairs. Viewers IM us with questions. My friends txt me throughout the show to let me know they're watching. I'm so tired that I'm loosening up. After five minutes with Peter, I realize I'm having a great time.
9:04 pm: I thank Peter, Stefanie and Timmy and get in the car to go over Mike's house. My cold cut grinder still sits uneaten.
9:24 pm: I arrive at Mike's house in W. Springfield. I have a glass of lemonade and we laugh about the craziness. Then we stop talking about Dr. Westchesterson for a bit and catch up on every day life stuff. The break is nice.
10:00 pm: We tune into FOX 6 Springfield (which apparently is the same as Channel 40?) to catch the news. The Dr. is teased at the top of the show. After a couple of depressing stories in which a guy falls off a cliff and another guy dies in a motorcycle accident, my music video appears. It's a great piece. They did the Dr. right. Mike and I watch and when the piece is over we look at each other and start cracking the fuck up.
10:47 pm: I arrive back at Dr. W headquarters to find my Dad shredding documents on the couch. He jokes that he's getting rid of my birth certificate and any paper trails that could tie me to the family. (He's really just getting rid of old junk papers). He DVR's channel 22 and channel 40. We go in the guest bedroom and turn on channel 3.
11:17 pm: Channel 3's piece airs. Like the interview, it's short but sweet.
11:18 pm: We watch the DVR'd TV 22 piece. They mention that Dr. Westchesterson was once a teacher in the Agawam School district. My blood freezes. How could they make such an error? (ahem...)
11:20 pm: We watch the DVR'd TV 40 piece. It's the same one that aired at 10 on Channel 6.
11:24 pm: Say goodnight to Dad and drop to the bed- exhausted.
12:24 am: Still awake.
1: 24 am: Still awake.
2: 24 am: Abandon hope of sleep. Check YouTube. 56,000 views.
4:45 am: Duck quack alarm goes off on my iPhone.
5:30 am: TV 40 with Dan and Kim. Nice little interview. I give Dan and Kim Dr. W t-shirts and take a photo op with them, news chick- Julia Dunn and weather dude- Dan Brown. I tell Dan Brown how much I enjoyed the DaVinci Code. He chuckles politely as if he's heard that one before- like a million times.
6:00 am: Drive past remains of the McDuffy school en route to 102.1 FM studios. Arrive early and recline in the parking lot.
7:00 am: Steve Nagle walks me down to the studio where Baxx is on the mic. We chat about things and stuff. Laid back dudes. I'm at ease. Have the BEST time talking to Steve and Baxx (although I'm a little bummed that O'Brien's out getting treatment for skin cancer. How dare he miss the Dr.'s debut). I could go on and on about this interview but I won't. Steve's sending me an audio file of it which I'll post eventually. It was a REALLY good interview. We make plans to meet again in the future...
8:05 am: Arrive back at Dr. W headquarters. 58,000 views.
8:17 am: Log onto Blogspot and start typing...