Dwight Arnold says no one can top his cache of rock-star interviews. During his days at KSM/Palomar College (1980--'82), 91X (1983--'93), and the Flash 92.5 (1993--'1995), Arnold interviewed touring artists on his Backstage Pass show.
"I could do a whole show on dead guys. I got all three of the [dead] Ramones. I got Peter Tosh, but his accent makes him so hard to understand. I interviewed Michael Hutchence from INXS three different times. He was a super-sweet guy.
"Maybe my most valuable interview was Kurt Cobain. I think I have the only taped interview he did in San Diego. He was very quiet and reserved. We recorded it right after Nevermind came out. They were playing at Iguanas [in Tijuana] that night....
"I may have the last interview that [Blind Melon front man] Shannon Hoon did. He died two weeks later. It was a total shock because when he was with us he talked about how he was off drugs, that he was into his newborn kid, his songwriting, and building furniture. He said everything was great."
Because Arnold retained the rights to all his shows, he can re-air them as he pleases. All-talk station Free FM (103.7) has allowed him to resume Backstage Pass on Sundays at 6 p.m. The show will feature interviews with new artists and snippets from his archived interviews.
Arnold says he has 1000 interviews, including XTC's Andy Partridge, the B-52s, David Johansen, Sting, Depeche Mode, Billy Idol, Eddie Vedder, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Duran Duran.
"When I interviewed Lou Reed, he had just finished his rehab from heroin. You could tell he was struggling. We had to quit after only 12 minutes. He clearly had the shakes.... Once, when I interviewed Lenny Kravitz, [ex-wife] Lisa Bonet came into the studio and threw a diaper against the wall. She was mad he wasn't changing the baby's diapers."
Arnold says he has to cook his tapes to get them to play.
"Most everything was on ten-inch reel-to-reel tapes. They absorb moisture. I bought a dehumidifier that you use for fruit. You cook them at 130 degrees for four hours -- it doesn't hurt the tapes -- then you dub them on CD."
The Kooks appear on Backstage Pass this Sunday.