Nardwuar the Human Serviette lives up to his title. Not that he is walking about wiping up spills or dabbing at the corners of anybody’s mouth, but because his made-up punk-rock name implies, he’s not your normal music writer (or typical anything, innbsp;reality).

Dressed to the nines for a meeting in clashing colors of plaid and other patterns — such as his signature tartan tam, atop a jumble of frizzy hair — Nardwuar has a large smile and a casual, quirky guts. He overenunciates because he recites pieces of oddball trivia stored away in his encyclopedic brain. And he exhibits an almost child-like excitement for CiTR, where he has hosted a radio series sincenbsp;1987.

“Can you get the logo in there?” He asks the Globe and Mail photographer, wanting to be certain that the University of British Columbia radio station has its due. He also expresses concern about the camera’s proximity to his face. How are “the Nard-teeth” looking, he inquires. “Is my hatnbsp;ok?”

This self-consciousness is somewhat surprising coming from a man who exhibits zero anxiety when it comes to scoring interviews with politicians and celebrities or requesting audacious, often eccentric,nbsp;queries.

This week, CiTR listeners may hear 20 hours of these interviews, marking the milestonenbsp;anniversary.

“Initially I attempted to play records, but it did not work; it was too much work to listen beforehand,” he says. “So the next week, after playing records, I turned on the microphone, I talked and then 30 years later, here InbspI’m.”

Nardwuar, 49, has a sizable, if still somewhat underground, after in audio circles, and he’s achieved a certain degree of fame in Vancouver (“British Columbia, Canada” as he says). He’s posed for countless selfies; children dress up like him for Halloween. He’s also a musician, fronting Thenbsp;Evaporators.

When he was hospitalized with a stroke in late 2015, it made the news and a flock of well-wishers took to Twitter. Ditto when he’d PFO closure surgery a couple weeksnbsp;later.

It wasn’t the first time he’d made headlines. ” Nardwuar claws the PM in APEC / Guerrilla interviewer makes pepper spray stage” topped one 1997 post after a Nardwuar question elicited Jean Chretien’s notorious “for me, pepper, I put it on my plate” response. Along with a Nardwuar-generated headline from 1993: “Keep on Rockin‘, ” Gorbachev urged.”

I am always shaking. I’m scared. And that is what keeps me going. If you do not feel scaredness, what is the purpose of doingnbsp;it?

Nardwuar the Human Serviette

There’s nothing quite like a Nardwuar interview — every one of which starts “Who are you?” He often arrives bearing gifts like obscure old recordings. He brought a classic Pierre Trudeau paper-doll dress-up publication to a Justin Trudeau media convention; he attempted to provide Gerald Ford a blessed chestnut. He summarizes his subjects by digging little-known facts about their lives. He exhibits no shame and enormous chutzpah, asking questions others wouldn’t believe — or dare — tonbsp;inquire.

“When was the first time you did coke?” He asked Corey Feldman. “When is the last time Noel or Liam hit you,” he asked of Paul Gallagher, brother to the Oasis bandmates. “What do mics smell like? ,” he asked Ed Sheeran. And to Mikhail Gorbachev: of the political figures the former Soviet leader had struck, “with the largestnbsp;trousers?”

Responses range from “This is already my favorite interview I’ve ever done” (Aziz Ansari) to “You are a funny cat” (James Brown) to things we can not print in the paper. He has been tossed from Lollapalooza (on his birthday); he has had pizza shoved to his camera lens. Quiet Riot was so angry about a meeting, he states, that they destroyed the tape. Another metal band, Skid Row, pitched his prior trademark hat — a pom-pom tuque, which was a present from his godmother. (He replaced it with the pom-pom tam — a present from hisnbsp;mom.)

Then again, Pharrell Williams was so impressed, he hired Nardwuar to make articles for his YouTubenbsp;station.

He invites politicians to join at the potentially awkward “Hip Flip.” Working in tandem, they attempt to swing a bell-ringing doo-dad 360 degrees; it is attached to a bar that attaches to each player’s waist. Former prime minister Paul Martin was the first to give it anbsp;shooter.

He names his interviews Nardwuar “vs.” his subject, not since the experiences are adversarial, but since back when he was dubbing tapes and handwriting labels, “vs.” was shorter to write thannbsp;”interviews{}”

When he wished to interview Seth Rogen, Nardwuar did not contact a publicist; he delivered a Twitter message to Rogen, who follows him and consented. “Was the Penthouse in Vancouver the first strip club that you moved to?” Nardwuar requested the comedian. Itnbsp;was.

“People ask me, ‘What is success for a meeting?'” Nardwuar informs The Planet. “Success for me to get a meeting was after my interview was printed to YouTube, was the Penthouse setting up a sign that says ‘Seth Rogen beverages for free’ on the actualnbsp;marquee.”

Born John Ruskin in 1968, Nardwuar attended Hillside High School in West Vancouver. His mother, Olga Ruskin, was a journalist with an interest in local history; she had a cable-access TV series named Our Pioneers andnbsp;Neighbours.

“She taught me that everyone has a story,” says Nardwuar, who titled his first album Oh God, My Mother’s on Channel 10! (It was a compilation LP with paths from several groups, such as The Evaporators, in addition to Nardwuar interviewnbsp;clips{})

At a 1988 high school picture clip, he’s asked if he has any idea what he is going to do after college. “Well, my parents have an idea. My father wants me to become an engineer … but I do not think I will be annbsp;engineer{}”

The clip is on his telephone, Together with all Sorts of archival photos and movie: Nardwuar attempting to interview Ringo Starr; backstage with Drew Barrymore and Courtney Love in Lollapalooza; being interviewed in 1993 by Ralph Benmergui on Benmergui’s CBC TV show. There is also material from his former gig as a MuchMusicnbsp;interviewer.

How can he have the guts to ask those in-your-face questions, I need tonbsp;understand.

“I’m constantly shaking. I’m scared. And that is what keeps me going. If you do not feel scaredness, what is the point of doing this? It’s great to feel scared. I am fearful talking tonbsp;you.”

In addition, he says it includes thenbsp;land.

“The moment you understand that you’re going to get ruined is sort of liberating,” he says. “If you do not want to get destroyed, do not become members of thenbsp;media.”

When the tables are turned, and he’s the one being interviewed, he’s exceedingly chatty. During our day together, he hardly stops speaking. His voice is high-pitched, almost whiny. Like an annoying little brother that will not leave you alone, but is laugh-out-loudnbsp;entertaining.

Every now and then he will pause and provide a signature present, his fingers pointed toward the camera as he lights up with a huge grin, onnbsp;cue.

What I can not figure out is — is that an act? Just how much is this a character? And is he not on? I ask what he is like at home or if he is out for supper withnbsp;buddies.

“I like advice, I love stories,” he replies. “I would like to hear your tales, Marsha. I do lovenbsp;cheese{}”

Fantasy interviewees are Barack Obama (he attempted) and Donald Trump; he regrets not coming into Trump’s 2013 Vancouver press conference. So he was thrilled that short-lived White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was after him on Twitter. “I believed the Mooch was gonna be mynbsp;hook-up.”

Another sorrow: his inability to procure a meeting with Stephen Harper. He was offered one in 2004 — with the caveat that Harper wouldn’t do the Hip Flip. Nardwuar said no and never got anothernbsp;shooter.

“I made a mistake. I must have said, ‘Okay, sure, I will speak to him’ — and then pulled out the Hip Flip. However, I was stupid,” henbsp;states.

“So I make mistakes all of the time. And what’s why I am doing it,” he continues. “The moment I learn what’s the moment I shouldnbsp;stop.”

Nardwuar’s CiTR interview marathon runs from 9 p.m. PT on Sept 21 till 5 p.m. PT on Sept 22. A 30-year anniversary party with The Evaporators is at The Hall in Vancouver on Sept. 23. And The Evaporators perform at the Drake Underground at Toronto on Dec. 14 andnbsp;15

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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