Howard Stern Interviewed;
Miss America Speaks Out!
Once again the most outrageous person alive, radio and television star, Howard Stern, has opened up his frightening world to the public and as usual the public loves it. The author of the best selling non-fiction masterpiece "Private Parts" has penned another literary home-run controversially titled, "Miss America." The 482 page book focuses on Stern's bizarre secret meeting with Michael Jackson, his long battle with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), the Stern family pact with Adolf Hitler, his quick cure for homosexuality and his brutally honest opinions of those closest to him, not to mention nearly 50 pages of transcipts of his recent cybersex adventures...By the way if you happen to feel the ground shake don't worry it's probably just Ernest Hemingway rolling over in his grave. Last week The King of Everything and the inventor of shock radio, Howard Stern, 41, in an effort to get the word out about his new best selling book, "Miss America" (ReganBooks $27.50) which by the way has broken the record for the fastest selling book in one day, breaking a three year old record set by Madonna ("Sex"), participated in a teleconference interview with 15 journalists from around the country. Seemingly to Stern's dismay one of these journalists happened to be yours truly. The hour and a half long round-robin discussion offered those in the media who, for the most part, live in markets that don't have access to Stern's outrageous radio program, a chance to get to know the frightening inner workings of the literary world's newest best selling author. During the marathon talk-fest all of my distinguished colleagues were able to ask Stern one question each that in most cases was old news to those familiar with the infamous shock jock's well documented past. I, on the other hand, choose to dig a little deeper into some apparently taboo topics that unfortunately have gotten me into hot water with my old friend. (see page 44). The following is the interview that apparently has once again gotten me banished from Sternland. The interview starts off with a brief comment from Howard; then the "whatever you do don't ask" questions.
Howard Stern: Of all the things that I've done during my career including "Butt Bongo Fiesta" this book ("Miss America") is probably the one thing that I am most proud of. I had a short amount of time to write it which was about 4 months and I cannot believe that I got it all done. I am also very proud of the book in light of some of the other books that have recently come out. Ever since I put out "Private Parts" (Stern's first Best Seller) a lot of people have used their celebrity status to put out a quickie book that sort of looks like it was thrown together in a day, like Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen DeGeneres where they repeat their stand-up act instead of revealing anything about themselves. They're not particularly interesting and they all ultimately come across as a rip-off to the reader. I received about 3 thousand faxes since ["Miss America"] has come out and people have said they couldn't put it down and that they really appreciate it and feel that it's funnier than my last book and that's truly gratifying. Fans are usually pretty vocal about what they like and what they don't like so I feel like I hit a good mark with this book. I think it's funny and I also think that there are some interesting things in it and at this point I would be happy to answer any questions.
Chaunce Hayden: Hi Howard.
HS: Chaunce you son of a bitch! What are you doing here? You don't really write for a real newspaper. Let's not start off on the wrong foot.
All right, go ahead.
Chaunce: You're doing a lot of interviews in markets that don't get your radio show. Why would somebody who hasn't heard your show want to go out and buy your latest book "Howard Stern: Miss America?"
HS: Well first of all I'm trying to reach people who aren't fans of mine. I happen to think that the book is pretty darn good. I noticed with my first book "Private Parts" that a lot of new people kind of came to the table because this is a different medium. There are people who don't necessarily listen to morning radio, or perhaps have heard me on the radio and don't like me, but they actually like me in print.
Chaunce: How do you explain that?
HS: I think the reason for that is because morning radio is the kind of thing where somebody tunes in and if they hear something weird for five minutes they say to themselves, "Oh, God! I can't deal with that I'm going to turn it off. But what's nice about a book is that you can take a chapter like my Michael Jackson chapter and lay it out for them so that you know they're going to read it in order and get the full impression that you're trying to give. So there are lots of people out there who don't necessarily listen to my radio show or that don't get the show and for those people I would like to get the word out that there is a book out there for them.
Chaunce: Don't you agree that someone who isn't a daily listener might be a little confused by some of the inside innuendoes sometimes mentioned in "Miss America"?
HS: Well I actually tried not to put in too many inside innuendoes. One of the things I tend to do when I write is over-explain because I want to make sure that everybody gets in on the joke and I try to do that on the radio as well. I try not to write inside commentary. I think that the Michael Jackson story is a universal one. I think it's the kind of story that appeals to those who like gossip and it appeals to those who are fascinated by Michael Jackson and it appeals to people who are inside show business. When you read about this ridiculous meeting and how for God's sake somebody could pitch me the idea of getting my fans to go out into the streets and scream for Michael Jackson, heck, my audience is way too cynical for that! It's just funny that somebody would be that out of touch to think that I would do that for them, especially after these child molestation charges.
Chaunce: The book begins with transcripts of your cybersex adventures...
HS: Hell, that's a chapter on the human condition! I think that when I handed that chapter in to my editor, who is a woman, she said to me that every woman should read this chapter because if you want to know what's going on in men's heads, this is it. And the chapter on running for Governor (of New York) is sort of a spoof on politics and is what drives me to beat people competitively, and certainly anyone who is suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder or suffering from backache would be interested in the chapter that details that period in my life. By the way, I have found that 99 percent of back pain and obsessive compulsive disorder is psychological but people don't like to admit that they have it because it's so embarrassing that such a ridiculous little thing that can ruin your life. So I think whether someone is from the planet Mars or from somewhere in Kentucky where they don't get my radio show, if they knew that there was a chapter about how back pain and obsessive compulsive disorder can be gotten rid of without an operation, that they are not genetic disorders, I think that would be of interest to a lot of different kinds of people. By the way everyone should know that Chaunce has a tattoo on his back. What does it say again?
Chaunce: It's a quote from the philosopher Nietzsche, it says "What fails to kill me only serves to make me stronger."
HS: In big giant letters! Boy are you going to look stupid to your grandchildren. By that point, Howard, it won't really matter. I'll be an old wrinkled man. Who doesn't look stupid at that age? Don't worry about it; nobody looks stupider than me.
Chaunce: With all the excitement over your book nobody seems to have noticed that one of your multi-talented on-air personalities, Billy West, has dropped out of sight.
HS: I'm not sure exactly what happened to Billy West. He was in the middle of negotiating with Infinity, and I guess his negotiations broke down. He wanted a certain amount of money and they didn't give it to him. At least that's what Billy told me when he left. However, he didn't leave with any hard feelings. Billy's a great talent. The show was lucky enough to have him for about a year or two, however, the show has always been highly rated; it doesn't just rely on Billy. He was a nice part of the program but I don't think it'll affect the show either way. I mean it'll affect me personally Ścause I love Billy and I love working with him, but, you know, I don't think that it will affect the ratings.
Chaunce: Do you think there is a chance West will return?
HS: Oh, I think there's always a chance of Billy returning. You know, it's sort of the door's always open kind of thing. I just think that it's unfortunate. I had no idea that he was negotiating or anything, and all of a sudden he told me his negotiations weren't going very well and that he was taking off. It's a shame to lose such a talented guy. Yeah, he's a great guy and a great talent too.
Chaunce: With all the violence in the world and celebrities apparently being the prime target, do you ever fear for your life to the point where you need to carry a gun and has it caused you to live an Elvis Presley type of existence?
HS: Well first of all I don't have velour carpeting on my ceiling and purple furniture. And I don't do drugs. I'm just a homebody, I like staying at home, and being famous is a convenient excuse for staying in the house. I kind of like that. I don't really wanna go anywhere. I could be entertained by just sitting in this room and staring at the walls. And I don't really fear for my life. I tried to prove this with John Stossel of "20/20" who said, "Uh, gee, don't people think that you're a racist, don't they think all these things." So I said, "Let's go out on the street and see what people think." So we went out on the street and we walked around and people of every ethnic background, black, white, Puerto Rican, came up and embraced me. We were mobbed and there were really good vibes and good feelings. I think that this is a case where people in the media assume that people hate me but they don't. I mean, I don't feel that sense of fear. And yes, I am licensed to own a gun and in fact I own several guns. While I'm not really a gun enthusiast, I believe that people who particularly live on The Island (Long Island) in a home should have a gun to protect it.
Chaunce: I'm going to play the devil's advocate for a moment. You often make note of how it was you who invented the shock radio format that is now copied by radio people all over the country. However, fellow radio personality, Bob Grant, claims that when you were just a boy, you came up to him and said, "Mr. Grant, some day I want to do the kind of radio show that you do."
HS: Bob Grant is so full of shit. I met Bob Grant years ago. My father took me to a temple where Bob Grant was speaking and I didn't know what the fuck he was talking about. Years later I ran into him and he said, "Howard, you're killing me, you're ripping me a new asshole in the ratings." If you remember, he was on in the afternoon when I was on in the afternoon at NBC. So I said, "Oh yeah, I remember you. My father once took me to hear you speak." The next day he gets on the radio and makes up a story. Bob Grant is no one I admire. Bob is a guy who had no balls when back early in his career he tried to express sort of like a Joe Pyne kind of sentiment and the station that he was working for tried to fire him so he clammed up and basically did a milquetoast, bland radio talk-show where he would take people's opinions over the air and not open his mouth. And then, of course, when I came on the scene Bob suddenly got brave again and said, oh, I wanna do that too. And of course then he became this loudmouth. But Bob is an old man with a bad hairpiece, everybody knows it and his nose job is awful and ...I mean he's just Bob...But Bob's story is absolutely one hundred percent untrue.
Chaunce: Okay Howard, final question. Can you give us a ballpark date of when that movie of yours is gonna come out?
HS: Um...I know when it's gonna come out but I wanna hold off on that story, only because there's some things in movie making that are out of your control. But I will tell you this, we've got the script, it's great and we're gonna be shooting it soon. I would say look for it in the summer.
Special Thanks To: Chaunce Hayden and Steppin' Out Magazine For This Exclusive Interview. ©1995
©1995. The K.O.A.M. Newsletter & Steppin' Out Magazine . All Rights Reserved.