“A Holiday Benefit, Vol. II” Takes Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

xmasscranton.jpgA few years ago now, I returned to my alma mater, Syracuse University, to speak to students about how to get a job (or, more specifically, how I got my job, and lessons I’ve learned that might be of some valuable to them).

It’s a speech I would later give at Emerson College, and have adapted and re-presented to various internship and graduate programs since. In fact, I’ll be dusting it off this Monday night.

Anyway, I addressed three separate classrooms that day before driving past my band’s house (“The Smokehouse”) to the hill high above campus, taking in my life so far, and heading to the airport.

At the end of the last class, an assertive, ambitious senior named Ralphie Aversa sprinted down the aisle and pressed a glossy folder full of press clips, CDs and glamour shots into my hands. The kid wanted to be on MTV. Badly.

Ralphie (or “Little” Ralphie as he was know on his local radio show then) has done a great job working that first contact ever since, peppering me with email and phone calls. I’ve offered all sorts of agenda-informed advice, like that the world doesn’t need another Ryan Seacrest, and that he should focus on being a great storyteller.

He’s since landed at a Top 40 station, WBHT, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, launched his own blog, and focused on his reportage skills after hours.

A few weeks ago, then, it dawned on me that he might do me a solid and spin our “A Holiday Benefit, Vol. II” single, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” He kindly obliged, and tossed in a quick interview to boot.

We spoke around eight o’clock Wednesday night. It had been a long, excruciating day (which lead, sadly, to a longer and even more excruciating day on Thursday). I turned away from my desk, put my feet up on the window sill, looked out on Times Square, and found some easy enthusiasm.

It was, as always, an interesting conversation. I know enough about media to appreciate a good sound bite, but still caught myself rambling. Fortunately, Ralphie knows enough about media to edit. Here’s the interview, complete with ear-splitting, Top 40 Radio sound effects.


If you haven’t already, please download your copy of “A Holiday Benefit, Vol. II” at iTunes, or have our friends at CD Baby send you an actual CD. If you want to order more than ten (makes a great gift!), please email me directly.

And to Ralphie, WBHT, and Wilkes-Barre, thanks, and Happy Holidays.

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