Our Interview with a Legend

May 18, 2015

BBOn June 27, 2007 I was contacted by a friend at another production company saying that they had a possible shoot that they couldn’t do that night and wanted to know if I’d be interested. Oh, and by the way, it would be with B.B. King.

At the time I was a company of one. I shot, edited, and ran GK Visual on my own. I’d have others help me from time to time, but with such short notice I knew I’d be on my own for this one. I was put in touch with the client. He had a radio show where he interviewed influential people. He let me know that BB King was in Harrisburg to perform at the Forum and that we had a limited window in which we could interview him before he was to perform.

I loaded up my car with my trusty Canon XL-2 mini-DV camera, tripod, lights, and two mics. When I got to the shoot I had to park a few blocks away and lug my gear into the back hallways of the Forum. As is typical with shoots, I sat and waited with my equipment until someone came and told me what we would be doing.

Eventually the client called me and said we have the green light to go onto Mr. King’s tour bus and shoot the interview there. I hauled my gear back outside and knocked on the door of the bus. The tour manager opened the door and pretty much laughed at me. “You’re not bringing all of that onto the bus”, he said. I quickly dumped the bulk of what I had with me back into the building, pulled out my camera and mics, and ran back onto the bus. By this point I am sweating bullets and was pretty shaken.

The client and I are ushered to the back room where our interviewee was waiting for us. B.B. King couldn’t have been any nicer as I nervously put a mic on him. No sooner than I had mics on everyone, the interview started. There was no time to tweak things or make it look pretty. Without my tripod I was also now shooting the interview entirely handheld.

B.B. was great. So warm and so full of stories. We were told we would have about twenty minutes with him. Our interview went over a half an hour. I got the impression that he would have stayed and talked with us all night. The client did his best a few times to let B.B. end, but the King just kept telling us stories.

That interview was one of my greatest memories from this job. Mr. King will be missed. He definitely made an lasting impact on me that June night eight years ago.

Enjoy the entire uncut interview here. https://vimeo.com/128163654

-Nate Kresge