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From Clayton’s Vault: My 2009 Interview with Chuck Klosterman

Before I joined Down the Drive, I ran my own blog and interviewed some interesting people like author Chuck Klosterman.

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Back before I joined Down the Drive, I ran a blog for a while called American Polymath. It featured essays on culture and current events as well as some fiction.

I did a number of interviews for the dearly departed American Polymath and I’ve decided to dust a few of them off for Down the Drive.

My latest piece from Clayton’s vault is a 2009 interview I conducted with Chuck Klosterman. This interview came out shortly after the release of his fantastic essay collection Eating the Dinosaur.

Among other things, Chuck and I discussed Elvis Presley, Elvis Grbac and the greatest sixth men in the history of the NBA.

Clayton Trutor (CT): What is your favorite kind of dinosaur? Has your favorite changed since you were a boy?

Chuck Klosterman (CK): I like sauropods. I think I preferred carnivores when I was younger. I doubt that this change says anything about me, though. Maybe it would if I were a paleontologist, but I’m just a guy.

CT: I’ve read that you think the experience of writing a novel has improved your craft as a writer. Has writing a novel changed the way you approach writing? I’m thinking specifically about your routine or writing schedule.

CK: No, that hasn’t changed at all. If anything, I write slower now, but I think that’s just because I’m getting older. There is a physical aspect to writing that I think is often overlooked by people.

CT: The Onion AV Club recently published your review of the thirteen newly remastered Beatles studio albums. Who would be some other bands you would be interested in reviewing, if their record labels released similarly comprehensive collections.

CK: That piece in the Onion wasn’t a review. That was supposed to be funny. I was surprised so many people did not realize that, although I should probably know better by now.

CT: You have been most pleased by the reception to which of your books?

CK: Fargo Rock City. I think that was the only time people reviewed the actual content of the book, as opposed to reviewing some vague idea about me. But I guess I don’t care about any reaction too much. I don’t get paid to write. I write for free. I get paid to live with the experience of being published.

CT: Which third party in the history of American politics most closely represents your worldview?

CK: There’s never been a political party I personally identified with. I used to think I was a libertarian, but I’ve encountered too many real libertarians to continue feeling that way.

CT: You speak at a lot of college campuses. Of the campuses you’ve visited, which is your favorite? Which college would you have most liked to attend?

CK: Davidson was a really nice college. So was UCLA. But if I could do it all over again, I would still go to the Univ. of North Dakota. I would never want to risk changing the outcome of my life.

CT: What album have you listened to the most over the course of this decade?

CK: Hmmm. That’s a very good question. Probably Kid A. Actually, that’s not true -- for a very long time, The Thrills’ So Much For The City was jammed in the second slot of my CD player. It might still be in there, in fact. I’ve probably listened to the beginning of that album 2000 times.

CT: What band or musician is most in need of a good biography?

CK: Steely Dan.

CT: What is your favorite North American city?

CK: Austin, Texas.

CT: What writer’s work has had the most negative influence on your own writing?

CK: Chuck Klosterman

CT: What is your favorite era in Elvis Presley’s (or Grbac’s) career?

CK: My favorite aspect of Presley’s career was when he became a drugged-up recluse who aspired to become a narc for Nixon. I also like whatever day it was when he recorded “Suspicious Minds.” I think my favorite era for Elvis Grbac was probably his junior year at Michigan, although I feel like he might have been on my fantasy team when he was with Kansas City.

CT: Name an all time NBA team of guys who spent a significant part of their careers as sixth men.

CK: This is a great question. What do you classify as “significant”? I’m counting anyone who was a meaningful sixth man for more than two seasons

F- Kevin McHalke

F- John Havlicek

C- Roy Tarpley

G- Junior Bridgeman

G- Michael Cooper

CT: How would you determine the national champion in College Football?

CK: I think there should be an AP/UPI poll and a coaches poll, and I think they should eliminate the National Championship game and have all the bowls scheduled the way they used to be (Big 10 vs. Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl, SEC champion vs. the best at-large Midwestern or Northeastern team, etc.). I really love the bowl system. I would watch every single one if I could, although my favorite will always be the Cotton Bowl. People want a play-off, but they are so fucking confused. Their argument always seems to be, “College football is the best, most interesting sport in America, but it needs a play-off system.” How can they not realize that the reason it’s so great is because there is no play-off system?

AP: What is your favorite board game?

CK: Clue.

AP: If you were hired to cast a movie about Rumours era Fleetwood Mac, who would you pick to play the members of the band?

CK: Dakota Fanning would be Stevie Nicks, although maybe she’s too young. Sarah Polley could be Christine McVie, although maybe she’s too old. Connor Oberst would make his film debut as Lindsey Buckingham. Jeremy Davis would be Mick Fleetwood and just about anyone could be John McVie. Jason Schwartzman could potentially have a cameo as Don Henley.

Follow Chuck Klosterman on Twitter: @CKlosterman

For more of the same, follow me too: @ClaytonTrutor