Greg Prato has published two books through Lulu, A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon and Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story. Both of Greg’s books document the lives of musicians entirely through interviews given by the people who knew them best. The author himself agreed to an interview with me, and here it is:
You conducted interviews with people who knew the musicians best, people like parents, siblings, girlfriends, former bandmates and other famous musicians. How did you convince these people to talk with you?
I was lucky because in both cases, I had done pretty long feature articles on each artist, for Classic Rock Magazine (a UK publication). So I had a pretty good head start for both books with the interviews I conducted for the articles. Once I got permission from the main subjects in each book (in Blind Melon’s case, the 4 surviving band members, and in Tommy Bolin’s case, Tommy’s brother Johnnie), they each submitted suggestions of who I should get in touch with and interview for the books (and in many cases, provided contact info). And since I was very familiar with each beforehand (I’m a long-time fan of each), I did some research and got in touch with other people that were friends or acquaintances to see about setting up interviews. During the writing of the Blind Melon book, I was also working on a book about grunge bands (see the more books in the works), so I was able to ask Blind Melon-related questions to some grunge bands that they were friends with.