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We got an interview with the luckiest guy on earth, Michael
Guerriero. Don’t believe me, take a look
at his bio:
“Michael Guerriero walked into his
meeting at Adams Media publishing in a
tee-shirt, jeans, and flip-flops. He walked out with a book deal.
Mike never thought that his days of roaming the United
States and attending the greatest celebrations that he could find, would result
in more than some great stories and a few rough mornings. A born explorer, he has spent years
immersed in a variety of cultures, partying all over the world with colorful
characters in fascinating locations.
While sitting in a barbeque joint during a Tennessee blues festival
in 2006, a light bulb went on in Mike’s head. He realized that this great
country is filled with amazing annual events, but they had never been organized
and arranged into a party seeker’s travel book. He immediately pulled the
checkered napkin from his shirt collar and wiped the barbeque sauce from his
face. He left Tennessee
to begin work on the greatest domestic travel guide ever.
Eight driving trips across the country, partying from
coast to coast while taking notes, has made him the resident expert on this
Mike’s book, Party Across America: The Ultimate Guidebook to the 101 Greatest Parties in the Country is coming out in November. Here’s the conversation I had with Mike.
RKDeem: Hello Mike, I
really appreciate you taking some time to answer a couple of questions for the
RKDeemReport. I can’t believe I’m
interviewing an author, I feel like Chris Farley interviewing Paul
you’re much better looking than Chris Farley and I’m no Paul McCartney. But
that poor guy really married a psycho didn’t he?
RKDeem: I’ve always had a mysterious desire to partake in the
Groundhog’s Day celebration in Punxsutawney,
but it has to be the coldest party ever.
How in the world do you prep for a party that has you standing outside
all night and morning in February?
Mike: That’s a one word answer: booze. Actually, Ground Hog day is one of the most
unique and oldest annual celebrations in the country, although a lot has
changed over the past 10 years. The
tradition used to be to build bonfires on Gobbler’s Knob, stay up all night and
party like a rockstar without going to bed.
Then everyone would stumble over to watch Punxsutawney Phil make his
6:00 am prediction. These days it’s a
bit more of a family atmosphere, but a blast nonetheless.
RKDeem: There’s a
bunch of parties that sound like a wild freaking time, like rules are just
thrown out for a couple days, Halloween in New York City, Fantasy Fest, and Mardi Gras
come to mind. Has there ever been a time
where you were at a party and you thought the scene was just out of control?
Mike: Absolutely – you can’t write a guidebook to the 101 greatest
annual parties in the U.S.
without experiencing times like those.
In fact, Fantasy Fest in Key
West is a perfect example. The scene at that party is bordering on
lunacy, particularly on the second night which is Saturday. The crowd basically taps into their deepest
darkest fantasy, even if just for one weekend out of the year, and parties
accordingly. If you are a shy person or
easily embarrassed then this is NOT the party for you. If, however you want to experience the
ultimate, anything-goes, societal norms are out-the-window celebration then
Fantasy Fest is a must-go shindig.
RKDeem: Okay, I have
to ask, what the hell is the testicle festival?
Mike: Ha! It’s an annual
party that happens outside of Missoula,
Montana in a humongous biker bar
over the course of an entire weekend.
The festival’s name comes from the thousands of pounds of battered and
fried bull testicles, or Rocky Mountain Oysters, which are consumed by the
crowd. They’re actually really good. Of
course – thousands of pounds worth of beer are consumed as well. The revelers are about as wild and rowdy a
group as you’ll find – cowboys and bikers.
Metrosexuals may want to steer away from this one.
RKDeem: I can imagine
my parents giving me a hard time if I spent a couple years “researching”
awesome parties across the nation, but I can also seeing them bragging about
how great I am for publishing a book.
Has there been a big change in how your family perceived your “career
Mike: That’s an interesting question. My family has been extremely supportive and
they’ve always encouraged us in everything that we’ve wanted to do. That being said, there was definitely a kind
of “what the hell are you doing” to the whole thing. I mean, I told them about the idea before I
landed the book deal, and they wished me well and then quickly changed the
subject. What would you do if your 31
year old son came to you and said “I’m trying to write a guidebook to the
greatest parties in the country even though I’ve never had an interest in
writing?” But they were the first people I called when the offer came through –
and yes, they are extremely excited about it.
In fact, my father recently said “we always knew that we sent him to
school to party – and now it’s paying off.”
I didn’t write the great American novel, but I did write the
greatest American travel guide.
RKDeem: With your
book coming out in November, I imagine your calendar is packed for the next
month and a half, can you tell me what you’ll be doing to promote the book,
we’ll we see you on C-Span Book TV?
Mike: Well, I have a publicist whose job is to get the book and
the author in the media. She is the same
person who did the publicity for Chicken Soup For The Soul, Confessions of an
Economic Hitman, The Secret, and a bunch of other biggies. She just started working, but has already had
interest from Maxim, Rolling Stone,
USA Today, and
a few others.
I’ve got a bunch of signings and talks line up, and of
course some partying as well.
RKDeem: I ask
everyone this question, any advice for my two year old son, Winston?
Mike: You know, I’ve always thought that it’s cliché and cheesy
when someone says “if you set your mind to it, you can do anything.” But I’ve learned through this experience that
it’s true. I have never ever written
anything – ever. But I had an idea that
I acted on. I bet you that 500 other
people have had the same idea – but it probably entered their minds for 5
minutes and then they talked themselves out of it. If Winston wants something tell him to go
after it because anything is possible with some hard work.
RKDeem: Where’s the
next big party we might see you at?
Mike: The World’s Largest Disco in Buffalo.
It takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year, and it sells
out in 40 minutes – 9,000 tickets in 40 minutes! It’s the ultimate one-night stand with music
and fashion that may be best left dead.
I’ve become friends with the organizer through the whole book process,
and he’s putting us in a limo with Leif Garret and Erik Estrada and sending us
off to the disco. We’re going to do a
little dance and make a little love. Not
with Leif and Eric though.
RKDeem: Thank you so
much for taking the time, I sincerely appreciate it. Best of luck with your
book and wish you continued success. I
placed my pre-order on Amazon.com and the book was very reasonable (click here to pre-order), can’t wait to read it in November.
Mike: Thanks for having me Rob – you know it’s been a weird time
with the economy’s downwards spiral, and it feels as though the whole country
has been a bit depressed. There’s no
cure for depression like some good ole American partying – besides life is not
about work, it’s about celebrating!
Mike Guerriero thinking about his next party