Lesson #7: Keep your head on straight.
Writing about famous people, even only modestly famous people, is a goofy occupation and one whose value is open to interpretation even by the people directly effected. It all happens after you write the story.
On a bad day with a bad story (meaning one they didn't like), they want you to feel like a parasite, like you've taken from them. You're a problem, an asshole, a scumbag. You're ingrateful or a liar or cynical. They will tell you these things (meaning, their publicist will).
On a good day, you're their bestest buddy. You're a long lost relative.
You will seldom hear back when they agree or like something. You almost always hear back when they don't, and it will sort of hurt. They'll screw with your head, try to make you feel guilty and want to rewrite the series of events that led to your getting the interview and the access in the first place. They were doing you a favor. You were petty and took a cheap shot. You only looked at the negative and your article was shit, you fucking hack.
When it's good, they can make you feel great (if they care to). Lots of positive strokes. Lots of little applause and maybe a little thank-you bribe will get offered (usually tickets to the show and occasionally, "would you like to meet..."). It will feel like one more good story and you'll get invited onto a bus for a road trip involving booze, drugs and groupies who can live on a strict diet of your crotch.
Yeah, that sounds nice. It might be difficult to walk, but you'd manage.
Neither scenario is real, of course, though it is easy to get drawn into the nonsense and get stuck. From time to time I do and sometimes need a good push to get out of the mud. If I didn't get stuck from time to time, I'd have lost my soul. If I couldn't get out of the mud, I'd have lost my mind.
I keep both by remembering that in the end, I'm just writing about entertainers. Entertainment is important. It adds a little flavor, but it's not really nourishment.
(And yes, I promise by Friday, a list of some of my best interview flubs, screw-ups and moments of odd -The Indigo Girls, for instance, talking about some girl they both thought was hot right after she got off the elevator.)