76°F
weather icon Clear

The answer to Howard Stern’s ‘silly question’ is in new book

Tucked into this interview with legendary broadcaster and published author Howard Stern is the possibility he’ll visit Vegas, and soon.

“I heard from Steven. He wants me to go out there,” Stern says. “I’m going to try.”

Steven is Steven Tyler, and the “try” would be to catch Aerosmith at Park Theater. Tyler actually sent a persuasive text to Stern this month, inviting him to the show. A line from Tyler’s lyrical note: “It seems every time I sing my heart out I have to grow another.”

Maybe it’ll work. Aerosmith is back on June 19. By then, Stern’s new book, “Howard Stern Comes Again,” released today, will be out a month and he’ll be about finished with this book-promotion odyssey.

“Comes Again” is Stern’s third book, following “Private Parts” and “Miss America.” The new release by Simon & Schuster is an array of Stern’s best interviews, spelled out in a Q&A format. It can be absorbed as pure entertainment, a reference book or an updated memoir of Stern’s career.

We chatted for 10 minutes on the phone Saturday afternoon. What transpired:

Review-Journal: Through all of these interviews, you hold up Conan O’Brien as your favorite. Why him?

Howard Stern: I’ve been asked so many times over the years, “What is your favorite interview?” I’ve actually felt it was kind of a silly question, because there’s no favorite interview, in terms of who the person is. What I meant by “favorite interview” was I’m neurotic about that radio show, and pretty much everything I do. I’m obsessive. I’m always left with the feeling afterward that I didn’t get it perfectly right. I missed something. I left this or that on the table, the guest didn’t say this or that. I have a hard time living with these interviews afterwards.

With Conan, there was this weird revelation. That was the one time I went, “Wow, there wasn’t a question I left out, I really heard my guest.” I got the funny out of him, I got the seriousness of his depression. He was so brilliant. It was like the perfect conversation. I went home and said, “You know, I’m not having that feeling that I blew it.”

It’s a definitive explanation, given the quality and quantity of everyone you’ve interviewed.

People have written me who like Jerry Seinfeld, or maybe Rosie O’Donnell, or Lady Gaga saying, “That was the best one!” for them. It was Conan only because I felt so good afterward.

You write about your health scare, having a cyst removed from your kidney. I have to ask how you are feeling.

My health is good, I’m feeling good. Listen, I’ve been reflecting on this whole idea of doing a book promotion — the last time I did any book promotion was 20 years ago, and it feels like I was shot out of a cannon. You have to pace yourself, but I’m doing well. The reason I wrote about that health scare was I was trying to figure out why I was even writing this book. I wanted something to leave for my kids, or something I was really super proud of. That was really the driving force.

You still seem young, at 65.

But the health thing really brought a reality to me I really thought I was invincible. My parents are 96 and 91, I’m just supposed to live forever. It was, wow, a real smack in the head. It turned out to be nothing, but to be told there’s a 95 percent chance you have cancer of the kidney is no picnic. It was a wake-up call.

Did it lead to any lifestyle changes?

Not really. It was a cyst, turned into being pretty careful about what I ate, not really a drinker and I’m not a smoker. I’ve always exercised.

Was this deep enough that it caused you to step back and look at what you haven’t done in your life, or your career?

Not that so much, for me, but it filled me with regret. I love to read now, and in the past I’ve missed out on reading a lot of books. I’ve fallen in love with painting in the past few years and I’m like, “Oh, damn,” and one day I’ll get off the radio and have time to draw and paint and get proficient at it.

I’d also just like to hang out with my wife and my kids, get to know them better. But now everything is time-compressed. The sand in the hourglass is running out, and it’s kind of mind-blowing.

What kind of painting would you do?

Watercolor, primarily. In the book, I put in a painting of my cat, Sophia, who died. My wife and I are really into animal rescue. You try to paint things that are meaningful to you, so I do a lot of landscape, I’ve done a bunch lot of our cats. I’m trying to find myself. Learning how to draw is the key to it all. I spend a lot of time, when I have free time, which isn’t a lot, I work on it. I’m learning.

Like how Tony Bennett has turned painting into his second passion?

Yeah. In fact, I was working at a restaurant years ago and he did a little portrait of me. He’s very good — he studied at the Arts Students’ League (of New York), so he is very good. But I see a lot of famous people sell paintings, and people are just buying the signature rather than the fact that they’re proficient. I’m not anyone to judge because I’m not that good, either … But i’m not looking to sell them. It’s just something I want to do for myself, like an art journal.

The book’s format really draws you into these interviews, like you can hear the voices. How much did you contribute to the construction and editing?

I did not want to write another book at all. But I’d always toyed with the idea of releasing these interviews in some way, as a compilation. So in order to sort of seduce me into doing it, they came to me with all these interviews and said, “Look, you don’t have to do anything at all! We did it all for you!” But when we sat down and looked at it, these weren’t my favorite interviews. By favorite, I wanted a smattering of rock ‘n’ rollers, showbiz people, the guy who says he was at 9-11 but he wasn’t, some infamous people, I wanted to get Trump in there.

So you went back and re-started the process?

I had to start from scratch, and that meant going through transcripts and figuring out if something was worthwhile. What am I trying to say about the art of interviewing and my career? Then I started writing pieces with the interviews, and stand-alone pieces, and that’s why it took two years to do, with constantly revising. But it’s clearly a reflection really and truly of me. It can’t be done by somebody else.

As a reader, do these conversations still hold your interest?

I gotta tell you, I did these interviews, and remembering Jerry Seinfeld very, very well and I don’t remember any of this. The written word is powerful. Reading them is worthwhile, they teach us something. It teaches people what I might be thinking these days, too, a lot of my own personal growth. I wanted to bring the reader on a journey and really give them a sense of me.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1on Instagram.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
The Hangover is served at The Crack Shack in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Khine Moore, executive chef at The Crack Shack at Park MGM in Las Vegas, makes The Hangover with a fried chicken breast or thigh dipped in honey-butter, sprinkled with Crack Seasoning and topped with an egg. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dessert Before Dinner winner Becky Quan
Nine of Las Vegas’ top women pastry chefs offered original creations built around Girl Scouts Trefoils shortbread cookies Saturday night at Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada’s annual Desserts Before Dinner Gala. The top dessert, as voted on by the audience, was an homage to Good Humor’s old-fashioned Strawberry Shortcake ice cream bars created by NoMad’s Becky Quan. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chef Sammy D is cooking again in Las Vegas
Sam DeMarco served his first public meal since returning to Las Vegas on Sunday, with a pop-up brunch at 7th & Carson. And the veteran of the First Food & Bar, Rattlecan and Sam’s American has more in store for the downtown spot. The chef, known as Sammy D. to his friends, is taking on a consulting chef role with restaurant that will see some of Sunday’s offerings added to the regular menu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Carl’s Donuts in Las Vegas celebrates National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day
Carl’s Donuts, a Las Vegas-based company that’s been serving the city since 1966, celebrates National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day with specialties themed to fall. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rick Harrison of "Pawn Stars" has a new store - VIDEO
Rick Harrison, the Pawn Stars co-star and owner of Gold & Silver Pawn, talks to the Review-Journal’s John Katsilometes about his soon-to-open Rick’s Collection retail outlet of mostly mid-century masterworks at the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pok Pok Wing at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas serves Pad Thai Thamadaa - VIDEO
Because of popular request, the 1-year-old Pok Pok Wing at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas serves Pad Thai Thamadaa, with shrimp, ground pork, neither or both. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trial by Fire cocktail at the Golden Tiki in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Adam Rains, head bartender (also Grand Poobah and a few other things) at The Golden Tiki in Las Vegas, makes one of the bar’s tiki drinks, (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gordon Ramsay renovating Las Vegas steakhouse - VIDEO
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is preparing to re-launch his Paris Las Vegas restaurant, Gordon Ramsay Steak. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cats owners compete for top show awards
The annual Jazzy Cats event is taking place at the Rio Convention Center this weekend attracting cats owners from around the country and the world to compete for the top show awards. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas serves blackened Cajun catfish - VIDEO
Troy Remer, sous chef at Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, blackens Cajun catfish on the grill before serving it with mashed potatoes and collard greens. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Gold Encrusted Filet Mignon at Mr. Chow - VIDEO
This just may be the gold standard for the filet mignon. Mr. Chow at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas has introduced The Gold Encrusted Filet Mignon, which is coated with real 24-karat gold. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Working as a mermaid in Las Vegas - VIDEO
McKenzie Kawano works as a mermaid at the aquarium at the Silverton in Las Vegas. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinkbox Doughnuts opens third store in Las Vegas area
Las Vegas-based Pinkbox Doughnuts, which opened its third store at 9435 W. Tropicana Ave., specializes in doughnuts such as the new Station Wagon, with Butterfinger; pink-velvet Pretty in Pink; and hybrid Glazed DoughCro Bites. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal, with image courtesy of Pinkbox Doughnuts
Starbucks brings back Pumpkin Spice early
Starbucks declares Aug. 27 the first day of fall as they make their pumpkin spice items available a full month early. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bachelor Party Fra Diavolo at Carmine’s in Las Vegas
Roberto Leon, a line cook at Carmine’s at The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas, makes Bachelor Party Fra Diavolo with eight pounds of lobster, a pound each of mussels, clams and shrimp, two pounds of pasta and two gallons of sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'American Idol' auditions in Las Vegas
“American Idol” was in Las Vegas Monday looking for singers to compete in its upcoming 2020 season. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegan part of the Harlem Globetrotters
Scooter Christensen, who grew up in Las Vegas, will play with the Harlem Globetrotters at The Orleans in Las Vegas Sunday, Aug. 25. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MSG Sphere at The Venetian to cost $1.2B plus
Scheduled to open in 2021, it is expected to be busier than Madison Square Garden in New York. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terra Rossa Returns To Red Rock. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terra Rossa at Red Rock Resort is set to open on Aug. 26.
Hubert Keller’s Backyard Kitchen
Chef Hubert Keller of Fleur and Burger Bar shows off his backyard kitchen in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Watermelon Mojitos and Chicken ‘N’ Watermelon ‘N’ Waffles at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Bartender Cassy Leedom and Chef Norberto Ortega make a Watermelon Mojito and Chicken ‘N’ Watermelon ‘N’ Waffles at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar at The Venetian in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Juan’s Flaming Fajitas in Las Vegas celebrates National Fajita Day
Cook Ruben Fuentes and general manager Taylor Pulliam of Juan’s Flaming Fajitas in Las Vegas prepare steak and shrimp fajitas with the restaurant’s signature fiery treatment. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pasta Shop Ristorante serves a watermelon-shrimp salad
Pasta Shop Ristorante & Art Gallery in Henderson serves a summer salad that combines watermelon with greens, feta and shrimp. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Factory Kitchen in Las Vegas makes classic affogato
Jorge Luque, pastry chef at The Factory Kitchen at The Venetian in Las Vegas, makes affogato with two simple ingredients - house-made gelato and fresh espresso. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review Journal with image from The Factory Kitchen)
The Cereal Killerz Kitchen serves over 100 cereals
Christopher Burns, owner of The Cereal Killerz Kitchen at Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson, makes a Milk & Cookies Shake from his more than 100 varieties of cereal. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in Las Vegas makes a State Fair CrazyShake
Bianca Zepeva, a shaker at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian in Las Vegas, makes a State Fair CrazyShake with a kettle corn rim, caramel, corn-based ice cream, popcorn brittle, crushed kettle corn, sprinkles and a cherry. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Balboa Pizza Company makes Thai peanut chicken wings
Irma Perez, kitchen manager at Balboa Pizza Company at The District at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, near Las Vegas, brines chicken wings for 24 hours before roasting and frying them and finishing them in various styles such as Thai peanut. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
New Venetian pool deck
Final touches are currently being added to the hotel’s main tower pool deck, which consists of five pools. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who is Vegas Vic? (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada State Museum Director Dennis McBride explains the origins of the Vegas icon.
Slater’s 50/50 in Las Vegas serves a 4-pound Big Island Feast Burger
Cindy Sun, general manager of Slater’s 50/50 in Las Vegas, makes the Big Island Feast Burger with 2 1/2 pounds of the house bacon/beef blend, Napa-cilantro slaw, six slices of American cheese, a can of grilled Spam, six slices of chargrilled pineapple, four fried eggs and a drizzle of teriyaki and serves it with macaroni salad. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST