I’ve always liked Kris Allen. Solid musician, nice guy, perfectly deserving of the “Idol” crown. Scintillating? No. Controversial? Not in the least. Witty? Not especially. Relatable? Absolutely. He has no aggrandized ego or sense of self – just an Arkansas boy made good. Even during a quick interview with me by phone a few moments ago, he never sounds bored. He truly makes an effort to be engaged and answer questions the best he can.
He called in from the Alpharetta AT&T store, where he is now signing autographs and kissing babies. (I”m 600 miles away in Alexandria, Va. and did a phoner.). I hope he gets a good crowd.
Anyway, here are excerpts from the interview:
Q: What did you do for your 25th birthday a few days ago?
A: We actually had a show in Albuquerque. It was real fun. We got a cake on stage, from Coldstone.
Q: They didn’t put 25 candles on the cake, did they?
A: It was like four, thank goodness.
Q: What was the coolest gift you got?
A: Some fans decided to donate money on my behalf to Heifer International [which provides cows to poor folks in undeveloped countries.] It’s been really awesome. It went kind of crazy. They’ve raised more than $25,000 [equaling 50 cows.].
Q: What’s the connection to you?
A: It’s based in Arkansas.
Q: Any other goofy gifts from fans?
A: I’ve gotten some hot sauce. I don’t know why. That was weird. Also sour cream and onion crickets. Didn’t get that one either.
Q: On Twitter a few days back you wrote, “Thanks Nashville for a great show tonight! Did anyone eat the Wheat Thins?”
A: We were playing a show with Green River Ordinance and I came out and sang a song with them. I was eating Wheat Thins when I came out on stage and started throwing them into the audience.
Q: Are you hoping for an endorsement?
A: They did hear about it and are sending me more Wheat Thins.
[Pure aside: This reminds me of Sandy Duncan? Remember her?]
But here is the Green Ordinance/Kris Allen version of the Beatles “With a Little Help From My Friends” featuring the Wheat Thins:
Q: This is your first solo tour so you are playing a lot of covers. Why did you pick the ones you did?
A: Some are from the show. People dig those. They want to hear those. So there’s ‘Heartless’ of course. We did ‘Man in the Mirror.” We do “Falling Slowly” most nights. We also did Radiohead [the very dissonant "Paranoid Android"]. I have always loved that and the band got into it, too. We do it every once in awhile. It creeps some people out. It’s weird but some people love it, too.
Q: Would it be even weirder if you rapped?
A: I can rap in a very white boy way. But I’d never do it on a CD.
Q: Where are you off to after Atlanta today?
A: I’m heading to New York. I’m going to sing the National Anthem at the Mets game. Then I play Yankee Stadium.
Q: Are you a big baseball fan?
A: Yes! I grew up playing baseball. I’m a big Braves fan. It was TBS that did it. They were often the only baseball team to watch.
Q: Do you like Jason Heyward?
A: I love Heyward. And I think Martin Prado is the shiznit. [Yes. The word shiznit came out of Kris Allen's mouth! Funny!] Although the Mets are catching up and the Phillies are strong, the Braves have been really doing it.
Q: Are you happy with how “Live Like We’re Dying” is doing? Top 10 and 1.5 million downloads!
A: I couldn’t be any more surprised or ecstatic. It moved up slowly and steadily and did its thing. I can’t complain. It’s been awesome.
Q: Were people confused over the title of the song since Tim McGraw had a big hit a few years ago with “Live Like You Were Dying”?
A: People would say to me, ‘Why did you cover a Tim McGraw song?’ I’d say, “Have you hard my song? It’s not something Tim McGraw would sing!”
Q: Have you ever played the Tim McGraw song?
A: Once, we did start singing a bit of it during an acoustic show for fun.
Q: Why did you add Pat Monahan [of Train] to your second single “The Truth”?
A: Well, he wrote it. And there’s a little bit of marketing to that [thanks to the recent success of "Hey, Soul Sister."].
Q: Why did you latch on as an opener for Maroon 5? [He's going to be back in metro Atlanta next month at the Gwinnett Arena with Maroon 5.]
A: They asked! You can’t say no to that. They’re a huge band and that first album is one of my favorites. It’s freakin’ good! [Yes. He said "freakin'!" No cursing from this man!]
- Ellen DeGeneres has a book deal to write a memoir.