I’ve never called Australia before. In fact, I’ve never called outside of the U.S. before. My amateurishness in international calling however was placed to the test when I learned I had an interview with Iva Davies, the man behind the hugely successful Australian band Icehouse.
With Icehouse, Davies as amassed an impressive list of achievements including eight top-ten hit singles on the Australian pop charts, several of the highest selling albums in Australia by an Australian band, including 1987’s Man of Colours (which spent eleven weeks at #1 on the charts and had cross over hits in the U.S. breaking the top-twenty and top-ten position). Needless to say, it was vital that I master the international call.
Why was I so worried about a phone call? Well, you see equipment tends to fail when you need it the most. Especially, the sensitive and well-worn, land phone in the studio with whom I have developed a love-hate relationship. A beloved phone that tends to stop working periodically, usually at such times when you are counting on it most.
There have been cases when the phone refuses to offer a dial tone, even though all the wires are connected. It will even ring when an incoming call is placed but when you answer there’s only silence. Then suddenly, the next day it will be working as though nothing was ever wrong. I knew a call to Australia would test every fiber of this phone down to the molecular level.
Before I could challenge my beloved opponent, I first had to find a calling card. Years ago, I can recall my mother having a phone card practically at every phone. I even carried one in my wallet before my cell phone days. Yet, I never really needed one until now.
I scavenged the electronics department and check lanes at a local retailer store only to come up empty handed. All I could find were prepaid calling cards for cell phones.
Facing defeat, I approached the first cashier I found and ask for her help. She explained that each register lane had a different assortment of calling cards, iTunes cards and gift cards.
I looked at the twenty lanes of registers and the thirty plus cards hung at each one and I watched the cashier walk away. If there was an international calling card out there, it was up to me to find it.
I was about to wave the flag of surrender and try my luck at another story when a voice inside encouraged me to try one more register lane. Perhaps the voice wished to see me declare victory over the station phone, either way; I found a calling card hanging on the bottom rung of the register lane.
The next day I faced off with the station phone. I decided to challenge the phone by calling the box office of Sydney Opera House.
First, I had to dial a number to disconnect me from the campus phone line, then the 1-800 number of the calling card, then the pin number followed by the international calling number, then the country code, city code and then the number for the opera house. I half expected a troll to answer supplying me with a riddle to which I would have to answer before the call would be connected.
Very much to my surprise, the call connected without glitch and when 6:50PM Thursday evening came around I called Iva Davies and wished him a happy Friday morning.
From the moment I introduced myself to Davies, I knew he was a class act. I can’t even describe the interview as an interview; it was like I was speaking to an old friend. He listened to every word I said and every question I asked as though it was the most important subject.
I can remember listening to “Electric Blue” over and over again during my freshman year of college. It’s a song you can’t just play once but, when you play it, you play it ten times, until you can hum along to every instrument track. Speaking to Davies, the man behind that song, one of the most successful musicians in Australia, was a surreal moment for me. The fact that he was willing to speak with me, a young just-starting out radio DJ, showcases his genuine respect for all people in the music world.
Davies hasn’t let his successes distance himself from his fans and those around him. He is an extremely talent, yet, humble musician who has learned that respect opens the doors in life. I believe that he treats every person he meets with the same humility he showed me during our interview.
Davies is a role model that every musician should have in the forefronts of their minds and strive to model their own careers after. I wish more American artists would follow in the respectful footsteps of a class act like Davies.