That’s what my assistant news director asked me when she saw me pull out a camera in the office so that I could have my picture taken with John Michael Talbot. She asked the question with the same arched eyebrow she uses whenever I come up with a half-baked idea. (“How about a story tying Catholicism to the iPad?”)
Anyway: yes, I suppose he’s the closest thing the Church has to a big fat musical celebrity — though he’s a reclusive sort and not given to moonwalking. When we heard he was passing through New York for a couple concerts, we contacted him and invited him to come on “Currents.” He happily obliged.
He turned out to be very patient, cheerful, surprisingly chatty. When I met him and shook his hand, I said, “We’re so excited to have Z.Z. Top on the show,” and he laughed. “Z.Z. Talbot,” he corrected me, with a smile.
During his interview, he talked about his music, his ministry, and the unusual community he founded down in Arkansas. I also found out the secret of that beautiful voice: Dr. Pepper, early in the morning. He performed two of his songs for us — including what may be his biggest hit, “Holy Is His Name” — and cheerfully posed for pictures with the staff.
We invited him to come back. He promised he would. I promised myself I’d bring my camera for more pictures.