In case you don’t know who (Louis) David Benedetto is, I’ll give you some clues.
While receiving your reading assignment, have you heard a melodic humming or a perfectly on-pitch verse of an unidentifiable song coming from the back table? That singer was David. Have you found yourself puzzling over the meaning of the design on an indie band T-shirt, worn by a lanky guy with curly red hair? Those cryptic shirts (and the auburn locks) belong to David. Have you noticed a serious, (and seriously freckled) fellow sipping coffee and wearing headphones while he concentrates on his laptop screen? Yep, that’s he. Have you caught Behind The Mic, the new series of interviews with some of WRBH’s favorite readers, and marveled at the intelligence, ease, and friendliness of the interviewer? Once again, David. And lastly, have you tuned in to Writers’ Forum and heard authors like Chang Rae Lee, David Armand, Laura Lane McNeal, JoJo Moyes and Michael Pitre talking with an earnest host who asks interesting, encouraging questions? That’s also David…and Sherry Alexander, actually. As co-hosts, they both excel at this interview business, but only one of them boasted the nickname “Dirty Dave” in college. More on that later.
David has been a wonderful addition to the station–with his quick laugh, easygoing nature and expansive knowledge of books, he’s had no problem fitting in with the staff and the readers. An additional asset: he’s also a wine and beer connoisseur, and can give excellent advice on which wines to choose if you’re planning a dinner party anytime soon. In order to learn even more about this enigmatic young man, I took his usual role of interviewer and asked him 19 questions.
Why 19, you ask? Well, he’s a bit shy, so I figured I’d ask a bit shy of 20.
1. Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, the Garden District to be exact.
2. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
My house is on the route for the annual Baton Rouge St. Patrick’s Day parade (the only parade Baton Rouge really does well.) My parents usually had an open house party where neighbors, friends and family would all show up. My mom would cook a huge batch of red beans, we’d ask people to bring dessert and drinks, and the kids would play an all-day basketball game outside. it was and is the best thing.
3. Where did you go to school and what was your major?
I went to LSU and was an English Creative Writing Major. ( I was almost a German minor as well, but I was missing a credit or two.)
4. Do you have any nicknames?
I go by Dave, Dave-O, Dirty Dave (from my days at KLSU Radio). Some people have tried “Davey” on me, but I’m not a huge fan of it.
5. Was there a class you really hated? Which class did you really love?
Despite being interested in all the concepts, I’ve never been the biggest Math fan. I hated Algebra ll the most, I think. I really enjoyed my American and English AP classes in high school, and in college I loved my Short Fiction Writing and the History of Sex and Violence in Film classes. I also took a great class in Germany called Post 9/11 Literature which was amazing.
6. Where did you work before WRBH? What job was most interesting?
I worked at another radio station in Baton Rouge called KLSU for 3 years. I did everything under the sun there, but my favorite job was Music Director.
7. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
I would love to be a music producer, CIA agent, touring guitarist, photo-journalist, or brewer of excellent beer.
8. What kind of music do you like?
Anything that can make me feel something, whether it’s Beyonce’s “XO” or Chopin’s Nocturnes or Thelonious Monk’s “Misterioso” or Feist’s “Undiscovered First”. Being a musician and songwriter myself, I’m a huge fan of those artists that understand the context of their music and what came before and who attempt to introduce new ideas or subvert old ones. My Dad was a choir director, so I grew up with a variety of church music and I’m a big fan of choral music as well.
9. What are your favorite foods?
Greek and Lebanese (chicken Shwarma and gyros salad with a side of tzatziki and hummus.) Eggplant Parmesan from Mandina’s. A medium rare burger with arugula, cheddar, and tomato. Crystal hot sauce. Filipino adobo. An everything bagel with cream cheese. A good chicken Caesar salad. Most kinds of soup, and also blueberries.
10. What is your definition of a perfect weekend?
One where you don’t feel rushed, where you wake up early enough so that you feel like you didn’t waste the day, when you can take your time with a couple cups of coffee and decide whether you want to make the day an adventure or whether you want to spend some time by yourself.
11. What are you reading right now? Name a few favorite books/authors.
I am reading UNDERWORLD by Don DeLillo, THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH, (I’m a history buff) QUEEN SUGAR by Natalie Baszile (which I am loving so far). My favorite authors are Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Aimee Bender, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Todd VanDerWeff (a TV critic) and Jerika Marchan (she’ll hate that I put her on my list, ha ha!)
12. Do you have any pet peeves?
I dislike it when people try incredibly hard to be “cool” or be the most interesting person in the room. Fake people annoy me.
13. What do you most dislike in other people?
See above answer.
14. What is your favorite joke?
“Why did the monkey fall out of the tree? It was dead.”
15. How would you describe yourself in three words?
Overly Optimistic Skeptic
16. If you could only take three things to a desert island, what would they be?
My dad’s acoustic guitar, a tent, and something to read (probably 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE). Maybe by the time I’m rescued I’ll have figured out how to write like Marquez.
17. Picture yourself in ten years. Where are you and what are you doing?
Having a glass of bourbon at bar with new and old friends, telling old stories and exchanging new ones. Laughing. I hope to do that every year, actually.
18. You have a magic wand that can change one thing about yourself. What do you change?
I’d use it to install a super- extrovert button I’m quite personable, but a lot of social interaction for a prolonged period of time drains me. The super-extrovert button could be switched on at any time and I’d never feel drained when it’s in operation.
19. Now, can you tell us something we don’t know about you?
Since the age of five, I’ve managed to go to somewhere between 300 and 500 concerts/music festivals/ performances in a variety of cities in the United States and four other countries. However, I will never live down my very first concert (not counting church or JazzFest): the Backstreet Boys Live in New Orleans (the next one I went to was Bruce Springsteen, so I feel a bit redeemed at this point. Or at least I tell myself that.)
Now that you know a little bit more about David, feel free to tell him hello when you see him working on his laptop at the back table or hear him humming a song. But… just be aware that the song is Bruce Springsteen’s BORN TO RUN, and not the Backstreet Boys’ I WANT IT THAT WAY.