FOUR-TIME GRAMMY®-WINNING ICON PAT BENATAR AND HER LEGENDARY GUITARIST HUSBAND NEIL GIRALDO JOIN DAN RATHER FOR AN ALL-NEW EPISODE OF THE BIG INTERVIEW, ON TUES., JULY 21, AT 8pE
Musical power couple Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo sit down with Dan Rather for an all-new episode of THE BIG INTERVIEW on Tuesday, July 21, at 8pE. During the candid hour-long discussion, the four-time GRAMMY®-winning pioneer and her multi-talented husband discuss their fairy tale Rock N’ Roll romance, and how they’ve managed to stay married for 33 years, despite the pressures of the public spotlight.
In the male-dominated music industry, Giraldo recalls his surprise—and slight trepidation—at working with an up-and-coming female artist. “I received this call, and he says, ‘There’s this person who just got signed to a record deal, and they’re looking for a partner.’ And I said, ‘Well, maybe I’ve heard of him, what’s his name?’ And they go, ‘It’s not a him, it’s a her.’ and I go, ‘Oh, my god. It’s a her? How’s this gonna work out? Ya know, I love women. This is gonna be tough.’”
Alternating separately between the couple, Rather gets them to give their own perspectives on the day they met—and the instant attraction that truly was love at first sight. On their initial introduction, Benatar says, “You have to understand now, I have a record deal, I’m a little cocky… and he’s playing with Rick Derringer, he doesn’t have a record deal. So, he’s coming down, I’m gonna meet him. I’m in the room and they say, ‘Neil Giraldo’s here.’ And I have my back to the door ‘cause I’m talking, and I go, ‘Just tell him to hang on, I’ll be right there,’ like a brat. So, I’m not looking at him, and he comes down and I can hear him talking, and I hear him say that he didn’t bring a guitar. And I’m thinking, ‘Oh. My. God. What an ass!’ … He’s coming for a meeting, doesn’t he think I want to hear him play? He doesn’t even bring his axe? So, I turn around ready to [confront him]… and I see him, and I’m just like, ‘Ahhh!’ It was like every clichéd ridiculous Disney movie you ever saw in your life. I couldn’t even talk. I saw him, he was a god. I just was like, ‘I don’t care if he can play, he’s in the band!’”
Giraldo takes it one step further, saying, “When she turned around, I saw her for the first time… I’m going, ‘Wait. She’s five-feet-one, I love short women. She’s got dark hair. And then she started talking and she’s super sweet, and I looked at her and I’m thinking, ‘I’ve never been with a normal girl in my life, and this person’s so normal, so sweet! … Something snapped, like, ‘Where have you been?’ That’s the first thing I thought of. ‘Where have you been my whole life?’ I told Patricia after our first date, I go, ‘You wanna get married?’ She goes, ‘You’re ridiculous. Get out of here.’ I mean, right away, I knew it. I knew right away. I says, ‘You’re the perfect girl for me.’”
For Benatar, the attraction went beyond physical, striking her on a musical level, as well. “It was nuts. It was crazy. The attraction was so stupid, and I mean first of all, just the physical attraction and that whole thing. But the musical thing… the minute he played one note… one… he strummed the guitar once, and I like woke up, ya know, like out of the stupor I was in, and realized, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa…’ ‘Cause it was so full. It wasn’t so much that it was loud, but it was big, and it was raw… it was ridiculous.”
On the tremendous pressure that the public spotlight has placed upon their relationship over the years, Giraldo admits that there were times when he feared the relationship might be over. This was largely due to the record company, whose interference began to drive a wedge between the couple. He explains, “I live by the mantra that Ronald Reagan said… ‘You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit’ … I’m gonna do everything I can, write the best songs I can, and produce the best records I can, and do everything. ‘Cause I don’t care who gets the credit, I want it to be great. But, not everybody had the same playbook… [The record company] made it really difficult for me. They wanted power and saw that I was controlling the ship, because it was working, things were going great. And they didn’t like that. They would make conflict for the wife and I. We’d be normally talking about music, and now we’re talking about the business… It got to the last straw and it was 1981. I had had a number one record with Rick Springfield… People were asking me to produce… And I thought, ‘You know what, maybe I should just leave. Maybe we should call it a day, and say we’ve done really good up ‘til now and let’s just end it.’ So, I went to New York and started working on the John Waite record, and I went, ‘No. This is insane. I gotta marry her.’ So, I call her up and I go, ‘You want to get married?’ and she goes, ‘What took you so long?’ And that was it.”
To see more of this unforgettable episode, be sure to tune into THE BIG INTERVIEW on Tuesday, July 21 at 8pE, only on AXS TV.
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