How are you today?
Hey! I'm doing alright. Licking my wounds.
You said you were madder than you had been in several years.
Well, not anymore. But yeah, I was when I said that. Then I listened to it last night and laughed because I'd thought maybe my last words would be, "This game was brutal and it took its toll. I tried my best and I leave with my head held high." Instead I'm saying, "I hope they wipe 'em off the face of the planet." So it's kind of funny. I'm not mad.
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But you were pretty mad.
I was pretty heated, not just because I got voted out but because I didn't understand why. I felt betrayed, and like everybody was in on it, even the ones who didn't vote for me. But I also felt like, "Why did you guys do that? You're gonna continue to vote out the people who are helping you win the challenges?" I scored a point in almost every challenge. Except for the basketball challenge. I felt like I was sometimes scoring the only point. The fact that we were in such a state of disrepair just blew my mind.
You were dragging around Colby.
That's true. I knocked Rupert off the pedestal.
Is Rupert's toe really broken, in your observation? Because he's running around on it but he's still complaining about it.
[Laughing] That's awesome! First person who's asked me that. I'm not a doctor so I can neither confirm nor deny that his toe is broken. I wasn't on his tribe so I couldn't tell, but it didn't seem to stop him when he was running over stuff, trying to beat me in the challenges.
Going back to the vote, were you swayed by Russell signing HNZ on the vote? Were you convinced he did try to keep you?
Actually, on the way out I reached I shook his hand and I thought to myself, "He's playing me like J.T. played me [in Tocantins] to try to get my vote for the jury." I do think he started to have second thoughts and sort of wanted to take that back. But he'd already started the ball rolling and I was at the bottom of the hill, waiting for the rock to squish me.
You'll have to excuse me if I sound like People Magazine here. How would you characterize your relationship with Jerri?
[Laughs]Well, it's really cool, you know, when we went out there, to find somebody that you're romantically interested in, because it makes you feel human and it gets you away from the game, even if it's just for five minutes. I respect Jerri. I was disappointed in some of her decisions. She hurt me. She made me sad. But I told her when we were there, "If there ever comes a time when we can get together outside of the game, I think we owe it to ourselves to do that." So I'm really looking forward to seeing her at the finale.
Are you allowed to talk now that you're back home?
We're not supposed to see each other until we get to the finale.
It's got to put a weird monkey wrench in things, though.
There you go. That's right.
Tell me about the bowling challenge. Was it anything like actual bowling?
It was except the pins didn't knock down like you'd think. I had one between the head pin and the one on the left. I think I went Brooklyn on that and went to the left side as a right handed bowler. I had the leg kick and everything. What can you say? You bowl straight and keep your wrist straight and follow through and hope for the best.
Are you usually pretty good at bowling?
I'm in a bowling league now. I wasn't then. I average about a 185. I think that's funny, but I like bowling.
Were you inspired to join a bowling league because of the bowling challenge?
The funny thing is that I asked to watch The Big Lebowski in Ponderosa. So when I came back home to Susanville, somebody that goes to the Symphony said "Coach, you need to join my bowling team. I have one spot left and we're three weeks into the season." And I just thought, "This is fate."
That's great. Do you still conduct an orchestra in Susanville?
I'm in South Carolina right now guest conducting The Carolina Pops. We've got a concert tomorrow and Sunday. We're doing a piece that I wrote called The Amazon Jungle based on my experiences and impressions in the Amazon Basin. I still head up the Susanville symphony, and I'm gonna be in a movie later this year. You can check out my website - coachbenwade dot com - and it's got all of the information about the movie and all kinds of stuff that I'm involved in.
[Editor: There's even a link on his website to my previous interview with Coach!]
Are you going to have The Amazon Jungle up on the web where fans can hear it?
Yeah. I'll definitely record it and post it on YouTube, or maybe on my website.
Who are some of your favorite composers?
If you were to classify my style - not in terms of The Amazon, because that's a pretty esoteric piece - I would say I'm Neo-Romantic. I love the Late Romantic composers like Tchaikovsky. Even Early Modern like Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky [Ed: Those weren't hard to spell at all!], but definitely late romantic. I don't like Wagner too much, and Strauss and those guys. But if you go to the Eastern European countries, those guys wrote with so much passion! Those are the ones that I like.
-Interview by Henry Jenkins