Q: For years you were rarely seen without a cigar. Iíve never understood the appeal.
A: Itís an acquired taste. If Iím walking down the street and somebody is smoking a good cigar, my mouth begins to water. I stopped smoking cigars six years ago, but a good one still gets my attention. And Iím still trying to figure out what to do with my hands. Because I used to have a cigar in my hands from 7:30 in the morning till I went to sleep at night. Holding it. You get used to having this thing in your hand. Itís like a pacifier for a grown-up.
Q: Whatís a fail-safe gift for a woman you want to impress?
A: I think it depends on the level of commitment that the two people have. Flowers are always loved. I donít send them. Iím always criticized for that.
Q: You donít send flowers? Why?
A: Because theyíre an extravagant waste of time, effort, energy, and money.
Q:See, thatís wisdom.
A: I donít think so. I think itís foolishness. Because I get criticized, and those who send flowers do not get criticized.
Q: Are there times when it makes sense to go ballistic at the office?
A: I do it because sometimes I get so frustrated or upset that I canít control it, and I want to let people know how badly I feel about an issue or how mad I am about something. But I think itís more effective if youíve got real control of the English languageóto tell the other person, in five words, what an ass you think they are. But I unfortunately donít have that ability. The Brits do. I marvel at that.
Q: Is it true that you tape your phone conversations?
A: Absolutely not. Not true. Nobody would ever talk to me if that was true. And whatís the point of it, you know?
Q: You recently gave $20 million to Carnegie Hall.
A: Music plays a very important role in my life. Iím a frustrated musician. I play the drums.
Q: Wait. You play the drums? Do you play them at home?
A: Yeah, yeah. Every house has a drum set. And whenever I can, I play. Every corporate gig that we have, the musicians traditionally have let me play with them, so Iíve played with some very interesting people. Al Green, Patti LaBelle, Toni Braxton, the Beach Boys. If itís a good group and they carry me along, Iíll play for a few hours. If Iím not comfortable playing, Iíll play one tune.
Q: Do you let off steam that way?
A: I sure do.