Emily Saliers

photo by Rose Gardina ©

Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls chats with Boston Girl Guide's Becca
Holland © 7/02

BGG : There is rumor of the Lilith Fair being revived. Do you think you
would tour with it again and do you think there is still a need for a
festival for women's music?
EMILY : I hadn't heard that rumor, but Lilith Fair was one of the most fun
times I've ever had in our whole career. I would enjoy being part of that if
Sarah (MacLachlan) put that back together.

BGG : Do you still think that there is a need for a specific focus on women
in music or a women's music festival?
EMILY : Well, I think there's a place for it, you know. It certainly was a
celebration of women. There were plenty of men who played in the bands so it
didn't just feel exactly like an all women's festival, you know like the
Michigan's Women's Festival or something. But I still think it's important
to celebrate the power of women musicians. It's still a male dominated
industry and the play lists favor male artists primarily especially in the
commercial/alternative world. So I think it's always good to sort of get
back together and rejoice in our sisterhood.

BGG : How do you choose your opening acts?
EMILY : A lot of the times our opening acts are bands or artists that are on
Amy's record label, Daemon Records that she signed and they have records
that they are putting out and supporting. So, and I mean she signs great
people, and we know them personally and a lot of times we end up bringing
them with us. We're also fortunate for this summer to have K's Choice
opening up the shows for us. They're friends of ours. They're a Belgian band
and they're on Sony records as well and we're dear friends with them so it's
going to be a blast. We just pick people that we like.

BGG : So you have a lot of fun on the road?
EMILY : Oh, it's just great especially with the opening bands, singing
together and hanging out together. I do have a lot of fun on the road.

BGG : What bands are influencing you currently?
EMILY : I'm really into this band called Zero 7, which is not really a band,
I think it's just these two English producers who put something together
with a bunch of different players and singers. It's really awesome. I was at
home I listened to Me'Shell NdegeOcello , "Bitter" and then I heard an
earlier release of a song that she did that was just kick ass. Bonnie Raitt'
s new record is cool.

BGG : I know that you and Amy both are politically active. With the number
of people that you come in contact with, is there any one thing that you
would like your audience to come away with in terms of activism or
awareness?
EMILY : We work with a lot of different groups. I think what we try to do is
to provide as much information and networking accessibility as possible so
we do it through our website and we do it at the shows. We set up tables
where representatives from different groups can pass out their materials. So
I think if anything if you want to come away with something it's just the
notion that when people really put their heads together to make change there
's a lot of information sharing and networking and grassroots activism that
we can do together and it's not something that has to be distant or
difficult. It's something that can be, especially in the age of the internet
now, great websites and communication, it's something that we can all share
together. If you go to a concert, you have great time, but you also take
away a resource with you, it's all the better in my mind.

BGG : Is there one thing that no interviewer has ever asked you that you
really wish that you really wished that they would?
EMILY : (laughs) No. I think it's all been asked before.

BGG : Will you be touring at all with Michelle Malone?
EMILY : We haven't made any plans to hook up with Michelle so far. We've
got the opening acts for our summer tour already set up, but we always tour
and work with so she's bound to pop up somewhere. She's really great.

BGG : Are you going to be playing the Newport Folk Festival this year?
EMILY : You know I don't think we are. I haven't seen it on our schedule.
That's a great event. We did it like six or seven years in a row and then we
sort of take a little break from it now and then just to keep it fresh, but
it's a great festival.

BGG : I know you're a Virginia Wolfe fan and an avid reader; have you read
"The Hours" by Michael Cunningham?
EMILY : I love that book.

BGG : I had to keep checking the cover to make sure that it was written by a
man.
EMILY : I know (laughs). Maybe it's (the book) a vision for the way the
world should be. That we can all understand each other's perspective.

BGG : How's it feel to be back on tour with the new CD?
EMILY : It feels good. We've been doing it for a long time. You know we went
to Europe at the beginning of the year and then we came back home and did a
month of rock club shows just to introduce the release of the record. Now we
're back in Europe and then we're coming back to the states. So it feels
like we've been working for a while. You know we started the record back in
September. It's sort of an ongoing process and I'm used to the ongoing
process and used to cycle of it. You write the songs, then you make the
record, then you do your promotion stuff, then you get out and hit the
road. So we're in another cycle.

BGG : Are you touring with your band?
EMILY : Well, not until the summer tour in the states. You know, it's hard
to tour with a band sometimes. It's expensive. We try to keep our ticket
prices down and now that so many artists have just sky rocketed their ticket
prices, the cost of everything in the industry has gone up including the
cost of trucking and shipping your stuff and you know paying your band and
hotels and everything. Actually, it's become a matter of economics for us.

BGG : Is it easier to tour with just you and Amy?
EMILY : Actually, I always love playing with Amy. There's a certain intimacy
and spontaneity about it that's really cool and I think a lot of our fans
like to see us that way, but this record was played live with the band,
primarily, in the studio. The band that played on the record is the band
that is touring with us so we're really, really excited about getting
together with those guys and I'm looking forward to flushing out the
arrangements live.

BGG : Do you see more solo projects in your future?
EMILY : Yup. I'll make a solo record sometime. I don't know when. I'm not
really a very goal-oriented type person. I sort of, like, dream my way
through things and then things happen. And Amy's already started writing
songs for her next solo record. The answer is yeah. I just don't know when.

BGG : Do you consciously try to maintain a balance between your activism and
your artistry?
EMILY : They go so much hand in hand. It's hard, you know, the one thing we
don't want to do want to do is burn out. We have a lot of mentors in the
activist world and a lot of communities that we're involved with and they
keep you going even when it's tough to like find a band that will play a
benefit show with you or get other artists involved in what you're doing so
you know together we all lift each other's spirits up. As far as music and
activism, we just write the songs, we're always writing and we're working on
a record that's sort of a specific project we're focused on and then when we
're doing something like putting together another Honor The Earth Tour then
that's something we're specifically focused on. It sort of all has its place
and the way it falls together is a natural thing at this point in our
careers.

BGG : Do you ever get overwhelmed because everyone wants something from you
and with all the causes?
EMILY : Sometimes I feel like, I mean have to turn down benefit shows
especially if friends call us. We're just not available to do everything,
but I wish we could.

BGG : Is there any artist out there that you would love to meet that makes
you star-struck? Or are you over it in the industry?
EMILY : No. I'm definitely not over it. During Lilith Fair, I stood by the
side of the stage every night and watched all those artists you know, Emmy
Lou Harris and Sheryl Crow, who's one of my favorites, and the Dixie Chicks,
they're one of my favorites too. So all those women, I was like a kid in a
candy store. I just couldn't believe I was there. You know I guess I would
like to meet Joni Mitchell, but I don't know what I would say to her, she's
so brilliant. I sort of leave those things up to fate. I try not to push
but every once in a while you invite someone to a show that you'd like to
meet or who's work you admire.

BGG :On the flip side, how does it affect you when you meet fans who are
star-struck by you?
EMILY : (Laughs) I just try not to think about that really. I mean the most
important thing is that if someone is really nervous is just try to make him
or her feel comfortable. That it's cool and I'm just like a regular person
too. It's nice to get to meet each other. There's not a lot really to talk
about in those kinds of situations. You're sort of thrust together in a
really strange way and I know that our fans are really emotionally connected
to the music so it's cool. It's all part of it. I'd just hope that somebody
is not so nervous that they are uncomfortable.

BGG : What do you do to relax while you're out on the road?
EMILY : I read. Primarily, I read and I go running. Those are my two
favorite things to do on the road.
Oh, I guess my time is up. We're looking forward to seeing everyone out on
the tour this summer.

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