TC Krentz of the Boston Girl Guide spends
some time exploring the life of newlywed Melissa Etheridge after the
release of her eighth album Lucky.
BGG: Many of your past records
seem to have themes to them.
Does LUCKY have a distinct theme?
Melissa: Well, it’s not so much a theme,
like Skin was- that was a concept that had one emotional thread all
the way through. This album is a celebration. It’s definitely
the beginning of a joyous time in my life of the last couple years,
very hopeful. So, there’s a theme, yes. But I wouldn’t look
to it to have a beginning/middle/end thread to it.
BGG: Sounds like the inspiration
comes from the joy that’s been in your life lately.Melissa:
Yeah, and there’s a couple of social issues on that as well- it’s
not all love songs- it’s personal and political. But when you
finish it I don’t think you’ll have confusion. It’s
BGG: How did you record this?
Melissa: It was three different sessions;
I started recording in September of 2002 and ended in September 2003-
it was in & out, though. With three different producers.
BGG: Do you have a recording
Melissa: Oh, no. I like to go work somewhere
and then come home- home is home, work is work.
BGG: What’s your favorite
song on the new CD?
Melissa: My goodness- that’s hard. If
I had to listen to one song… it’d depend on what mood I
was in! Probably “Tuesday Morning.”
BGG: About your upcoming
House of Blues’ gigs- are you specifically booking smaller venues
Melissa: That’s very much on purpose.
When my management & I got together we asked, “How do we want
to present this? How do we want to make an event out of it?” instead
of just going back to the same places we’ve been the last couple
of years. I wanted to make it a very special show, very intimate. The
House of Blues and the Fillmore in San Francisco- those types of venues
we’re playing- these private places that they’re calling
Superclubs. They hold 2000 people yet they can stand, be right up there
and they serve a little alcohol. It kind of lends itself to a rock n
roll atmosphere… So we’re doing multiple nights in those
types of places. I’m very excited about it because it really lets
me let my hair down.
BGG: Will you have a full
band with you?
Melissa: Oh yes, I’ve got Kenny Aronoff
on drums, my bass player of over 10 years Mark Browne. I have a brand
new guitar player and he is amazing! Phillip Sayce- wait til you seem
him. Amazing-not like overly “woah I wish that guitar player would
shut up…” He’s just perfect!
BGG: Do you like to play the larger venues
Melissa: Yeah sure- I like to play where the
audience is having a good time! Whether it’s 50 people or 50,000.
Different buildings have different atmospheres.
BGG: Do you have a favorite
Melissa: Well, I really enjoyed Madison Square
Gardens- that’s a lot of fun!
BGG: What are you listening
to these days?
Melissa: Well, I just got onto itunes- the
Apple music store. That thing is like Christmas! I’ve just have
been downloading! Outkast- love that. Going back to get “oh there
was that old song I liked off of that album or by this artist”…and
new artists like Coldplay.
BGG: You’ve done a
lot of duets with people. The latest with Dolly Parton… Who would
you choose to duet with if you could pick anyone- dead or alive?
Melissa: Well of course I’d always be
one to play with Janis Joplin. I think I’d love to sing with Steven
BGG: An artists question
for you- how do you deal with writer’s block?
Melissa: I’ve been writing since I was
10 and I trust my writing. I believe in it. If I come in and say “OK,
I’m going to write from 10 until 2 today” and I sit down
and absolutely nothing interesting comes- then I wasn’t meant
to write that day and that’s fine. If come in for two weeks and
get nothing then I’m not supposed to write for two weeks. I don’t
ever panic about it. I just write when I can and try not to be too judgmental
on myself. I will think sometimes “Is this because I am not experiencing
life enough in here? Perhaps I need to stop sitting here in this room
and go out there and feel something.”
BGG: You’ve got a newly
remastered release of your debut album? What brought that on?
Melissa: The record company came and said
“what do you think about this?” and I said, “Oh my
God am I that old- 15 years ago? How did that happen?” (laughs)
They were saying a lot of people are doing it so I said why not-it’s
a good little record; it’s done me well.
BGG: There are some added live tracks from
the Roxy- what time frame is that from?
Melissa: From back then- that was my second
show at the Roxy- the one where hardly anybody came, right after the
album came out.
BGG: Here’s our one
personal question- your marriage was pretty high profile. Were you attempting
to keep it out of the press or was there a conscious decision to share
the event publicly?
Melissa: I’ll tell you- it was a reality
that definitely sat in the room with us while we planned the wedding.
The planners, Tammy & I knew we’d be kidding ourselves and
said, “Look, this is a celebrity wedding with political overtones-absolutely”.
We knew just from the celebrity part of it there’d be coverage
on it. We also knew that that coverage could be social/ political in
nature. We could’ve worked like many people to keep it absolutely
secret until the last minute and just do it. But that takes a whole
lot of work and usually doesn’t work out; somebody is going to
tell someone something at some point. We can prepare and make a choice
of what we’re going to say, knowing that this personal thing we’re
doing is always going to be political in nature. So we decided to make
a publicity release that we were engaged- but that’s all we were
going to say. I chose not to speak about it. Then when we were married
we chose to let one (press) come- the In Style reporter. Because
we wanted it to be treated like a wedding, and to not make it so political
in nature, even though it was. And to just give some video footage to
In Style television show. Now as it goes on, it gets picked up
by others so there were helicopters and now there’s more picture
and all this other stuff. It was a very personal thing that we were
doing but we also knew it’s a celebrity thing…
BGG: You’ve been on the music scene
for so long now- what are your thoughts on where women in music are
these days in general?
Melissa: I’ve always thought & said
that the music business is hard for anybody- man or woman, and if you
are just singling out the women… tastes come and go. There’s
times when we’re massively popular and there’s a lot of
women making a lot of music. I think a lot of it is what’s available-
it ebbs & flows just like any other musical taste or genre. Women
do just fine. We’ll always be fine & we’ll always be