lifeblood: listlogs: 2001v04n017-news


ig-news-digest        sunday, february 4 2001        volume 04 : number 017

today's subjects:
-----------------
  [ig-news] windy city times interview with amy  [robbin love <robbin_150@ho]
  [ig-news] more amy dates        [michael cunningham <begonias15@yahoo.com>]
  [ig-news] amy in carrboro (chapel hill/triangle), nc       [rebrad@aol.com]

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date: sat, 3 feb 2001 00:15:14 -0000
from: robbin love <robbin_150@hotmail.com>
subject: [ig-news] windy city times interview with amy

[sherlyn's note: this message was originally sent to the indigo
girls mailing list at netspace.org.]

going 'stag': amy ray releases solo cd
by gregg shapiro

amy ray plays at the metro april 12.

on stag (daemon), the dazzling solo debut album by amy ray (of the indigo
girls), the singer/songwriter has taken a unique approach to going it alone.
she has assembled a lineup of guest musicians that reads like a cutting-edge
who's who of queer and queer-friendly performers, including the butchies,
danielle howle, kate schellenbach (formerly of luscious jackson), josephine
wiggs (dusty trails and formerly of the breeders), joan jett, kelly hogan
(reunited with her band the rock*a*teens), to name a few. from the insurgent
country of the mandolin-driven "johnny rottentail" to the poignant matthew
shepard tribute in "laramie" to the woman-empowering sneer of "lucystoners"
(with the unforgettable chorus "janny wenner, janny wenner/rolling stone's
most fearless leader/gave the boys what they deserve/but with the girls he
lost his nerve"), ray's bright light rips through the darkness, and that's
just on the first three songs.

"hey castrator" features a remarkable tinkling keyboard propelled by a
ferocious guitar and drum combo that recalls husker du. while "black heart
today" comes the closest to resembling her indigo girls work, it's different
enough not to be confused with anything ray has done before&emdash;southern
punk for the 21st century. stag is a "ray of light" in these uncertain
times.

gregg shapiro: first of all, i want to congratulate you on daemon records'
tenth anniversary. how did you celebrate?

amy ray: we had a really great tour that we arranged in the southeast. we
played about six shows with different bands every night from the labels past
and present in the south. i did the whole tour and hosted it and played some
of the shows. every night was kind of a party and sort of celebrating with
all the musicians. it was very communal. we played in little punk clubs and
the cover charge was real cheap. it was a lot of fun.

gs: by releasing stag, your solo debut disc, on daemon, did you have more
artistic freedom?

ar: i never felt, technically, that i was limited artistically on epic. they
didn't say to me, "you have to do this, you have to do that," but i think
there's these subconscious, unspoken pressures about the kind of record that
you're going to turn in and what your budget's going to be. i think the more
corporate that you get, it's more implied that you're going to do things in
a certain way and when you try to go against the grain, i think people sort
of discourage you from it. doing stuff on an indie, it's just a lot
different, because it doesn't ever occur to you ^e you don't have the budget
to think in that way. your budget's really small and you have to be more
creative. it's got a parameter that forces creativity in a way that works
for me. so for me, it was just a freeing up. it taught me something. i think
i can go back to making records on epic with a new sense of creativity and
know how to push the boundaries a little bit and have more confidence in it.

gs: do you think that amy ray fans are ready for this album?

ar: (laughs) i have no idea. i don't think it's that radical. it's mostly
electric. there are a couple of acoustic songs on it that are different.
yeah, i guess. i don't know. it depends. the lyrics are very frank and
pretty graphic. it's just me, and i think sometimes with the indigo girls
it's great, because emily and me balance each other out. i haven't thought
about it and honestly i didn't think about it when i made it because i
really did this project as sort of just for me. it's something that i've
always wanted to do. it was challenging and i feel good that i did it.

gs: i'm glad that you brought up the lyrics, "lucystoners," which is my
favorite song on the album, is a sizzling indictment of the male-dominated
music media. what do you think jann wenner, of rolling stone, who takes the
brunt of the ribbing in the song, will think of the track?

ar: (laughs) he probably won't even give it a second thought. his world is
so much bigger than that. i think i'm so like a peon to him, so i'm not sure
it will even matter to him. i don't feel personally dissed by rolling stone.
i think he's definitely a symbol of an industry that is male dominated and
sexist and i think that magazine has become very much more like a maxim more
than a music magazine. i think there was a time when rolling stone was this
incredible nurturer of journalism and music and it was more of a taste maker
and i think that's changed, and i hope that more people will point that out.
i think magazines need to be more courageous. they're very much under the
influence of advertisers and demographics and they use that as a scapegoat.
i think it's unfortunate and i think jann wenner is a symbol of that for me.
there are so many other people doing just as bad a thing, it's just that
he's sort of the kingpin, for music people. i think being the kingpin bares
its own weight, which is the responsibility of trying to be brave in the
face of an industry that's pretty screwed up.

gs: what can you tell me about the song "laramie," which sounds like your
response to the brutal murder of matthew shepard?

ar: it is a response to that, it's a response to the tone of our times,
which is this move towards tolerance sometimes, but in a way that doesn't
necessarily solve the problems. i'm speaking also to classism, and the idea
that there are so many people&emdash;the wealthy classes of people who sort
of remain silent about these issues and are supposedly progressive, but they
actually don't say anything. in a way, there's all these other people doing
their dirty work, because there's so much homophobia, subconsciously and
subliminally, in our world, and we just let it go. if you live in san
francisco or atlanta or chicago, it's a little easier. things have changed
rapidly and clinton really helped set a tone that was more tolerant in
general. but, i think, in rural areas or not as cosmopolitan, it's still
real dangerous to be gay. i think people snub their noses and say, "well, in
those areas it's just ignorance that causes that." what it is is we're not
out there speaking out enough and educating in those areas. we think, "oh,
well we live in our little pristine cosmopolitan new york world, where
everybody's accepted, and those people just haven't caught up with the
times." it's not a catching up with the times. it's humanity. i live in a
rural area, and i think you have to get out there and help people out and
help understand each other.

gs: you have a genuinely amazing assortment of guest artists on this album,
including danielle howle, joan jett, kate schellenbach, the butchies,
josephine wiggs, kelly hogan and the rock*a*teens.

ar: it's really like my dream team, my wish list that i've been keeping for
the past few years of, "if i was doing a solo record, who would i like to
have?" i'm friends with all of them and definitely a very big fan. some of
them were on my label (daemon). the rock*a*teens were on daemon before they
moved over to merge. kelly (hogan) was in the band and originally from
atlanta, and just a very good friend. i'm a huge fan, she's been influential
on my trying to learn how to sing better (laughs). basically, as i was
writing these songs i was thinking which band would be appropriate. what i
did was ^e i don't want to force a band into a situation where they have to
play something that's not in their instinct. so, i just tried to mold the
album in a way that every band would be performing something that was really
them. it effected my writing. also, it just came very natural to me because
these are bands that i listen to all the time and i study the way they play,
so i knew what they would be good at and what they wouldn't be good at. the
butchies, for instance, surprised me because there were a few songs that i
did with them that i thought were not, stylistically, something that they'd
be into playing. but they were and they did a brilliant job. so i had these
moments of surprise like that. a band like the rock*a*teens, and kelly, i
know exactly what they're gonna be good at for me.

so that way we can go in, learn the song, have a good time together, and it
wouldn't have to be one of these "can you play it differently" and laboring
over something that wasn't gonna work out.

gs: that's incredibly thoughtful. i'm glad that you mentioned influences and
the way the songs are performed. the influence of these artists can be felt
strongly on a couple of tracks. for instance, "measure of me" sounds like it
would fit in on a kaia record.

ar: i started that song a long time ago and i could never quite get it
right. it's gone through a lot of different changes. when i took it into the
butchies i was thinking a lot about her (kaia) and her solo records and her
melodies and how i thought this was a kind of soft song. at first it had
this punk break in it, where it got really fast and loud. as we were trying
to play it, it just didn't feel right. she helped me change the lyrics
around and the band helped me arrange it. we decided to play it as a slow
song, and never go into the punk groove. it works better that way, and it
was really fitting for the butchies and for kaia. then danielle (howle) came
in, and she's like the golden voice, and she came in and totally took the
song to a different level for me. i kept thinking that i want to have this
other voice in there. kaia was singing it with me sometimes, and that
influenced the melody some, but it didn't do the same thing that i wanted it
to do. then danielle came in and it was like, "oh, my god." she'd never
heard the song, so she could approach it really freshly. we had been through
five different versions of it together, the butchies and i.

gs: there's another song with this tinkling toy piano keyboards that made me
think of husker du.

ar: that's kaia playing all that stuff. i'm sure we're all influenced by
husker du.

gs: what would you say to the indigo girls fans who might be scratching
their heads in confusion about this album?

ar: well, i would probably tell them that emily and i are going to go into
the studio (laughs) this summer and make a simple, more acoustic-based
record and they don't have to play this one if they don't want to.

gs: as someone who is both an out lesbian musician and who owns and operates
her own record label&emdash;what do you think of the grammy nominations that
eminem received for the marshall mathers lp?

ar: oh god, i don't know. he has right to be doing what he's doing&emdash;to
be a jerk, i guess, basically. the grammys, i don't really pay much
attention to them anymore because i think the industry is so fucked up right
now. there are so many people that are never honored by grammys and never
mentioned. eminem ... he's the best example of sexism that we have out there
(laughs) and misogyny. he's also the best example of anticensorship, you
know? i hate what he does, honestly. i think he's probably pretty talented
as far as his phrasing and beats and all that kind of stuff, but who cares?
i mean, he's wasting it on hate.

back to windy city times front page

copyright ) 2001 lambda publications inc. all rights reserved. lambda
publishes windy city times, the weekly voice of the gay, lesbian, bisexual
and trans community, nightlines, out resource guide, clout! business report,
blacklines and en la vida. 1115 w. belmont 2d, chicago, il 60657; ph (773)
871-7610; fax (773) 871-7609. web at outlineschicago.com e-mail feedback to
outlines@suba.com!

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------------------------------

date: fri, 2 feb 2001 11:29:21 -0800
from: michael cunningham <begonias15@yahoo.com>
subject: [ig-news] more amy dates

[sherlyn's note: this message was originally sent to the indigo
girls mailing list at netspace.org.]

hkf's,

updated list with correction on the mountain stage.

02/18 - mountain stage, charleston, wv (sold out)
03/14-18(ish) - sxsw, austin, tx
03/29 - echo lounge, atlanta, ga
04/04 - 9:30 club, washington, dc (onsale @
tickemaster.com)
04/07 - lilli's, somerville, ma
04/08 - pearl street, northampton, ma
04/11 - blind pig, ann arbor, mi
04/12 - the metro, chicago, il
04/13 - headliners music hall, louisville, ky (onsale
@ ticketweb.com)

a+e=ig

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------------------------------

date: fri, 2 feb 2001 08:20:07 est
from: rebrad@aol.com
subject: [ig-news] amy in carrboro (chapel hill/triangle), nc

>from the cat's cradle emailer...quoting all here:

at the cat's cradle...
- ----------------------------------------
april 3: amy ray & the butchies** ($8)
  amy ray is one of the indigo girls.
  the butchies are her backup band.

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end of ig-news-digest v4 #17
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