lifeblood: listlogs: 2001v04n113-news

ig-news-digest          friday, june 29 2001          volume 04 : number 113

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] interview with amy ray  [ryan blackhawke <hawke210@home.]
  [ig-news] article                 [sherlyn koo <>]
  [ig-news] amy ray on democracy now! tomorrow  [barbara bordner <ritesofpas]


date: thursday, june 28, 2001, 2:51:12 am
from: ryan blackhawke <>
subject: [ig-news] interview with amy ray

[sherlyn's note: this message was originally sent to the indigo
girls mailing list at  i'll forward the article
itself in a while...]

this is a good interview with amy ray from don't believe i'd seen
it posted.


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date: thu, 28 jun 2001 08:13:29 -0700
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] article

hey folks,

here's the article from that ryan mentioned - it's online at

- -sherlyn

- ---begin forwarded article---
indigo girl amy ray goes stag with solo, indie album

by shannon wentworth network

after 10 years producing indie albums on her socially and politically
conscious label, daemon records, amy ray finally recorded herself. the
result is stag, a fusion of folk and punk, that's angry and earnest.  

>from the classic rock rebellion of the opening track, "johnny rottentail,"
to the infectious pop song "black heart today," ray creates an album that's
more than an indigo girls album with all amy songs. stag is the work of an
artist freeing herself from the confines of a major label and the harmonies
of the indigo girls.    

stag was inspired by a stack of songs ray wrote that didn't sound like
indigo girls' songs, but she also wrote several songs while she was
recording the album. ray's collaboration with bands like the butchies and
rock*a*teens changed the sound of stag. she also brought in dyke rockers
joan jett and kate schellenbach (formerly of lucsious jackson) who join her
for the dark tune "hey castrator." the result is a true indie record,
fearless, gutsy and passionate.      

producing stag on her own label gave ray the opportunity to speak out about
the sexism of the music industry and imagemakers, like jan wenner,
publisher of rolling stone. in "lucystoners," ray lambastes the white boy's
network, while asserting a do-it-yourself feminist message. the result is a
grungy, punk-pop song that would stick out like a sore thumb on an indigo
girls' album.    

recently, spoke with amy ray about stag, songs emily didn't like
and the state of women's rights.

is this the beginning of the end of the indigo girls?

no, it's not. i think that it's pretty obvious that we are united and
moving ahead.

does emily have any solo projects in the works?

no, not yet, but i think she'll do something.

where does the women's suffragist influence in your music come from?

it's probably coming from the fact that i read a lot of history of the
women's movement in the last couple of years because my girlfriend is a
feminist activist. i got a reading list from her and started reading. i'm
just an avid reader, when i have time, and we would share books. (jennifer
baumgardner, amy ray's girlfriend, wrote manifesta: young women, feminism
and the future.)    

i guess i'm pretty aware of feminism, i mean i always have been, but just
naturally at this time it's coming out in my music more.

we (women) are in a weird place in the united states, i think we've made a
certain number of strides and there's a lot of stuff that we've progressed
on superficially, in that, there's a language for things. there's a way to
articulate things. there's laws to protect women in certain ways. i think
the fact that we don't have equal pay, that's a really big deal to me, that
there's not an era (equal rights amendment) so to speak or any real muscle
behind equal pay for women. and the fact that it's hard for us to even
realistically think about a woman president, as a nation i mean, people in
the nation always assume it's going to be a man in a mainstream kind of
world. to me, that means we are just not there yet. the idea of equal
rights is equal access, and we just don't have it yet. but i think that
what we do have is a language and an awareness of what we should be going
for, and i think that's a first step and really neat.  

i see a lot of young visionaries, women in their 20s and teens, who really
think about things and won't take no for answer and if the system fails
create your own kind of autonomy, and i think that's really exciting. i
think it means we've gotten somewhere.  

i'm interested in women looking beyond their own countries and trying to
unify about what's going on everywhere else, like sweatshops, repression
and how it ties in with international women's rights. i think that when we
can reach out to them and help them in their struggles it furthers our own.

in the song "lucystoners," you really lay into jann wenner. what's your
beef with him?

well, i wasn't singling him out because i have a beef only with him. to me
he symbolizes a huge good-old-boy network of the rock industry. and being
the head honcho of rolling stone magazine, and rolling stone magazine being
the barometer sometimes of where women stand and how women are treated in
the rock world.    

has there been pressure on the indigo girls to get the kind of coverage
that rolling stone gives artists like jennifer lopez or sheryl crow?

i don't think we have the looks for it. i don't deny jennifer lopez, or
christina or britney the right to appear how they want to appear. i just
don't have a problem with it. it's so much bigger than what does the person
look like on the cover. it's more like, is that consistently the only way
they'll present women. will they present that, but they won't present the
other side? how many women writers are on the editorial board? who do they
pick to review the records? it's the way that things are done and the way
that women are presented and whether they are given equal access to the
same kind of criticism that men are given.        

(rolling stone has) a lot of covers that are women, but it's just a certain
kind of woman. and they don't give any credence to the other side of
things, and that's what bothers me.  

i don't think boys need to be attractive to be on the cover, but i think
that is changing. i think boys are starting to be affected by this as much
as girls in some ways. there's unrealistic images of men in modeling as
well, most of the guys i know don't have broad shoulders and an 18-inch
waist. there's unrealistic imaging on both sides.    

britney and christina, they don't really bother me. they're entertainers.
but that's not what me and emily did, it's not what we set out to do, we
went down a different path. we were never pressured to do anything like
that, but at the same time our lack of radio success is due to the fact
that i think our label and the industry doesn't know how to deal with
strong women.    

stag is your rebellious, punk album. it seems like you are releasing some
frustration after being on a major label for 10 years...

well, i think i could do whatever i want on epic, pretty much. i wouldn't
say they've limited us. but in the parameters of my partnership with emily,
i probably can't do whatever i want. (laughs) you know, i can do pretty
much what i want, but you know anytime you are in a partnership you have to
compromise a little bit.    

people usually want to do solo records because they want to express a side
of themselves that's not getting expressed. for me, i needed to express
that side of me that's more influenced by the punk world and the
independent world where it's a lot of do-it-yourself, low-budget projects.
you're not going for radio necessarily, it's like a non-commercial kind of
venture, and the ideas are more singular in their focus.    

i think that when emily and i do something together it influences the scene
no matter what, just because we've been together a long time and we both
bring our own personalities to the table and it influences each other's
songs. so i think for me to do something alone without any of that going on
is great. it kind of frees me up and allows me to look at my writing and
everything separate from emily. because when you play with someone for 20
years, everything that you see is through that lens. it was really good
from me to not have to do that. and it's probably going to make my writing
better for indigo girls. probably make me have more clarity in what i'm

with indigo girls with the last couple records, i'd be in the studio with
emily struggling to try to fit this rock-punk song into an indigo girls
kind of structure. emily can play guitar with anything, she's just got
that, but the players that we play with aren't necessarily from the same
world that i would draw from. and when i bring them in, it's a different
world, it's not a world they feel as comfortable in and so it's harder in
every way. so i would end up not doing some of the stuff i wanted to do or
feeling like "god, what i'm doing right now it's not what the indigo girls
need to be doing right now, there's not enough harmony, there's not enough
this, there's not enough that." so now, i have a place to put all that

are there any songs that you brought to the indigo girls that emily just
said, "uh-uh?"

(laughs) nah, cause i pretty much know what she'd say no to, so i don't
even waste my time. emily's very open. she's not a prude or anything, you
know. as different as we are, we are pretty much on the same page. it's not
always theme, it's like this song doesn't lend itself to two voices singing
in harmony or this song is not going to sound right with the indigo girls
band because they have to know how to play emily's stuff and my stuff, and
to play emily's stuff you need to be more intellectually...your probably can't be a punk player and play emily's stuff.
and a lot of emily's players couldn't play punk stuff, they just can't do
it, they can't make that leap. (laughs) we have this middle ground that we
just have to find.          

but a song like "lucystoners," you know, i played it for emily, but i never
intended indigo girls to do it. because i knew it would be something that
she might bristle at, and i was right about that. i could tell it wouldn't
be a song we would be learning together. (laughs)  

i couldn't see "lucystoners" as an indigo girls' song, but a song like
"lazyboy" has an indigo girls feel to it, in fact it seems more like an
emily song than an amy song?  

yeah, "lazyboy" we could do. and we may, at some point, do our own
arrangement of it. but what i was going for was something where it was two
of me, two of me playing guitar and two of me singing to get that kind of
haunted feel. if you had both me and emily doing that, it would give it
more of a jazzy-kinda-duo feel, and i'm not sure i would want it colored
that way.    

what about a song like "laramie?" melissa etheridge did a matthew shepard
song on breakdown...

yeah, hers is like so much more literal than i'd want to be. i think it's
good and everything, but what i was trying to go for was a song about hate
in general, not just about homophobia, but about classism too, about who's
to blame in society and who's complicit. it's also these people in the
higher echelons of the financial bracket who think they are so damned
progressive, but they never do anything to really help anybody out. they
sort of think they are tolerant of gay people, because they have a gay
person in their yoga class or something. (laughs) it takes a lot more than
that. you've got to speak out, you've got to work and vote and really try
to make a difference for people. a lot of times there's these hidden
attitudes that no one ever expresses that nurture an environment of hate.
and then some kid goes off and murders somebody else and they all act so
surprised about it, but we all contributed to it because we didn't do
anything to change our attitude in general. we allowed that extra little
room that person needed to feel ok about what they were doing or to carry
their anger out in this way. and i think classism itself breeds a certain
amount of fighting among the oppressed groups, with people groveling for
the little that they are given. i think it's something we all need to think
about and work on. so that song was supposed to deal with a lot more than
(matthew shepard), that's why i say, "this town ain't nothing different."
it could happen anywhere.                    

how many records do you have left on epic? are you eager to get out of that

we have two more records on epic. some days we want out and some days we
just don't care. they don't really support us anymore, but they don't try
to stop us.  

what's next for the indigo girls? the next indigo girls' album comes out in
10 months. we start recording in july. the next album is going to be more

who were your role models growing up?

when i was really young it was a few of my elementary school teachers who i
really liked, they were women, and david cassidy. (laughs)

i wouldn't say i had super political role models early, early on. i
listened to a lot of music from the 60s and 70s and i had a real sort of
obvious affection for that idea of community and a why can't we all just
get along kind of thing, give peace a chance and all that stuff. so when i
was really young, i was kind of a hippie. and then my role models in the
music world were mostly like independent bands and people doing their own
projects, really a lot of people who are unknown on the atlanta scene.      

stag arrives in record stores on march 6. you can also purchase it from

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date: thu, 28 jun 2001 14:21:19 -0500
from: barbara bordner <>
subject: [ig-news] amy ray on democracy now! tomorrow

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

i was listening to democracey now and amy goodman will be interiviewing
amy ray!!! for tose of you in the new york city area you can catch it
9:00 a.m.  on wbai fm 99.5/or9 (one of the two) for anyone in
st.paul/mpls you can catch it at 12 noon on kfai  i think it's at 90.3
fm (go to the to clarify that.)
in st paul it's at 106.7 fm .

for anyone else you can go to  and click on democracy

peace everyone!  i'm so happy!!

barb, who is so happy to have her web service back.

"for wbai fm (and all the pacifica radio stations,) the studios of the
banned, and the fired, from the studios of
all our listeners" amy goodman, host of democracy now!

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end of ig-news-digest v4 #113

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