lifeblood: listlogs: 2005v08n050-news


ig-news-digest        thursday, april 21 2005        volume 08 : number 050

today's subjects:
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  [ig-news] amy in boston + emily&amy in a book  ["linda napikoski" <napikos]
  [ig-news] popmatters interview with amy  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopolis]
  [ig-news] weekly planet article     [sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopolis.com>]

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date: wed, 20 apr 2005 17:33:21 -0400
from: "linda napikoski" <napikoski@gmail.com>
subject: [ig-news] amy in boston + emily&amy in a book

[sherlyn's note: this is an excerpt of a message which was originally sent to
the indigo girls mailing list at netspace.org.]

i saw amy's show monday night in boston and loved it!!! sorry i'm late to
write about it.
i think she played everything except rodeo off of prom. she also played
lucystoners, laramie (encore), and black heart today, which is one of my
absolute favorites and made me personally quite happy. i swear she played
something else from stag too. let me think about that. the reason that i say
"i think" she played everything except rodeo off prom is that for some
reason i don't clearly recall give in but *that* is the favorite prom song
of my friend i went to the show with and friend said that yes she did play
it so i may be just crazy. or maybe she played it right after i was having a
moment, like with black heart today, covered for you, or let it ring and i
was in a daze.
covered for you is my current favorite song off prom. amy did not say much
specifically about each song but before cfy she said she wrote it for a
friend who is finally in recovery and she made some other poignant remarks
about the difficulty of being in recovery. indeed. it was an amazing song.
rural faggot was great and i was happy to see a suspicion confirmed: that
when it got to the "i'm the dyke who will give it to you" part, many of us
in the audience shouted along on that line with glee, a la "maybe you
squandered three bucks in your lifetime," like as soon as everyone gets to
know all the songs that will be audience affirmation time.
she played let it ring (love it!!!) near the end, maybe the last song
before the "encore." at the end she seemed to do a very very faint "this
light of mine..." or maybe it was even jody singing it, or both of them,
just a faint, faint voice trailing off. i totally wanted to sing along like
with the album, alas, we aren't quite there yet with the "this little light
of mine..." like we are with the least complicated na-na-nana-na-na-nas.
i say "encore" because a couple songs before it she said, "will says he's
never had an encore!" and of course told us they would leave and come back.
later she said he's young and has many years of encores ahead of him and we
all screamed and cheered for him. it was just so fun to be in such a small
club! (my first amy solo show)
[...]
for those who don't know, monday was the day of the boston marathon which
is basically a city holiday and the paradise club is not far from all the
goings-on, so the crowd was in sort of three-day weekend mode. amy asked if
anyone had run the marathon, and she mentioned that everyone at her hotel
was there to run the marathon ... she commented on the city basically
shutting down for marathon celebration day with a mocking-but-respectful
'who knew?' she also at one point donned a boston red sox cap but then did
not wear it to play, instead hanging it on the mic stand. she said someone
gave it to her after a show 15 years ago and it's like a good luck cap. [...]
katharine mcelroy came out to play keyboards on a few of amy's songs. i
liked katharine's voice, actually. snow machine was all right. there was
also the athens boy choir person, who was funny and had audience
participation

. *******
if someone else has mentioned this, i missed it:
emily and amy are mentioned in a new book called be happy at work: 100
women who love their jobs, and why by joanne gordon. they are in the
"heroes, heroines and healers" chapter. (i think i remembered that right.)
they get a few pages, as does each woman profiled. it's a fairly new
hardcover, categorized as a business/management book but also probably on
the front table or "new non-fiction" display of any borders or barnes &
noble right now...it's also bright yellow. they basically talk about being
activists and songwriters and how those roles complement each other.
  that's all i've got,
~linda~

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date: thu, 21 apr 2005 12:08:47 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopolis.com>
subject: [ig-news] popmatters interview with amy

hey folks,

here's an interview with amy from popmatters.  you can read it online
at http://www.popmatters.com/music/interviews/ray-amy-050420.shtml.

- -sherlyn

- ---begin forwarded article---
indie punk rock, gender politics, and the bitch of being earnest
[20 april 2005]  
by susan glen

it's gotta be good to be amy ray. as half of the indigo girls (she's
the hot one, the brunette with the husky voice), she's occupied a
respectable spot on pop radio for over 15 years, and has held the role
of patron saint of faded-levis-wearing lesbians almost as long. she
runs a successful indie label even while recording on epic records, is
a committed liberal activist, and commands a nearly cult-like
following. as if all that wasn't quite enough, she's now launched a
solo recording career, beginning with 2001's stag and continuing with
the april release of prom, a disc that sounds a lot like what the
go-go's reunion album should have sounded like, and has that quality
about it that makes you want to roll down the windows and crank up the
volume. it's not quite as punk as punk, not quite as rock as rock, but
far more of both than you'd probably expect from the well-worn
reputation of the granola-eatin', humorless lesbian folk singer.

just a few weeks before the daemon records release of prom, amy ray
called on me on my lunch hour, and i have to admit that my stomach
fluttered a bit to hear the receptionist announce, "susan, amy ray's
holding for you." but ray just wouldn't let me be intimidated by her.
she's laid back, down to earth, and every bit as sexy on the phone as
she is on stage. she's also surprisingly unsure of what to say about
her new release, and characteristically eager to give away the lion's
share of the credit for her success to the musicians with whom she
works. in other words, she's humble and charming and delightfully easy
to talk with. just don't call her the boss.

popmatters: congratulations on prom.

amy ray: thank you!

pm: what do you want people to know about the new record?

ar: oh, god, i don't know! [laughs] it's a ... it's ... well ... it's
well ... i don't know! [more laughter] i guess to me it's just there,
you know? i just put it out there. um, i guess that it's a rock record
slash punk record sorta rockpunk, and it's a sorta cohesive project
that tries to engage the person listening to it to think about their
own identity, where they came from and where they're going, and, you
know, struggles to tackle complexities of our development during our
formative years. no matter how old you are now, i think we all go
through the same things, we just have a different language around it
according to what generation we're from.

pm: is that why there's so much high school imagery on the record?

ar: yeah, i think so. i mean, i didn't know i was doing that until i
had written about three or four songs, and then i was like, "oh, okay,
this must be where i'm at, you know?"

pm: how did you end up working with all the amazing musicians on this
album, like michelle malone and kate schellenbach and the whole team
dresch posse...?

ar: luck, pretty much. kate's been a friend of mine for a while, and
she played on the last solo record i did. i was like, you know, i
really wanted her to do more, because she only did one song on the
last record. so i thought about it over the last couple of years and
she just emailed me or something and said, "i've been jammin' with
jody from team dresch and i really want you to come out and play with
us sometime." and i did, just for fun, and it went really well. so we
decided that we would start working on songs. and then donna dresch
came into the picture a little bit later. michelle, i always call her
for everything. she comes in and does stuff no matter what i'm doing.
the other band is called 1945, and they're some friends of mine from
birmingham, alabama. they're really some of my favorite musicians
ever, so i just incorporated them into the picture as well. it was all
just people i know, and i just love the way they play.

pm: people talk about this record as a "solo" record, but it sounds
like it was actually pretty collaborative.

ar: very collaborative! it's only solo in the context of the fact that
i'm not doing it in the indigo girls.

pm: so what does emily [sailers, the other half of the indigo girls]
think of all this?

ar: she loves the record, actually. she's been very complimentary.
she's very supportive. i mean, i don't know, she may have some secret
thought about it or something i don't know about. [laughs] but she's
always been supportive of it, and i sent it to her as soon as i was
done, and wait to get her blessing on it, whether she likes it or not.
i ask her questions when i'm in the middle of recording. it's good.

pm: so she's not afraid you're going to dump the indigo girls and run
off into the sunset?

ar: no, because i've already made one record and i didn't dump the
indigo girls then, so i thinks she's pretty sure ... we're pretty
loyal to this, to what we're doing.

pm: so when you sit down to write a song, do you know immediately if
you're writing an indigo girls song or an amy ray song?

ar: um, i know once i've started. i can feel what direction it's
pulling me. usually an indigo girls song is just, more, i can hear two
voices on it, really distinctly. so it just feels like an indigos
song.

pm: since "identity" is such a prominent theme on prom, i'd like to
talk a bit about how you see yourself. a lot of people identify you
primarily as an activist. but do you see yourself as an activist first
and a musician second? or a musician first ... or something else
first? how does that all shake out to you?

ar: um, i'm not really good at separating my activism and my music
anymore. everything i do, i do with an activist bias to it. there's
some songs, certainly, that i write that have nothing to do with
activism, that are just fun songs. but the way that i live and the way
that the indigo girls run their business and the way i think about my
solo life and what my point is, there's an agenda. and it's for better
or worse, because sometimes it's negative, because it feels so heavy
to people. it's just who i am, i can't really help it. once you start
seeing things through that lens, it's hard to sorta shut it down and
see it another way.

pm: you say it might feel heavy to other people, but does it feel
heavy to you?

ar: no, it energizes me. it's what feeds me. like, when me and emily
have to go do a talk about nuclear power or something, and the adverse
effects of it, i feel really energized afterwards. i mean, i can do
anything then, even, just, you know, mow the lawn. [laughs] it just
makes me feel good. it gives me energy to live, to be involved in the
activism, and to know the people i know who are great activists.

pm: so you and emily go out and do ... talks?

ar: [laughing] yeah, we try to keep it a secret, because we don't want
to do too many of them. we'll go to a college and stuff. we just did
this symposium on women and leadership. we went and spoke on the
organization we helped start, called honor the earth. it's an
environmental organization we started with some native americans, and
we fund front-line grassroots native american environmental groups. we
give them grants, through work that we do raising money and lobbying.
so, we'll go talk about that, and in that talk we'll talk about ...
like, recently we talked about energy issues, issues around renewable
vs. non-renewable power, the adverse effects of fossil fuels and
nuclear energy and uranium mining and processing, as opposed to solar
power or wind energy. we just talk about it from the perspective of
lay-people, and why we think this is important, and why we do what we
do, and it's just sorta the activist part of us. a lot of time when we
speak, we try to have someone with us who's an expert. it's part of
our honor the earth environmental activism. sometimes we'll go to
universities and talk about being gay, or being women in the industry,
or being songwriters. it just depends on what we're asked to do.

pm: but this is all a big secret?

ar: well ... it's really hard! [laughs] it takes a lot of preparation,
like three days of studying so you can answer all the questions. um,
we're just not really public speakers. we really enjoy doing q and a
type stuff. when we go play schools, especially colleges, they'll
sometimes ask us to do a question and answer with the gay straight
alliance or with the women's group, or with the music program or
whatever. and we love doing that, and if we have time, we always do.
but these other things are so intense!

pm: so, i should i play that part down, so you don't get swamped with
requests?

ar: [laughing] nah, it'll be okay. we've got no problem saying no if
we can't do it. [laughs again]

pm: you know, talking so much about such serious politics, are you
afraid you're going to end up like a saturday night live joan baez
skit? you know, the whole "how dare you laugh when there's so much
suffering in the world" thing?

ar: we already have that label to a certain extent, so it's too late!
[laughing] we can still do fun things too, and my solo stuff is so
much more centered around gender identity and gay issues, and if you
just heard my solo records, you probably wouldn't even know that i was
an environmentalist. you might know i loved nature, but you wouldn't
know i was an activist. but we're not afraid of that. it's already
happened: we were called "earnest" from the very beginning. and you
can't go back, once you've been called that [laughing] it's like,
"well, that's it!"

pm: well hat's off, because you manage to be earnest while still
making solo records that you can dance to in the living room!

ar: oh, good! that was actually a goal with prom. i was like, i really
want to make a record you can dance to.

pm: and you've managed to create a very lighthearted sound, while
kinda sliding some fairly serious discussions in right under the
radar.

ar: you know, that's really about the musicians, too. like, kate is a
real ... she's a happy drummer! [laughing] she's got that soul, from
the r&b music she's listened to or something, but it makes her a happy
drummer. so she really infuses that in there.

pm: [laughing] now i have this picture of her sitting behind her drum
kit with a big yellow smiley face painted on the bass drum.

ar: [laughing] oh good, i'll tell her that.

pm: let me switch gears here for a minute. i heard a rumor that you
went to michigan last year [the michigan womyn's music festival], not
as a performer, but just a regular "festie"...

ar: yeah, i did. i mean, i didn't stay in festie-world ... i got to
camp in the artist section. i love it. my partner in life works there,
and she was on short crew last year, so i enjoy it. i go even if i
don't play.

pm: what is your take on the controversy surrounding michigan's
admission policy? [the policy reads that the festival is open to
"womyn-born-womyn," and has become a rallying point for many
transgender activists.]

ar: i did a series of interviews when i was there, actually, and i'm
going to publish them. i interviewed a representative of camp trans
and a bunch of people on that side of the issue, and then i
interviewed a bunch of people on the other side, like bitch [formerly
of bitch and animal] and lisa [vogel, founder and producer of the
festival]. and in the end it was hard for me to know where i stood! in
the beginning, i was pretty sure that i felt like the admission policy
needed to change. and i felt pretty strongly about it. but then, by
the end of it, i was like, aaagh, this is so hard, because i respect
lisa vogel so much and i respect the need for a safe space and for
this issue ... with some people feeling like it's not safe, and not
even safe for some of the transgendered people who come on the land as
well. and so, i ended up feeling like ... the festival has a right to
do what they want to do. it was started by a group of women for a
certain reason, and we can claim it as a community and claim a certain
amount of proprietary right over it, but we don't have complete
proprietary rights over it. but what i wish is that we could have an
admission policy that would include transgendered women. that's what i
wish. because i don't personally feel threatened by it. but then when
i talk to somebody who does, i feel a lot of sympathy for them and for
their position. but in my personal life, it doesn't threaten me but
when you talk to lisa vogel about it, you can really understand why
she feels the way she does.

pm: so, you're going to publish these interviews?

ar: yeah, as soon as i get around to it. i made the mistake of
interviewing people for like an hour, and having ... you know, i payed
my sister's partner to transcribe the interviews, cuz i got so
discouraged after i started doing it! we're going to put it on the
indigo girls web site, or on the daemon web site or something.

pm: you mentioned daemon, your record label. how is it to record as
indigo girls on a major label, but do your solo stuff on an indie?

ar: i started that label about 15 years ago, and we had gotten signed
to epic. i had some money, and i didn't want to leave the independent
world behind. i feel a real affinity for it and i feel real at home in
it. it was like, i've got all these friends who are in bands and
nobody has any money and can afford to make their own records ... this
was at a time when it wasn't so cheap to make your own records. so i
signed this punk band, and it was fun, so i just kept going. it's been
a long journey. i have three people who work for me currently, so it's
not just me. it's truly a labor of love for them.

pm: how involved are you in the day-to-day of the label, and the
signing of the bands?

ar: a lot. we talk every day. i know what's going on all the time.
like, when i was working on this solo record, there were a couple of
weeks in there where i was so in the thick of finishing the record
that i couldn't even communicate with them. and they're fine -- they
don't need to talk to me! [laughs] i go to the office when i'm home
once a week, and help out with mailings or whatever, and we just sit
down and have a meeting and discuss strategy for every record. we're
friends. i say yes or no to things, and they're all really good at
their jobs. they specialize in what they do. we're a group working on
something together. i mean, they call me their boss in a jokingly way,
but it's not really like that. they try to make me feel bad cuz they
know i don't like that word. like, "okay, boss!"

pm: i talked one time with rose polenzani [who released two record on
dameon, anybody in 1999 and rose polenzani in 2001], and she was
beaming over the experience of working with daemon. it was such a nice
change of pace to hear an artist who loved her label.

ar: she's a great one. she just put out a record on her own it's an
interesting time for indie labels right now. an artist like rose is
almost better off doing her own thing. because she can make all of the
money from each record she sells -- it can all go back to her. and
she's already got a base of people who know who she is. really, the
way you get well-known is through touring, and she just keeps building
on that, and get better and better. my feeling is that she doesn't
need us. i try to be honest with the artists. like, i think she can do
more for herself right now than we can do for her.

pm: so the place of daemon is more about helping out new artists?

ar: yeah, i guess it's just about how you want to do things. i know
rose's style, and how she works, and i know she'll be able to do it
just as well on her own. there are some established bands we are still
working with, but it's because there's something we're giving them
that they can't give themselves. and it changes from group to group.
it could be the way we get press for them, or they're strictly a radio
band.

pm: do you have a particular style of music you're more interested in
working with?

ar: just left of center. if it's folk music, it needs to be someone
like rose, who's bizarre and totally creative and not doing the same
old shit. and if it's a rock band or a punk band, there needs to be
really good song writing. just something with substance.

pm: so you're personally involved in choosing who daemon will work
with?

ar: oh, yeah. yeah. we all bring different people to the table.

pm: do you ever get vetoed by the group?

ar: i have gotten vetoed, actually! the way i look at it, if they
don't like it, they're not gonna do a good job on it. i almost got
vetoed this last year with this punk band that we put out. i was
really bummed, but i pushed it. i was like, you know what? this is one
time when i'm gonna pull the boss card, and we just have to do this
cuz i know it's gonna work out. and i was right! but i really was sure
about it. usually, if they veto me i'll let it stand, because it means
it's not going to go well. the same thing has happened to them. but if
someone feels really strongly about something, we usually defer to
them.

pm: will the indigo girls ever release something on your label?

ar: no. no. i mean, emily wouldn't ... no. that would not work. that
would be like, my label, and it would be hard for her to get mad at me
if i didn't do promotion right. you gotta have a little bit of
separation. and we have to be able to be a united front, you know, me
and emily. we can't be united against me!

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

date: thu, 21 apr 2005 12:14:06 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopolis.com>
subject: [ig-news] weekly planet article

hey folks,

there's an article about amy in the weekly planet (i'm not 100% sure,
but it looks like a tampa publication).  i won't post it here because
i don't think there's too much new in it, but you can read it online
at:
http://www.weeklyplanet.com/2005-04-13/cover5.html

- -sherlyn
- --
sherlyn koo | sherlyn@pixelopolis.com | sydney, australia

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end of ig-news-digest v8 #50
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