lifeblood: listlogs: 1998v01n041-news

ig-news-digest        saturday, april 11 1998        volume 01 : number 041

                               today's subjects:
  [ig-news] amy interview part ii...  [marivel danielson <marivel@m.imap.itd]


date: sat, 11 apr 1998 00:56:37 -0400
from: marivel danielson <>
subject: [ig-news] amy interview part ii...

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

okay here's the rest of that interview.  it was taken from a december issue of
the fargo publication high plains reader.  the interview was done by staffer
john lamb and of course it is very humbly typed up here without permission...

hpr:  bob dylan has been criticized by some people for trying to do his old
songs.  some say he's lost the tonal range or the vocal ability.  do you
think a
song grows with the performer?

ar:  yeah.  if you do a song exactly the way you did it 10 years ago,
you're not
being honest with your audience.  your voice changes, you change, and to say
that someone shouldn't do one of their songs is just ridiculous.  that's
one of
teh things i like about dylan, kyou never know what song he's singing until
two verses into it, because he's doing it so differently. i think emily's
perspective is a bit different.  she feels there are some parts of songs that
are really important to reproduce and not to mess with them too much.  i can
give her that, certain things like a guitar lead, or a harmony line, for me i
could do it different every time just because it's fun to experiment.  she's
like "look, there are some things a listener likes to hear in a particular
so we should do it."  and i agree with that, but i also like to let songs

hpr:  as your fan base broadens, when you're writing new songs, do you ever
consciously or unconsciously tailor a song to a particular group?

ar:  we both try not to censor ourselves because we're thinking of our
or about radio or whatever.  when you do that you start second-guessing
everything, and it's like you don't trust your audience to be open or yourself
to take a stand.  anytime i fall into that insecurity i just stop writing and
readdressit later, because i don't want that to affect what i'm doing really.
but we're human.

hpr:  have you ever worried about sounding preachy in your songwriting?

ar:  i definitely have a serious thread of self-righteousness and i try not to
be that way because i think it's very judgemental, and doesn't get you
my goal is to be less arrogant and more understanding.

hpr:  have you and emily ever collaborated on a song?

ar:  on honor, a record we put out to benefit our indigenous environmental
campaign, there was a song that i started but couldn't finish, so i gave it to
emily and she was able to finish it.  part of the thing that keeps us together
is our separateness.  we have a hard time epressing thought together.  this
though i've had so many songs that i couldn't finish, i've thought seriously
about giving them all to emily when i've just felt too frustrated.  she's
talented at taking a lyrical idea and expanding upon it, even if it isn't her

hpr:  is that because you're more spontaneous?

ar:  as soon as i'm feeling things, i write them down.  i'm spontaneous that
way, but it takes me a long time to write a song, to figure out what it is
done.  for emily, she ponders things inside for a long time, letting her
emotions and ideas grow, and then she'll sit down one day and she'll just
it'll be a product of months of letting things brew.

hpr:  you were on the lilith fair tour for a few dates this last summer.  how
important was that for you?

ar:  it was so much fun, we couldn't have turned it down.  how many times
do you
get to have that many people around you that are that talented?  the feminist
aspect, that's all really important to us, it's been part of our world for so
long.  we've always put toured with other women and tried to get women on our
crew.  to us it was a validation of that idea.  we felt very lucky to
participate.  it's a good thing, and we're going to do it again next year.  it
will be in the summer and the bill will be much more diverse.  we're going
to do
the west coast.

hpr:  on that tour you were the veteran act...

ar:  yeah, we were the old ladies.  actually emmylou harris is older, and
if you
think about it sheryl crow has been around for a long time too.

hpr:  did you see any of the other performers, especially those who have
been in
the business for a while, try to interact with some of the younger performers,
like jewel or fiona apple, and try to tell them to look out for certain things
along the way?

ar:  i think when we first got there people weren't relating to each other as
much.  by the end of the tour i saw people giving ech other advice and talking
about their experiences and asking questions.  we would ask jewel things
and she
would ask us things.  emmylou, we would ask her things because she is
experienced and older.  so at the end i did see a lot more exchange on that
level and a lot more exchange on a musical level.

hpr:  the first words most people heard from the indigo girls were emily's
opening lyrics to "closer to fine"--"i'm trying to tell you something about my
life."  do you think a lot of your songs are fairly autobiographical?

ar:  everything i write about is something that is really happening.  i'm
to relate to experiences outside of me.  but, for emily, the thing that is so
great about her is that she's not writing because she's selfish and she wants
you to know about her.  she's doing it because she wants you to relate.  she's
able to find this thread that runds through a lot of people, and she's able to
tap into it in two or three lines.  that's why people sing along with it,
because they're feeling it.

hpr:  on the new album songs like "it's alright" she opens up with a little
again.  but the song "burn all the letters" seems to be more about trying to
retain a sense of privacy and the resentment of intrusion.  is it hard to
balance the desire to tell people about yourself and still keep some things

ar:  i think for her it's hard to balance.  i say everything, i don't worry
about it.  for her that is what that song is about.  it started out from a
personal perspective about the invasion of privacy.  i the process of writing
that song she started thinking about all the activists that we know whose
are infiltrated by the f.b.i. and their phones are tapped.  they can never
a life of their own, because someone is always watching over them.  then she
started thinking about the lack of privacy that those people have and how it
relates to her own, and the world of voyerism and the world of paparazzi
and all
that invasion, compared to the black panthers or wounded knee.

hpr:  there is an interesting duality that comes across in that song.  emily
sings the chorus and you follow withthis other chorus almost call-and-response
like.  she sings "burn all the letters" and you follow that singing
"someone is
always watching."  it reflects the fact that you two are different but work
together so well as a unit.

ar:  when she wrote that song i kept saying, "you have to write more.  i know
what this song is about, but there is so much more that other people aren't
going to know.  you need to write more lyrics and i'll sing something separate
from you."  that's what happened and that's the whole point, for it to be that
duality that she was talking about.  that is the lucky thing about being a
being able to work that way.

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