lifeblood: listlogs: 1998v01n149-news

ig-news-digest         tuesday, august 4 1998         volume 01 : number 149

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] ln & performing songwriter stuffs  [lori ann <>]
  [ig-news] ln interview with amy              [lori ann <>]
  [ig-news] fwd: performing songwriter interview  [lori ann <liltree@yahoo.c]
  [ig-news] ann wilson not with suffragette  [sue kwan <skwan@midway.uchicag]


date: mon, 3 aug 1998 17:52:52 -0700
from: lori ann <>
subject: [ig-news] ln & performing songwriter stuffs

[sherlyn's note: this is a slightly edited version of a
message which was originally sent to the indigo girls
mailing list at  i will grab the interviews
and forward them on in a little while...]

heya folks!

okay i was feeling ambitious and so i typed up the ln interview with
amy and the performing songwriter interview with (he he my new
notation for the girls) today and have posted them on my website for
those of yall who don't like taking trips to the bookstore. :)
the ln interview:
the ps interview:

they're linked together so you can go through one and link to the
other one when you're done.  since the urls are kind of long.


lori ann (a scooby doo fan as well as an fan)
do you yahoo!?
get your free address at

- ---------------------------------------------------------------
this has been a message from the ig-news list.
please send feedback, questions etc to
submissions are welcome - please send these to


date: mon, 3 aug 1998 19:11:48 -0700
from: lori ann <>
subject: [ig-news] ln interview with amy

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

okay,,,for those of you without web access, here is the lesbiannews
interview with amy. i'll post the performing songwriter one when i
figure out what the heck i did with it.

lori ann

indigo girls: the politics of amy ray
by heidi hudson

calling from a studio rehearsal before she starts out on lilith fair
'98, amy ray takes some time out of one of her very busy days to speak
to the lesbian news about politics, music, and lilith.

ln: i was reading a few weeks ago that you offered to do some high
school shows in the south but they did not go as well as you planned.
three out of five were canceled. were you and emily surprised at the
response you had?

ar: yeah. because what happened is we decided to go as an experiment,
to play five high school shows during the day with 30 minute shows and
30 minute question and answer periods to just talk about music and the
arts and how to get involved in music and support kids who are trying
to get something going with their own creativity. it wasn't tied to
anything political. it was strictly, well i guess everything is
political, but it was strictly to do with the arts so to do that we
had to pass a lot of obvious scrutiny from school boards to begin with
who read our lyrics and discussed whether or not we were appropriate.
they all thought we were and then three out of the five shows were
canceled. it was kind of a domino effect, as soon as one person
started questioning it, some other schools and parents, it was a
minority of parents that called in and created this whole crazy
scenario, but in the end the studenst made a good thing out of a bad
thing. they really responded. they staged walk outs and protests and
we held alternate shows after school for all ages with preferences
given to high school students. people showed up and it was a very
positive experience. it was a good reminder that there is still a lot
of work to be done. as soon as you think you are in a comfort zone,
you realize that things still nedd to be worked on and you still need
to speak out.

ln: the two shows that did occur at the high schools--how did those go?

ar: they were great. kids were totally into it and those that asked
questions, we had a really good dialog and it was really fun.

ln: what is it like touring outside the us?

ar: we used to tour a lot more outside the us but this year we'll only
be doing canadian dates but no uk, europe, or east asia. we love
touring outside the us but we have very small cult followings and for
those reasons it's a completely different experience but its really
rich because you could easily play in small places. it takes you back
to your beginning of your time here. it's cool. it's not something
that we feel we want to develop a massive career in the world. it's a
lot of ground to cover. i think we just feel like we want to play
places and enjoy music for what it is and not be over-ambitious and
conquer the whole world. it's a little unrealistic for us.

ln: do you have a favorite place you like to tour in or outside the us?

ar: (laughs) that's a hard one. we really love everywhere. this year
the place that stood out for us pretty well was the northwest of the
us. we've been playing the northwest for a long time, even early on in
our career for at least 10 years. there was something about it this
year that was very animated for us in the northwest, there was a
obvious energy and that was great. we also went to australia this year
and we had a blast.

ln: both of you are deeply involved in so many political and social
causes. the internet is inundated with information about the causes
you champion. is there a particular cause that is especially near and
dear to your heart?

ar: everything we're involved with is very significant to us. nothing
takes precedence over anything else but they all exist under an
umbrella or a basic approach. i think if you look at sexism,
homophobia, racism, intolerance, and environmental devastation, i
believe all those things are tied together. i believe the connections
are pretty obvious. the world is becoming based on this idea of
"neorevolutionism" and global economy, where everything becomes money
and profit motivated. and corporations, transnational corporations,
have more power than the government and the government being the
people. there's not the same sense of community anymore, and the
differences being the diversity being our strength. it's much more
homogenized. i think when the corporations have so much control a lot
of disenfranchisement happens very naturally, as well as environmental
disasters and racism. to me these connections are so obvious that i
try to work on a lot of different perspectives. what i consider to be
the same issue, which is fighting the corporate structure in general,
and trying to retain some sense of community and sense of statehood
that's not based on money but on people.

ln: have you thought of putting together a documentary more focused on
all your causes and social issues?

ar: we did this project called honor the earth, which is an
environmental activist coalition of indigenous people, that we grant
money to people doing environmental activism. we do a tour that
usually lasts about a month-- we go into different areas and focus on
regional environmental concerns within indian communities and we
documented the last tour we did pretty fully. we are going to release
at some point that documentary. it won't be focused on us. it will be
focusing on very specific issues. that's the closest we've gotten. we
really try to take the focus away from us and put it on the issues or
what people need to be aware of rather than making it some rock stars
blindly leading people into something that they know nothing about
because we all have to learn. the way we can learn is by having it
brought to our attention and then by listening to what the people say
in the communities themselves, rather than trying to speak for them.

ln: let's talk about your current album, shaming of the sun, one of
the most progressive albums you've produced to date. do you agree?

ar: in the past we have pretty much co-produced all along but not to
the degree that we did with this one. emily and i both wanted to be in
charge of this. we wanted to work with someone who's willing to let us
be in charge and give us their input but we wanted to feel the bulk of
the responsibility. it's hard. honestly, we loved the people that we
worked with in the past. i've missed them sometimes, but it's intense
especially at the end of the day when you are tired. and it's your
responsibility. you have to work on it more. that was something to get
used to when you felt kind of tired of listening to something. you
couldin't turn around to your producer and say, "will you listen to
this for a while? i want to take a break!" (laughs) emily and i
started depending on each other more, which is good for us for giving
each other breaks. it probably has been one of the best processes
we've been through in a while with our relationship, our musical
relationship, how to work with each other. it really forced us to be
in the same room together after being off for a long time. we hadn't
seen much of each other in a year. it was good. it really built us
back up. it got us used to working with each other again. for the next
record we may decide to have a producer and co-produce with someone
who's really in charge.

ln: do you have any favorite tracks off this album?

ar: hmmmm...

ln: well how about if i ask you about one of my favorite tracks, don't
give that girl a gun"?

ar: it's sort of a break-up song basically. but i always, obviously,
was tipping my hat to the gun control movement too! (laughs) i like to
do that, mix up my personal songs about personal life with political
issues. they're metaphors a lot of times for each other. it's this
idea of two people that both maybe treated a love with less respect
than they should have--you are kind of hoping for a repair but you
know there's not going to be one--that's what it's about. it's not
about a one-sided "you did me wrong" or "i did you wrong". it's more
of this idea of love you should respect. whether you stay together or
not you should be respectful of it. that's what i was thinking about
when i wrote it.

ln: will you be playing a lot of songs from sots at lilith or will you
be mixing up your set for each show?

ar: there will probably be a few songs that we tend to play a lot, but
for the most part it will be a different set every night, and we'll
probably rotates songs in and out. it's hard. it's a pretty short set.

ln: are you excited to do lilith again?

ar: yeah! we love lilith.

ln: what were some of your faorite moments from last year's tour?

ar: favorite moments musically were when we participated
with everybody else and had other people play with us and we played
with other people. we jammed in the dressing rooms. there was also the
press conferences at every show last year. at each press conference
they would give a check from that day's show where $1 from each ticket
went to that organization. that was amazing. it made you feel like
there was something good going on that was more than the music.

ln: everytime i've spoken with sarah mclachlan or attended her press
conferences, i have to say that she has always mentioned and thanked
the indigo girls for giving lilith that summer camp feel. what's your

ar: the thing is anytime you are dealing with a festival tour, if it's
a similar group of people traveling from one place to another, at some
point everybody is going to get kind of sick of playing their own
thing and they're going to want to play with other people. to me it's
a natural evolution. you're with about fifty other incredible
musicians and at some point it's going to occur to you that you ought
to be using them and you ought to be sharing something. there's no big
secret to it. to me it's just a matter of doing it. a lot of people
feel precious on having their set being very isolated and
choreographed and they don't feel comfortable bringing other things
into it, and that's cool. that's their prerogative. i think the secret
is to be willing to let your defensives down a little bit and to take
a chance to know that some night may not go so well. they may not be
perfect, but the audience likes it. it gets old to see people play
things over and over again. now that's the way i feel about it. other
people don't agree with me.

ln: wasn't it true that in the first week of lilith last year you and
emily went around pounding on people's doors to get people together?

ar: you have to ask people to do things. our thing was that we have
different songs that we thought this person or that person would sound
good on. we would just go ask them. the secret is to just do it. they
would either say yes or no. it's easy to get people to play during our
set. the trick is, are other people going to let us play during their
sets? it's always our set where we're doing the jamming. i'd like to
see other people jam during their set. sarah did have everybody up
during the end of her set, which is totally cool, and shawn colvin did
a song with two other people. it was really starting to loosen up and
cross polinate--that's the stuff. that's what makes it worth it. if
it's just a bunch of people playing one set after another, to me
there's nothing that special about it.

ln: one of your best shows i've seen was your recent la show where you
had many guest artists (vonda shepard, jackson browne, michelle
malone, kristin hall, ani difranco, etc) come on stage and jam with you.

ar: it probably was a little overboard but it was a lot of fun!

ln: how did that come about?

ar: some people just come to see us. there would be friends of ours
who showed up backstage and we would be like, "you want to play
tonight?" it ended up being all these people we knew on the guest
list. we just found them and said, "let's do this, let's do
that"--there was a very small amount of prep time. we probably only
went through each song one time. we would be sitting there with
matthew sweet, then kristin hall would walk in the room, then jackson
browne came just built backstage. you have to have time
beforehand and write lyrics out, it's a little rushed. it's very fun.
some people think we shouldn't do that because it messes with the
momentum of the show and it's not very professional. we just don't
feel like that.

ln: what are your plans after lilith?

ar: we will do the michigan women's music festival, newport folk
festival, and a benefit for the gay and lesbian task force and a
benefit for a migrant farmers organization in the south called floc
and another zapatista benefit. then we'll end the year with an east
coast rock club tour called the "rolling thunderpussy revue" which is
going to be a bunch of women from different bands all playing
together, doing each other's songs, but playing ensemble.

from: the lesbian news, volume 23, number 12, july '98

do you yahoo!?
get your free address at

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this has been a message from the ig-news list.
please send feedback, questions etc to
submissions are welcome - please send these to


date: mon, 3 aug 1998 19:34:12 -0700
from: lori ann <>
subject: [ig-news] fwd: performing songwriter interview

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

kudos to mel for copying the ps interview to a word here's
in all their glory...

lori ann (who's beginning to realize why celebrities get tired of
giving interviews)

(thanks mel!)

> indigo girls--1500 curfews and counting
> performing songwriter, volume 6, issue 31, july/august 1998
> by russell hall
> in an era when stadium tours, corporate sponsorships, and lavish stage
> sets are the norm for most major rock
> acts, the indigo girls are something of an anomaly. despite a 16-year
> career that's included six grammy
> nominations, multi-platinum albums ales, and near-universal critical
> acclaim, the duo remains known foremost for
> their intense fan following and a fierce allegiance to various social
> and political causes. having logged nearly
> 1500 shows since their performing career began in the early 80s
> their 1995 live album 1200 curfews
> should be renamed each year), the indigo girls' musical journey has
> characterized by a work ethic and a
> sense of mission that's increasingly rare among their peers.
> although amy ray and emily saliers met in elementary school, they
> start playing music together until they
> became teenagers. even at that young age, their differences--both
> musically and temperamentally--were readily
> evident. the daughter of an atlanta radiologist and a homemaker, ray
> the more extroverted of the two--not
> surprisingly, she gravitated toward post-punk bands like the
> replacements. saliers, on the other hand, was quiet
> and studious (her parents were professors), and her tastes ran
> accordingly toward singer-songwriters such as
> joni mitchell.
> when the two joined forces with their acoustic guitars, they quickly
> discovered that their differences in personality
> and musical preferences coalesced into something musically magical.
> although amy and emily performed at high school events and pta
> it wasn't until college that their
> musical career began to take shape. using the moniker saliers and ray,
> the two found time between their studies
> at emory university to perform regularly at nearby coffeehouses and
> small bars and had begun to attract a small
> legion of fans by graduation. changing their name to the indigo girls,
> the duo became associated with several
> local clubs and eventually focused their attention on atlanta's little
> five points pub, where the pair quickly
> attracted a loyal following as the night club's unofficial house band.
> in 1985, the indigo girls began releasing a small but steady stream of
> material on their own label, indigo records.
> first came a single ("crazy game"), followed by a six song ep (indigo
> girls), and finally a full-length album
> entitled strange fire. by this time, ray and saliers counted among
> fans such musical luminaries as rem's
> michael stipe and highly regarded athens producer, john keane (who
> oversaw the recording of their debut
> album). strange fire sold approximately 5000 copies--a substantial
> figure by do-it-yourself standards--and in the
> wake of the release the indigo girls toured additional cities and
> garnered college radio play throughout the
> southeast.
> in the midst of this burgeoning attention, major label executives soon
> came calling, and the duo signed to epic
> records in 1988. the indigo girls first album for the label--entitled
> simply indigo girls--peaked at #22 on the
> billboard charts, with the saliers-penned single "closer to fine"
> reaching #52. recognizing their potential as
> major new artists, epic arranged for the pair to serve as a supporting
> act for both rem and neil young. capping a
> spectacular year, the grammy committee nominated the indigo girls for
> the category best new artist, and a
> grammy was awarded them for best contemporary folk recording.
> in the years since this auspicious beginning, the indigo girls have
> released six full-length albums, and each has
> displayed steady musical growth within the framework of firmly rooted
> folk-pop traditions. equally as impressive,
> the two have managed to align their music with a political and social
> agenda that seeks to protect the
> environment, remedy social injustice, and promote tolerance.
> earlier this year, ray and saliers were embroiled in a controversy in
> which administrators at three high schools
> prevented them from performing as part of a series of free shows for
> students. citing the duo's sexual orientation
> and a so-called "objectionable" lyric in one song, the powers-that-be
> forced the pair to utilize alternative venues in
> two of the three cities. ray however, managed to display her usual
> optimism by finding something hopeful in what
> could be viewed as a contemptible situation: "the kids made it
> there have been boycotts and walkouts,
> and some of them were suspended for longer than they were originally
> told they would be. the aclu in south
> carolina is stepping in and defending some of the children. they
> serious activists about it."
> as ray and saliers prepared for a stint on this summer's lilith fair
> tour (last year they were cited by lilith founder
> sarah mclachlan as prime contributors to the project's success), both
> took time to talk with performing
> songwriter about their history, activism, and their songwriting.
> amy
> ps: you and emily began playing music together in high school. looking
> back to those days, did you approach
> the guitar differently from one another even then?
> ar: yes, that's always been true, and it's really probably more a
> of my weaknesses than anything else.
> emily's musical abilities far surpassed mine then--and still do--in
> technical virtuosity and in regard to being a
> natural guitar player. my approach to the guitar was very
utilitarian. i
> was like, "i want to play this song, so i'm
> gonna learn these chords and strum". i didn't practice that much,
and i
> really felt (the guitar) was more an
> extension of my body in a rhythmic sort of way rather than in a lead
> way.
> and it was the same way with my approach to songs. at first, i had a
> hard time learning how to sing harmony, so i
> sang counter-melodies. i was much more gruff than emily about
> everything, so even then we were definitely
> polarized. i think a lot of our style comes from playing up our
> strengths and our weaknesses, or rather from
> turning our weaknesses into strengths.
> but i would also say that back in high school our musical tastes were
> slightly more similar than they are now. we
> loved to do cover songs by people like elton john and neil young,
> although we tried to find the most obscure
> songs rather than cover the big hits.
> ps: who else did you listen to while you wre growing up?
> ar: mostly i listened to albums my sister had: the jefferson airplane
> and strawberry alarm clock...a lot of sixties
> and early seventies psychedelic music. i also liked neil young, james
> taylor, and crosby, stills, nash, & young.
> but then at a certain point i heard patti smith, the replacements,
> cole and the commotions, aztec
> camera, the clash, and the sex pistols. when i heard those types of
> bands, everything turned inside out for me
> in a way that was really good. it was a feeling of, "oh, this is what
> i've been waiting for". the post-punk bands
> really liberated me in a sense. whenever i go back to things i
> to before then, i just can't even relate to it.
> there are a few exceptions, like james taylor and neil young, who i
> still relate to as a writer. but as emily
> and i started doing more original music, that's when the differences
> our influences started to become more
> obvious.
> ps: is it true that early on you and emily focused on performing at
> alternative-rock clubs rather than in
> coffeehouses and folk clubs?
> ar: yes, because we were loud even back then. we were kind of raucous,
> and we liked to jam and turn our
> guitars up. back then the tradition in folk was that your voice was
> always louder than your guitar, but we liked the
> idea of mixing the guitar up as loud as the voice. there were a lot of
> things about us that didn't fit in with
> coffeehouses very well.
> so we wanted to play the rock clubs or places that were once punk
> which had become alternative clubs.
> also the college students were there, and our friends hung out there,
> and that's where the bands we liked tended
> to play. i would call up these places and tell them we would play a
> couple of shows for free if they would just give
> us a chance. they'd say things like, "well i don't know about acoustic
> stuff," but usually they would give in and let
> us try. and it almost always worked out.
> ps: the two of you signed with epic in 1988. that must have been an
> exciting time, but you've also said that you
> became a bit depressed afterwards.
> ar: yes. it was a situation where we had this thing going--managing
> ourselves, booking ourselves, that kind of
> stuff--and, when we let go of all that, we were excited at first
> we had been working so hard. we were
> tired and thought, "oh good, someone's going to share the load". but
> then we took a step back and thought, "oh
> shit, did we just give up something we shouldn't have--the control,
> independence, our autonomy?" but the
> reality is that epic has been very supportive of us all along, in both
> our political agenda and our creative freedom.
> it's been an asset to have them, and it's really freed us up to do
> things with our time. it's kind of a give-and-
> take thing.
> ps: since you had a strong core following as indie artists, was there
> any concern that your fans might feel
> resentful, that they might feel like they were losing their "pocket"
> band?
> ar: our fans aren't like that, and they weren't like that at the
time. i
> think that's because we were very obvious
> about not changing. we stayed in atlanta, we toured in a van for the
> first year, and we played and recorded songs
> they were familiar with. and we didn't change our sound drastically. i
> think our audience, in general, has been
> very supportive of what we do, and we're lucky for that.
> ps: almost every indigo girls album has featured lots of stellar
> many of these musicians aren't known for
> sharing their services very often. what's your secret for persuading
> them to contribute?
> ar: we just ask. (laughs) i think it's because we love playing music.
> and whenever we ask someone to play with
> us, it's because we want them to do their thing and not because we
> to dictate what they're going to do. i
> think people appreciate that, but i also think people just like to
> whenever we know people in a town we're
> playing, we always ask them to join us onstage. it's a tradition with
> us, and i think people enjoy that, because it's
> not something that happens a lot anymore.
> and when we ask people to play on our records, i think that in the
> spirit of that, they agree. most of these people
> have a certain approach to music--a certain open-mindedness--that
> it seem not far-fetched for them to sit
> in with people. steve earle is a good example of that, of someone who
> loves music and loves participating and
> engaging with people.
> ps: your experience with the lilith fair tour was also an example of
> that. sarah mclachlan recently said
> something to the effect that the participants were tentative with each
> other until you and emily came on board,
> and that you got everyone to let their guard down. that must have been
> gratifying.
> ar: it was. it's gratifying for sarah to recognize us in general. when
> you're on a tour like that, in some ways you
> just feel at some point people are going to get bored with themselves
> and will evolve and start playing with each
> other. (laughs) just naturally, i mean, whether we're there to
> it or not. but in another way, that is what we
> do. we're instigators. we'll go into a festival environment and try to
> get people to play together, because that's
> what we feel should be happening. that rubs some people the wrong way,
> but most people like it. we're not trying
> to be pushy about it. we're just saying, "look, you guys. there's a
> wealth of talent here. let's share and play
> together."
> i also think in some ways we're irreverent about that sort of thing.
> we're not afraid to make mistakes onstage, and
> we're not worried that our set is going to be messed up or something.
> we're not precious, and i think that sense of
> looseness is what brought people out of their shells. with a tour like
> lilith, it's hard because it's so big. when you
> look at the number of people there and consider what it could do for
> your career--if you look at just that--you might
> tend to get nervous and not be willing to take risks. but for us, it's
> not worth playing if you're not going to take
> risks.
> [insert: amy's required listening.
>   1.rage against the machine--evil empire
>   2.elliot smith--elliot smith
>   3.the replacements--let it be
>   4.smoke--another reason to fast
>   5.patti smith--horses
>   6.any of the rock*a*teens albums]
> ps: as writers, you and emily have an unusual working relationship in
> that you don't collaborate. do each of you
> always finish a particular song before showing it to the other?
> ar: pretty much. every now and then one of us will ask for help with a
> line. emily might say something like, "i
> have this extra section, and i don't know whether to make it a bridge,
> or an introduction, or an ending," and i'll
> give an opinion. but that's pretty rare. we usually finish our songs
> independently, although we sometimes hear
> each other working on stuff, maybe in soundcheck or in the dressing
> or something. so we might give each
> other advice if asked, but it's pretty much a lone process for each of
> us.
> ps: have either of you ever contemplated doing a solo album?
> ar: i think we both think about doing solo projects, not as a major
> release or anything, but maybe just for fun. we
> both jam with other people, and we have fun sitting in with other
> musicians. neither of us has a sense of being
> threatened by what the other one does, we do have a kind of freedom to
> come and go. i think that's because our
> musical relationship is so intact and because we both feel that the
> of that relationship is better than the parts.
> ps: let's talk about some of the causes you and emily have championed.
> you must get approached by
> organizations all the time. how do you go about determining which ones
> to support?
> ar: we work with a lot of activists, and it has mostly to do with
> disenfranchised communities or issues that have
> come about because of the basic corporate structure of the united
> states. the fact that multi-national
> corporations are in charge of things at this point is pretty scary.
> have more money than the government.
> these issues have to do with everything from pro-choice advocacy to
> control to environmental issues. it's
> those issues noam chomsky talks about: how manifest destiny created
> this disenfranchisement.
> we're all fighting the same enemy. the global economy is killing us
> (with) nafta, gatt, and so on. so a lot of
> things we do stem from an attitude of trying to spread out and help
> communities. and one of the most important
> things is we don't go in someone's movement and tell them how to run
> things. we try to support what they're
> already doing. that's the nature of grassroots activism: to support
> give voice to people who are trying to
> change things in their own communities.
> our involvement in native american activism is a good example. we
have a
> campaign called honor the earth in
> which we fund indigenous environmental groups. native americans within
> their own communities make all the
> decisions about how the funding is used. we don't have anything to do
> with these decisions, we just give them the
> money. and that's kind of the model for how we do other things. we
> to work with small groups in which we
> can see the direct results of what they're doing, and with groups
> don't have a lot of administrative or
> bureaucratic costs.
> ps: has your involvement in these issues tended to make you more
> optimistic or more pessimistic?
> ar: i feel optimistic. i feel inspired by certain groups we work with.
> we funded a group that's part of the
> zapatistas--in chiapas, mexico--and just seeing their discipline, and
> how they've become politicized within their
> own communities, and how they've done things for themselves is
> inspiring. they're so big-hearted and
> so hopeful. and they have so much grace, which is really hard to find.
> seeing that in someone else can teach you
> a lot, and then you can come back to your own struggle and bring what
> you've learned to the gay community or to
> environmental issues.
> ps: are there instances in which you and emily disagree about social
> issues or about what direction you activism
> should take?
> ar: we don't disagree about activism too much any more. i used to be a
> lot more outspoken than she was, and
> now we're about the same in that regard. and we don't disagree about
> approach to politics. but sometimes we
> do disagree about business matters. i tend to be more radical than
> about those types of things, but at the
> same time, i'm principled to a fault, and her viewpoint is often much
> more valid. and sometimes we have
> disagreements about music, about who we're going to hire or who's in
> band. we're so different from each
> other, you can pretty much count on us taking opposite views on lots
> things other than general values.
> ps: in what ways has your association with various types of cultures
> an impact on your music?
> ar: it's certainly put us in touch with different types of music. but
> also, in a way that's obvious to me but probably
> subtle to some people, it's given us a sense of freedom. we've seen a
> lot of people who would risk their lives for
> what they're fighting for and who have so much less than us. and that
> triumph of the spirit makes you look at your
> own music kind of differently. you start taking more risks, and you
> a sort of feeling of, "what have i got to lose
> in view of the larger scope of the world?" you stop being so precious.
> ps: the music industry has gone through lots of changes since you and
> emily started out. do you think things are
> better for women in the industry today as compared to a decade ago?
> ar: that's a hard question to answer. it appears there are more
> opportunities, because women are getting more
> airplay. there's lilith fair, and lots of women are really popular.
> there's still something that gets to me,
> something that i can't quite put my finger on. it's a sort of a
> ghettoization that goes on. it's as if women are always
> looked upon as a surprising trend. it's never just accepted for what
> is.
> and also, i really believe the terms that success is based upon are
> still male terms. and i don't think that's the
> fault of women. i don't think all these women are selling out. women
> should have the freedom to do whatever
> they want--to dress how they want and to sing about whatever they want
> to sing about. (but) the parameters of
> success are still dictated by a male sensibility and by what a male
> wants to see in a female. i don't think that's
> changed, although i do think women have more opportunities now. things
> are evolving.
>  emily
> ps: amy has said her style of songwriting grew partly out of listening
> to post-punk bands when she was very
> young. what types of music did you listen to when you were growing up?
> es: my parents had albums by people like the kingston trio and peter,
> paul, and mary, so i was particularly
> drawn to that. and they were also really into jazz and classical
> which i listened to as well. but then, when i
> started buying my own records, the first album i bought was by the
> jackson five. i've always liked soul music and
> rhythm & blues. and then, as i became a more serious
songwriter--when i
> was eighteen or nineteen years old--i
> discovered joni mitchell, and i've listened to her since then. i've
> always been into bob dylan as well. at various
> times in my life i've also listened to heart, the roches, jane
> those types of folks.
> ps: you and amy began playing together at a very young age. at what
> point did you realize there was an unusual
> chemistry between you?
> es: that was a gradual thing. there was never a moment when we said,
> "gee, we should try to make a living
> doing this because we have something really special." it was more a
> situation where we were in the same high
> school, and we were good friends, and we had this thing in common. of
> course there's an endless fascination that
> exists when you're playing music together. there's always another song
> to learn or to arrange. and we started
> preparing repertoires for things such as playing in our english class,
> or pta shows, and eventually open mic
> nights. and we just took it from there.
> ps: how would you characterize that chemistry, or how is it related to
> the differences and similarities between you
> and amy?
> es: musically we are very different. our influences are different. as
> you say, amy has more of a post-punk
> influence and her music tends to be rawer and more edgy. and she has a
> deeper, more rock'n'roll type of voice.
> on the other hand, my music tends to be more in the singer-songwriter
> vein. joni mitchell would be a bigger
> influence on me, and i also have a higher voice.
> and these things are a bit indicative of our personality traits as
> amy is probably more driven and motivated
> and passionate and fiery. we have different personalities, and we like
> to do different things with our time.
> fortunately, these differences have complemented each other and have
> worked to our advantage. it's kind of like
> having two musical lives.
> [insert: emily's required listening
>   1.tori amos--little earthquakes
>   2.ennio morricone--cinema paradiso: the classic film music of ennio
> morricone
>   3.queen latifah--nature of a sistah
>   4.joni mitchell--hejira
>   5.rage against the machine--evil empire]
> ps: when did you come up with the name "indigo girls"?
> es: that was around 1984. before then, we had just been going by
> and ray, but we wanted to come up
> with something that sounded like a band name. amy just flipped through
> the dictionary, looking for ideas, and she
> landed on that word. we talked about it, and we decided to add the
> "girls" for alliterative purposes. there's
> no deep meaning behind it. it just sounded good to us.
> ps: were you as overtly political in those early days as you are
now, or
> was that something that developed with
> time?
> es: we've always been involved in social issues and politics, even
> back to when we were very young. we
> did benefits at that time for groups like greenpeace and to support
> local shelters. i suppose epic had no way of
> knowing we would turn out to be as political as we are or that we
> marry our music with our politics to the
> extent we have. but we've always had that direction in our lives and
> it's only natural to join it to our music since
> that's what we spend most of our time doing.
> ps: when you signed to epic, were there any specific demands or
> assurances you required, in regard to the label
> allowing you to be as outspoken as you wished?
> es: from the very beginning we made it clear to the company that, in
> case, what you see is what you get. it
> was understood that we weren't into "image", and we weren't going to
> told what songs to record. we were
> going to do our own songs, and they would be produced the we wanted
> produced. amy and i were able to
> say these things because we had nothing to lose and because we weren't
> hell-bent on getting a major label deal.
> we approached everything with a kind of relaxed attitude, and we had
> real expectations about what might
> happen or how many records we would sell. basically, the most
> thing to us was to protect the integrity
> we brought to what we were doing musically, and that's exactly what we
> did.
> ps: over the years you and amy have been involved with a number of
> social causes and activist policies. lately,
> however, your primary focus has been related to native american
> can you talk a bit about that?
> es: yes. for the sake of being as effective as possible, given the
> amount of time we have, we've sort of honed
> our interests in on indigenous people's issues. they're the true
> environmentalists, it really runs through their
> blood. they don't think of themselves as environmentalists, it's just
> that their way of living takes into account
> future generations and protection of our resources. for traditional
> people, it's like breathing. amy and i feel we
> can learn a lot from that way of thinking. we live in a society that's
> so driven by money and consumerism and
> multi-national corporations there's little respect for any sense of
> balance. that's why we've become so heavily
> involved with indigenous people's issues and rights and land
> issues.
> ps: the indigo girls' sound has tended to become more expansive with
> each album. how much of that has to do
> with your travels or with your association with various cultures?
> es: it all has to do with our travels. our songs have lots of
> to traveling and to places we've been and
> to things associated with being away from home. they have to do with
> the people we've come across--native
> american activists and others who've educated us. we met these people
> because we were on the road, and we
> write about things that make us impassioned, things we think about or
> experience.
> it becomes a big soup pot of experience. musically, you take a little
> from this area and a little bit from that. as far
> as our bigger sound, that's also happened because we've started
> different instruments in the past couple
> of years. we've played acoustic guitars for so long. i think we both
> wanted to grow and to not stagnate. so amy
> learned some mandolin, and i've focused more on electric guitar and
> banjo and piano stuff that gives our
> sound, collectively, a broader spectrum.
> ps: how so you go about determining which musicians you want to
bring in
> to play on a particular album?
> es: when we get ready to record, a lot of times we'll make a wish
lis of
> people we want to play on the album. and
> sometimes people are recommended to us by producers or other musicians
> or through word of mouth. bringing in
> danny thompson to play bass, for instance--he was someone peter
> suggested to us. peter has
> introduced us to lots of musicians we've worked with along the way.
> really just a matter of asking people if
> they'll do it. and we've been fortunate in that most of the people
> asked have agreed.
> ps: what sort of input do the musicians have on the way songs are
> arranged?
> es: basically we like for people to come in and do their own thing.
> instance, lisa germano came up with a
> really wacky mandolin part on "least complicated" which ended up being
> one of the main hooks in the song. only
> she could've come up with that, at that moment, and that's the sort of
> thing we celebrate and encourage. we don't
> bring musicians in and try to get them to do something that we would
> ourselves. we bring them in because we
> like what they do.
> ps: which indigo girls album was the most fun to make?
> es: they're all fun. they're also a lot of work. the last one was fun,
> but it was also difficult because it was fully
> our responsibility since we decided to produce it ourselves. but we
> a good time experimenting. we sort of
> took a "kitchen sink" approach, running from instrument to instrument
> and doing some funky weird things.
> ps: sarah mclachlan has said that you and amy helped change the vibe
> during last year's lilith fair tour. what
> was that experience like for you?
> es: that was a really generous thing for sarah to say. amy and i are
> like a couple of kids in a candy store when
> we get around other musicians. just to stand there and watch emmylou
> harris, sheryl crow, jewel, and sarah--
> all these great people singing their sets--it just seemed like a great
> opportunity for everyone to get together and
> jam. that's the school of thinking that amy and i are from. when we
> growing up in atlanta, everybody
> jammed together and supported one another. there were very few
> with competition or with ego stuff. so
> that's the way amy and i like to experience music. whenever we're
> involved in a festival situation, we're gonna go
> knocking on doors saying, "please come sing with us."
> ps: do you think things are any easier today for women in the music
> industry, as compared to how things were
> when you and amy were first starting out?
> es: i do think it's easier, and i hope that it's not just a trend. the
> business has been male-dominated for a long
> time, just like most other facets of our society. and there's been
> prejudice in the sense that radio programmers
> wouldn't put a bunch of women artists together in their line-up, and
> promoters didn't want to feature shows with
> more than one woman act on the bill. there have been problems like
> and i think a festival like lilith points up
> this type of ignorance that's existed. but things seem to be changing,
> and that's a really good thing.

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date: mon, 3 aug 1998 22:19:22 -0500
from: sue kwan <>
subject: [ig-news] ann wilson not with suffragette

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

okay peeps....for those who dont already know, ann wilson (of heart) will
*not* be performing on the suffragette tour as previously noted.  it seems
she needs some major down time with her kids and schtuff.


- --sue


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end of ig-news-digest v1 #149

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