lifeblood: listlogs: 2007v10n034-news

ig-news-digest          sunday, may 20 2007          volume 10 : number 034

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] emily interview from long beach ca  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelo]


date: sat, 19 may 2007 17:34:35 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] emily interview from long beach ca

hi folks,

here's an emily interview from the press telegram in long beach ca.  it's also
online at


- ---begin forwarded article---
indigo girls living the great life of music and activism
by phillip zonkel, staff writer
article launched:05/18/2007 12:00:00 am pdt

the indigo girls are from opposite sides of the musical tracks. amy ray, 43, was
weaned on the jam, the pretenders and husker du, while emily saliers, 43, was
influenced by joni mitchell.

nevertheless, the duo has forged a flourishing musical career lasting more than
20 years.

"amy's a terrific partner. we balance each other out perfectly," saliers says.
"she's a punkster, and i'm a popster into groove."

those differences are reflected on the indigo girls' latest cd, "despite our
differences." saliers says the disc includes her best songwriting ever. the
album has been praised by critics for being "a taut tapestry of sound" (san
francisco chronicle) with "guitar strumming, close harmonies, coffeehouse
earnestness and songs about the perpetual struggle for love, self-affirmation
and a clear conscience that has made (the duo) perennials for the collegiate at
heart" (new york times).

the 13-track cd also is filled with political and social commentary that has
been a crucial part of the indigo girls' work on and off stage. headliners on
the main stage as 9 p.m. saturday at this weekend's 24th annual long beach gay
and lesbian pride celebration, they have championed solar and wind power, the
national coalition to abolish the death penalty, abortion choice, the rights of
native americans and gay rights. both of them live in the atlanta area and are
gay but have never been lovers.

the week before the indigo girls hit the stage at long beach gay pride, saliers
spoke by phone from her atlanta residence about gay pride events and unusual
song lyrics.

q: do you like performing at gay pride events more than regular concerts?

a: there's an excitement about it that's different from other kinds of concerts.
the feeling of solidarity, celebration and how far we've come and also how far
we need to go. pride is one of my favorite days of the year, maybe as much as

q: initially, gay pride events were political, with parade participants
demanding acceptance and equality. in recent years, however, some prides have
lost the political focus and turned into celebrations. should they have a
stronger political presence?

a: i always thought pride would be more effective and well-rounded if it had the
political element. it's good to have the guys on the floats from the leather bar
and the booths (at the festival) with the people doing queer activism.

the only reason we got as far as we have is people took to the streets and took
political action. there's a need for a march about queer rights that can be
organized and extremely political and effective.

q: from the beginning, you and amy have not hidden the fact that the two of you
are gay. has this ever affected your career?

a: in 1998, we were going to do a series of five free high school concerts and
have a career day, talking about what it's like playing music for a living, in
georgia, tennessee and south carolina. some parents heard about it, and because
we are gay, three shows were canceled. we couldn't believe it was happening.

q: how did you know the shows were canceled because you and amy are gay?

a: originally, they said (the shows were canceled) because we used the (f-word)
in the song "shame on you." but then, as more and more parents became involved,
it became obvious that (the shows were canceled) because we are lesbians. they
used language like, "we don't appreciate their lifestyle" and, "we don't want
our kids exposed to this." there's no doubt that's why those shows were shut

q: that's the only time you and amy have experienced something like that?

a: specifically. we've sensed over the years homophobia from radio programmers
and the fact that record companies don't know how to market politically queer
strong women or pigeonhole us as lesbians with guitars.

q: on the new cd, "despite our differences," you wrote the song "fly away" for

a: it's one of the few songs i've written on piano. it's special to me because
of the melody and design of the piano part. it's about a relationship with
someone who is elusive. i write about this a lot. i'm sort of obsessed with it.

when i was a little kid, i saw a bird fly into a window, and i've never
forgotten that image. i use this (imagery) to describe someone who's always
running from intimacy. the person is very compelling, but has to keep going and
fly away, until they crash.

q: is that song about you?

a: it's funny. sometimes i think i'm writing about somebody else and sometimes
i'll listen to the song or play it and think, my god, that's me.

i don't consider myself an elusive person in love. i'm sure i have certain
issues (about) wanting to escape from things in a relationship that find
themselves into my lyrics, but not in any blatant way.

q: you've been writing songs in the indigo girls for more than 20 years. looking
back, are you embarrassed by any lyrics?

a: "make it easier" is a terrible song. the lyrics are so clunky, like a hammer
to the head. one line in the song is, "if you're going to saddle your high
horse." oh my god, shut up. that's the worst line ever. i hate it. it's so

q: away from work, do you and amy hang out?

a: not socially, unless we are at a gathering where we have friends in common.
we don't call each other up and say, "do you want to go to the movies?"

in high school we were best friends, but then we started working together
(chuckles). we used to take road trips together and talk on the phone all the
time. when we started to work all the time, we needed space from each other.

q: after 20 years, what motivates you to get up in the morning and want to be a

a: every time i finish a song, every time we arrange a song, every time we make
a record or every time we play a live show, i feel this deep joy. music can be a
powerful force of love and unity and healing. it has been in my own life.
there's something very spiritual about being able to play music for a living.

and our activism fuels the fire of our lives. it's a great life.

phillip zonkel (562) 499-1258 or

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end of ig-news-digest v10 #34

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