Lisa: I thought you wanted to start writing songs more, why didn't you for this album?
Linda: Well, like I've said before, I don't really consider myself a songwriter,
I was really amazed I wrote that song. That's not really something that I do. Some people
sit down everyday and they write, but I don't do that. I have a few ideas cooking, but my
goal in life is not to be a songwriter. The fact that I wrote a song was like an added
bonus in my life. But something pretty intense has to happen and it's got to be something
I can write about in pretty specific terms. That whole combination of events has to happen
in order for me to write a song. I just don't have the kind of craftsmanship that a writer
would have to have to construct things out of every day experiences, in a way that makes
it real interesting. I mean Paul Simon is the most gifted at that. He can write songs
outside of his own experience so eloquently.
Lisa: How has the music been on this tour? I heard it was more rock and roll...
Linda: It's more rock and roll, but it's just the best band I've ever had. The level
of musicianship is so high. This band is really exceptional. I was worried at first,
because Dan Grolnick loves jazz, you know, and he can play so much more stuff than the stuff
he plays in my music. And I worried a lot that he would feel frustrated. But in fact, in his
own words, what a great musician always searches for is musical agreement. And if there's
musical agreement going on on the stage, then a musician will get off. And when I realized
that those guys were getting off on the music ... well, it wasn't up to me to entertain the
band and the audience. So I stopped worrying. Because the audience seemed to like it.
Lisa: Why did you start wearing little shorts and tops onstage? Did it help you feel
sexier, or funkier, more in keeping with the music?
Linda: Well I wore shorts one night halfway by accident. The night before I'd
worn a dress that made me feel real polite and stupid, and by communication failure, the
girl who's helping me with my clothes brought the same dress the next night. I thought
to myself that I couldn't get back in that dress, so I wore shorts. The shorts were too
big though, so the next day we all went and bought all these different things everyone
thought I should wear.
I sing better according to what I wear. First of all, all these summer gigs are real
hot because they're in outdoor pavilions. It's been real muggy and hot, and you can't wear
anything that's going to be hot to start with. And there's just something about sports
clothes that lend themselves to movement, to feeling a little bit freer with your body.
They also look real good. Dresses for some reason ... well, some are good. Sometimes
I like dresses, but they're difficult and awkward and all. It's sort of like when you
would go to the prom and do the bop in your formal, you know. You would feel stupid. I
had all these great dresses made and they're beautiful and I love wearing them standing
there singing a ballad, but you can't do "Tumbling Dice" in some silly sort of dress.
Lisa: Why did you choose to do "Tumbling Dice"?
Linda: The band used to play that all last summer at sound check. I really loved
it too, but nobody knew the words. Then Mick came backstage when I was at the Universal
Amphitheater and he said, "You do too many ballads, you should do more rock and roll songs."
I, of course told him he should do more ballads, because I think he's a great ballad singer.
Of course, he's a great rock and roll singer too, but I'm especially fond of his ballad
singing. So we started to tease each other, with me telling him to do more ballads and
him telling me to do more rock and roll, then I thought well, nobody's right ... rock and
roll as a concept, you know, hardly anybody really writes rock and roll anymore. The
greatest rock and roll writers were in the fifties and sixties except for him, he's
the greatest contemporary rock and roll singer, rock and roll writer ... I mean that
as opposed to rock, what they call rock music now. So I made him write down the words
to that song and I learned it and we started doing it.
Lisa: Do you have any desire to start playing guitar onstage?
Linda: No, I'm such a limited guitar player, really. I mean we used me to play
guitar on this one little tune because I was the only one who played bad enough, you know.
It was like one of those things where you don't want something too polished. To say the least.
And my playing was just the right kind of feel for that tune. I wanted it to sound home made.
Lisa: What about piano, are you playing piano, were you trying to learn?
Linda: I was going to start and I didn't. I went to New York instead.