from the book Rock'n Roll Woman
© 1974 by Katherine Orloff

interview with Linda Ronstadt

Linda RonstadtYou have mentioned that of all the women in rock and roll, Maria Muldaur is your favorite. Why?

   The reason Maria is my favorite is that she's the only girl I can think of, who doesn't ever sacrifice an ounce of femininity for what she does. The thing that always hits me about women in rock and roll, myself included, is that there seems to be an incredible amount of competition. If you're really going to be a musician, you have to compete with the boys. You have to be able to talk as dirty and have just as callous an attitude, and it even comes out in your walk eventually.

   I can remember when I was a little kid my father used to take my brother hunting all the time, and I wanted to go too because I wanted his attention, to be part of the gang. I was about four. I thought, I have to walk that way and be able to talk that way, and be real tough, and carry my .22, which was bigger than I was. We used to target practice with rotten eggs, and it was important for me to be able to do that. I couldn't do it very well because I was so young, but it meant so much because I was a girl.

   My sister was a good shot. She shot a wild pig once, and I thought that was the greatest thing, because she had succeeded in the man's world on a man's terms. To me that was always the ultimate thing you could do. But it's so stupid, and that's the thing that's put on us. But Maria does in fact succeed in a man's world on a man's terms without becoming a man in any way, without becoming masculine in any way. She's always feminine, and it doesn't mean that she has to be receptive and passive and do what she's told, and always come on like a sexpot or anything like that. Her sexuality is so honest and so natural, completely spontaneous and appears so uncalculated and uncontrived. It's refreshing, and I think that's the ideal of being an equal in this world. I mean that's not to say she doesn't get her share of the things that all women suffer from, the same kind of prejudices, and the same kind of discrimination. She's certainly had to put up with it longer than any of us, but she's still not countered it by becoming butch.

Do you think you've sacrificed any of your femininity?

   Oh sure, I've lost a lot of it. I keep trying not to lose it, because I think femininity is real important, even with changing sexual roles. I don't like the idea of women having to look like men. It seems to me they're trying to be something they're not and I don't like it.

Where does that pressure to be one of the boys come from?

   Well, it probably comes from myself more than anything. It's just like being a kid again. When I went hunting with my family I wanted to be included and I wanted to be approved of, and I wanted to be a peer. So I tried to do those things well, ride my horse, climb a tree, whatever. Not that I should have been home playing with dolls necessarily. I mean I should have been able to excel at those things, but it should have occurred to me that I should be able to just because I'm a person, not because I was a girl and I was handicapped.

   It's the same way when you're out on the road with a bunch of guys. They're your company, they're your family, they're the only people to talk to, and they're the people you look to for approval, for recognition, for having a great time. Eventually, you just start doing what they do. I've always had a foul mouth, even when I was a kid, but when I come off the road now I sound like a truck driver. It's that whole tone of voice, the whole approach, and I hate it.

   Also, you get defensive because there's always somebody coming at you with something, so I get down on myself feeling like I'm not really a good enough singer. You get defensive and that makes you act tough and hard. I try to fight against that, too, but you can only fight so long. It gets you eventually, I think. It gets me eventually, all the time.

How directly do you deal with your musicians?

   I always have a masculine figure to interpret for me. It's just like having an interpreter for a foreign language. I always try to work through him. I could probably deal directly if I were more of a musician, so I really can't put all the blame on masculine ego's hating to be directed by a female, although that often has much to do with it. I have found that the better the musician, the more sure of himself he is, the less he can ever feel threatened by me and my presence.

   It would be a better situation if I were more of a musician myself, but I don't play. When I came out to Los Angeles, I knew a few chords on the guitar, but there were so many men around who played so well that I thought, well, I'm a girl, why should I bother? I'll sing. When you don't play an instrument, your chances for developing musically are so limited. The slower you develop as a musician, and the faster your tastes and your overview develop from hanging around with musicians, then the more you come down on yourself because your taste has in fact developed faster than your ability. So you judge yourself sixteen times as hard. Then you feel farther and farther behind, as though you might as well not even bother trying to catch up. Finally it got to the point last year where I realized it was foolish of me to continue in music if I didn't start to play.

   So now I am a beginner guitar player, and I'm finding it a lot easier to communicate my ideas to the band, and the band is a lot more comfortable working with me because they understand me. The result is a better rapport all the way around. It's still incredibly hard, it's never going to be easy. But it's not like it was before, just blind frustration and rage all the time because I couldn't make it right.

   I got a piano because I intended to do a particular song on stage and play it, but it just fell by the wayside. I got busy, but it's always like that. It's always, shit, I've got a tour coming up and I've got to rehearse a new band, and I've got to get all the stuff together and I've got a gig coming up, and I'll think about playing the piano next week.

   It's that way with health, too. I'll go out on the road and always start out with the best of intentions. For one thing, I run. I really feel that running is my salvation. People have different ways of coping with their situations so they won't be completely driven under by the pressure and the strain of bad food and weird, irregular life-style. My way is running. It absolutely works for me as a depression cure and as a health helper. So I always start out the first week I'm on a tour running every day. I try to eat right. I think, I'm really into it this time. And then there's always a night when I didn't get enough sleep so I don't run, and I'm afraid of eating so I do some cocaine, and I was depressed that night so I take an upper, and then that's the end of it. Then it's uppers and coke for the rest of the tour. And downers to get to bed at night because I can't sleep because I just took an upper. Then I end up getting sick because I'm so allergic to all that stuff. And when uppers start to wear off, you get suicidal.

   I'm really sporadic about drugs, like I am about everything else in my life. I'll go for months without anything, it never occurs to me. Occasionally if I go to a party and someone has some coke, I take some. I don't smoke a lot of dope because I'm allergic to it. I really try not to do anything because it's so bad for you, and I know that I'm messing my health up. I keep wondering if it's worth it, because you don't have a long shot at it. Your career is maybe ten or fifteen years, and that isn't much compared to your whole life. Then I get to a gig and I know that I really want to do a good show, I really want to boogie and have a great time and make it good.

   When you're performing, energy goes out of you, and it's received by everybody in the audience. If there's 5000 people and you put out one measure of energy, if they like it, they give you 5000 measures back. It multiplies geometrically, and if you don't put it out, and if they don't dig it, it's subtracted from you geometrically. For me that is a real, physical, tangible working item that I have to deal with every single day. If it's drained from you, it can kill you. I think it can make you die, musically just croak, and at the very least, it can make you sick of body and spirit to where you can't move. So there's always that little period before a show when I have to grapple with it.

   If things are going badly for me, if I'm on a tour that's long and I'm having a difficult time relating to the audiences, I will always be taking drugs, and if it's relatively easy, it's never easy, but if it's more easy, then I won't be.

   Iwas on tour with Neil Young for a long time, three and half months, and it was incredibly difficult. We were playing 15,000-seat places, coliseums and hockey rinks, and I was playing to Neil's audience. They didn't know I was on the bill because I was added at the last minute after they'd already sold out the whole tour. The anticipation for Neil, who's a cult hero and someone these kids really worship, was just incredible. I really had a tough job going out on stage. The lights would dim and they'd expect to see Neil Young and there I'd be. All the girls in the audience would immediately think, arghh, a girl on tour with Neil, and I'd have to overcome their resentment every single night. I did do really well in the end. That tour was incredibly successful for me. It was responsible I'm sure for "Don't Cry Now" doing as well as it has. But it was a struggle. My confidence was at ground zero. I felt alienated from everybody, and so I took a lot of drugs. I took speed every night, and I'd get up on stage and I thought I was far out. I thought I was great and I was ready to boogie. If you don't think you're great, it communicates immediately to the band and they lose confidence and then they play badly. The tone of the whole set becomes nervous and bad, but if I go up there thinking I'm hot, they think they're hot, too, and so we do a good show. You always have that choice to make. It's awful.

   I've never been happy with myself as a singer. I never thought I was very good. I never wanted to be a single to begin with. When I was a kid, I always sang with my sister and brother. It was always an ensemble situation and I always sang harmonies. So I think I'm a better harmony singer than I am a lead singer. I love to watch Clydie King and Merry Clayton and Shirley Matthews sing backup. Those girls to me are real musicians. They're just like the lead guitar player or the bass player or the drummer. They stand up on stage and just riff away. Maybe the thing that makes a lead singer and a person who can be considered a star, is always something that has to do more with being unique, and being able to say it for people in a way that no one else can. But it doesn't necessarily mean that you're really a good musician. I'm always comparing myself to other people. I try to be as creative as I can, but it's just a battle you have to fight all the time.

   Someone once said that competition is for horse races and not for art. It's true because it's really life-destroying and it destroys creative processes when you start to compete. For me it does anyway, because there's always going to be somebody better.

Do you think you are a different person on stage than you are off stage?

   No, I'm not different, I'm just edited. It's funny. Sometimes I'm really at my worst up there. Maybe I'm more the same than I even think I am.

   When I meet somebody new, I'm kind of at their mercy. What they think of me will almost invariably be the attitude that I assume. In other words, if I meet somebody with whom I think I have no credibility, somebody who things I'm a lightweight, whether they do or not, that's the way I end of up being to them. And I have to fight with that with audiences every night.

   Being on stage is like being at a cocktail party with a bunch of people that you don't know and nobody gets to talk but you. You have to carry on the entire conversation. An audience can project a lot on me, more than I'm sure they realize, so I'm always dealing with some form of insecurity or other. I compensate for it accordingly, sometimes by just standing up there and not saying anything at all and just singing, and sometimes by really trying to charm them. I do the same things on an individual level.

Do you try to be sexy on stage?

   Yes, I always do. That's rough too, because when I first started doing it, I thought that was what you were supposed to do. I really felt that if I was sexy enough, they'd like me no matter what. I always used that to try to compensate for everything, to make people like me. I did that all my life as a kid, too. And it was always a problem, because if you come on sexy like that, that's the response you get, you get a sexy reaction. However, it's not necessarily flattering, it's not necessarily intelligent, and it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the music. Very often, it's detrimental to the way people think of you.

   I've always had the problem of people thinking I'm a piece of cheese, so then the next time I go out on stage I think, oh they already have this preconceived notion of me, and they think I can't think or talk, and then it will keep pinning me into that situation. But a lot of women will fall back on that when they feel insecure. It gets horrifying when you think that your looks are going to run out, or your charm. It's unfair.

   Dr. John, for instance is someone I adore. He dispenses so much joy and comfort. He's like Santa Claus, he's like a good demon, the demon of joy. He comes out on stage and throws gris-gris around and sings so great. He turns around and gives you that great toothless grin he's got and he's so huge. Whenever I see him I think, here's a person who breaks all the rules of good looks. He's got a tooth missing, he's enormously fat and wears all these weird clothes. He doesn't have perfect skin, and he doesn't look like those people on television in the ads. But to me, he's incredibly sexy, and the audience loves him.

   If a chick did that, forget it. The chicks that are up on stage with him look really good. A girl can't really get away with that. A girl can't have unusual features to set the standards for what's beautiful and what's sexy and what's great and what isn't. I'm sure there are exceptions, but they are very few.

   For me, when I meet a guy and fall in love with him, his looks automatically become that standard of what I think is great. For guys, I think it's more the Playboy model standard and I think it's so unfair. It makes me furious that women are subjected to this guideline of what they're supposed to look like, instead of becoming their own guidelines.

   I've gone sort of back and forth between going on stage trying to look as glamorous as possible, and going on stage trying to just look regular. I did a year when I just wore street clothes all the time because I thought, well shit, no one's ever going to take me seriously if I go on stage in shorts and spangles and looking like a piece of cheese. But on the other hand, I really think that's part of it, too. I think that's part of the comfort.

   Audiences like to see somebody winning, they like to see somebody who's overcome that kind of everyday gray. That's why I love to see Dr. John in all his feathers. And the Pointer Sisters standing up on stage looking so fine. That really helps me. So I started dressing up again. I just don't know. You just have to get up there and do the best you can and hope it's right.

   Being an entertainer, especially in times like these, is really a public service. But it's really hard. There was a long time when I felt I was being imposed on because I had to go out on stage and sing. It was a bad attitude to have. Now I see that I am really there to perform a service for people and I think it would be immoral for me to take their money and not give them relief.

Are fans a hassle?

   Sometimes they are because they always act their worst around you. People have some preconceived notion of you. They feel they know you because they have heard you express your intimate feelings. My songs are always expressions of exactly what's going on in my life. Even though I didn't write them, I try to interpret myself through them. So people think that you should know them, too. Then when they see you and they realize that you don't know them at all, it makes them defensive and lots of times they become ugly, and there's hardly any way to protect yourself from it.

   I see that in concerts, too, especially in those great big halls, like I played with Neil. In a crowd that big you lose your identity, and not only are you anonymous, but there's one person on stage who has all the attention, all the identification. People get defensive because the contrast is so enormous between identity and anonymity. Kids get crazy in those situations, and that's when they start yelling out "Boogie," or they throw frisbees. They want to make an impression, they want to do something that registers. It's terrifying to deal with because people can get so ugly.

   I don't ever like to stand alone before a concert so that people can come up and talk to me. They say the lamest things. They try to be nice. They want to say that they like the music or something, but they end up saying things that intentionally or unintentionally become horribly insulting. It's as if they're embarrassed about the fact that they're fans, so they try to be cool, and they cop an attitude of nonchalance. It's so often insulting that you just end up feeling like you never want to see another human being. It makes you so defensive you eventually have to go underground if you're sensitive. It gets harder and harder to surface each time.

   It's funny how it affects relationships, too. For me to have a relationship with a man is so preposterous. First of all, men are threatened by what I do, just as I am threatened by what they do. But they're threatened on a lot of different levels. If they're in the business and they're not as well known as I am, or if they're in the business and they don't think they're as good as I am, they feel threatened. Then if they're in the business and they're a lot better than I am, I'm threatened by comparing myself.

   I lived with a guy for two and a half years who was a good singer and songwriter and a much better musician than I am. I had that every day to compare myself to. It ended up that I'd get up every morning and fix breakfast and he'd write a song. He'd be playing the guitar while I'd be in cooking eggs, and I used to get pissed off. I used to think that I should be playing the guitar, but I wouldn't because he'd be there and he was better than I was and I'd figure what's the use.

   So there's all those aspects of it, plus there's the fact that I'm an attractive person who has to deal with a lot of other attractive people. The people in show business all have some kind of personal magnetism or they wouldn't be able to get on stage. All that magnetism works on each other all the time, and so relationships become so incestuous after a while. The sex pool is like the musicians' pool in this town. Get one out, have him for a while, throw him back in. There's a threat, knowing that people are always going to be attracted, so you're never really safe. If you're married to a shoe salesman for instance, the kind of people he's going to meet in his business are limited, so the chances of having a monogamous relationship are automatically increased.

   Then there's the problem of traveling all the time. Relationships are always interrupted. The temptation is to deal in a relationship just on a surface level and to only go so deep, because as soon as it comes to a point where you encounter some real resistance from another person, encounter a problem that takes some real working out, some mature attitudes, which I'm going to develop maybe next week, you can always leave town. It's a pop attitude.

   It's the same with a song on the radio. It's popular for three months and then you get tired of it, so you find another one. It's the same with clothing styles. I think we've all been geared by the economy somehow to change over every three years or every three months or every six months, depending on which commodity it is that you're dealing with. In the case of automobiles, it's every two years, in the case of relationships, it seems to me to be every year, if that. A heavy relationship for me lasts a year. The longest relationship I've ever had lasted two and a half years, and it begins to feel pretty pointless after a while. Pretty soon you can't relate to anybody on any level whatsoever.

   I'm still pretty close with my family, but what I do is so different from anything in their world. It's funny, but the person I relate to best in my family is my brother who's a cop. The reason is that he has to deal with the public every day, an enormous cross section of people. He has to cope with incredible paranoia because of his job, and I do too.

Are most of your friends in the music business?

   It seems to work out that way, although my roommate isn't. It works out that way because of our life-styles. I don't know anybody else who keeps the same hours I do. That becomes a further crippling force in my life, too, because it makes me narrower. Pretty soon I can't talk about anything except what kind of a mix somebody got on his record or how they e.q.'d the bass on that record. You try, but you have nothing to talk about. Also, musician's slang doesn't communicate that well.

   Iwent to Mexico after the Neil Young tour to be completely removed from the music business. I met an anthropologist from Sweden who'd only read English and hadn't spoken it very much. He actually spoke it just about better than I did, but I couldn't communicate with him because my slang was so heavy. I kept having to explain myself and finally I just gave up. I was so disappointed because I fancied having a great romance. It was rough trying to deal with it.

Is it rough working around men all the time? Do they come on to you?

   Yes, people do. Always ones I'm not interested in. The neat ones never do because they're too cool, they have too much class. It's a problem because I have no self-control. When I meet somebody I really admire and I trust, which has to be with somebody I'm involved with businesswise, I always end up having a sexual relationship with him. Then it blows it, because as soon as the sexual relationship intrudes, the defense comes up, clang. It's like an iron gate, I'm so defensive, and most of the people I work with are defensive. It always gets in the way.

   Fortunately, I have a manager now I'm not having a relationship with. But the last manager, I did. It's weird. He started out to be my boyfriend, then he was managing me and was my producer. Then he wasn't my boyfriend, but he was still managing me and producing me. Then he wasn't producing me but he was still managing me, and then he wasn't managing me any more. All those troubles stem from the fact that in our personal relationship, we couldn't resolve things.

Would you say something about your background, about growing up in Arizona? About your musical influences?

   I grew up in Tucson, and one of the major influences on my life was Mexican music. My father sang it, and sang it great. I grew up listening to mariachi music, which I still love, and which believe it or not, had a strong influence on my singing style.

   My sister, who was a complete country music freak, fell in love with Hank Williams when I was six. She used to moon over his picture and she had all his records and played them twenty-four hours a day. She used to listen to the radio, station XERF which came from Del Rio, Texas, but had a transmitter in Acuña, Mexico. It had an incredibly strong signal, and in the daytime they would play Top 40 and country music, and then in the evening it would progress on to rhythm and blues.

   Late at night on XERF you could hear what we called "race records" in those days, which was strong R&B stuff, records you wouldn't hear any place around Arizona, because there were no people like that singing that kind of music. On Sundays, they played half white gospel and half black gospel. You'd get an incredible musical amalgamation listening to that radio station. I have to give it credit for a strong influence on my musical background.

   My sister and two brothers were musical and we all sang together. I sang all the time when I was growing up. We used to sing with my father, too. He really gave me a keen appreciation for every kind of music. I was always trying to shut myself off musically, depending on what I thought was hip at the time, and he was always fighting me, always saying that there's great music in everything. He turned me on to singers like Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald. A teenager growing up in Tucson who is listening to Top 40 radio is not going to be exposed to those singers or think that they are in any way hip, and they're fantastic. I really have my father to thank for a lot of that, even though at the time, I fought him every inch of the way.

   My father was a singer during the Depression, but the times were so hard he ended up working in my grandfather's business. My grandfather owned a ranch and my father worked as a cowboy and now my father has taken over his hardware business in Tucson.

   By the time I came along, my father was a businessman, but I grew up in the country. He still had an appreciation for the outdoors, a real sensitivity for the desert and for wild animals. He taught me how to shoot and ride and how to love the outdoors. We had horses and lots of animals and he made us fond of all of it.

   I hated school. I went to Catholic school and it just warped me completely because I had a really free existence when I was a kid. It was lonely because we lived so far away from town, but it was free. I had a pony and I was like a kid with a car. I could go any place I wanted. I used to ride five or ten miles a day, go off into the mountains all by myself if I wanted.

   Then I went to school and it was so structured. The nuns were uptight and I thought they were prudes. I hated them. I wanted to shock them all the time. I used to swear all the time, and I was boy crazy and they hated that. That was where the whole sexy thing started. I wanted to be sexy, I wanted to kiss boys, I wanted them to like me, to pay attention to me. I was always very competitive for masculine attention, I got so much disapproval from the nuns and fought it so hard, I became very rebellious. The sexy thing became my method of rebellion and it's still with me. I still fight the world with that. It's really crippling sometimes.

When did the thought occur to you to try to make a career in music?

   When I was about six. As I said, I hated school. I couldn't add, I still can't add. I could read because my mother had taught me to read. I still read voraciously. But I can't figure out a tip on a bill, I can't make change. I thought, well this is never going to make it so I'm going to sing. I daydreamed all the way through school and it was mostly about being a singer, or being in love.

   I started singing in clubs around Tucson with my brother and sister when I was in high school. I went to one semester of college and during my Easter vacation I came to Los Angeles to spend a week with Bobby Kimmel, and we sang at some folk club.

   It never occurred to me that I was singing in some folk music dive that had fans of some music that had already gone under water. It never occurred to me that they liked me for any reason other than that I was good enough to make it. I mean I wasn't good enough. I wasn't a good singer, and I didn't know what I was doing. I had some instinctive ability which must have communicated itself to the audience, but I think it was mostly my enthusiasm which they felt. We met Kenny Edwards and got together as the Stone Poneys and did three albums for Capitol. I'm not too proud of the stuff I did then, but everybody has to learn.

How do you feel about the music business and the whole music scene?

   The thing that bothers me most about the music scene is the intense pressure that people feel on them to be cool. That's bullshit. It doesn't help your music any, and it doesn't help yourself out as a person. Everybody's so careful, they're always checking themselves out, making sure they're not doing something that's uncool.

   There are various cliques that have varying degrees of pressure to be cool. The Asylum clique has got it, whew! it's really got it. It's great too, because those people are really out there boogying. But on the other hand, there's a tremendous amount of competition that goes down among all of us, and I don't like to have any part of it. I like to think of myself as divorced from it but I'm sure I'm not.

Do you think that rock and roll is a lonely business?

   It's incredibly lonely. Everybody I know is lonely. It has to be that way because of the life-style, all the traveling, the paranoia, the fact that your ass is on the line when you go on stage. It's on the line every single night. I never get over stage fright. I never know how it's going to be. Even when I'm on stage, I never know whether it's going to turn sour or not when I'm right in the middle of doing it. So I'm always on edge. There's always that pressure that I might fall over the edge. That just has to affect relationships.

   Rock and roll is a lot warmer than the movie business. I have been able to make really close friends with other women in music. Most of the actresses I know are not able to do that with other actresses. The competition is on such an absurd level for looks and charm and glamour.

   The glamour part of rock and roll irritates me, too. In a way, I'm all for glamour because it's an escape. It can take your mind off the mundane and the painful things of life, but on the other hand, it's blown way out of proportion. It has become an idol and it doesn't deserve that position. But glamour makes you feel like you have an identity, and you're totally safe from everything, you're privileged. If you're beautiful, you're even more privileged, but in a way you're debilitated if you're beautiful. I've never been beautiful. I've never felt like a beauty because I don't have good skin, I don't have good hair, I don't have good features. But I have felt glamorous. I feel like I project an illusion of glamour. But then when you do that, you end up competing with yourself.

   If I meet a guy and he's seen my album cover pictures and thinks I'm real pretty, or seen me on television at my best with eight tons of makeup to make my nose look straight and thin and make it look like I have cheekbones and long eyelashes, and then he sees me in person and sees that I really have a terrible case of acne and my hair is always a mess, and I have a terrible problem trying to keep my weight down, I'm afraid he's going to be disappointed and be turned off by it, and so that makes me nervous when people come close. I get crazy. So you end up competing with yourself and the competition is bad enough with other people in the world. When you have to compete with yourself, it's a nightmare. Linda Ronstadt

Do you have any specific career goals?

   Sometimes I think my mission is to do country-rock. I really want people to know what the roots are in country music. I want white people to realize that their music is soulful, too. Even though I mostly listen to black music, I'm incurably white as a singer. I want people to be conscious of white soul and what it is.

What do you like most about your work?

   When I just learn a new song, when it's a great song and I know I can sing it well, that makes me happier than anything in the world except for falling in love. Those two things will do it. I stop eating, I don't get paranoid, I feel like I can look people right in the eye and become their friend and relate to them well, and I don't feel like I have to apologize for myself all the time. When that happens, I'm really happy for a long time. At least a week.

Do you think you are basically a happy person?

   No, I'm basically an unhappy person. I used to think that people were either basically happy or basically unhappy, and that it didn't change. Now I'm not so sure. Some people do change, but it's so very hard.

Has the woman's movement made you more conscious of yourself as a woman?

   Yes, it has helped an awful lot. It has helped me realize where a lot of frustrations come from. Before, I was just sort of bogged down by them and I couldn't quite figure out what I was supposed to be. Here I was, a chick who traveled around and had an enormous amount of independence. I didn't relate to men like other women did, and men didn't relate to me like they did to other women. Being more aware of things has helped me deal with it.

   I think the women's movement is important. I think it's vital. I think it's important for men, too. If women can stop having to be dependent on men, then men won't have to be so threatened. I think the women's movement should make women less of a threat to men, not more of a threat. I think it should reduce the tension between the sexes.

What positive contribution to your life do you think rock and roll has made?

   Rock and roll has given me an enormous overview, one that I never would have gained if I'd dropped out of school when I did and had stayed in Tucson and become a housewife. It's given me a way to force feed information into my head. Educationally, it's been an enormous plus factor, because I've always wanted to learn.

   Sometimes I see my life as a race between me and a kind of hound that's always nipping at my heels. It's a kind of black dog that's suicidal and existential and thinks that life is meaningless and that we're down here and it's an incredible joke at our expense. We're here in this universe, on this planet, spinning around in the cosmos somewhere, and it's just nonsense and it doesn't mean anything.

   Then somehow learning new things distracts me from those feelings. Information is my comfort, it's like a drug in a way for me. I can't turn to religion, and I'm too allergic to drugs. So I have that. It's saved me. I don't know what's going to happen when I get to the point where I can't deal with it anymore.

   Music is my salvation but it's also my downfall. It's the destruction of everything in me that's sane and good. But I'm glad I've done it. I like the people I've met, I've made some real close friends. It's given me the ability to read people and because of that I can kind of protect myself from them. It's strengthened my instincts. I function on more of an instinctive level now, more than on an intellectual level.

   Also, traveling to so many different parts of the country has helped me see the environments which shape people. I understand people better, why they are the way they are. I think I'm more tolerant, a lot more broadminded. But, still, it narrows you down so much. It makes you have to defend yourself so much and protect yourself so much that there you are, kind of locked away with all this amazing amount of insight and information that you acquire from traveling all the time, but not able to put them into practice as well as you would be if maybe you were a little bit more normal and had regular relationships.

Return to Articles/Interviews Page