Talking to Tony Tornay & Linda Perry (aka Deep Dark Robot) on the riverbank in Austin, TX.
Linda Perry don’t play. She gets right to the point, cuts straight to the meat of the matter. She’s out, outspoken, supremely talented and wildly successful. She’s produced and penned powerhouse, award-winning music for the likes of P!nk, Christina Aguilera (that little number “Beautiful”), Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, Courtney Love, Alicia Keys, Adam Lambert… And back in her early 4 Non-Blondes days she recorded the most karaoke’d song ever: “What’s Up”
But right now, she’s one half of the power-pop/rock duo Deep Dark Robot, a project that she and fellow musician Tony Tornay created when they had a jones to craft some heartfelt, slamming songs about love, a heinous breakup and the woman that got away. Yes, not once to mince words about ANYTHING, Perry sings every song on DDR’s debut, 8 Songs About a Girl, about a very particular girl that tore up her world. Ouch! Nice…
Watch the interview (we shot it in Austin, TX during SXSW) and let Linda explain the new band, how things are with her famous friends P!nk and Xtina, and about being gay in music. This one holds no punches, thank god.
More Linda Perry and Deep Dark Robot dish after the jump…
Earlier today, I got a fun interview sent along from Deep Dark Robot’s publicity folks, where she also has some choice words about music, being queer in music, and young pop starlets who let big record companies control their lives and dictate their destiny (and their sexuality).
Q: How are you feeling now about [the “girl” from 8 Songs About a Girl]?
LP: It still goes on. It’s still there, absolutely. It’s torture–100% torture. In the song “F*ck You, Stupid Bitch,” I say that I’m moving on, everything’s fine. And I am. There’s a line in the song that says, “You give me more than you’ll ever know, but it doesn’t make it hurt less inside.” Basically, what that means is that she was my muse.
Q: You’ve always been out of the closet, years before it became more culturally “acceptable” for musicians to be out. Do you get the sense from some of your fans that you’re a role model to them?
LP: You know, I’ve never been in–I’ve been out my whole life. As far as being a role model or an inspiration, I would hope that I’m being an influence to more than just the gay community. Hopefully, I inspire someone because I’m doing what my gut tells me to do. I’ve never made decisions based on money or fame or that type of false success. In fact, I’ve made decisions that have taken me further away from that. As far as being gay and proud and all that stuff, I hope what shines through to kids that are 14- or 15-years-old and are struggling with being gay is the fact that I am proud of who I am, and I’m standing strong for that. I remember getting letters way back, saying things like, “I saw you on David Letterman, and you had dyke written on your guitar. That made me realize that it’s okay to be who I am. Thank you for that.”
Q: It’s not always easy to be who you are in the music business, especially if you’re gay.
LP: Not letting people be who they are is not just a gay problem–it’s a human problem. It’s happening right now as we speak all over the radio and all over MTV and VH1. These straight little girls are running around looking like dip shits because the labels want them to be this way. I have to deal with them when they come over and meet me to work on their music. They say, “I hate my label; I hate the way I have to dress; I hate my record; I can’t be who I want to be.” The label’s trying to get them to raise the tittie flag. And I say, “It’s your f*cking fault! Why are you doing this then?” Ultimately, I hope I can represent someone who stands up for who they are and doesn’t let anyone push them around. You’re going to get a lot further than if you just follow the game plan. And if you’re gay, just be fucking gay! There’s nothing wrong with it.
Q: Some gay people are still afraid of certain consequences if they come out of the closet to their families or on their jobs.
LP: You know what? Bad things are going to happen, no matter who you are. Things are going to happen in life–we can’t avoid it. I would hope that everyone can get to a place where they don’t have to hide anymore. Stop f*cking hiding!
Q: Have there ever been any situations where you have been afraid to let anyone know you are gay?
LP: Have I ever been afraid of being gay? No. I’ll walk in the middle of anywhere holding my girlfriend’s hand, and I might have to suffer the consequences but I’m not going to hide who I am. Nobody should. How are we supposed to be treated equal if gay people aren’t allowing themselves to be treated equal? I’m a big supporter of the LGBT Center in Los Angeles, and I’m out there doing everything I possibly can to show kids that it’s okay to be gay. I know what it’s like to feel like an outcast. I knew I was attracted to women when I was in kindergarten, and I used to think, “What’s wrong with me?” I wrote a song called “In Flight” about how I ended up meeting all of these other “birds like me,” and it was such a beautiful thing.
And for another great Linda Perry interview, visit AfterEllen.com.