Questions and 1 lightning round with Jill Sobule
When people ask me what's the most under
rated album in my collection, I always say, "Jill Sobule's self
titled album. She's got a big imagination with a harsh sense of
reality. The instrumentation is quirky and cool, but it's the lyrics
that really sell it. I like her other albums too, but that one really
Jill got pegged early as "That girl who sings that ĎI Kissed
a Girlí" song girl. But sheís a lot more.
If you havenít heard of Jill Sobule, Iím not surprised. Sheís on
her 4th album, 3rd record label, 1 big hit, and a whole
bunch of good honest songs that are still UNDERGROUND.
1. Iím a big fan of the instrumentation in
your music. Without hearing it first, how do you know you want an
Accordion, Tuba, Cello, or Harmonica to play on a certain tune?
I sometimes hear production as I am writing the music to the lyrics
(usually the lyrics come first). For instance, I always imagined
the overdone Timpani on Rainy Day Parade. Also, sometimes, I start
by recording a song solo, add a bunch of stuff, without any clue
of how it will turn out. Sometimes it's great and sometimes it just
sucks, but it is a fun and creative process. I pretty much am friends
with the musicians on my records. "It's a family affair."
2. Most of your songs are autobiographical,
what was the hardest thing to admit or sing about?
I hate to admit in a song, like "Sold My Sole," that I am pathetically
depressed (at the time of writing the song.)
3. Youíve been signed to big record labels,
and now youíre with a small record label. Weíre all familiar with
the benefits of the big label, what are the benefits of the small
label, and the negatives of the big label?
With a big label, in general, if you donít have a big radio hit
within the first few months, your record is over. They don't develop
artist like they did in the old days. However, a small label usually
does not have as much money to promote you.
4. I Kissed a Girl was the only song
that your label ever really got behind. Are you at all bitter that
this is the song, out of all your songs, that will follow you around
for the rest of your musical career?
Kissed a Girl was a blessing as well as a curse. On one hand,
I had an MTV hit. I would rather be a one hit wonder than a no hit
wonder. Also, it brought me many fans who have followed and supported
the rest of my career. Plus, it was the first sorta lesbian or bi
song to hit the mass media (way before Ellen). I still get folks
who write and say that the song helped them to not feel so bad about
having a those feelings. I am proud of it for that. However, it
did put me in a novelty niche, and yes, it still bugs me that it
is still what I am mainly known for. I want people to see the rest
of my work.
5. I donít mean to be too nutsy boltsy, but
can you, in detail, describe for our up and coming musician viewers,
how you got a recording contract?
A recording contract? I did mine the old fashion way by playing
all the time until someone finally saw and signed me.
6. Hereís a tough question. What happened
with your 1990 release Things here are different? I get the
feeling that the producer didnít know what to do with you, and you
donít seem to play any of the songs live?
My first album was recorded by Todd Rundgren. I was a fan, thus
intimidated by him. Also, it was the first time that I was ever
in a studio. I froze. I also consider myself a late bloomer. I feel
I hadn't quite developed my personality(still a work in progress).
I took myself so seriously then. However ,there are some songs from
that record that I still like and do play.
7. On the album Happy Town you seem
to make a lot of religious allusions. What part does religion play
in your life, and were you going through anything special on the
religious front during the making of that album?
Religion, is constantly an issue for me. I am a jaded cynic that
believes that someday I will not be. Right now, I am reading "The
History Of God" by Karen Armstrong.
8. You perform some topical songs in your
act. Is there any chance youíll record them for an album, or at
least release them to a fan club? (We all really liked Kathy
Leeís in Love with Me.)
I try to put the topical songs on my web page. Someday, I might
put a little CD of them.
Ready for the Lighting Round?
Favorite Sound? Bass clarinet or french horn.
Favorite Word? Labia (I really cannot
think clear on that one)
Favorite Taste? Ludens cherry lozenges
or white truffle
Favorite Piece of clothing? My 1978
Denver Bronco orange crush tee.
Favorite comfort food? Really cheap
out of the box macaroni and cheese.