Singer/songwriter Linda Perry is creating a new musical experience that hasn’t been done before. At least not quite in this way.
Perry, who has been on the road touring the country with her new band Deep Dark Robot (with bandmate Tony Tornay) since April, will soon be taking her live music to a new venue, and combined with DDR’s music videos, she and Tornay will create live musical “exhibitions,” all on-stage in the art galleries of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Yes, what Perry is creating is a new, visual, art-based expression of music, performed live in art gallerys as opposed to night clubs, alongside the works of other regional artists.
For now, she and Tornay are preparing to perform live in a few clubs in northern and southern California and have stripped down their show (and their band) to just the basics, performing what Perry desribes as “an intimate, arty, cool experience” with just she and Tornay.
When I spoke with Perry by phone last week, the musician opened up about touring, creating a new art experience and kicking ass on-stage November 3 at the Red Devil Lounge.
Linda, you and Tony have been on the road touring since April, promoting 8 Songs About a Girl and you’ll be at the Red Devil Lounge (tonight) in San Francisco. First–what has it been like being on the road, touring with a band again?
It’s been fun. We went all over America and you know, I’ve been cooped up in the studio for so many years. It was great to just kind of spread my wings and get out of here and I really enjoyed it. I actually didn’t realize how much I missed it.
I went out there with the full band and now it’s just me and Tony. And it’s kind of acoustic, artsy, but then it gets loud, you know what I mean?
It’s cool. It’s just me on a piano, or an acoustic or an electric, and then Tony on drums, tambourine, and what not. It’s kind of a fun show. It’s interesting.
What has been the fan response to 8 Songs so far?
My intention is hopefully people will like it, if they don’t, it’s not going to kill me. But it’s great, the reaction as far as when people do hear it and they take the time for it, because a lot of people expect “Linda Perry.” They’re going to expect songs like “Beautiful” or “What’s Up,” and there’s this whole other side of me that is a little more rockin’, a little more twisted, a little more…there’s something “grodgy” and raw about me, that people don’t know about, and that’s more of what I do.
But there’s also this beautiful, polished side of me as well. I love how I work with both of them. Deep Dark Robot is kind of a shock to people because they’re not really expecting it, but they love the music. As soon as they start hearing it, they’re like, Oh, this is really cool. It’s cool.
Earlier this year I saw DDR’s NYC performance, which was broadcast live online, and I saw for the first time just how loyal and enthusiastic your fans are. Are you flattered by the love and passion that your fans have for you?
Yeah, of course! How can you not?
It’s kinda like when I was in Four Non-Blondes, we had a lot of hype. We were a very big band. We were very popular. But I never felt like I got to be…I like intimate.
I’m an intimate person. I’d rather play a small club ten nights in a row, than one big place. That’s more my style. I like to see people’s faces. I like to witness the experience they’re having. And I like to jump off stage and go talk to these people. Or just be in the crowd with them, because everybody loves that.
And yeah, I want to be stroked too. I want my ego stroked while I’m standing out there and hanging out with people. Who doesn’t want to hear that? I want to hear that, don’t you?
Yeah, I would.
I’m awesome, apparently. (laughs)
What are DDR’s plans for the near future? Do you and Tony plan to write and record any new material in the new year?
What’s been funny about our whole thing is I’ve been making a bigger stink about these videos. We’ve been shooting a video for every song and we’re having to take time in between my schedule and everybody’s schedule to make it happen.
Basically to me, the album has been kind of a promotion to the videos. When the videos are all done, which they are almost, I’m going to repackage it into a DVD and then sell that, give people that to get a hold of.
The videos are cool. I love visuals. We’ve got Kat Von D in it. We’ve got Juliette Lewis. Sonja Kinski, Nastassja Kinski’s daughter, is in it. It’s all these cool, very artistic videos.
And I want to play art galleries. I want us to be an installation. After this round, starting in the beginning of the year, we’re going to start playing art galleries. I want to team up with some cool, hip painter or photographer and do shows with them here in L.A.. Then go to San Francisco and do some shows.
So you’ll be able to see us at an art gallery, instead of a club. I think it would be cool to say, “Hey, we’re going to see DDR’s art opening at 2:00 on a Sunday.” I think that’s what I would want to experience.
I don’t believe music just happens at a club at ten, twelve o’clock at night. It happens all day long. So why can’t we be a part of that whole thing? The videos will be part of the art and will be playing on different screens and there’ll be pictures for you to see.
Me and Tony will be performing right there. I think it’ll be really cool to just kind of experience music and life from that perspective, from the art world, instead of just the club area.
I’ve owned a couple of art galleries and I’d never even thought to bring in music as an exhibit. That’s a brilliant idea.
Well, thank you. And that’s the word I was looking for. We’re going to be the exhibit.
It’s greater than just an album. I feel like what we’re doing, like if you get a chance to come to the show, which I hope you do, you’ll see it’s kind of arty. I’ve turned it into this kind of a cool experience and it’s far better than the full band, I believe. It’s more intimate, it’s cooler. I’m being able to be more expressive. It’s really about me and Tony and our relationship.
Do you have any other thoughts as far as your show (tonight) in San Francisco? I know you and Tony are going to kick some ass.
(laughs) We’re going to try to kick some ass. We’re going to have some fun. Come check us out. Come meet us. We like to shake hands and say hello.
(For more information: Deep Dark Robot, Red Devil Lounge.)