2008-08-16

Jane Badler Interview

Jane Badler has had some great feedback on her album. Rockwired.com interviewed her about the album and her future plans:

A BIT OF TITILLATION
SCI-FI VIXEN AND AUSSIE SOCIETY WOMAN
JANE BADLER TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT HER DEBUT CD 'THE DEVIL HAS MY DOUBLE'
FINDING HER VOICE AND DOING SOMETHING ORIGINAL


INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH

When I mentioned to people that I was going to be interviewing DIANA from the cult science fiction mini-series 'V', I got two different responses; one group said "What the hell is 'V'?" and the other gasped "You mean the one who ate the guinea pig?"

I would be lying if I said that the sight of actress JANE BADLER scarfing down a guinea pig in the 1983 sci-fi classic didn't stick with me to this day, but it was BADLER's wide brown eyes, dark hair, wide cheekbones, and pouty lips that made her protrayal, as the reptilian dominatrix comandante bent on harvesting the human populace for food, so memorable. In a show littered with recycled special effects footage and annoyingly over-the-top performances from the likes of B-actors MARC SINGER and FAYE GRANT, perhaps being devoured by an alien sexpot nemesis like DIANA wasn't such a losing proposition after all.

25 years later, the world has changed and the only thing that's changed on the lovely Ms. BADLER is her accent. Having lived in Melbourne Australia for the past nineteen years since her marriage to businessman STEPHEN HAINES, BADLER lives the life of a society woman. She has also returned to the world of music; a vocation she put on hold thirty years ago when she found herself singing standards in clapped out bars instead of doing something unique and original. This time, she's doing both with the release of her debut album 'THE DEVIL HAS MY DOUBLE' from UNSTABLE APE RECORDS with a little help from the Melbourne-based band SIR. According to BADLER, "It feels the most right of anything that I've done"

'THE DEVIL HAS MY DOUBLE' is a surprisingly dark and edgy listen in the vein of JULEE CRUISE or PORTISHEAD. The opening track 'WHEN WE GOT HIGH' brings to mind the urgency of MARIANNE FAITHFULL's 'TIMES SQUARE' and JANE teams up vocally with JESSE JACKSON SHEPHERD on the playful 'I LOVE EVERYTHING', where the results mirror the teaming of NANCY SINATRA and the late-LEE HAZELWOOD (had HAZELWOOD been a robot). With solid backing from the SHEPHERD fronted band SIR, 'THE DEVIL...' is a deliciously crafted concept album exploring themes such as fame ('EVERYBODY KNOWS MY SECRETS'), sex ('SINGLE TONIGHT') and loneliness ('THE DOLL THAT CRIES REAL TEARS'). The female psyche hasn't been put on display this artfully since EURYTHMIC's 1987 album 'SAVAGE'.

ROCKWIRED spoke with JANE BADLER over the phone. Here is how it went.

I guess I should preface things by saying you look great! It's as if time stood still for you and not for me or anyone else.
Well thank you! But I must say that I do spend a great deal of time on it. It doesn't come naturally. You've got to work at it.

And your CD 'THE DEVIL HAS MY DOUBLE' has come as quite a surprise to me.
Really?

Yes.
How great! I love surprising people! That is such a great response to hear that you were surprised!

And now that it's out there for everybody to hear, how do you feel about it?
I'm so proud of it. I really am. Looking back on it now, I think we've evolved the persona of it a bit more. When I'm in performance, I bring it to the next level and it all makes alot of sense when you see me peform live. We've gotten rid of some of the songs on the album that don't quite work with our concept, but things do evolve and change. At the monent we're writing new songs but I'm really proud of this CD that we've put out.

I guess there is this musical side to you that has taken me by surprise. All I ever knew of you was DIANA from V.
Well let me tell you that there are lots of sides to me that people don't know. I grew up playing flute, guitar and piano and I've been singing since I was about seven and I started singing professionally at age eighteen in clubs throughout New Hampshire and then I sang on weekends in Chicago when I was at University and then I sang in New York at the PLAYBOY CLUB and then I stopped for years. Then I started again about seven years ago. It was mostly jazz. I worked withthe greatest jazz pianists here in Melbourne, Australia and did lots of cabaret and then JESSE JACKSON SHEPHERD of SIR approached me about a year and a half ago and I have to say that THE DEVIL HAS MY DOUBLE feels the most right of anything that I've done.

It does feel right, and I'm saying that as a listener.
It's kind of magical how those weird things happen. I was singing these jazz covers and it really wasn't going anywhere and it really wasn't all that edgy and when you know that there is something out there for you that's a little more original and then, when it finds you, it's amazing. Around that time, JESSE approached me and I heard the music and I was like "Oh, this music is really strange! I'm not sure." JESSE and SIR had a very different approach than me. We sort of evolved together and created this character and it sort of makes so much sense now to the both of us. We're very excited.

Before meeting with JESSE, were you familiar with SIR at all?
Not at all and he really wasn't that familiar with me. He knew me as DIANA the icon, and he knew that I had been singing around town, but he really had no idea of the extent of what I could do and I didn't realize how much this music would tap into my own fantasy life and touch me very deeply in my own way. So it was just kind of this weird thing that has happened.

In the small press snippets that I have read, the album is described as being autobiographical. Is that really the case?
Well, lets put it this way. I am very fortunate that in my life, there is one aspect of me that would be a "society woman". I'm lucky that I live a beautiful life and I married a business man and I go to charity functions. In the creation of this character for this album, I have used that. I have used what appears to everyone as this woman who fits in so perfectly into society circles and I kind of exaggerate it with the couture and the glamor and hair and the CHANEL. And in the course of the music, you have the unravelling of this character with her very dark sexual obsessions. So it kind of came from me from where I'm at and where I've been.

The artwork and photography for the CD is amazing!
Isn't it unbelievable.

It is.
Let me tell you. JESSE SHEPHERD is the most unsung hero. He thinks out of the box. He's so brilliant! He's a beautiful artist and now he's a songwriter and he teaches art. He found this photographer and he created this scenario and the most strange locations we went to. He kind of knew what he wanted and we created this alter-ego of the character. It took about a year to do all of the photos because we did it on a very limited budget, which you would never know from looking at the art work. Because it's an independent release, we didn't have access to tremendous amounts of money but sometimes you are forced to become more creative and in a way it's more satisfying.

And I think you've got the perfect shade of blue on this album.
Isn't it great! I'm just so happy with the artwork and how much it mirrors the whole experience of the character in the songs. A part of what we are doing with this project is the visual aspect. We're now trying to get a show going where it's kind of cabaret/pop, where we would have a video installation and take it a step further in a way that DAVID BOWIE or IGGY POP did - that sort of thing where it's performance art .

Personally, I think some of the tracks lend themselves perfectly to music videos.
We're actually about to do one.

For which song.
We don't know yet actually. But we're thinking about the first song 'WHEN WE GOT HIGH'

I was thinking that one myself actually.
Yes. There was either that one or 'I LOVE EVERYTHING' - the song about screwing in the backseat of a car and touching you up in the cinema. We're just talking to a director right now about geting something up and onto youtube and getting it out there. It's all quiet arty and we want to start doing some visual things.

Well, the track 'WHEN WE GOT HIGH' was the track that sort of reeled me in. It's got this sort of MARIANNE FAITHFULL vibe to it that I really like.
Can I tell you that it's one of my favorite tracks too? It was one of the last things that JESSE wrote for me. When we started working together, he would write some things and some of the songs we'd throw out and some of them, we kept. As he started writing that one and 'EVERYONE KNOWS MY SECRETS', that was when we both felt that he was really starting to tap into my persona and what we were doing was really starting to click. So the next album that we are collaborating on will go in a much more moodier direction and certainly not as poppy.

So you were pretty much the muse in terms of the creative process or did JESSE have these songs already.
Some of the songs he had already like 'THE DEVIL HAS MY DOUBLE' which was great. He had alot of songs and most of them I wasn't happy with because some of the were quite poppy and poppy isn't my thing. Even some of the ones that we kept, I don't think are my strongest songs. One song that really worked, which was an exisiting song was 'THE DOLL THAT CRIES REAL TEARS', which was used in a feature film. I think that one works very well. Another existing song that I think really works is 'SINGLE TONIGHT' which he had sung years and years ago and had dragged out and I went crazy over it. So that song had already existed but later on, you can hear where he had written these more moodier songs for me. So when I heard 'WHEN WE GOT HIGH' I was like "Oh my God! JESSE! I'm so excited about this song! This is where I'm at!"

You've got a very interesting label behind you - UNSTABLE APE RECORDS. I interviewed another artist on that label earlier today.
Oh, GUY BLACKMAN?

Yes.
He's doing well. He's amazing! He's a reviewer, a writer, and performer and he's very well known in Melbourne and Australia as a writer as well as a musician. He's going on a tour right now and it's so much easier for him in away because he can fit into a genre a little more easily than I. We struggle a bit and people don't quite know what to do with us. We don't quite know what to do with us.

What are your thoughts on the label that your with? They seem kind of hands-on to me.
They're great. They're small and the label is really quirky and they're really excited about all of us. None of us are huge but you never know. I think it's great! I like what they're doing and I like the creativity. I like that everyone is really original. It's not generic. Everyone is really original. I'm excited to be a part of their quirky stable of artists.

What drew you to music initially?
In the beginning, it was more about an expressing myself. I didn't have the most ideal upbringing -not that I had a tragic one, but it wasn't blissfully happy either - and I was very much into the fantasy and was eager to express myself in a way that I wasn't able to in my personal life as a child. That was probably the initial reason why I got into performing and singing. I was kind of generic in that I was singing in cover bands and singing things like 'JEREMIAH WAS A BULLFROG' with these evening gowns and false eyelashes, you know?

A long way from having reptile skin and a laser gun.
Exactly. I was eighteen! I did attract a crowd because I was cute and busty, but I certainly wouldn't say that I was doing anything extraordinary and I guess there was a time when I had realized that my music wasn't going anywhere. I stopped because I didn't have an original voice and I didn't have anything original to say with it. Now I'm at an age where that's what I'm most interested in; saying something original in my music and my acting. In everything I do, I want express myself in an original way, if I can.

Maybe having an accent helps.
Yes it does actually. I'm a little bit of an oddity here in Melbourne. I'm very glamorous in my outlook on how I like to present myself and I don't think that people are much that way here in Australia. They're a bit more laid back. And I've never wavered from that. I've always been who I am which is pure glamor in my presentation. We did a big indie festival recently and I can tell you the people were quite aghast at us when I walked out like 'Miss Glamour Puss' and I think they all went "Good God! What is this?" There was all of this folky, weird indie stuff going on and I come out. There were very mixed reviews, needless to say, about me but that's okay. I've got to do what's right for me.

I've interviewed a couple of other women from Australia and they were kind of butch, so yeah, you are the glamor queen amongst the lot.
Well yeah, it's kind of what makes me feel good. It makes me feel good and empowered, to be glamorous.

In doing my research for a picture to use, I came across this one photos of you as a beauty queen.
Yes, I was in the MISS AMERICA pageant. There you go honey, it's all making sense now.

It does make sense.
And that's kind of what JESSE wants to do with this show that we're trying to do. He wants me to come out with this crown and the MISS NEW HAMPSHIRE sash and sort of play with that.

In looking at the liner notes, this project looks like it was recorded rather quickly.
You have no idea how quickly it was recorded. I think I had two days in the studio. I'm really proud of what I did. It wasn't 'stop' and 'start' and nothing was dropped. It was pretty much singing the songs from beginning to end and the band all played live. The album isn't spruced up with special effects or anything like that. It's got a real clean sound.

Are you acting still?
Yes. It's weird because my acting is starting to happen again too. I did a movie in November. There's going to be a screening for it pretty soon and I just finished doing a play for six weeks in Melbourne, which was an incredible experience for me and now I've got three projects that are all about to happen or may happen; a few films and one series. One is a horror film and the other is a thriller so it's kind of a good time for me where things seem to be happening. There was a lull for many years but it seems to be my time again honey.

How long have you lived in Australia? You've acquired an accent.
I've been here a long time. Nineteen years. I'd like to say half my life but it's not. It wonderful here, you'd love it.

I heard a rumor about a new 'V' project called 'V: THE SECOND GENERATION'. Would you be interested in doing it?
Oh yes. It's weird that you say that because I got an e-mail form KENNY ('V' creator KENNETH JOHNSON) yesterday. We've been e-mailing each other back and forth. I was telling him that it was weird that I'm doing a pilot for a new series. It's a sci-fi series and my character's name is DIANA. In a way, the series creators are playing on that even though I'm just playing the nice mom of a teenage son. Right now, KENNY says he's working really hard to make 'V' happen in the movies. For 'V', a series is not really in the works. What seems to be happening is more of a movie. I don't know how close he is right now. You hear rumors, but who knows. If it would happen, absolutely I'd do it. It's not anything really deep or profound, but if KENNY was doing it - who was involved in the original mini-series - it would be worth doing it and I think it would be very special.

What do you want a person to come away with after they've heard 'THE DEVIL HAS MY DOUBLE'?
That's a very good question. I'd like them to come away thinking a little about their own sort of sexuality, their own fantasy life, a bit of fun, a bit fo whimsy and a bit of titillation.

That's the best answer I've ever had to that question.
Really?

Yes. No one ever brings up sex. You'd think they would with something called ROCKWIRED.
I think that's all I talk about. It must be my age or something.

1 comment:

filomeno2006 said...

"V", en "Cuatro", Sabados y Domingos a las 9 y 20