Linda Perry Starts Pink’s Party, Defends Christina Aguilera, Is Legendary

What services are specifically benefited from the money raised by An Evening With Women?

First and foremost, the majority of the money goes to the youth center program,which is basically kids that get thrown out on the street by their own parents for being gay. These kids are fourteen, fifteen, sixteen years old and are turning to drugs and prostitution and the center basically opens up its doors and provides shelter, homes, food, teaches the kids how to clean, how to cook, they help them get jobs… and they have therapy for these kids. There’s also a really good program for seniors that are struggling and don’t have anyone to turn to. There’s an incredible clinic on the facilities that is amazing and it’s “pay what you can.” The center provides legal services… just so, so much! It’s just everything and on top of everything else, The Center is at the forefront fighting for gay rights.  So, An Evening With Women is a whole event that focuses on benefiting this part of Los Angeles that we need to open our eyes up to and start supporting because they do so much for the community.

Pink’s surprise performance at the event last year was a huge surprise for everyone, especially in light of your publicized falling out in 2003. When did you mend your relationship with her?

Well, it’s not that we had a broken one, it’s just that she and I stopped talking for a few years because… well, she got mad at me, and for good reason… Someone had asked me about one of her records, I think it was Try This, and I think they took it out of context, but I said, “Well, I know what Alecia is capable of, and it’s crap to me. Because I know what she can really do.” So, you put“Linda Perry Says Pink’s Last Album Was Crappy” as a headline and of course she’s gonna fucking get mad! And I totally understand! But, she and I spoke and we get along great again. Pink and I will always be like falling off a bicycle – we’re gonna get right back on and be fine. She’s stubborn and I’m stubborn. Whatever she’s doing [musically] is totally working. She doesn’t need anybody to fix anything. So, she and Carey came out last year and supported An Evening With Women, they bought a table which was really awesome of her. And, ya know… I saw her there and I was like “well, shit! I’m up here and she’s down there and… let me just go for it! And so, she came up and it was an amazing, spontaneous moment. We don’t plan those kinds of spontaneous moments so don’t ask if I’m gonna try and do that again! Those moments in life are rare and awesome.

Have you discussed possibly collaborating again for her next album?

Nope…. again, if that were to happen it would probably be in a very spontaneous way.

I really feel like the public has been too hard on Christina Aguilera this past year. Do you think it’s a case of society wanting to tare someone down only to build them back up because the public loves a comeback story?

Christina’s always had the bad rap. So, it’s not like this is happening all of a sudden… she’s always had it. That’s something between Christina, her fans, the public, and the energy of the world. That’s something only Christina and the energy can figure out what’s going on there. But, as far as I’ve known her, everybody’s always given her a hard time. She’s a different little bird. You know, she’s not really out a lot and when she does go out, people are gonna grab things. Like, is she running around as much as Britney Spears was a few years ago? No, she’s isn’t. But, when they catch her they catch her in whatever state she is in. I don’t know why the press is so hard on her right now. I think Christina’s awesome and a very talented person. She definitely doesn’t care — and that is a fact. You know how some people say “I don’t care” and they really do? I can tell you that Christina really doesn’t care…. because she learned very early on that critics are critics, people will say whatever they want and it’s up to her to decide what is the truth and what is not. She stands true to what she knows.

Like, she told me “I know this Bionic record is not going to be a big record because I’m gonna try and do some different things and I don’t know what’s gonna happen but this is what I wanna do…” She knew that before she recorded one thing. She knew that about Back to Basics, too. Her record company came to her and said “you’re gonna sell way more many records if you make this a single album. Let’s get rid of the double record.” And she said, “No, this is how I hear it. I  hear one record being like this and the other record being like this.” Everybody warned her that it’s not going to sell as much but she didn’t care because she comes up with creative ideas and stands behind them as an artist. It’s not all about selling a bazillion records to her. She just wants to be able to stand behind it. In the end she did say to me, “Maybe I did release the Bionic record too soon. Oh well. Now, I wanna make a rock record!” I was like “Oh, God!” She’s gonna take everybody for a ride. So, ultimately, why she gets put down I don’t know. You’ll never know, I’ll never know, only Christina will ever figure that out and get the answer.

How do you feel about the current pop music landscape?

 I think there are too many people trying to analyze it instead of just trying to feel it out and going with what feels natural. When people start putting pop music into a format and want everybody else to follow that format or formula is when the problem starts happening. That’s when the creative process dies and we’re left with an aftermath of just “blah.” I think there are a lot of great people out there, but I’d like the people who are supporting mainstream music to maybe just ask a little bit more of their artists. I feel like maybe the fans need to start raising the bar and maybe that will get the artist and the labels to start raising the bar.

Just this morning I saw a clip of Britney Spears performing on Good Morning Americaand it really blew my mind what she is getting away with.

 Yeah, well, there’s a lot of people getting away with that! That’s why I feel it’s not just the labels and the artists fault. It’s the fans too. The people who are supporting it — they need to start demanding more. But, the problem is that in the world we live in right now, people aren’t really taking the time to raise the bar. You need to start wanting more for yourself. It all starts within us… if you want to get deep about it. To “raise the bar” would mean that you’d have to want more for who YOU are. You’d have to want better for you. Unfortunately, we’re not in that world… people aren’t giving themselves that kind of attention because everything is so fast. Everything that is going on in society today is going faster and faster and nobody even has time to take a breath and even understand what they’re walking into. So, to ask more of your artists means that you’d have to think you DESERVE to get more. So, really think about that… As a society, people aren’t really taking care of themselves.

I agree completely with you. Just how so many young kids live off .99 cent iTunes singles as opposed to buying a complete body of work like they used to.


Are there any up and coming indie artists you love who we should absolutely be supporting who we may not be aware of?

 Hmmm… I think everything that Juliette Lewis does is amazing because she is an indie artist to me over an actress. Like, she really goes out there, and is really giving it 100% of her all. That girl toured in a van for 3 years until she worked her way up to where she’s selling out the El Ray Theatre and touring in a bus now. She’s really been paying her dues as an artist and I think everything she does is great because she’s coming from true heart. I like Bat For Lashes. I think it’s really creative and I enjoy her work a lot. I’ve never met her but she seems like a cool chick.Florence + the Machine I will always support. I know she’s not too indie, but she’s amazing. There’s an LA band called Nico Vega that is pretty phenomenal… Aja, the singer of that band, she’s really got a voice that is pretty serious, and her whole vibe is amazing.

I know you wrote and produced for Adam Lambert with “A Loaded Smile” for his album. He’s one of the first mainstream pop singers to be out at the very start of his career. Do you think pop musicians need to worry about staying closeted the way actors do?

Hmmm… I still don’t understand that. That’s a whole other interview! I honestly am still baffled by the closet thing. I don’t get it. There’s nothing you can tell me that would make me understand why people feel the need to hide who they are – under any circumstance. So, I can’t comprehend it therefore I can’t even answer

Is there anybody whom you’re dying to work with?

No…. I like who the universe throws in my way. I like the surprise of it. I’d probably pick the wrong person. I like the open surprise – it’s like a grab bag.. it just shows up. Like, I never would’ve picked Pink in a million years to want to work with. I mean, she had pink hair and was a white girl singing bad R&B music…. I mean, I would’ve never chosen her at all! But, I love her and the fact that the universe threw her in my life is amazing and I’m SO thankful for it. So, the universe does a far better job of choosing who I should work with.

I’m a big fan of the “iPhone Sessions” you record and upload Twitter. What inspired you to start those and how do you technically record them?

Basically, I woke up one morning after a long conversation with this producer and an artist and they were yankin’ on about how they used three Pro Tool machines and did some godly, huge production… just bragging about all this stuff they did… and when I heard the song I was like, “are you fuckin’ for real?” You did all this shit for that? It was just very disturbing and the song sucked… Basically, what people do nowadays is they take bad songs (they don’t even put the energy into making a good song), so they take bad songs and put all this fluff of production and arrangements and tricks and gadgets and outfits and blah blah blah, and they go and they sell that to the people and go, “look how great this is!” when really, if you strip it all down, there is no song there. So, I always say to somebody, “can you play your song acoustic?” Can you grab an acoustic guitar or a piano and sit down and play your song? And, 90% of the music out there today you cannot do that. So, that’s a huge start right there.

So, anyway, my whole point was that I can take my stupid iPhone and if I have a good song and a good performer I can just put it up – one take – and look at this. Fuckin’ sounds great! People relate to it. It sounds awesome. I’m just using my iPhone  Memo/Audio Recorder app and I put it by my acoustic guitar or my piano and I just choose a song. Like, okay “Mad World” or “Creep.” It takes me like fifteen minutes to learn the song and then I record it in one take. If there’s a mistake I keep it and then I Twitter it and there ya go! So that’s why I started doing them…. it was just to show people that these are great songs. “Angie” is a great song, listen to it on piano.

Have you considered releasing an album of you doing covers acoustically stripped down like that? Or even releasing the iPhone sessions as mp3s?

Yeah, when I get back home after the tour is over I’m actually gonna start maybe doing that. My band Deep Dark Robot actually recorded some covers as well so I wanna release that first. And then I wanna do “Linda Perry iPhone Sessions” where I choose the best ones that I like and maybe add a couple new ones and the release that as well… I mean, I’d just give that away. Just like “here ya go.” Or, maybe put a charity attached to it and go OK, this is $2 that’s going straight to an animal organization or something. ‘Cause I am aware that there’s something kinda cool and special about ‘em. I mean, a couple of them I had just woken up in the morning and I just recorded it. “Fever” I recorded in my bathroom at the studio. The Leonard Cohen song, “Hallelujah” I had just gotten back from Hawaii and I had a piano in my bathroom and just say down and recorded that one. So, they’re fun to do and I really enjoy it. I’m glad you like it!

Let’s talk about Deep Dark Robot and 8 Songs About A Girl. Concept albums focusing on a single relationship are always fascinating. Adele‘s new record is about one relationship and it’s heartbreaking.

I think that I’ve been in several relationships and broken up and been hurt in several but never written a song or entire record about them… This one in particular stayed with me – not that the other ones didn’t – but, this girl ended up being a muse for me. Because, it’s not just really about an album. She’s been a catalyst in a lot of other ways, like, if it weren’t for her I wouldn’t have started going on tour, would never have made an album, I would not be talking to you right now… this whole journey of my life would never have begun.

How long ago did the relationship end?

It never actually began. This was a situation where I fell in love and two people were getting together that just couldn’t be together. I kept getting pulled in and out, back and forth, back and forth, to a point where it made me obsessive and starting making me crazy… really effecting me…. so. I never got the girl. It was very sad and also very romantic, but very sad…. and I know she is equally tortured. There was some pursuing that was being done on her end that should have never happened… and I’m not talking about people cheating on each other.

It’s a straight girl.

Yea, it was a straight girl… there was never going to be a happy ending. But I continued playing into it because I fell in love.

Over what time period did this span?

Well, the songs were written as I was experiencing the emotions in these last 7 months. She’s still there… I could still keep going writing more music about her, but I wanted to end that set of 8 songs. She loves the record.

I noticed you have a tattoo of a tear on your face. What’s the story behind that?

The tear is basically my best friend and I of 20 years. After I had been on tour for a long time I saw that he (Aubin) had tattooed a tear on his face because he missed me… A while later I was in the process of moving to Los Angeles and he was moving to New York.So, when we were splitting up and weren’t going to be living across the street from each other I said “tattoo a tear on me” because I’m so sad… it’s a friend thing. We’re best friends. He got a tear, I got a tear…. Meanwhile, I think he was in New York for like two or three weeks and wound up moving to LA. I was like, “I got this fuckin’ tear now on my face!” Anyways, I love it and we remain best friends still and he is definitely my rock in my life.

Jambase interview




“I knew right away from the moment that we met that you’d be the girl that I could never forget.” Thus begins the rough ‘n’ rowdy debut from Deep Drk Robot, which is comprised of veteran songstress and one-time Non BlondeLinda Perry and Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson). It’s a classic opening, cutting right to the courtship and bedding rituals inherent to rock, and the rest of 8 songs about a girl (released March 22 on Perry’s own Custard label) buzzes with the unfiltered energy and tenderness of vintage New York Dolls, early PJ Harvey and other amp-ruining, battered romantics.

Perry lays into longing with the force of a whack to the heart, taking the wadded ball of hurt, lust and love that a new object of desire stirs up and hurling it at the listener with an All-Star pitcher’s walloping accuracy. Each element – the raggedly right singing, the uncivilized guitars, the clomping, irresistible beat, the naked lyrics – works together to paint a warts & all portrait of what it means to want someone so bad it consumes one…until it doesn’t and one moves on having survived another run through the white water emotional gauntlet.

Deep Dark Robot is a pretty far cry from the work Perry has done over the past couple decades as songwriting guru/foil to the likes of Pink, Christina Aguilera and many others. It is a personal, pure rock statement of purpose that points Perry back to her roots and lets the spotlight swing back her way again for the first time since her 4 Non Blondes days. What it reveals is a mature, powerful artist ready to take on all comers.


JamBase: I love women that swear well, and you’re top of the class. There’s eight songs on your debut and the word ‘Fuck’ is in two of the titles.

Linda Perry: Yeah but I think I’m saying it throughout the record!

JamBase: How did Deep Dark Robot come together? You haven’t been in a band for a really long time.

Linda Perry: It was definitely a surprise to me. I’d written this lyric – “A deep dark robot falling in love” – and I thought, “I like that! If I were ever to start a new band I’d call it Deep Dark Robot. That’s cool.” So, I stored that in the ol’ memory bank, and then I wrote a song and then another one, and then I met Tony Tornay and we became really good friends and I said, “I’m forming a band. You wanna be in it? ” And he said, “Cool” [Perry’s retelling emphasizing a decidedly laidback vibe]. Nine months later when I had some time, he came down to the studio and we started jamming and recorded some of the songs. Our first rehearsal was just me and him, and then the songs turned into more songs. It was Tony that pointed out, “Hey, you know you’re writing an album about a girl, right?”

It was a hard situation to write about, this straight girl that I had these feelings about and it just couldn’t happen because of the nature of her lifestyle. So, it’s an album about this lingering emotion about not getting the girl. It’s also about being seduced in a way, dangled with temptation and sort of pursued to get into it. But there was never going to be any sort of consummation of these feelings. I went through all these emotions – feeling jealous and possessive and pathetic and not good enough. At the end of it, I went, “Fuck it, this is bullshit!” The songs were written in real time; as a new emotion showed up, so did the song.

That real time aspect, the lack of forethought inherent in that situation, means less second-guessing of the music. If you’d thought about it you might have convinced yourself not to make this album, not to build a band, not to tour these songs, etc.

Exactly! As hurt as I got in this situation with this girl, I’m calling her my muse. Because of her, this is all happening. I love the album, and the intention [after the demo sessions] was to put a band together and record this for real. But when we listened to the recordings, we realized this IS the album and what were we going to do differently that would make it better? It already had a cool, raw vibe, so we left it alone and just put the band together to do shows. It’s been really fun. I love touring this album. As imperfect as it is, it’s perfect.

The rawness of it is the heart of rock ‘n’ roll - letting it all hang out. Even thematically, you’re talking about Year Zero rock stuff like getting the girl to go to the dance with you and then dealing with your feelings after you’ve gone to that dance. It wouldn’t be as good if you’d done the Def Leppard thing and taken four years to polish every little bit.

It took four or five months to make this record but it was all in between my schedule and Tony’s schedule. When we counted it up, it was about 22 days in the studio making this record. An artist would leave and I’d call Tony at 10 o’clock at night and say, “Come over, I’ve got this idea!”

On tour, what are you playing besides the songs on the record?

We’re playing the album the way it is with the vignettes and everything. Then, we play three covers, which we’re going to release as an EP: [The Rolling Stones’] “Angie,” [The Cure’s] “Love Song” and [The Stooges’] “Search and Destroy.” And then we do a Deep Dark Robot song that’s on iTunes as a bonus track called “Somebody Love Me Now.” I like short sets, always have, so our set is maybe 35-40 minutes. It’s good, it’s perfect, and we’re out of there [laughs].

Emotionally, how is it playing this stuff night after night, revisiting some quite painful moments? “It Fucking Hurts” alone can’t be fun to wander around in over & over.

We played Chicago and about midway through the set I started getting really depressed. It’s sad. When I don’t get something – I don’t how everyone else is – it’s a lingering emotion that sits within me. And it takes a long, long time for me to get over that. On top of that, I find this particular person incredibly beautiful and awesome, so there’s no bad emotions just hurt ones. There’s something romantic about the whole situation because I know she’s equally tortured. I know she wants to be right here by my side but it can’t be that way.

That never-to-be-resolved tension is a sad, sad truth but it’s also some of the best grist for the creative mill. Isn’t that a fucked-up truth?

Yeah, it totally is [laughs]. It’s okay. I’ll get through it. It’s part of me. The thing I like about how I experience life is everything is real time for me. So, onstage in Chicago, as I experienced this emotion, my whole mood changed and I looked at the crowd and said, “I’m sorry but I’m having a mood-flip right now.” Sometimes this album is hard for me to play because I get sad. I’m just a raw and honest person, and people ended up falling more for this music and rooting for the underdog. Right now, [Deep Dark Robot] is an underdog.

8 Songs About A Girl doesn’t feel like a project. There’s clearly a person behind it, a person full of foibles and aches and all sorts of recognizably human traits. I think that’s part of what people are connecting with in this band.


One of my friends pointed out on the song “No One Wakes Me Up Like You” that it gets more agro as it reaches the end. Near the end, I’m out of tune on the second “I’m awake!” and they asked me if I was going to fix it. I said, “Hell no!” That’s part of the beauty of it. That’s going to happen to me live; I’m not going to hit all those notes live. The album features all live vocal takes; that’s how I sing it. This is the way it’s gotta be [in Deep Dark Robot]. Even if no one else sees that, I’ve got to stick to it.

In this band I can do anything I want to. The content can be whatever I want it to be. Sometimes when you work with somebody else they don’t want to take many chances, sing certain things, it has to fit some kind of format, and blah, blah, blah. It’s a buzz killer. Now, I’m thinking, “Why would you want to sound like radio now? Radio sucks. Don’t you want to raise the bar a bit?” They make up some sort of excuse about their label or something. What I got kind of popular for, now, people won’t let me do. They’re so scared of losing. Losing what? What could you be so frightened of losing?

Every time I get together with somebody I just try to bring out as much emotion as I possibly can. Honestly, the past couple years I haven’t released a lot [of songs written for/with others] because I’ve ended up pulling them, going, “You know what? I’m not going to let this go out in the world. I can’t back this up.” I give the money back and say, “Here you go. Sorry.” So, doing this record and being part of Deep Dark Robot has made me feel free. I have no label breathing down my neck. I have nobody telling me what to do because they know they can’t [laughs]. So, if I fall, I fall. I believe in this and I will fight to the bitter end to get it where I think it needs to go.

Producer gives performing 2nd try with new band





NEW YORK – Linda Perry is still trying to get used to being an artist again.

After spending more than a decade comfortably in the background as the uber-producer and songwriter behin hits for Pink, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani and others, she's now fronting the duo Deep Dark Robot.

She hadn't made a video in 15 years, and she's still warming up to the idea of doing interviews. When booking the tour for her new band, she asked for the smallest venues.

But the 45-year-old Perry is clearly relishing her second chance in front of the microphone.

"I want to be an artist in this. What happens next year, I don't know, but this year, I want to focus on it because I need a break from the studio, I need to be outside," Perry said during a recent interview in a New York restaurant. "I need to be talking to people. I've been cooped up for a very long time, and I'm a big personality."

Everything about Perry screams rock star, from her tousled brunette hair to the tattoos that adorn her body and even her face, to her blunt, occasionally coarse talk. But she's lived the rock-star life from the background as the person behind songs like Aguilera's "Beautiful" and Pink's "Get the Party Started."

She did have a taste of pop success as the leader of the `90s group 4 Non Blondes. But the group was a one-hit wonder, never duplicating the success of "What's Up," and later disbanded.

Perry then flirted with a solo career. But she truly flourished when a young singer named Alecia Moore sought her out. The result was her work on Pink's breakthrough album, "Missundaztood."

"Alecia gave me like my big break. I was more interested in producing, not songwriting ... but I write music. I mean, that's just what I do," she said.

Perry went on to write for Aguilera ("Beautiful"), Stefani ("What Are You Waiting For") and Alicia Keys ("Superwoman").

She also started Custard Records, which had its greatest success when it signed an unknown British singer named James Blunt.

The imprint released Blunt's multiplatinum debut album, "Back to Bedlam," which included the No. 1 hit "You're Beautiful."

"(He went) to pretty much every label with `Back to Bedlam,' and every label passed on it," Perry recalled.

Perry's innate music talent and instincts have made her one of the most popular producers in pop music. But she grew tired of people coming to her for a quick pop hit.

"Some of the artists are so controlled by their labels and management and are so lost that I can't work with them," said Perry, who insists on meeting every performer before she works with them.

But her unhappiness had more to do with Perry, not her work. She started to feel like she was going through the motions, and "that's not me — that's not my style."

"I stopped doing production actually a little while ago," she said. "I hadn't been happy with some of the stuff I was doing. I thought it sucked."

Perry started flirting with the idea of working in a band — something she never thought she'd do again. She came up with the name Deep Dark Robot and knew it would be a great band name. Then she found a great partner: Tony Tornay, drummer for Fatso Jetson, and one of Perry's close friends.

It took a while before any actual material came from their musical relationship.

"I started a million bands with my friends that have never actually done anything ... people get busy. She has her day job and she was busy working with other people, and I have another band that I play in, and I do photography as well," Tornay explained.

The creative spark for Perry was love. She fell hard for a woman who wasn't gay, but enjoyed her friendship. It was basically unrequited love, and Perry ended up with a broken heart.

"It was very brief, but it was like an impact, this person, and she ended up being a muse for the record," Perry said. "So we called it `8 Songs About a Girl.'"

The record has a raw rock sound that is gritty and unpolished — not by design — but Perry loves the end product. Although she has a plush multimillion-dollar studio, it didn't get much use for "8 Songs About a Girl."

"I set up mics and we recorded. I didn't go into producer mode, I just made it sound OK," she said. "The record started out to be demos ... but it was so good, we're like, `there's no way we're going to rerecord this; the demos are the album.'"

They've taken the same grass-roots approach to the entire project.

Perry said the videos were shot for $3,000, while the album cover was shot on an iPhone camera.

"Everything that we've done has come really naturally to us so far, and the second that things get complicated, it just doesn't feel right," Tornay said.

The album was released in March. They have already recorded material for a covers CD and are planning other EPs. They've been on tour for the last month with a full band, playing club dates, but Perry hopes to build their audience over the next year or so.

Which means those pop artists looking for the Linda Perry treatment will have to go elsewhere.

While she's got a few side projects she's still working on, Perry has basically closed up shop as a producer — for now.

"I'm focused on this — this is where I'm supposed to be," Perry said. "Something extremely over-the-top special would have to show up to take my attention off this. ... This is where my heart is.

The LP Questionnaire/Pick Three



Linda Perry (who must be awesome because, you know, LP) has a new band with pal Tony Tornay called Deep Dark Robot. You, of course, know Linda from her previous band 4 Non Blondes. Tornay played in desert rock band Fatso Jetson.

The band has an album called 8 Songs About A Girl coming out on March 22. They'll tour the states through April.

Perry, a vegan, has five dogs and says Southpark is her jam. Tony has a cat named Amber that he's obsessed with (it is Kitty Day around here, I tell you), is ambidextrous and thinks Mexican food is the best invention ever.

They did a most excellent joint LPQ/Pick Three with one of the best autobio titles evar.


The LP Questionnaire
Name: Linda Perry & Tony Tornay
Do you have any nicknames?Linda calls Tony, Tina. Tony calls Linda, Landy

1. Pretend you're 15. Name three songs you'd put on a mix tape for your girlfriend/boyfriend.

Tony was 15 in 1987
3 songs….
Joe Strummer - Love Kills
Rod Stewart - Passion
Social Distortion - Another State of Mind

Linda was 15 in 1980
Ramones - I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
Rolling Stones - Angie
Journey - Open Arms

2. Which evil villain would make the best President? Darth Vader

3. What was your favorite cartoon as a child?
Tony – Mighty Mouse
Linda – HR Puff and Stuff

4. What superpower do you wish you had?
Tony – A rewind button.
Linda – Blasts of energy waves surging through my hands that will remove anything in my path.

5. What would the title of your autobiography be?
Tony: Huh, what?
Linda: World's Greatest Muffdiver

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