From Rolling Stone:
Liz Phair is working on a new record — due in 2009 — with several producers including Jeff Trott (Sheryl Crow) and John Alagia (Dave Matthews).
[Thanks to Rolling Stone for the details.]
[Thanks to John Kim from the Support System Mailing List for the setlist.]
The show will be available to download for free in the NPR Live In Concert from All Songs Considered podcast on iTunes starting Tuesday, October 7th.
Liz was interviewed on NPR's Day to Day this morning in conjunction with the concert.
[Thanks to Amy Schriefer at National Public Radio for the details.]
"Yes, it's about three quarters finished. It's got a much looser feel to it. I get fucking frustrated because I can't play a lot of instruments so I try and do different things with my voice. This time around I've done a lot of playful backing vocals. I was joking the other day that it's like Enya’s music."
The full interview is available at Seattle Weekly.
[Thanks to Erika Hobart / Seattle Weekly for the interview.]
City Pages (review by Pat O'Brien)
MinnPost (review by Jim Walsh)
More Cowbell (review by Chase Turner)
[Thanks to XRay from the Liz Phair Forum for the first two review links.]
[Thanks to jackstpaul from the Liz Phair Forum for the review and Brett Marlow for the encore setlist correction.]
IN NEW MOVE, BANDS PLAY COMPLETE ALBUMS IN CONCERT
As CD sales plummet, novelty gigs win box office bump and delight audiences.
By Matthew Shaer | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
After two decades behind the mic, Liz Phair has earned a reputation as a fiercely intimate, occasionally skittish rock musician, capable of making the biggest ballroom shows feel like cozy coffee-shop gigs. But this year, when a publicist suggested Phair perform – in its entirety – her most personal album, Exile in Guyville, the singer felt an unfamiliar pang in her gut.
"It's a strange thing to be daunted by your own record," Phair says of the 1993 release Guyville, which has attained a cult status among critics and fans. "Maybe seven of those songs I never played live. Some of them were too quiet; I didn't think I could carry them." She'd also have to dredge up a working knowledge of the album's intricate fretwork and hushed vocal arrangements. "I'd be going back in time," she remembers, less than wistfully.
Still, on June 25, Phair walked on stage at the Hiro Ballroom in lower Manhattan, and belted through the furious, strained poetry of Guyville, while a head-over-heels crowd looked on. "We were all on the same journey," Phair says. "I knew what everyone was there for. They just wanted to remember the part of their life that this record was the soundtrack for. I knew because that's how I feel every night I play it."
[Thanks to Matthew Shaer / Christian Science Monitor for the original article.]
[Thanks to wooden_and_alone from the Liz Phair Forum for the High Voltage Magazine review link.]
[Thanks to XRay from the Liz Phair Forum for the link.]
[Thanks to Rae Votta at Spinner.com for the link.]
Three reviews of Liz's Friday night performance in Boston:
[Thanks to wooden_and_alone from the Liz Phair Forum for the Boston Herald and "Be A Hero" review links.]
[Thanks to JeremyEngle for the details.]
[Thanks to XRay from the Liz Phair Forum for the links.]
[Thanks to Len Righi / The Morning Call for the information and XRay from the Liz Phair Forum for passing along the link.]
Fans flock to hear indie albums performed live
By Michael D. Ayers
Fri Aug 1, 9:04 PM ET
So far, Sonic Youth has found the most success in branching out with the full-album tour concept. Based on Billboard Boxscore data for a 2007 two-night stand in Berkeley, California, and a show in Brooklyn, the band grossed $496,791 in ticket sales, with two selling out in venues with 5,000-plus capacity. Compare that with the band's 2006 outing: 11 shows that grossed $315,305, according to Boxscore...
The Smashing Pumpkins have strongly hinted that they'll be playing special 20th-anniversary shows next year, with plans to re-create their debut album, Gish. Irish rock act Ash sold out London's 3,000-capacity Roundhouse in September for a performance of its breakthrough set, 1977, adding a further night at the 2,000-capacity Astoria. The band's November 2007 concert at the 4,920-capacity Brixton Academy failed to sell out. And in celebration of the recent reissue of her 1993 debut, Exile in Guyville, [Liz] Phair has done a handful of complete album performances, with more shows on tap for August.
For Phair, the financials have been impressive. Two June Guyville shows, at San Francisco's Fillmore (1,298 capacity) and Chicago's Vic Theatre (1,400), were sellouts, with an average gross of $31,787. In contrast, Phair's 2003 tour posted an average gross of $18,174 from 17 shows reported to Billboard Boxscore.
Phair recalls, "When we decided we were going to rerelease it, everyone at ATO said, 'You have to play it live -- you have to play the whole thing live.' And I was like, 'Holy crap, really?' I don't think I've ever played a lot of those songs live."
Phair admits to some restless nights worrying about how she would relearn the material and translate it to the stage, but so far, the performances have been warmly received. "Everybody was just so into it," she says. "I knew it wasn't about me. Nostalgia is about people wanting to relive their experience with it. I very much felt that every moment onstage."
[Thanks to Michael D. Ayers / Billboard for the original article; Hilary Lewis / The Business Sheet for the report of the article; and JeremyEngle for passing along the details.]
Liz Phair Feeling 'Natural' On New Album
Michael D. Ayers, N.Y.
Although it's still without a title or track listing, Liz Phair's new album is in its final recording stages. "This I can tell you: all my sloppiness is in there," she tells Billboard of her ATO debut, due this fall. "I fought all the way through, and I'm not letting anyone take it to a perfected style.
"It's not going to be [Exile in] Guyville again, but I'm using all my tools," she continues. "I keep pulling it out of producers' hands, before they can do anything."
Phair concedes that so far she's confident in about "half of it," but will be busy with the album all through August. The best way I can describe it is 'natural,'" she says. "It has mistakes in it. It has layered background vocals of mine that just make an overall slop, but it's perfect slop."
Having split with Capitol earlier this year, Phair is finding that working with ATO is a breath of fresh air. "They literally look at me and say, 'Here's your budget, don't go over, bring us something good,'" she says. "It's a fucking mind-bending experience after the last 14 years. Even when I was with Matador, combined with other labels, there were so many chefs in the kitchen. I'm working exactly the way I want to work."
ATO recently reissued Phair's classic 1993 debut, Exile In Guyville, which she's been performing in its entirety at a handful of recent shows.
"I remember being kind of aggravated, because I was supposed to be recording my new record, and I had to go back and figure out how to play all these songs," she says of the Guyville shows. "It was 20 years ago when I was writing all these. And one thing I found out, which is really lucky for me, is that I've become a better guitar player now, and as bizarre as they are, they're not technically hard to play."
Beyond three upcoming Guyville gigs next month, Phair says there aren't any plans for more, but she isn't ruling it out. She reports, "If people are into hearing it, I'd like to play it, until it becomes the 'Yeah, yeah, the old traveling Guyville show."
[Thanks to Michael D. Ayers / Billboard for the details.]
Liz Phair: Return to Guyville
Tonight 9:00 pm ET
Liz Phair drops by "Left of Center" to tell the story behind her classic indie album Exile In Guyville. Liz talks about and plays tracks from Exile In Guyville plus rare cuts from Liz's pre-Guyville Girlysound cassettes.
Rebroadcast: Fri., July 25th @ 12 am ET; Sat., July 26th @ 12 pm, 5 pm & 10 pm ET; Sun., July 27th @ 3 am, 9 am, 3 pm & 8 pm ET; Mon., July 28th @ 2 am ET.
You can also listen online for a trial period if you're not a subscriber already (similar to the XM Radio).
[Thanks to JeremyEngle for the details.]
Tickets are not on sale yet.
[Exile In Guyville] has sold 7,500 copies in four weeks of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
[Thanks to Jonathan Cohen / Billboard for the details.]
While I was at Smith, songstress and girl power-enthusiast Liz Phair came to visit, not to play, but to talk on a panel of several feminists. I walked away from the lecture feeling a bit jaded and off put by what she had said. She was questioned by an audience member about her so-called "sell-out" that was her last album, a poppy, mainstream opus which garnered criticism from her indie fans. She backed herself up by recalling a song from the album, "Why Can't I?". Phair claimed she was always asking herself this question, "why can't I?", and she essentially framed it as a feminist statement: Women can do whatever they want. At one point she pulled out the "I choose my choice" view, and said, "if you want to be a bum, you can be a bum." I thought, "So what? Now female empowerment is cut down to actions? That whatever a woman decides to do means she is a feminist?"
[Thanks to Leonora Epstein / The Frisky for the recollections.]
Tickets are not on sale yet.
Liz Phair on The Bob Edwards Show
Exile in Guyville was Liz Phair's debut album. She said at the time that it was a song-by-song reply to the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street. Fifteen years later, Phair is re-issuing the ground-breaking album with four never-before-released songs from the original recording sessions.
Tune in on Tuesday at 8AM, 9AM, 10AM and 8PM as well as Wednesday morning at 7AM. All times eastern.
Comments from overpavement: I think you can also listen online for a trial period if you're not a subscriber already. Then, you can buy it on audible.com (and probably on iTunes), for approximately $2.95.
[Thanks to overpavement from the Support System mailing list for the details.]
[Thanks to Derek McGough from the Support System mailing list for the details.]
IE: What did you do for Liz Phair's Exile In Guyville re-release? Any plans for your own stuff?
NK: She's attaching some DVD to it, like the making-of, so she called me. I ended up doing a little [interview]; I don’t know if I'll end up on the cutting-room floor. Saturation came out in '92 or '93, so we missed our 10th. It's like missing a high-school reunion: "Well, I'll make the 20th."
IE: Did Phair coin the term "Guyville"?
NK: She borrowed it off an Urge track on Stull ["Goodbye To Guyville"]. She was in our little circle, and she asked "Would you mind?" She actually asked permission. "Let's have our lawyers lunch . . ." No. It was pre-lawyer days, so we were like "Fuck yeah. We’re honored." We didn't even know she was making a goddamn record [laughs]. We just thought she was gonna go back and write a little song in her bedroom called something "Guyville".
[Thanks to Steve Forstneger / Illinois Entertainer for the interview.]
Blake Friedman is a singer / songwriter. You can sample some of her work here.
[Thanks to Trent Vanegas for the photograph.]
[Thanks to Art Pena / Consequence of Sound for the photographs and videos.]
Ken asked for some New Yawk reflections, so here's what I can remember (it was kind of a blur, as this was the most exhausted I'd ever been at a rock show, I thought I was going to fall face-first into the [rather impressive] pedal board directly in front of me . . . )
Any harsh reviews you may have come across out of Chicago can and should be disregarded. Liz delivered exactly what was promised -- except for that "solo acoustic" thing. Thankfully, they were NOT, because this is a classic rock, electric guitar album, and the band she assembled did an amazing (no, a really *fucking* amazing) job of recreating the arrangements we've grown so accustomed to hearing on the record. Like the 2 snares on "Soap Star Joe", the chorus pedal on "Dance of the Seven Veils", the sleigh bells and lack of bass on "Fuck And Run", the drones of "Explain It To Me" and "Shatter", and all of Brad Wood's idiosyncratic drumming. And the flourishes that her 2nd/lead guitarist (whose name I can't recall) added were really sweet -- much, much, much more palatable and inventive than anything any of her other guitarists have brought to her live shows over the past 10 years. Overall, these guys were the best backing band she's had since 1994.
This is to say nothing of the fact that she herself had to painstakingly re-learn half the album in order to do these shows. I'm a big Liz Phair geek from way back, and I'm more than a little embarrassed to say I basically know how to play all of Liz's parts on the album. So naturally I spent a fair amount of time staring intently at her fingers on the fretboard. What really intrigued me was how she managed to recreate the melodies of the more obviously complicated songs, almost note for note, even when she wasn't using the same fingerings as the originals. "Strange Loop" was particularly impressive in this regard; there's already a video up on YouTube of it from Chicago (incorrectly identified as a "first ever" performance of the song). You can't make out exactly what she's playing -- hopefully a clearer, full video bootleg of one of these shows will eventually surface -- but even if you just listen, it's obviously a very authentic adaptation. I'm going to go ahead and say this is the best I've seen her play since ... ever? At least since 1993-1995, which was before I even had the means to attend a Liz Phair show.
Other disjointed observations:
Liz used her old Duo-Sonic and Musicmaster guitars as well as a natural-finish Telecaster and a Gibson Les Paul. She said Brad & Casey had been really helpful in preparations for this mini-tour, adding that it was Brad who advised: "NO capos!" Wherever a capo was required, she used a guitar that had already been tuned up (one full step or a step and a half, in the cases of the Duo Sonic and the Telecaster, respectively) or down (in the case of the Les Paul -- used only on "Soap Star Joe", to the best of my recollection), just like on the album. The Musicmaster was in standard tuning. She used an open tuning on "Shatter" (which key, I couldn't tell), played on the Duo-Sonic. And she detuned it herself! Imagine that.
"Canary" was played on the keyboard with the full intro -- using that same great echo/delay effect -- by her guitarist. Liz stood at the microphone, hands in the pockets of her leather hot pants, looking very pensive (or at least affecting a pensive gaze).
Casey Rice's lead guitar part on "Mesmerizing" -- long absent from her live performances of the song since 1998 -- was fortunately resurrected by her new guitarist, and it smoked. Liz broke her high E string halfway through it.
I made extensive, thrilling eye-contact with Liz during "Fuck And Run". More on that later.
"Shatter", which hadn't been played live since 1994, caused me to turn to my longtime internet buddy Meredith (reunited at last!) and exclaim, "This is blowing my mind."
Liz was joined on stage by a female friend (Blake [Friedman]) who sang the backup vocal on "Flower".
"Gunshy" was pretty humorous, with Liz doing double duty on the 'wife/gunshy' part at the end.
"Stratford On Guy" was blisteringly, ferociously rocking. I can't quite find the words. It's probably my favorite Liz Phair song, and I don't think I've ever seen her do it with a full band, except maybe once 10 years ago, but I know for a fact it couldn't have been as hardcore as this version. Seriously brutal, in the best possible way.
Ditto "Strange Loop": Meredith turned to her boyfriend and said, "This is almost surreal." The powerful breakdown/cleanup at the end of the song, combined with the energy of the crowd, made for a simultaneously chaotic and bittersweet moment as the show was drawing to a close.
But! We got a groovy encore, featuring "Chopsticks" (only one note flubbed on the piano), a special-request version of "May Queen" (sloppy but still really, really great to hear), "Wild Thing", and "Polyester Bride". "Wild Thing" needed a little help from the audience, as Liz couldn't remember the last verse. A chivalrous young man, front row center, who'd earlier helped her adjust the height of her mic stand, was actually INVITED ON STAGE, the lucky motherfucker, to help her sing the last verse, but when he said he couldn't remember it either, she handed him her Musicmaster to PLAY HIMSELF, the lucky motherfucker, and with a little help from yours truly ("If there's a lesson to be learned...!"), Liz finished the song to the capacity crowd's immense enthusiasm.
I'm also more than a little embarrassed to say that it had long been one of my fantasies to be invited onstage by Liz to help with an old or rarely performed song, I just never would have guessed that it would actually fuckin' happen, nor that I *wouldn't* be the lucky motherfucker who got to do it. But it's just as well, because I probably would have passed out from the trauma anyway. Congratulations to the dude who had the privilege. If you're reading this: you rocked. Video of the entire incident is already available on You Tube. Search for "Liz Phair Wild Thing." It's the one that's over 3 minutes long.
Before Liz decided to go through with "Wild Thing," or maybe afterward while she was re-tuning her guitar (the aforementioned lucky motherfucker had apparently been extra aggressive with it), an audience member asked her why it was left off the deluxe reissue. She explained that, as had been speculated, there were publishing/copyright issues that she'd come up against: she would have had to pay for the right to use the song, and the original songwriter would have had to receive full credit, with Liz receiving none. She didn't think that was fair, and decided to leave it off, adding that the parties involved evidently didn't have a sense of humor about it.
I waited around for about 20 minutes after the show and sure enough Liz came out with two girlfriends and talked to the throng of fans who were gathered outside the front door of the Hiro Ballroom. In the past, I've been more forward when it came to chatting up the performers after a concert, if I'd wanted to do that sort of thing, but this time, I just kind of stood around, and I'll be damned if Liz didn't approach me herself and say, "Hey! I saw you in the crowd! Thanks for coming..." extending her hand to me. I may have blown whatever chemistry I'd like to believe we had going when I unleashed a boorish torrent of obscenities in my attempt to offer high praise: "You fuckin' rocked, man! Holy shit, I mean, 'Stratford-On-Guy' into 'Strange Loop'? That shit blew my fuckin' mind. Unreal!" Either way, I got her to laugh.
I also accidentally ended up following her & her friends down the street to 8th Avenue (and they walked very, very slowly). The subway entrance I needed was at the corner of 16th St. and 8th Ave., and I just kind of stood there, next to Liz Phair, for several moments while they talked about where they were going ("Is it north or south?"), where the best place would be to hail a cab, etc. I considered asking, "Hey, you guys going out somewhere now?" but I was a sweaty mess and feeling more than a little creepy about even contemplating asking, and so I told myself, "Man, you got more than your money's worth. Quit while you're ahead." And then I went home.
[Thanks to the longtime fan for the review]
[Thanks to Berklie from the Liz Phair Forum for the video.]
And, here is "Wild Thing".
Notes from soapstarjoe555:
So I went last night, and Liz was fucking awesome. Again. She played Guyville from beginning to end, but the encore last night was a little different. She started with "Chopsticks", but then played "May Queen", "Wild Thing", and "Polyester Bride". She was in great spirits the entire time, and during "Wild Thing", she even had a guy come on stage, handing him her guitar and having him play the second half of the song as she sang (and head banged) along. She even had some girl backstage named Blake [Friedman] who she brought out to sing the "Everytime I see your face..." loop on "Flower". "May Queen" was a little rusty, but she actually knew most of it and it sounded great. She also gave shout outs to Brad Wood and Casey Rice, and said that Brad had given the band some advice (no capos!). And finally, she said that "Wild Thing" didn't make the reissue because of licensing issues - they would have had to have given the Troggs dude full writing credit and wouldn't share credit with Liz, and she didn't like that.
So, a great night. She nailed it. And I hope someone has that "Wild Thing" video.
[Thanks to soapstarjoe555 from the Liz Phair Forum for the review.]
[Thanks to Jason Long for the video.]
Liz Phair and bassist Nick Macri at the Hiro Ballroom, New York, June 25th, 2008 (photographed by Trent Vanegas)
Liz Phair and drummer Dan Leali at the Hiro Ballroom, New York, June 25th, 2008 (photographed by Trent Vanegas)
[Thanks to David Sprague / Variety for the information and Trent Vanegas for the photographs.]
[Thanks to robnashvile and wooden_and_alone from the Liz Phair Forum for the links.]
[Thanks to wooden_and_alone for the links.]
Just left Liz's NYC show at the Hiro, and it was great. The performance was a little haphazard but real. The band was nothing special, but it suited the tone of the evening and the material. And from what I could see, everyone had a good time, including Liz, who got a bit emotional a couple of times running through the sequence of songs. She said more than once that the show was going by too fast. It probably helped that New York is so much cooler than Chicago, and the crowd wasn’t populated by dipshits looking to settle a score with a girl they dismiss and dislike. But even so, the show was fun and a little melancholy, and totally memorable.
Tonight, the set list was the same (unless she did another song after "Polyester Bride", which I would’ve missed since I bailed), and the sound wasn’t great (sleighbells on "Fuck And Run"? I SAW sleighbells, but I didn’t HEAR sleighbells). Best thing was just that Liz seemed more relaxed than I've seen her since the wcse tour of small clubs on the east coast. It wasn't a storytellers routine, and I wish it would've been held at the Apple Store in Soho — that would've been phenomenal. But if you knew what the show was about going in, then you left feeling like you'd seen something personal and special.
And here's a snapshot from the show:
Here's another random snapshot:
[Thanks to he who shall remain anonymous for the review and first photo and Paige for the second photo.]
Notes from Millertime428:
Here is Jim DeRogatis' scathing review of the show.
Here is a clip of Fuck And Run from The Vic.
[Thanks to Millertime428 and Motherfucker from the Liz Phair Forum for the review and link.]
In addition, here are some Liz interviews in multimedia formats:
[Thanks to robnashville and XRay from the Liz Phair Forum for the multimedia links.]
...Liz was full-on electric accompanied by three guys (which she oddly didn't introduce at any time during the show).
Here are some snapshots from yours truly:
This historic show was reviewed by:
Here is a clip of "Chopsticks" from the encore at the Fillmore.
Addendum: Here is a clip of "Fuck And Run" from the Fillmore.
In addition, John Henderson is interviewed about Exile In Guyville in The Columbia Chronicle.
[Thanks to Brett Marlow for the John Henderson interview]
"A brain-twisting, Machiavellian ride through the 'what if' of future corporate warmongering. The most disturbing part about watching it is how familiar that nightmarish scenario seems. The best part is the belly laughs.
Oh, and by the way, the filmmakers seem clinically insane ;)"
- LIZ PHAIR, Artist/Songwriter/Agent Provocateur
[Thanks to War, Inc.]
47 Liz Phair Exile in Guyville (1993) A 2008 reissue should show a new generation just what the whip-smart Chicago songstress achieved on this long-unavailable alt-rock classic. Her voice was reedy, but Phair made up for it with the pure rock & roll audacity of third-wave feminist anthems like "Fuck and Run".
Liz also offers her Top 10 List here.
[Thanks to Entertainment Weekly.]
[Thanks to Stereogum for the "Ant In Alaska" mp3.]
Apparently, "Wild Thing" has been pulled from the official reissue of Exile In Guyville. More details to come.
In the meantime, you can hear brief audio samples of the remastered Exile In Guyville, including the bonus tracks over at Amazon.com.
[Thanks to Jason Long for the heads-up.]
[Thanks to the folks at the Liz Phair Forum for the heads-up.]
Can you believe it's been 15 years since the release of Exile In Guyville? The L.A. musician and mom has several projects up her sleeve, including a book, the re-release of Exile on June 24 and a documentary about the influential album, new music, and scoring for the TV show Swingtown.
If you could ask the musician anything in the world, what would it be? The best questions — and Phair's answers — will be featured in the fall issue of Venus Zine and venuszine.com for the "Call & Response" feature.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline to submit questions: July 1, 2008.
[Thanks to Dani Garcia at Venus Zine for the info.]
[Thanks to marcos from the Liz Phair Forum for the link.]