Hey Jenny. How are you doing? I’m good. How are you?
Very well thank you. Where are you and what have you been up to today? I’m out in the middle of the desert, outside of Palm Springs, California.
Have you been abandoned? Haha. I haven’t. I’ve got someone coming back for me.
Phew. What have you been up to? I’ve just been kind of taking it easy for the day and wandering around and sitting in the sun with my sun hat on, drinking a glass of wine. It’s a good day.
I wanted to start with some quick easy ones: What have you got in your pockets? Currently? This isn’t the norm but I am currently in a bathing suit, so… haha.
In the middle of the desert? Haha, I know it sounds strange. This isn’t what I normally do.
Do you have any tattoos? No I don’t. I’m Jewish and apparently you can’t get buried in a Jewish cemetery if you have tattoos.
What’s you poison? Well, gosh. Which one? I guess, er, the brown liquor.
Cheese or chocolate? Dark chocolate.
Cats or dogs? Definitely, definitely dogs.
Suitcase or backpack? Suitcase.
What question do you least like being asked in interviews? Um. What it was like working with Fred Savage [Kevin in The Wonder Years].
We should probably talk about your wonderful music. To someone who hasn’t heard you before, how would you describe your what you do? I wouldn’t. I would let someone else describe it.
There are a lot of collaborations on your two solo albums, do you go out looking for them or the other way around? It usually just happens over a beer somewhere in the world on tour, when I go to see my friends’ bands play. Usually they’re my close friends who I get to collaborate with or in the case of someone like Elvis Costello, some fool game me his email address and I emailed him. I emailed him enough times until he said yes.
It was as simple as that? It was as simple as that. It was, you know, a nervous email that I wrote. But he responded quite quickly and was pretty cool about it.
You were born in Las Vegas and were a child TV and film star, that’s not the most conventional background… No, not if you live outside of Hollywood.
Did you even have time to go to school? I actually did a lot of my schooling onset while I was working. When you’re a child actor you can only work eight hours a day and within that eight hours you have to do three hours of school. So the quality of my education was not, you know, Jesuit quality.
Did you make a conscious decision to swap acting for singing? Umm. I definitely started to tire of being an actress. I started it at three years old, so it wasn’t something I chose for myself. I think the older I got the more uncomfortable I became. I had always written songs, my mother was a singer my father was a harmonica player and I grew up singing. It was something I always did but I didn’t assume it was something you could actually do for a living because they barely did.
Would you ever go back to acting? I don’t think so. Maybe. I don’t know. I think I’ve become a little self-conscious.
According to your Wikipedia page, after listening to your music Drew Barrymore was inspired to write a song, which she plans to present to you. Do you know anything about that? I don’t. And she hasn’t. So maybe she’s kind of revising the song, doing several drafts. Maybe I’ll see her in the street and she’ll play me the tune?
Till she comes good, who else are you hoping to collaborate with next? I have an on-going creative vibe with Jonathan Rice who helped me produce [second album] Acid Tongue, so we’re always writing songs together. I don’t have anyone that I’m courting in that way, but I think the best collaborates come out of the truly natural easy experience, when you start playing together.
Ok. So you’re not sending nervous emails to Michael Jackson? Haha. Not yet anyway…
I’ve always wondered what it’s like for musicians and reviews; you might not want to read them but possibly can’t help it. Do you read all of your reviews? I don’t. I go through different phases where sometimes I do and inevitably I always get depressed. Even if it’s a positive one I’ll find the one negative thing and that will be the thing that stays with me. So I think for me, just in my kind of creative process to not concern myself with that stuff.
That must be hard though… Yeah, I mean if there’s something out there written about you, you kind of wanna know, out of curiosity.
Do you prefer life on the road or life in the studio? The two kind of coexist. You really can’t have one without the other. I do enjoy waking up on the tour bus in a different city each day. It’s great to wonder around the town alone, to meet people and invite them to the show. My favourite thing is to go to a restaurant during the day, meet someone, put them on the list and know that they’re probably not going to come cos they don’t know who the hell I am. But inviting them is enough.
You’ve never been to Australia before, what do you know about the country? I know very little, aside from the fact that I’m a massive Nick Cave fan. It’s a little creepy how much I like him.
Lastly, if you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? I think I would be a carnie. You know, blowing up the balloons that people pop with darts.
You like the idea of travelling around? I just don’t know if the straight life suits me. I don’t know if I could have a real job and wake up early in the morning.
Jenny Lewis’s new album Acid Tongue is out now on Rough Trade via Remote Control, more info and free music www.remotecontrolrecords.com.au; Jenny is playing Sydney’s V Festival (Sat 28 Mar), Gold Coast’s V Festival (Sun 29 Mar), Melbourne’s V Festival (Sat 4 Apr) and Perth’s V Festival (Sun 5 Apr); she’s also supporting Snow Patrol at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion (Mon 30 Mar), Adelaide’s Entertainment Centre (Wed 1 Apr) and Melbourne’s Palais Theatre (Thu 2 Apr ).