Amy Ray Takes Your Questions

Q: Does anything make you uncomfortable? — Jennifer
A lot of things make me uncomfortable. [laughs] That question makes me uncomfortable! [laughs] I’m sort of uncomfortable in the gym in the locker room, changing. I’m kind of a modest person. Believe it or not! But only in certain circumstances, so sometimes the locker room makes me uncomfortable, when I’m changing.

Q: Do you like Pop-Tarts? If so, what’s your favorite kind? — Jennifer
My favorite kind of Pop-Tart is brown sugar cinnamon with frosting, and I love Pop-Tarts. They’re great.

Q: When buying a new guitar, what song do you play in the guitar store to test it out? — Anne
Oh, what a great question! Wow. I usually start out by playing block chords up and down. That’s funny, I don’t really play a song, I just play a lot of different chords and formations on the guitar, and then typically I give it to a really good guitar player and have them play it for me, and I listen to them. I usually ask someone when I’m buying a guitar. I’m not a good enough player.

Q: Out of all the songs you’ve written, which one has meant the most, or truly hit home for you? — Alyssa
There’s a song I wrote on my first solo record, off Stag, called "Make Room." And that song is consistently one that I sort of play just for my own enjoyment. Not live — like I mean when I’m playing in a room by myself. The words really mean a lot to me, for some reason.

Q: How do you chose your outfits and style for each show? ­­— Kirsten
[laughs] It depends on how big my suitcase is! You know what, I pick out a pair of pants that I really like, and then I pick from different shirts. I like to wear ones that have a little bit of a rock edge on it, you know? But I definitely wear clothes on stage I do not wear during the day. I like to wear an outfit dedicated to the show so I can feel different when I’m on.

Q: How did you meet Brandi Carlile, and what’s it like getting to work with a younger generation of female singer/songwriters like her? — Denise
I met her through Emily [Saliers], actually. Emily got wind of her first and she heard her music, and when Brandi came into town we met up and talked about writing together. … We played a … night in Atlanta for a benefit together. That was kind of it for me. It sealed the deal for me. So I said, "Come on, let’s work together." …

I’m always looking at what’s coming up from younger generations. … I like to be in touch with all generations. I like to be informed by that. I think that I listen a lot to older generations as well, like Joan Baez and Jackson Browne, I think that’s important too. But I like to know what’s coming up, what’s coming after you, what’s coming before you.

Brandi’s interesting because she’s … inspired by a lot of the same music Emily and I are inspired by, and she’s also influenced by newer bands like My Morning Jacket. But she also listens to Queen and Elton John. What she has is so new, and that’s what’s so great.

Q: Your solo music is so different from the Indigo Girls’ music — it’s much harder-hitting. If that is your true style and love, are you at all weary of singing IG songs that don’t at all jive with that style like "Galileo" and "Closer to Fine"? — Nina
I don’t get tired of "Galileo" or "Closer to Fine," because whenever I play "Closer to Fine" I always think to myself, "Wow, this is a great song." It’s a very well-crafted folk song that means a lot.

There’s something that I don’t have in Indigo Girls — I can’t put my finger on it­, but it’s something I can’t do, like with politics or a more radical queer approach, and certain loud kind of rock things that I just don’t do with Indigo Girls. I think Emily and I — we rock and we play some rocking songs at different times, but for me it’s my passion in a different way. With Indigo Girls, it’s a totally different feeling. Creating harmonies with someone is very magical; there’s really nothing like it. It’s a whole other side of performing.

Ray and Saliers of the Indigo Girls

Q: I have always wanted to know what you have tattooed on her chest. You can occasionally see glimpses of it but never the entire tattoo! — Heidi
It’s kind of like a Celtic design with a couple of animals that are sort of a cross between a deer and a dog. And then there’s these kind of sea creatures, and it sort of represents my — sort of like everything on my body goes back to nature. Like I have tattoos on my back, too, and everything is nature-based.

Q: I’ve read you are a fan of comic books. Who are your favorite writers/authors? — Cylinda
I’ve been into graphic novels and stuff. There’s one that came out last year called Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. That’s one of my favorite new ones from the last couple years. I re-read that all the time. … Another one is Persepolis. The Green Lantern and The Sandman were what got me into comics.


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