Interview With Melissa Etheridge

AE: “Threesome” is kind of interesting because it’s very country. I mean, you have this twang. It’s kind of fun.
Yeah. People either love it or they hate it. [Laughs.] They’re like, “Yuck!”

AE: Because of the country?

Yeah, yeah. Because of the twang and stuff. Some people just don’t dig
it, don’t like that at all. But that’s kind of my roots. The first
bands I sang in when I was 13 were country bands. I sang Tammy Wynette.
Country’s a big part of my past and my influences, so I wanted to step
closer to that country side, but with a really dangerous song. You
know, oh my God, a big ol’ lesbian singin’ about a threesome, honey,
hide the kids!

But what I’m really singing
about is monogamy and family values. I kind of wanted to wrap it
— I just wanted to make it one big
bundle of a dichotomy, just a thing to go, “Huh? What?” [Laughs.] “I’m
uncomfortable. She’s talking about threesomes yet she’s talking about
loving her wife. Wait a minute. What’s going on?” I wanted it to be
dangerous and I wanted it to be Southern rock, sort of country rock.

AE: You also talk about surfing the channels and watching that show with all of those ladies.
What show am I talking about?

AE: The L Word?
That’s exactly what I’m talking about. ‘Cause I watch The L Word,
and … I know the people that created it, and we all were hanging out
in the ’80s doing the same thing. We were all in the same group, and I know all of those characters, and I see myself in a lot of that. [Laughs.]

AE: Really?
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

AE: Who? Which ones?
No, I’m not gonna say. [Laughs.] I lived it, so I’m kind of like, jeez.
But I also look at it and go [sighs], they’re wearing me out. All their
this one and that one and this and the affairs … but you know, that’s
what makes it fun. It’s a soap opera. It’s fun to watch.

But when I watch that, I
remember the energy that I spent on all that drama, and I’m so glad I’m
done with that. That is what I’m talking about.

AE: Who’s your favorite character on the show?
Ah. [Laughs.] You gotta love Shane. You just do, you just gotta love her. I relate to her way too much.

AE: Oh, OK. Well, what do you think of her hair?

[Laughs.] I think it has a life of its own. Yeah, hair … it’s so
funny how hair is so much a part of our … we’re so anti-beauty and
stuff, yet we’re obsessed with our hair. I was obsessed with my hair
all through the ’80s and ’90s and even now, [so it] was so interesting
when I lost all my hair. It was like, oh, this is powerful.But her hair — I don’t understand it, but I appreciate it.

[Laughs.] Well this is a really ridiculous question, but since we’re on
the subject of hair, are you growing your hair out now?

Yeah. Yeah, I did the short hair thing and I love it, and I think that
if there ever comes a time where I’m like, “OK, I’m gonna take a break
from being a rock star for a few years,” I don’t know, when in my 50s
or 60s or something, I’ll cut my hair again because it was just so free
to just have that little short do, to just wash and go. I love it. But
I am growing it out because when I do rock ‘n’ roll, I like to shake my
head around. Hair is another part of me.

AE: Uh huh. So it’s like a tool.

Yeah, but I don’t want to ever hide behind it. I think I hid behind it
a lot in the past. I see a lot of pictures and videos of myself and I’m
like, “Oh look at me, I’m hiding behind my hair.” So I’m not going to
do that anymore.

AE: Very recently you were on the Logo presidential forum. What was that like for you?

That was a trip. It was a trip to be asked because the first thing I
thought was, “They’re asking me because I’m a celebrity,” and I said:
“OK now. If I step in to do this, I have to know that so many people
are going to go, ‘She’s just a celebrity. That’s the only reason they
got her to do that.’”

Which yes, it’s true, and I
understand that my celebrity will bring a certain amount of attention
to this. So I’m willing to go ahead and do that, because I also know
how involved I’ve been in politics for the past 20 years and how
important it is to me, and how I do know the issues. I’ve been very

I also know that there are so
many people in our community who are infinitely more qualified to be on
that panel, who spend their
life’s work is the political advancement of our issues and our
community. I totally am aware of that and decided to go ahead and be on
it to bring whatever sort of light that celebrity brings to it and to
try to speak for my community, which is another impossibility because
even our community is — [laughs] we
don’t agree. We’re all different sorts of people, and we’re not even
all Democrats.

AE: Yeah, isn’t that strange?

It is! I mean, when you think about it, the gay community cuts across
every single group of people — every
race, every age, every financial situation — everything.
Men, women … and we really don’t have
much in common except our sexuality,
who we want to pick as our partner, and that’s it, and it’s really hard to bring that sort of community together.

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