Linda Perry first impacted my life as the out frontwoman of 4 Non-Blondes, who gave us the timeless hit, “What’s Up.” When the band went their separate ways, Perry became a much sought-after songwriter and producer responsible for pop hits from Pink, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani and countless others.
As someone who is not content with sitting still, Perry has recently channeled her energies into a new band, Deep Dark Robot, with friend Tony Tornay. Their debut album, 8 Songs About a Girl, is a far cry from the melodic, dance or otherwise categorized pop music of her past. What you can expect: raw, ’60s style rock ‘n roll dripping with sex appeal.
The band is currently on tour but Perry has somehow still found a way to put together the upcoming An Evening with Women. The annual event takes place April 16 and the talent lined up for this event makes me want to scrounge up whatever money I can to book a flight to L.A. pronto. Juliette Lewis, Cat Power, Sarah Silverman and Cyndi Lauper will all take the stage to raise money towards the incredible programs the center makes available to anyone who walks through its doors.
We spoke with Perry to get some background on the event and, of course, ask about the new band.
AfterEllen.com: Can you tell us a little bit about what made you get involved with An Evening with Women?
Linda Perry: I got involved because they needed help. It was kind of a no-brainer. I was going to their event — they had given me an award for being supportive and for creative achievement — and the following week I contacted them and told them if they want me to keep getting involved, I’d have to make some changes. So I got my assistant, Shannon, and we went into the center and we basically approached them with what we would like to do and how we would like to see the event run, and then just took it from there.
AE: As you go into your third year of the event, what have you learned from the past two years that you’ve been involved that will help make this the best one so far?
LP: Well, I think with everything, you learn how to make things smoother. Last year’s was definitely better than the year before. This year will be better because we’re more experienced, we have a more solid show, we have more support. It’s getting bigger and when things get bigger you’ve gotta get more focused. So this will definitely be better than last year?
AE: What are some of the services being provided by the LA Gay and Lesbian center that makes it so important to support? Do you think more of these events will need to start popping up since there’s a war going on against Planned Parenthood?
LP: The services are for the community. I know it’s the LA Gay and Lesbian Center but they’re not turning people away. They have an incredible clinic that I’ve been to and it’s amazing. It’s like a full-on operating clinic that looks like any fancy doctor’s office or hospital. They have a pay-as-you-can program; they have legal services; they have therapy for people who are dealing with problems; they have incredible senior programs.
They have, what I’m really all about, my favorite program is the youth program for all the kids who are being thrown out of their homes for being gay — that are turning to prostitution and drugs to survive.Basically the center provides shelter, food, clothes, teaches them how to cook and clean. How to get jobs, how to save money. They get them therapy; they get them medical care; they take care of these kids — and they need help.
The LGBT community is big and not enough people are — I don’t know — I just feel like it’s an incredible center because they’re also at the forefront of fighting for gay and lesbian rights. Lorri Jean is all over the place, she’s always traveling, going places to make sure gay rights are being fought for. She’s an incredible woman and a big powerhouse.
LA is very small compared to the world. My goal would be that we get enough recognition to be able to have centers popping up in New York, Miami, Chicago, you know, all over. So people have somewhere to go. There are beautiful stories that are out there being told about people who were saved through the center. It’s an amazing place.