A Conversation with Janis Ian
Puremusic: This morning when I started writing questions, I was thinking that there should be a Trivial Pursuit question for which you are the answer.
Janis Ian: There is. There are a couple.
PM: Mine goes: "Which 60s music icon was a pop star at fifteen and is still touring successfully today in her fifties?"
PM: You are at the beginning of your fifties, aren't you?
JI: I am. I'm fifty-one.
PM: Yeah. I'm your vintage. Is there anybody else that comes to mind who meets that criteria?
JI: Well, yeah. Maybe not exactly. There are people like Baez, Richie Havens. Most of them are eight to ten years older than me just because I started so young. There's a bunch of people. Most of them aren't involved in as many different projects as I am, although Richie certainly is.
PM: Is he?
JI: Uh-huh. He does a ton of stuff, everything from addressing the U.N. and working with oceanographic institutes to having hit records with samples in England.
JI: He's a pretty busy guy.
PM: Yeah. I'm in the midst of tracking him down for an interview, too, because he must be a fascinating character.
JI: Yeah, Richie is great.
PM: Touring pretty nonstop the way you do, what are your favorite cities to play in the States?
JI: Ooh, that's a tough one.
PM: Are there favorite places?
JI: Well, New York. New York is kind of hometown--New York, New Jersey, anywhere in there.
PM: Where in Jersey is home to you?
JI: All over. All up and down. You name it, I've lived at that exit.
PM: That's what they say, isn't it, "What exit?"
JI: Yeah, "What exit are you from?" Also the Carolinas--I've been having a really good time in the Carolinas the last few years. Virginia is great. But, you know, I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite city. Favorite countries, that's a different thing.
PM: My next question.
JI: Ireland, great to play.
PM: Is it about Dublin or Galway, or are they both good?
JI: It's just the Irish. You know, you can go anywhere there, you don't need any harmony singers, they take care of it themselves. It's just a fabulous place.
PM: How about the food?
JI: The food's fine.
PM: Really? It's been twenty years since I was there, and I remember that as the one thing I didn't like.
JI: It changed a lot in the last twenty years. Oh, it's a great place.
PM: How many dates are you doing these days?
JI: I was doing between 100 and 120 a year, but this year we're just touring in March and a couple of festivals. It's a good year to stay home and work on an album.
PM: I want to talk about that, we'll come back to that in a minute. continue