ears and toddling in La Vega
SUZANNE VEGA has had a few additions to her life since we last heard from her. Namely one husband, one baby and one new album.
Words: Andrew Eaton
At Suzanne Vega‘s forthcoming concert in Glasgow this week. one audience member will be leaving early. ‘Ruby tends to want to shout during the songs.‘ Vega says of her two-year-old daughter. ‘She has no patience for the slower ones. but she likes Nine ()bjeeis Of Desire: she‘ll run around the house singing it.’ she adds. with what is either parental pride or a shameless desire to plug her new album.
Nine ()bjeets ()f Desire is Vega‘s first album since 99.9"!" in 1993. and life has changed a little since then for the New York singer- songwriter. ln NUS she married Mitchell Froom. who she met when he was producing 99. 9 I". A year later she had her first child.
‘lt's meant I've had a change of priorities.‘ she reflects. ‘l‘m not just thinking
about myself. the next tour. promotion. that kind of
thing. She comes on tour with us (liroom plays keyboards) and of course she has tantrums just the way she does at home.‘
Domesticity seems to have affected Vega's writing too. Where previously she adopted a wry. observational tone. Nine (Hz/eels (l/‘l)esire contains some of the most disarmineg direct songs she has ever recorded. ‘l‘ve always disliked sentimental love songs.‘ she says. ‘.»\nyone can feel something and just
’loe Jackson had written some songs based on the seven deadly sins and asked me to be the voice of lust. He needed someone who had a conversational singing style to play the part of a prostitute and be very matter of fact about it. I said, "Sure Joe, I'll be there in a second." ' Suzanne Vega
t “‘ s. 3". ~
.\ . ‘ I
Suzanne Vega: mellowed by motherhood
blurt it out. so I try to do something different. Having said that. there’s a little more blurting out on this album than before. If anything’s liable to make you shout. it‘s ehildbirth.‘
Two songs. ‘World Before Columbus‘ and ‘Birthday‘ are specifically about Ruby, while ‘Honeymoon Suite’ is a candid snapshot of her honeymoon with Froom. ‘lt’s not one that I sing with him on stage.‘ she confesses. ‘Mitchell was quite embarrassed when he first heard it. It’s about the desire for intimacy. and the way that. however much you want to see inside someone’s mind and help them cope with things. you can‘t. I feel that with everyone I'm close to; I don’t think it‘s such a terrible thing to confess. it‘s not like I was writing about our love- making or anything.’
Musically. Nine Objects Of Desire develops the experimental approach of 99.9°F. mainly thanks to her continued collaboration with Froom. is it a challenge reproducing it live? “It’s easier than you‘d think.’ she says. ‘There are only four people in the band but they’re very versatile. Steve Donnelly. who plays guitar. also plays clarinet and a couple of other things. There‘ll be some interesting instrumentation. We‘re going to play old favourites too. though.’
Vega has remained consistently creative. Since 1993 she has contributed to 21 Leonard Cohen tribute album. Tower (2/ Sang. collaborated with Phillip Glass and French singer Kent. and written a song for the film Dead Man Walking. She is currently working on a book of essays and poems. provisionally titled Stand On The Tightrope. which she hopes to finish this autumn. ‘The most recent project I did was with Joe Jackson.‘ she says. ‘He‘d written some songs based on the seven deadly sins and asked me to be the voice of lust. He needed someone who had a conversational singing style to play the part of a prostitute and be very matter of fact about it. i said. “Sure Joe. 1‘” be there in a second.” ‘ She cackles lasciviously. Then she goes to put Ruby to bed.
Suzanne Vega plays Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Mon 24 Mar.
preview MUSIC Bigmouth
More popstars of the world unite and talk drivel.
’l'm glad we're going back to Glasgow. The last time we played Barrowland it was really rough and there were people spitting on us and stuff but that’s all part of it. It’s not because they don't like you.’ Erasure '5 Andy Bell recalls his last Barrow/and gig with just a hint of ambivalence.
’l've been a beast in every corner of the world, but it’s all behind me now. Mind you, I’m very excessive with those garlic dough-balls at Pizza Express. I can’t keep me hands off 'em.’
Peter Hook, formerly of Joy Division and New Order fame, reveals the depths of dough-ball depravity that he’s sunk to since forming his new outfit, Monaco.
’T here is a snobbery in music that the guy who has a nine-to-five job or the girl who works at the supermarket checkout doesn’t have any real depth, so they don’t really understand what U2 is on about but you go to these stadium shows and that's not a manufactured feeling, there’s very real feelings there.‘ Bono displays his impeccable man-of- the-street credentials.
’I see a day when one of us will walk up to another with no malice, because we know that negativity will bring us less than love. I hope my life will represent emancipation and the soul.’
The Artist Formerly Known As Prince who now wants to be known simply as The Artist disappears up his own artistry.
’l was probably one of the most unpopular kids you'd ever have at school. You look back now and think: I'd love to be stuck in that room with all those kids that said all those things about me.‘
Victoria, or Posh Spice as her mother never called her, bolsters the theory that an unhappy childhood is essential for future greatness. It certainly makes success all the sweeter.
’We are the beginning, the middle and the end as far as experimental fucking guitar music goes.’
Paul Camp/on of the ac. acoustics lays down the law.
21 Mar—3 Apr 1997 THE LIST 57