[Editor’s Note: With some floor seats selling as high as $860 at Madison Square Garden – and others legally “reselling” as high as $8,155 at the same venue – without any arenas sold out or second nights announced thus far, perhaps a little teaser may have been wise and helpful?]
EDGE: I’ll accept that. Getting back to the collaborator issue, who do you feel — over the years you’ve worked with so many people — who’s pushed you the furthest as an artist, a writer, and a performer? Who challenged you the most?
MADONNA: Well…[long pause]…I would say as a songwriter, working with Toby Gad — he really pushed me a lot. He was constantly questioning my choice of words and sometimes I would get really irritated with him. “Just because I like it, okay? Just leave me alone. The song is finished. Stop.” And then we’d be done and he’d send me an email, What about this one little word? He’d just drive me crazy. I’d be calling him an SS Officer, which he’s clearly not — he’s the sweetest, most lovely guy ever. He really pushed me.
And Diplo really pushed me. As crazy as everybody thinks he is – “he’s a fun party boy,” whatever — he really was particular about lyrics and praising me on my vocal performances. He pushed me a lot, too. Of course I don’t like it, but it served me well on this record.
EDGE: DJ Paulo, who did a remix of “Living For Love” —
MADONNA: Yeah, yeah, he’s amazing!
EDGE: He’s going to be playing at Viva [at Stage 48 at 48th St. & 11th Avenue in Manhattan] in a couple weeks. If you want to go, just let us know. [GROUP LAUGHS]
MADONNA: Is he really? What date?
EDGE: Black Party weekend, which I believe is March 21st, Saturday night?
MADONNA: [To Publicist Liz Rosenberg] Am I here that weekend?
LIZ: Yeah, you may be.
EDGE: He is so amazing live! [The party is produced by] John Blair, who used to do Roxy Saturdays.
MADONNA: Well, [Paulo] better drop “Living For Love” … or I’m not coming! [GROUP LAUGHS]
ROUNDTABLE # 5: Thematically and lyrically, I would say “Rebel Heart” is a lot more self-referential than you’ve been in the past. During the process of the writing and the production, was that something you did maybe intentionally, or was it just part of the process, like you’re looking back on your career now?
MADONNA: I don’t know, is the only answer I can tell you. I didn’t set out to write certain kinds of songs, I just set out to write GOOD songs, and that was the mood I was in and that was what I was channeling. Sometimes I was in nostalgic moods and looking back; sometimes I was in the mood to write a song as I was writing in my journal, and reveal certain parts of myself that I was ready to reveal.
ROUNDTABLE # 5: You’ve talked in interviews about the way you approached this album was that you wanted to go about it in a singer/songwriter approach, and a lot of the songs are like that — without the production, all the [bells & whistles] — you could perform them without all that.
MADONNA: Like when we run out of oil, and then we run out of electricity, I can just light a candle and strum my guitar and sing you a song, yeah.
ROUNDTABLE # 1: I wanted to ask you about one of my favorite songs on the album, “Body Shop” —
ROUNDTABLE # 1: What I love about it is that the method of music is folksy, like you said, and maybe a little bit like a lullaby, but then you listen to the words and they’re —
MADONNA: Sexually provocative.
ROUNDTABE # 1: Was that your intention to contrast the instrumental and music with the lyrics?
MADONNA: No. Again, it just happened. I was working with Toby Gad who spent a lot of time in India, and actually there’s a sitar — the song has a very Indian flavor to it — and I liked the idea: a car — the body of a car — it’s a kind of sexual metaphor — what you do TO a car, what you do IN a car — DRIVE. Lots of innuendos, lots of fun. I mean, we all love a really cute mechanic, right?
ROUNDTABLE # 2: “Body Shop” is also one of my favorite songs. If you were a car, what type of car would you be?
MADONNA: [Long pause] … that’s a good one … I’m probably a Bentley.