Do you think, How can I push things to the limit?
I’m sort of naturally a pain in the ass. I naturally like to do things that rub people the wrong way. No, that’s wrong. Let me rephrase that. I just like being controversial, I guess. Even that doesn’t sound right. But somehow it happens that way. It’s more like “Hey, well, you know how they always say things are this way? Well, they’re not! Or they don’t have to be.”
Do you write songs that way?
I’m starting to. Especially on my last album. And when you hear the Dick Tracy soundtrack, then you’ll know.
Is it political?
Yeah. I think my ‘Express Yourself’ video is political too. It depends on what you mean by political. When I think of controversy, I never really think people are going to be half as shocked as they are at what I do. I really couldn’t believe how out of control the whole Pepsi thing got.
Maybe that’s just the nature of bureaucracy. They’re huge multinational corporation with many thousands of stockholders, and you’re an entrepreneur with no stockholders. I was having breakfast this morning next to this record-company goon who was explaining to a management goon about the alternative charts and alternative radio and alternative acts. I thought it was funny that he said Lou Reed and Elvis Costello were alternative acts. I was wondering just where they draw the line. What do you think is alternative music?
I guess it’s music that’s not popular. I mean, alternative to what? I guess it’s supposed to be music that makes you think, as an alternative to music that doesn’t.
So what makes Elvis Costello considered alternative?
The fact that he’s not popular.
He’s popular in colleges, in a cult way. He’s not a popular like Milli Vanilli, right?
I guess. I’m not really sure who Milli Vanilli are.
You lie, Glenn! You know who they are!
I saw them on MTV once.
Don’t tell me that crap. Look, you know who they are.
They have a lot of hair, right?
Do you think I’m going to fall for that? I didn’t say you had to like them, but you know who they are. Now, they are alternative music.
Were you ever alternative? Were you ever on the college-radio chart?
I don’t think so. If there’s an underground disco chart, I’ve been on it.
O.K., what else should we talk about?
Oh please! You’re the interviewer!
People always talk about what they want to talk about anyway. Come on, help me out.
Help you out! Gimme a break! I’ve been working all day, honey.
Listen, it’s after midnight New York time.
I’ve been working all day. I’ve been working all week.
Why don’t you just tell me some good lies that can be picked up by the tabloids. Tell me about your lesbian affairs.
That’s old tabloid news.
It started with the nuns, right?
No way am I saying that. The lesbian stuff is old. I’ll have to lie about something else.
How about art? There’s a lot on your art collection in the Vanity Fair article about you. When did you start collecting art?
As soon as I had the bread.
What’s the first thing you bought?
A Robert Smithson painting.
You probably don’t even know who that is.
Are you kidding? I just didn’t know he did paintings.
The one I have is a beautiful, sort of abstract painting. But you can make out the figure of an angel in it. So I call it my guardian angel. It’s hanging over my bed in New York.
Do you believe in guardian angels?
I believe that someone is protecting me. Otherwise I’d be dead. Otherwise the guy tonight would have gotten out of his car and beaten the shit out of me. Believe me, it would have happened if I weren’t protected, because I can’t resist mouthing off to people when they curse at me. One time a guy did that to me and I said, “F*ck you, motherf*cker!” I wasn’t in my car; I was standing on the curb giving directed to my girlfriend. And this guy got out of his car. It was in the Valley. It always happens in the Valley. This big guy got out of his car and walked over to me, and I was thinking, Oh, my God, he’s going to beat the shit out of me. I was cowering. And I turned into a person I’ve never been in my life. I said, “I am so sorry! I am truly sorry!” So I do think someone is protecting me. I don’t know if it’s an angel. It could be the Devil. He could have his own hidden agenda.
Do you believe in psychics?
Yeah. I believe that there are real ones and there are fake ones.
Do you have any psychic power?
Yeah, I do. I think most sensitive people do. I think a lot of innate psychic power has to do with just being really observant.
How does your psychic power show up?
In dreams. Or in knowing when people are going to call, or what people are going to say, or what they are doing to do next.
Did you ever dream about being an entertainer when you were a kid?
No, I just had dreams about being murdered all the time. The only remotely entertainment-oriented dream I ever had was one where I dreamed I kissed Robert Redford. I was in the sixth grade. And it has not come true.
Have you met him?
No. I don’t really want to kiss him. It was weird. I don’t think I ever really had any fixation on him. But the dream was so vivid. I was really turned on.
So what sign are you?
Guess. It’s so obvious.
Uh. Uh. Uh.
What do I do for a living?