Show me a person who is uninterested in Madonna, and I'll show you a liar. Even the most credentialed hipster cannot help but be intrigued by Ms. Ciccone. Oh, sure, a few years ago it became fashionable to say that "Madge," as she is known in England, was over. Then she put out 1998's quadruple-platinum Ray of Light, which garnered a Grammy and a slew of MTV Video Music Awards (handily beating out barely legals like Fiona Apple and Brandy).
It is fair to say that Madonna will always be perched on the cusp of pop culture — particularly after the release of Music, a potent distillation of Euro dance beats and her own restless energy. This time around, French electronica wizard Mirwais was at the boards, and the result is an edgier, funkier affair than William Orbit's lush, ethereal Ray of Light.
Music is an exuberant whirl of French disco (the complex, swirling "Impressive Instant" will be a gargantuan club hit), giddy pop (Orbit's "Amazing") and an intriguing alloy of folk and electronica, best showcased on Mirwais' favorite track, "I Deserve It," a spare love song that features Madonna's unadorned vocals against a backdrop of electronic squiggles. "She try a lot of things with her voice, but never the dry voice," says Mirwais in his thick French accent. "I never touch reverb. The first time, she was afraid, honestly, of that. I think sometimes a lot of people are afraid of their own voice, you know? But it was amazing."
The thirty-nine-year-old producer — who is all but unknown on these shores — got the Call last year, after Madonna heard his demo via her Maverick Records partner, Guy Oseary. Three weeks later, the two were in the studio together.
"She took a big risk with someone like me," Mirwais says. "When you arrive at that kind of level of celebrity, you can just work in the mainstream and just stay there. Everything she do, for her is like a challenge, and I like this kind of personality."
Orbit, who was back at the helm for three of the album's tracks, was not at all offended that Madonna ran off with Mirwais this go-round. "No," he says. "God, no. As long as she uses good people. And I love what Mirwais has done." Orbit feels that Madonna doesn't get the proper credit for her musical chops. "At the Grammys, it was a little implicit that there was a guy behind it all, and she's the chick," he says. "And it's really far from that. The one with all the equipment is assumed to be pressing all the buttons. She presses all the buttons." He is thoughtful for a second. "You know, she hasn't shouted about her musical abilities, but she is the consummate songwriter," he says. "She listens to classic musicals a lot. Not just the obvious ones, like Singin' in the Rain, but the lesser ones. She loves them. I remember one time we all had dinner in Germany, and somebody brought up old musicals, and she was the one who knew all the verses." He laughs. "Things your mums and dads watch — she's into it all. Really solid, melodic stuff like that. And she writes really solid, melodic stuff like that."
Why are we so fascinated with this fortyish Midwestern divorcée? Why do we still, relentlessly, care? After a long chat with her in Los Angeles, the answer became clear: She is interesting because she is interested — in books, music (right now, Anoushka Shankar, daughter of Ravi), art (Brit avant-garde artist Tracey Emin is a current favorite) and movies (of late, a Visconti film called, ahem, Rocco and His Brothers).
We join Madonna in her office at Maverick Records in Los Angeles, which is scented with Votivo candles (don't pretend you don't want to hear these details, because you do). Moby's album Play can be heard in another room. The walls are hung with an array of photos: Noel Coward, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane and the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, a friend of Madonna's from her New York days in the early Eighties. That was a halcyon time, says Debi Mazar, Madonna's best friend and someone who "will tell her to go fuck herself" should the occasion arise. "Neither one of us had any money," recalls the actress, who is in the ghetto-fabulous video for "Music," along with longtime Madonna dancer Nikki Harris and British comedian Ali G. "We were just young girls trying to do interesting things in New York City. People weren't dying yet of AIDS, and here was a small community of artists and musicians — Basquiat, Keith Haring — and everybody was together: black, white, Spanish, Chinese. It was the beginning of rap, and white people and black people were all together making music. ... [Afrika] Bambaataa was sampling Kraftwerk. Madonna and I used to run around and go to the Roxy, go dancing and to art shows." She laughs. "At the time, we both had a taste for, you know, Latin boys."
Now Madonna is in love with British filmmaker Guy Ritchie. The thirty-one-year-old director of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is the father of Madonna's second child, Rocco. "She's got a beautiful daughter," says Mazar, "she's in good shape, and she seems really in love — they seem to get along wonderfully. I don't want to say she's in a new place, because I hate it when people put her in a little box and say, 'Madonna does this new record, and everything is so different and light and new! She must be in a great head!' I mean, any day she could be in a good head or a bad head. But she is really happy and beautiful now, and seems very much in love."
During our chat, Madonna is very pregnant with little Rocco, who will emerge via cesarean section shortly thereafter. Her claims of being a "fat whale" are not exactly accurate — even her pregnancy seems compact and well-designed. She wears loose black drawstring trousers, a white tank top underneath a white short-sleeved shirt, diamond Cartier hoop earrings and some hip Nike orange-and-white slides that are not available to the public yet. She has creamy skin, very light blue eyes and longish hair with blond streaks framing her face. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she also has a firm handshake. She gives a quick tour of her sunny office, which includes a child-size desk for Lourdes and a silver-framed photo on her own desk of Ritchie ("This is my boyfriend," she says, beaming).
"Is she nice?" you ask. Yes, she is. Thank Christ. ("She smells fear, like a dog," warns an acquaintance of hers, "so don't show it, even if you're feeling it.") She's funny as well, and refreshingly honest. She's just like you and me, only she's the most famous person in the world and she's worth $613 million. Without further ado: Madonna, who is gingerly easing her pregnant self into a blue-and-white-striped chair.
How's your health? Is everything going well?
Yeah. I just — I'm in the final stretch, where I can't get out of chairs and beds without lots of effort. And I feel like ... I'm a whale.
I know. Everyone says, "But you're pregnant." But the thing is, it still feels strange. And the more incapacitated you get, the more ridiculous you feel. You hold onto things to get yourself in and out of cars — you know, things that you perceive as weak and vulnerable. I'm not good at being those things [laughs].
I'm seeing more pregnancy photos of you than there were the first go-round.
To tell you the truth, it's because I've spent so much of my pregnancy in London, where every time I walked out my door I got photographed. So I would prefer to not be photographed so much, if you must know. I mean ... ugh. I don't want to see pictures of me in my underwear, eight months pregnant, on the front page of the newspapers — but there's nothing I can do about it.
You have to admit, those photos of you on vacation in Italy wearing a black bikini and cavorting around in the mud were sexy.
No — they're gross. They're completely gross! Just wait till you get pregnant. You don't even want to undress in front of your boyfriend, so you certainly don't want to take your clothes off for the whole world. And it took a lot of courage for me to go, "Oh, screw it. I'll wear a bathing suit in front of everybody and look obese, and who cares?" Because I don't really go on vacations that much, and I'm not one of those people that lays around in a bikini. It was me trying to be accommodating to my boyfriend: "OK, I'll go on a vacation to Greece. And let's go really far away, so the photographers won't find us." And, of course, we might as well have just stayed in London, because that's how easy it was to find us.
All right — let's talk about your new album. "Ray of Light" was introspective and mystical. This one seems like a burst of pent-up emotion and energy.
Absolutely. The last album was much more introspective. For the most part, I finished Ray of Light, came out here to L.A. and prepared for a film, made the film, and then I pretty much went to England and spent most of my time there just writing for the record. So I haven't really been out there, and I haven't really done much. I do my work privately, and take care of my daughter, and try to be a decent girlfriend. These are all kinds of quiet, introverted things. So I think that the whole waiting-to-be-sprung feeling is sort of bubbling under the surface and reflects in a lot of the music.
How did you find Mirwais?
Guy Oseary, my partner here. But a lot of times I'll get stuff, and I'll go, "Oh, my God — this is amazing. I want to work with this person." That's what happened when I heard Mirwais' demo for his own album. I heard it and was just like, "This is the sound of the future. I must meet this person." So I did, and we hit it off. And that's exactly how it happened with William Orbit, too.
There are so many effects on your album. How do you know when to call it quits? Because you could layer things on there until —
Because I just put my foot down and go, "It's good enough now. We're done. We're done working on it." He could just sit there in front of his computer screen, changing, honing, editing, cutting, pasting — whatever. And it would never end. But life is too short for that sort of nonsense. My persona in the studio is, "I'm in a hurry." So I have a tendency to annoy everybody with that. I think at first he was a bit put off by it. I think he was more put off by the fact that I knew what I wanted so clearly, and I wasn't interested in lots of embellishments when it came to the production. Because Ray of Light was so multilayered in that way — sort of dense with sound. And I wanted to do the opposite.
In songs like "I Deserve It," in fact, your voice is completely unadorned.
It was Mirwais' idea to take off all the effects on my vocals, so that my vocals would be dry and really present and really in-your-face. But at first I was disturbed by it, because I hadn't done that in a long time. But then I started to see the purity of it, the juxtaposition of the rawness of my voice with the really overprocessed synthesizer sounds. And I started seeing that it was a nice marriage.
Did William feel like his toes were stepped on a bit because he wasn't completely in charge this time around?
I told him I was probably going to work with other people. The last thing I wanted to do was a repeat. And the funny thing is, I remember when I was mastering the album in London with Mirwais, I was afraid to play him the stuff I had done with William and Guy Sigsworth. I thought, "Oh, he's not going to think it's cool," and I was cringing and waiting until the last moment. And I played it for him. He looked at me and said, "I'm so jealous." And I was like, "Oh, good!" Because I want the producers to be mutually jealous of each other. That's a good sign, don't you think?
Absolutely. So you've said that sometimes you got your writing inspiration from poems or a newspaper article or dreams. Can you take me through the specifics of writing one of the songs? "Nobody's Perfect," for example. [She rolls her eyes.] What's with the eye-rolling?
I'm sorry. Oh, God. Because I hate explaining stuff like that — really.
Why? Hello — you're a songwriter!
I don't know. I think it's good to be mysterious. Creativity is sometimes unconscious, subconscious, conscious — and often it's a mixture of all three. And to try to explain it sometimes — it's like talking about love, you know? As soon as you start talking about it, you've formed a new opinion about it, and it's obsolete. And I don't really want to dissect my creative process too much. Because what's the point, really? I want people to have visceral and emotional reactions to things, rather than to have in their mind where all my stuff came from. You know, if I see a bug crawling across the floor, and it inspires me to write the most incredible love poem, I don't want people to be thinking about a relationship or something, and then think of my bug crawling across the floor. Sort of like totally ruins everything [sighs]. I don't know — does that make any sense?
It does. But I need something here. How about telling me the most out-there source of inspiration for a song?
OK. The song "Music," the hook of the song — "Music makes people come together, and music makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel" — do you know where I got that idea?
I do not.
At a Sting concert. Weird, isn't it? OK. I went to see him in New York at the Beacon Theater. He has a pretty mixed audience — I always look at audiences when I go to concerts. I'm obsessed with checking out the audience and seeing how they react. And people were pretty well-behaved and enthusiastically polite for stuff that he was doing off of his new album.
But then, when he did the old Police songs — and it was just him and a guitar, and the lights came down — somehow the energy in the room changed. It ignited the room, and it brought everybody closer to the stage. And suddenly, people lost their inhibition and their politeness,and everyone was singing the songs and practically holding hands — you know what I mean? I mean, it really moved me. And I thought, "That's what music does to people." It really does bring people together, and it erases so much. And so that's how I came to the hook of that song.
"Music" was leaked on Napster way before its release. Any thoughts?
There's not much to say, honestly. I think it's blown out of proportion. They downloaded a portion of "Music" before I'd even mixed it. It was astonishing. I have no idea how they got it. It was still in such a beginning stage. And it freaked me out, because I suddenly thought, "Oh, my God. If they got that, then they have other things on my record that aren't finished." And that's really scary.
So, basically, I made — well, my manager made — a public statement saying, "Anything that you're hearing on Napster, or anything on any other Web site, is unfinished product." Simple as that. And then suddenly it was in every headline: "Madonna is against Napster." I mean ... I don't take that sort of a stance. I feel covetous about my work, and I don't want people to hear it until it's finished. At the same time, I think, to a certain extent, the trading of information is inevitable. And, on the other hand, Napster could be a great way for people to hear your music who wouldn't have the chance to hear it on the radio. So that's what I have to say about that. Really, I want to strangle the person who got ahold of it. I don't know — I can't control everybody [laughs].
Your song "Impressive Instant" perfectly captures the druggy euphoria of a good club — that sense of abandon.
Mm-hmm. Yeah. I mean, I suppose there is a drug-addled sensibility running through that song. I mean, we all have that side to us. I'd like to go out, too, and draw up some E and stay out for two days — but I can't. Can I? [Laughs] No, because I have to think about the repercussions. And also, I don't feel like feeling like shit for a week. So that's what stops me.
You have done E before, though, have you not?
Yeah, but not for a couple decades. I did E in the early Eighties when it first appeared on the club scene.
Do you remember liking it?
Definitely. But I'm not a good person for drugs, because I don't have the constitution for it. Every time I've done anything, I'm bedridden for weeks and feeling like I have the flu — having aches and hurts. And I'm too into physical fitness.
What's the longest you've refrained from doing anything physical?
This last week — for about a week.
A whole week of no exercise? You?
I'm not allowed to. The doctor wanted me to stop. Can't you see the aura of depression around me? The despair that I languish in? I hate it. I started having minor, minor contractions and strange feelings. And I went to the doctor, and she's like, "OK, you have to take it easy for the last month." I'm like, "For a whole month?"
This is certainly new. There are even reports that you eat fish and chips. And Doritos.
What the hell is going on?
Well, you can't go to London and not start drinking Guinness. And I have been known to eat fried fish and french fries. When in Rome — right?
Right. Your video for "Music" looked like a good time, with your old friends Debi Mazar and Nikki Harris in there as part of your entourage.
The thing is, at first I tried just doing it with some girls that they were gonna cast, and I didn't feel comfortable. All the pretty, model-type girls were too stiff, and none of 'em had any personality. So I said, "OK, I'm gonna call my girls." I literally called them on the day of the shoot, and I said, "What are you guys doing? Please save me!"
And you were fairly pregnant at the time? You can't even tell.
Five and a half. Yeah, you can. As you can see, I've got my coat shut half the time. And that was the idea. It's like, "Where could I be sitting all the time? OK, I'm in a limo [laughs]. And you can't not have fun with Ali G. around, 'cause he's such a troublemaker. And he's always goofing on everybody, in character. He just had us rolling the entire time we were shooting. The whole thing was a spoof, anyway, so there was not too much seriousness going on on the set. I mean, the outtakes of me going up to the window and knocking on the window — I couldn't keep a straight face. Have you seen his show in England? You have to see it. You will die. He has a talk show, and he interviews people in that character. He interviews really conservative, older, established-like members of Parliament. And it's outrageous.
I was discussing you with your publicist, Liz Rosenberg, and the first thing that she said about you was that you are not extravagant.
This is true. I mean, I appreciate it in other people. Like when I go to the Versaces' homes and see the way wealthy people live, I think, "I know I can live that way, but it wouldn't come natural to me." But I do appreciate that people can sort of go full-bore and get into it and live a super, glamorous, decadent life. And have gold faucets and statues everywhere. I do appreciate beautiful things, and I have nice things in my house — nice art, and I like Frette linens and all that stuff. But I just don't — I don't have to show off. I like to show off when I'm onstage. I don't like to show off, like, "Come in and check it out. Look how rich I am." That's not my style.
Because I'm just a middle-class girl from Michigan. It's just not in me. I think you have to either be born into money or born into no money and be ghetto-rich. I just think it's too hard for me.
Was there any serious wealth in your town when you were growing up? Were there rich kids?
Yeah, and I hated them. Because they had nice clothes and cool cars and cute boyfriends. And I didn't. I just wore the same brown corduroy bell-bottoms every day and felt terribly unfashionable. And they had nice houses and lots of bathrooms. In my youth, I somehow gauged lots of bathrooms with being incredibly wealthy, instead of having to share one bathroom with eight children. And I could tell the difference between the sort of generic food that we had in our refrigerator — you know, buying food in bulk, and there's no label on it? — and the serious labeling going on in other houses. And, of course, you envy all those things. Because when you're growing up, you associate that with being accepted and being attractive and being popular.
And you say you were hind of a weirdo. But I've seen cheerleader photos of you where you looked like a football player's wet dream.
Are you kidding? I was so not — I was a football player's nightmare. Everyone thought I was a freak. They didn't go out with me. I only got the weirdos. Because I didn't shave under my arms, and I didn't wear makeup, and I was really confrontational. And I just didn't know how to play the game. My sister Paula and I formed this pact, and we decided we were just not going to do anything conventional. I think we read too many Carson McCullers novels or something. It didn't go over very well — with the football players, anyway.
What was your worst high-school job?
I had to clean houses. It was gross. I had to clean the toilet bowls of boys I went to school with. No, there's nothing more degrading than being someone's housekeeper. I mean, God bless my housekeeper and — well, all my housekeepers.
Your fleet of housekeepers.
Well, it's a tough job. Mind you, I'd rather be my housekeeper than some horrible, slobby twenty-year-old guy's.
On the domestic front, you also do not cook.
No. I do not have the cooking gene. I just can't keep up. I don't want to go in the kitchen and do things. I want to go to the kitchen and be served. I just don't know how to do it. It's like, lettuce, bowls, knives, seasonings — what? [Laughs] I tell you — I just can't function.
Surely you have a specialité de la maison.
Not really. Nothing that's interesting. I could toss a salad, I guess, if you held a gun to my head. Guy [Ritchie] likes to cook. Actually, he's a really good cook. So I'm happy to sort of chop up vegetables for him and get all the utensils and run around being his slave, 'cause I don't want to do the cooking. I have a tendency to eat my salads with my hands. My boyfriend doesn't like that. I like to scoop lettuce with all the ... accessories that go with a salad.
Accessories! What, like a belt and gloves?
You know ... the bread bits, some orange bits.
Boy, you really don't cook, do you?
Do you ever see Guy in action, directing? Does it turn your crank?
Yes. It's fabulous. I feel very proud. I'm beaming with pride when I watch him direct. Because he's really good at what he does. And it's hard to find someone that's really good at what they do.
You have a baby on the way, and your album is out, and his movie "Snatched" is out shortly. What is with you people? How about some rest here?
Why rest? I'll rest when I'm dead. I'm hungry, and life is short. I don't like to sit still, and neither does he. Believe me, I didn't plan to have the baby and put a record out at the same time. And I had no idea that he was gonna be releasing his movie around the same time. So it just sort of all converged at once. And we'll see what pops out first [laughs].
You have said that when you met Guy, at a dinner at Sting and Trudie Styler's house, you had an immediate reaction to him. How about him? Did he have designs on you?
Well, he later told me that he never would have come to the party if I wasn't gonna be there. So he had something on his mind. I mean, I don't think he had spending his life with me, or having a baby with me, on his mind. But I think he was curious to meet me — definitely.
What attracted you? Was he confident?
Very, very confident. In fact, I was very taken by his confidence. He is very sort of ... cocky, but in a self-aware way. So it was very funny. Like, "You play your cards right, kid, and maybe I'll put you in one of my movies" type of thing [laughs]. He was kidding. But I thought he was really sweet.
What did you miss about America when you were in England?
I missed the French vanilla nondairy creamer that you put into coffee. I combed the stores for it. What else did I miss? Well, because I was pregnant — and I'm a bit of a hypochondriac — I have doctors in every city. I'm the nightmare patient, by the way, because I know everything. I do all kinds of research. There, it's much harder to get an appointment. I've got all my doctors' home phone numbers — forget about it there. I mean, you're lucky if you can just get the doctor on his office phone number. It's a very much more kind of formal profession there than it is here. Other than that, I only miss, you know, my things: my paintings, and my backyard, and my bed, and the normal comforts of home.
What were the last three CDs you listened to?
The soundtrack to Big Night. I think I listened to that last night, because my boyfriend likes to cook to it. You know that song? [Sings] "Hey, mambo — mambo Italiano."
Right — Louis Prima.
It's a big favorite in our house. That and a Left Field CD. And there's a CD called — well, Jason Bentley is this DJ who works for us at Maverick, and he put a compilation of things together for me from this label called Naked Music, a very small label in San Francisco. And I couldn't even tell you who they all were, but it's just really cool. There's a singer called Lisa Shaw, I know that. She sings on a track called "Always," I think? It's so cool.
What do you think about the musical landscape right now in America?
[Smirks] Thinking does not really come into the picture.
When is the reign of teen pop going to end? It always goes in cycles, but. ...
But can a reaction hurry up, please? Will someone just start puking? Can we have some version of the punk-music movement again?
In the meantime, the current crop is still hanging on.
What — kiddie bands? I hope not much longer. We always talk about it at our house. Because there are so many great people in the music business who are languishing right now. Especially a lot of the great English bands. You talk to the guys from Massive Attack, or Tricky, or Goldie or any of those people — it's like there's no outlet for any of their music. Record companies don't know what to do with them. I mean, the only people buying records are teenagers. God, it's depressing. I mean, I hope people like my music.
Please. You know they will.
Listen, I swear to you — I don't know anything. It's a slippery slide to get on. And I keep my fingers crossed. I have the best intentions. I worked hard — that's all I can do, you know?
It's an interesting visual, your album nestled amid all the dreck in the Top Ten.
I know. Well ... who knows? I mean, I've been told that I have inspired Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears [rolls her eyes]. So maybe it's not so strange that I could be in the mix of them. I'm not sure.
Let's move on to leisure-time activities. What's the last movie you rented?
We don't rent that many movies — we just get them.
You being Madonna and all.
You're gonna laugh when I tell you what movie we saw last.
Out with it! "Next Friday." The Ice Cube movie?
Well, Guy liked the first Friday, so, whatever. You know, we trade off. Listen, I don't mind. I'm not a snob. And now I'm gonna force him to watch one of my dark, depressing, artsy-fartsy movies.
So it's "Next Friday" one night, "Exterminating Angel" the next, then we go back to —
Caddyshack. And then we'll watch, you know, Rocco and His Brothers. Actually, he enjoyed that — I was shocked. That's a really good, salty film. It's got a lot of guys in it. It's like a real male-bonding movie, so he could relate to it. They fight each other a lot.
Can you ever sneak away to a movie and sit in the back?
I did. We went to see Me, Myself and Irene the other night, in a movie theater in Hollywood.
You don't have any film work coming up that we should know about, right?
No. I can't find a script that I like. They all suck. I always get sent scripts with femme fatale parts. And lately I'm just getting all the scripts about mothers with children. With truculent teenage daughters and stuff. Boring! I'm still a truculent teenage daughter.
Being as famous as you are, when is the last time you were completely alone?
When I was in Greece, and I was kayaking. I kayaked out into the middle of the sea and just kept going and going and going. Pretty soon, I looked around and I couldn't see anything. I thought, "Oh, my God — I'm alone. I'm really alone." It was an incredible feeling. Just floating around. Wondering if there were any sharks.
How long had it been? There's always someone in your sphere, right?
Yeah. I don't know — twenty years. Honestly, I don't know. In the morning, you have coffee, and then you get on the computer for a few hours, e-mailing people.
Then where will we find you?
Um ... in the kitchen, eating [laughs]. Reading more magazines. Just being a slob, really.
You have to be reveling in it just a little bit.
No. I have become ... useless [laughs]. I'm moving, so my days are completely filled with, like, choosing fabrics for curtains — which I also sometimes feel really psychically disturbed by. I don't want to choose lighting fixtures. Do you know what I mean? But I have to, because I want to live in a house that is an expression of me. So I have to choose these things.
[Sighs] And I get to the end of my day sometimes, and I think, "OK. I'm pregnant. I'm fat. I can't exercise. I can't wear cool clothes. I don't feel like dancing. And there's absolutely nothing remotely cool or cutting-edge about me right now. I've become a domesticated cow. I just choose fabrics!" [Laughs] OK? That's it. And it's very disturbing. Sometimes [voice gets wavery] I burst into tears thinking about it. So that's about it.
Think of it this way: That's a taste of what you might have been.
No, I know — I know it's temporary. But, still, it's a funny place to find yourself in, when you think of yourself as having some kind of revolutionary spirit.
I read recently that you go to Disneyland with your daughter, and to play groups, and Discovery Center, and so forth. This I cannot picture.
No, I don't. Who said that? I went to Disneyland once. I go to places with my daughter, but I don't go to those places. My nanny goes there. I'm more apt to do things like take my daughter to work situations. I drag her shopping with me to choose lighting fixtures, or —
Does she have opinions on the lighting fixtures?
She has opinions on everything. We do more sophisticated things together — and I leave the play-group shit to somebody else [laughs]. I mean, eww.
Is it true that you're actually doing a club tour?
In the fall, I'll probably do some clubs. Club-clubs — the Roxy, like how we started, in New York. And then I'll go to London and one or two other cities in Europe. Just surprise appearances. Now, of course, they won't be surprised if I blab about them. I like the idea of doing that, and playing to 2,000 to 5,000 people. And then see how it goes from there. And then maybe, the following year — I'll have to figure out what city I'm in.... I'll put a new show together. I keep getting distracted with having children and making movies. But I feel like it's time now. And if you thought I sounded like an animal getting sprung out of a cage on my record — there's a part of me that can't wait to do a show.
You've mentioned that you feel insecure sometimes. When was the last time that you actually felt insecure?
I feel insecure every five minutes. What are you talking about? Every time I look at myself in the mirror, I always panic. Every time I see some horrible picture of myself in the newspaper, where I look like a whale. I mean, now I do. I feel really insecure about my body. But I think all women do when they're pregnant.
Let's get specific here. Say you come across some old photos of a boyfriend's ex. Do you make mean comments?
No, I never want to give away my power that much.
But you do feel a twinge.
Well, there's a whole thing that happens. First I go [gasps], "Oh, she's skinny and pretty." [She grins wickedly] Then I think, "Oh, but I'm me."