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Alanis Morissette on her "Jagged Little Pill, Live" home video:
1. What inspired you to release 'Jagged Little Pill, Live'?
My motivation for creating this show was initially to have something for myself to keep as a souvenir. Something I could look back on in five or 40 years and gasp, shudder, be sentimental and proud. As it was nearing its completion, I felt the urge to share it with others. It's a document of what it was like to tour and support a record that was and continues to be very special to me. It captures being on the road during a time where the illusion taunted my/our growth and where the seductive and somewhat unrealistic aspects of our lifestyles tested us daily. While I could never do the two years justice in an hour and a half (there was a lot left out), I did my best to show the different mindsets, moods, coping mechanisms and humor that carried us through months of extremes. I am happy to share these moments, knowing that things (and I) will never be the same.
2. What has the road shown you?
It taught me to grow in my assertiveness, how to find my center in the midst of craziness, how to be a boss, that focusing on the songs/music above all else is the only way for me, that fame/adulation/celebrity status is illusory, how beautiful women are and how beautiful men are when they are fearless about sharing all sides of themselves unapolegetically.
3. Did the live performances of these songs reveal any new feelings?
The writing/recording process went by so quickly I never thought to analyze something that was never meant to be analyzed in the first place. My songs are expressions and snapshots of moments. There are some nights where I would channel my rage through certain songs...other nights where I would channel my sadness or compassion through others. It is not difficult for me to go back to the root emotion behind one of my songs. It was easy because every night there were new people to communicate to...the conviction would return simply because I was engaging in a new conversation with a new "person."
4. There are some private moments in the video--in one scene, you're seen meditating. How has meditation brought a balance to your life, especially on the road?
While it may have seemed like I was surrounded by allies, life on the road can be very insulated, therefore isolating. There is no handbook on how to deal with road life and external success, much less how to dispel the illusion without seeming spoiled and ungrateful. Meditation taught me how to get back to the fundamental truth. We get distracted by all that is outside of ourselves in this desperate race to "get" something that will make us feel whole and connected. We seek bliss through "things" (other people, money, status, sex, adulation...etc) when all we have to do is be still. Because what we so desire is in the silence. It is us. It is tiring and futile to try to grasp for it by attaining or achieving "things." Meditation, along with "achieving" what could have seemingly been the "ultimate achievements," made me realize that we are all sadly and ignorantly chasing our tails.
5. What's it like to have people all over sing your lyrics back to you?
Endearing. There is nothing sweeter than watching (hearing) someone who doesn't speak English try so hard to communicate, much less sing! I'm guessing the foreign countries either sang the words phonetically or learned the words over time. A lot of the countries had the lyric book from the CD printed in their language...so they knew what I was "going on about" as someone in Japan put it (Ha).
6. What were the earliest shows on the tour like?
The earlier shows were truly all about me/us getting my/our bearings. Trying to find the balance between entertainment and communication (I eventually enjoyed the latter much more). What was happening at that time was overwhelming in that the curveballs were coming at such a rate that I barely had enough time to catch my breath before the next situation had to be grappled with. There was a while where I was briefly swept away by what I now call "the bullshit." My fear was manifested in a persona onstage that was over the top and urgent. In time the urgency turned into a more relaxed and unapologetic expression. A less fishbowl consciousness. I realized both on and offstage that if someone wanted to listen to me they would meet me halfway...I didn't have to whack them between the eyes to get my point across. Those who wanted to listen would, those that didn't, didn't have to. This realization resulted in a big turning point for me. If for a brief moment I was lured away from the songs themselves, this revelation guided me back.
7. What excited you about editing the way you did?
I had 220 hours worth of footage...
8. You say in the video, when being interviewed, that "I'm much more courageous when I sing than when I speak." Where do you get your courage from?
My courage comes from my ability to be unapologetically vulnerable. I have found my vulnerability to be very empowering. (Vulnerability does not mean weakness, it means fearlessness.) To be afraid of my weaknesses and to always "put my best foot forward" (which is what could have been done with this show) would be misrepresenting what actually happened. Being an artist means you are on a journey. An emotional and creative one. I believe they go hand in hand. And I have no problem having people come along with me on that journey for however long they'd like.
9. Can you talk about the acoustic version of "You Oughta Know"?
That song has been misunderstood at times. It was written during a time when I was hurt (thankfully) by someone whom I had relied upon to give me my self-worth. When you give someone that power, the biggest favor they can do for you is to give it back. That is what this person did (although not in the kindest way) and I was broken. The song helped me honestly release how I felt without censoring myself in order to get it out of my system. The acoustic version taps into the original emotion that inspired the song in the first place. It was much easier for me to be angry, than openly sad.
10. Can you talk about the road and its wavelength?
Road life is different for everyone...It is a place where it is mysteriously easy to self-destruct. My role was one of leader, friend, mother, boss, child. I dealt with feminism issues as well as the issue of where to draw the professional boundary with certain people. At the end of the day we were all there for each other as much as we could be under the circumstances and we became a temporary family. There were a lot of beautiful moments that I will never forget.
[end of interview]