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VH1 Interview

Thanks to Heather for submitting this.


So-Called Chaos is the fourth installment in the world's most popular self-help program. Since "You Oughta Know" topped the charts in 1995, Alanis Morissette has been venting her frustrations and cleansing her consciousness through a series of daring rock records. More people have probably bought and listened to her music than have ever read Freud.

But there are changes afoot on her latest release/progress report. If you've seen the video for her new single "Everything," you'll know that Morissette has finally trimmed the hippie hair she used to hide behind. She's got a new outlook, too. On the 2002 hit "Hands Clean," she was still settling scores with her exes. The lead track from Chaos, "Everything" gently celebrates a newfound love who accepts her for who she is.

Yep, Alanis is finally letting go. The album even forgives the un-named numbskull that, she sings, inspired "eleven songs, four full journals, and thoughts of punishment." What accounts for this turnaround? Maturity and new boyfriend Ryan Reynolds, an actor who has appeared in The In-Laws and inspired Morissette to pen lyrics like "you make the knees of my bees weak."

In person, Morissette is still prone to lapse into the therapy-speak of"gifts" and "consciousness." But she'll also giggle helplessly like a schoolgirl - particularly when talking of Reynolds, her new haircut, and copping to the lack of irony about her old hit "Ironic." She told VH1 about all these subjects, and why she's still compelled to stand - sometimes in a nude body-stocking - for her not-quite-chaotic beliefs.

VH1: What was the first song you finished for So-Called Chaos?

Alanis Morissette: "Knees of my Bees" was one of the first songs I wrote, because I was in a very infatuated mode. It was hard for me not to write about my boyfriend Ryan [Reynolds]. [Laughs] I'm still giddy! I think I'll be giddy about him forever!

VH1: Has he heard the album?

AM: Yeah, I ran home and played it for him and he was blown away. It's only sinking in now that there are songs about him on this album. He's sweet. He's so supportive. I'll come home sometimes and hear him listening to [So-Called Chaos] in his office, and it just kills me! It really does!

VH1: He's in the video for "Everything," too, right?

AM: That's actually not him. His best friend pinch-hit for him! Ryan was going to be in it, but he was shooting a movie and he literally came home the day after the video was shot. So his best friend was playing the"boyfriend" in the video.

VH1: That's a close second.

AM: Yeah. It was very weird, though. "If you are going to kiss anyone, I'd send my best friend in." It's very big of him.

VH1: Did you really cut your hair off in the video?

AM: No, that was a wig! [Giggles] I just wanted to tip the hat to an obvious change. I had the idea to cut my hair when I was shooting the video for "Thank U" but I wasn't ready to do it. Then I was watching the Oscars two years ago. On a commercial break I grabbed a couple of my girlfriends and we went upstairs and I did the first big chop. Then on tour, every show, it was a different length. I told myself I wouldn't stop until I felt sick. Eventually I felt sick and knew it was time to stop!

VH1: So how does the new haircut feel?

AM: It's great! I'm so happy. I just wonder why I didn't do this earlier. I knew that the second I cut it I would have that thought, though. The seven-minute showers are my favorite part.

VH1: What was behind the writing of "Everything"?

AM: The last couple of years, my aspirations changed from wanting to be perfect to being whole. That means accepting that I'm strong but weak and stupid and smart - I'm all different parts. If I pride myself in being generous all the time, there's a part of me that's greedy, too. If I can love both those parts, I can be comfortable in my own skin.

VH1: You performed the new song "Excuses" for Live @ VH1.com. What's the song about?

AM: That song sprang from a conversation that I had with a friend of mine, who challenged me to go home and write down all the voices in my head that kept me from moving forward or taking risks or stepping out. So I went home and did it like a dutiful little student and it turned into a song!

VH1: You also did "Ironic." Do people still give you a rough time over it?

AM: God bless that little non-irony song! The sweetest irony is that it's a song called "Ironic" and it's not filled with irony. The best moment I had surrounding that song was in a bookstore in New York. Someone came up to me and said, "You do realize that song is not filled with ironies." I just nodded my head silently. And she said, "Is that the irony?" I just nodded my head and she walked out! [Laughs] It was such a sweet moment.

VH1: The title So-Called Chaos reminds me of your second album Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie.

AM: [Laughs]

VH1: Has anyone else said this? Am I going crazy?

AM: That it reminds them of it? Yeah. There's a similar kind of thing.

VH1: Tell me about why you picked it.

AM: Two reasons: One is that at times I felt like I've been perceived as this chaotic, angst-filled person, and that's not always the case. It is at times, but not always! The other is the thought that if we were self-governing and self-regulating enough, were our consciousness level was raised to the point that we could do that, we'd render the need for government obsolete and be able to take care of each other. I know a lot of people say that won't happen for a few million years, but I'm forever an idealist.

VH1: Why did you appear in a nude body-stocking at this year's Junos in Edmonton?

AM: It's hard not to acknowledge what's been going on lately with censorship. If we can just accept that we all have a sexuality that [it] would be ultimately great not to repress, maybe it wouldn't act itself out in pornography and rape. I also get that some parents don't want their 7-year olds hearing certain songs. My thought about that is don't play the radio station. Be very [judicious] about what you expose your kids to.

VH1: What's one of your guilty pleasures?

AM: Chocolate!

VH1: That's not really guilty.

AM: I guess it's not guilty. Shopping? Is that guilty? I love that I'm asking you what I should feel guilty for. "Should I feel guilty for that?" [Laughs]

VH1: Does your diet change when you're on the road?

AM: I find that it's a lot harder for me to eat healthfully while I'm on the road, because we're in trains, planes, and automobiles all the time. I always leave myself a little leeway. If I'm really strict on myself when I'm on the road, I'll wind up beating myself up.

VH1: What do you avoid eating?

AM: I'll read about some new finding and I'll apply it and see how my body feels. I like to keep my blood sugar levels mellow the whole day and not bounce all over the place. I drink herbal tea. I can't drink caffeine because I freak out. I'm up all night!

VH1: What's the strangest diet you tried?

AM: I went to a real extreme in the late '90s. I went 100 percent Vegan for about a year. I was doing triathlons then, so I was a bit of an extremist. I went all the way - the colonics, the herbs, everything green and unidentifiable. It felt great, but it felt like a very vulnerable time, too. I feel grounded when I eat protein.

VH1: What was the first instrument you learned to play at school?

AM: The first instrument I played in school was the flute. I felt sane in a room with a room full of people making music because I had been making music since I was six. There were also singing classes in high school that I went to … and skipped at times! [Laughs] Everyone says that if we nurture that side of the brain, it helps the other side. My thought is: Even if it didn't help anything, it's the blessing of making a joyful noise. The act of making music is its own reward.

VH1: You were in the New York stage production of The Exonerated for a short while. Any plans to do more acting?

AM: I love acting, particularly when it aligns with what I feel I'm here to do, or if it aligns with a true story, or if I connect with the director, or if I write it with someone. I'm a sucker for the autobiographical, embarrassing, scary things. [Laughs] Anything that's awkward, sign me up!