Singer Liz Phair Shares Stories from New Memoir, Will Drop New Music

Ameera Butt
October 07, 2019 - 1:11 pm

(KNX) - She's a famous indie rock singer and now an author.

Singer Liz Phair joined KNX In-Depth hosts Charles Feldman and Mike Simpson for a chat about her indie rock career, new music, and upcoming memoir, Horror Stories that releases today.

Not only does the 52-year-old singer, with hits like "Whip-Smart," "Supernova" and "Why Can't I?" have a new book out, but she's also promoting new music. Her new single "Good Side" drops Oct. 11.

She's a two-time GRAMMY-nominated artist who traces "her life and career in a genre-bending memoir in stories about the pivotal moments that haunt her," according to Penguin Books.

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When asked why it was titled Horror Stories, she said it was a little "tongue in cheek, poking fun at the giant horror industry we have today in our entertainment culture."

"I wanted to address the full spectrum of human experience. I always try to do that in my albums, show different moods, different feelings, different sides of myself," she said, adding she was spurred by the political unrest in the country.

She said she wanted to do something intimate and personal, but universal. Phair added the second part of the memoir comes out sometime next year and will be titled Fairytales, showcasing "the exciting, splashy rock and roll moments that maybe had a kernel of darkness."

She tackles the idea of the Liz who wrote the book and the Liz who goes on stage and performs. 

"...You step into it, I wouldn't say it's acting because it's not that conscious but I have noticed over the years the divide between who I actually am in my personal life and who people perceive me as is pretty distinct so maybe there was a sense I wanted to tie us all back up together again."

She released the 1993 Exile in Guyville to critical success. Did she feel fake when she was starting out in those early days?

"I always feel a little bit like a fake whenever I put something forth and someone makes an assessment about it, you wonder. In this book you can tell I'm an introspective person," Phair said.

However, she says now on one level, now that she's accomplished the ability to perform on stage and feel a sense of mastery when she goes into the studio, she doesn't feel like a fraud the way she did in the beginning.

"I didn't identify as a fraud because I knew I was a good artist, it just didn't matter the medium," she said.

Phair said she didn't think she could get in the music business today.

"Now there are so many people that have such tremendous skills beyond what I had. Back in the 90s there really was this 'do it yourself' aesthetic. It came from punk and was a reaction to the big 80s expensive, flash pot hairband, big production and there was just a sense, if you had something to say, you just took your crappy, little amp and you put it on stage, you got out there and you thrashed away at it and that was our aesthetic," Phair said.

Nowadays, she is a fan of Snail Mail and Soccer Mommy because "they all seem to be comfortable about expressing themselves completely originally."

Phair recalled one memory in a Paris club where she was already running late to the concert but she sang the whole show with just one vocal cord intact. 

Phair's new book Horror Stories comes out Tuesday.

Her new single "Good Side" drops Oct. 11.

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