Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Few Words With Terri Hendrix

I think the most sublime testament to a person's greatness is their ability to remain human despite their legend. Behold the Great Terri Hendrix:

q. You seem to have always been an active participant in your own career on all fronts, including business. I notice you have recently started "Goat Notes" and a personal blog. Why two different forums in addition to your home page and Myspace?

“A webmaster costs around 75 an hour ... using free formats like Myspace and Blogs cuts down on expenses. I am a creative person and like to write. I also have mailing list of folks that like to read about the shows I'm playing. So I started the blog for them so they could go on the road with me vicariously. As for the GoatNotes ... that's a way to post the calendar and have fresh content so to speak once a month. I'm on the process of compiling those old GoatNotes that had actual writings into a book with music business information too. I'm noticing that folks are too busy to read the writings in their emails so eventually I'll post the writings in the Goatnotes area along with the calendar rather than in the physical email my mailing list receives. “

q. By managing CD sales by advance orders, and the rest of the business innovations you have stood ahead of the curve on, do you feel like you are pioneering a business model for artists in the future?

“I am so happy I am still able to do this. As I get older, I feel more "ready" on all accounts. I feel so good playing live and feel more experienced playing different venues and festivals across the country. This all plays into the business too as I see that whole indie grass roots method of keeping my masters and releasing records independently as a means of communication without any "suits" in my way. I would hope that I inspire other artists to carve their own paths and realize that you can have a career and fly under the radar and be quite happy. It's about the journey and not so much the destination and that's been my approach. I would have to give credit where credit's due though and say both Ani Difranco and John Prine laid the groundwork and I was a copycat. “

q. Are there any limits you impose on your public persona, and if so, is that and maintaining your private life a difficult balance?

“I have become extremely active politically and find this hard to balance. I have been told to "just sing." Well, I can't do that as I feel that would be unpatriotic. I have to stand up for what I believe in and being a musician is part of this as well. As far as private life, I don't go to bars or hang out with folks before or after I play. It's a choice I implemented a long time ago. I feel keeping a good reputation has proven valuable to my career. I play ... then I drive to my next destination. When I want to socialize, I do so with friends at my house or theirs. “

q. It's been written that Marion Williamson was a musical and perhaps personal, mentor of yours. Please tell us how he influenced you in this regard?

“Marion was such a big influence I can't even begin to write about it in one paragraph. She was a great guitar player and totally changed my life with her involvement in my music. She taught me how to set up a PA and go for all I wanted to go for in my life. “

q. Winning the Grammy Award for songwriting in 2003 must have been an honor for you. Did it change your life?

“Lucking into having a cut on a multi-platinum selling record enabled me to solidify my finances. Going to the Grammies, dressing up, having my sister there with me ... was the opportunity of a lifetime. I'd like to go back!”

q. Writing as you do about social/political issues on you mind, such as "What is the Color of the Soul" and "Jim Thorpe's Blues", do you feel it's possible for artists to remain strictly apolitical. If not, is there a method to express such views without seeming preachy or doctrinaire?

“As I touched on earlier, this is hard. I'm interested in politics and therefore it infiltrates the songs I write. I feel as long as I'm honest and truthful with my music I'll be okay. It's important for me though, to keep my shows entertaining. Unless I'm booked at a political rally, I try and balance the politics with my other songs. I also use humorous songs to hopefully keep those in the audience entertained as well. On a different note (pun intended ... smile), I think artists have to decide what they stand for and how they wish to present themselves in regards to their political beliefs. At some point, if you do this as a living, you'll have to decide if that "high paying gig" is really worth doing if it goes against the grain of your conscience. You can't put a price tag on your soul. “

q. In "Prayer For My Friends" - on of my favorite songs of yours, you seem worried about them. Do you find that the older we get, the more complicated and perhaps unhappy our life-long friends become? I see you give these things to a "higher authority." Comment?

“I wish I wrote this song! It was written by Jeff Barbara and Sara Pirckle. I have great friends and loved ones and I keep them in mind at all times. Especially when I travel.”

q. You have a feel for rhythm and blues that seems to almost come from African-American heritage. Do you feel an artistic tug in that direction musically?

“I love that style of music and especially jazz. We are working on a jazz and blues record right now. I've been wanting to do this for years. I'm finally following through with it. Mississippi John Hurt, Ella Fitzgerald ... Nina Simone ... Peggy Lee ... lordy, the list in endless.”

q. I hear you are a sucker for weinee dogs. Is that true?

“My Mom used to be a breeder, owner, handler of weenie dogs! I'm the owner of 3 mutts. A 11 year old, 12 year old and 3 year old ... “

q. Finally, are you still comfortable in your Two Dollar Shoes?

“More than ever! I am very happy with the way my career has been and look forward to the future. Thanks so much for the honest questions and for listening to what I do. I appreciate it. Take care! Best wishes, Terri H”

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