Princefams.com - Prince News and Pictures

You are not logged in. Log in or register. Problems?

 

#1 2009-04-20 09:01:20

FadedPhoto
Nighttime Fool
From: Philly, PA.
Registered: 2008-01-21
Posts: 2213
PM  Website

The Revolution Will Be Harmonized

http://dev.out.com/images/2009/wendy_lisa_2.jpg



For the first time ever, recording duo -- and former Prince and the Revolution members -- Wendy & Lisa come out publicly and reveal how their sexuality affected their relationship with the music industry -- and the Purple One himself.

Keyboardist Lisa Coleman was 19 when she started working with Prince on his 1980 album Dirty Mind. Her childhood friend, guitarist Wendy Melvoin, was also 19 when she joined Prince in 1983 for Purple Rain. Known from that point on as Wendy & Lisa, Melvoin and Coleman became key members of the Revolution, Prince’s band at the peak of his musical powers and multi-platinum popularity. After they left the group in ‘86, the pair continued as a recording duo and as composers for such hit TV shows as Heroes. Shimmering with bright surfaces that compliment its complex depths, their latest album, White Flags of Winter Chimneys, showcases sophisticated strains of rock and jazz that definitively assert their serious chops. To celebrate that achievement, Melvoin and Coleman cast aside their usual privacy and gave Out their most candid interview ever.

Out: People who know about you as players in Prince’s band may not know about the music you’ve composed for film and TV, or all the records you’ve appeared on, like k.d. lang’s Invincible Summer, or last year’s incredible Grace Jones comeback album, Hurricane.
Wendy: We had an amazing month with [Jones] in our home writing “Williams’ Blood,” becoming friends, and being bizarre divas. We had to pick her up when she woke up in the morning, and the morning to her was like 6 PM.
Lisa: She gets in the back seat of the car and of course we have to stop to buy bottles of champagne. She wanted to play the bass. She kind of couldn’t, but she could groove like nobody’s business on one note. She started to sing and I wish I could’ve seen my own face. I was like --
Wendy and Lisa in near unison: Oh my God, it’s Nightclubbing! [Jones’s classic 1981 disco-punk album with the hit “Pull Up to the Bumper”]

Like Hurricane, your new album has a cinematic quality, and you compose background music for film and TV as well. How do you go about creating music that’s inherently cinematic?
Wendy: It’s trying to compose the song so that you can see it better in your head. Choosing specific notes to enhance a certain line that you’re singing, or using a particular instrument that would evoke a visceral response from a listener. My girlfriend is a film director and writer and asks me a lot of these kinds of questions.
Lisa: When Wendy and I score, we aren’t accompanying the lead singer. Instead, there are the actors and the narrative. You have to be invisible and only enhance what’s there. So it’s kind of like drawing outlines and shadows on things that make it more three-dimensional. In a pop song, especially when you write it yourself, you become the actor. Then you add the landscape, the environment in which the situation is taking place.

I imagine that your history with Prince has been both a blessing and a hindrance to getting TV and film work. How has that played out?
Lisa: A lot of people take meetings with us and the whole meeting will be, “What was Prince like? What is he doing now?” So it opens a lot of doors, but it doesn’t fill the room with anything substantial to do with us.
Wendy: We’ve had to get on a soapbox every time a door gets opened and convince the world that we’re viable. That’s sort of been a pathology for us. We’ve been composing for film and TV for almost 20 years now, and we just in the past maybe 10 years have gotten away from only being called to do black movies. Now we’re working on a show that’s run by all lesbians and we’re thrilled to be doing it. It’s on Showtime, Nurse Jackie, with Eddie Falco. It’s fantastic.

Why did the two of you decide to keep working together after you left the Revolution?
Wendy: We were married and I was her biggest fan. Everything that she played broke my heart and still does and I wanna own it and covet it and make it mine.
Lisa: [Laughs at that] Yeah, we’re chained together. We’re shackled. No, I love Wendy. We’ve known each other our entire lives practically. Once she was finally hired into Prince’s band, it was like a dream for me. I had fallen in love with Wendy, my childhood friend, and suddenly we were looking at each other differently, but I had to leave on the road all the time. It was always just torture. Finally Prince met Wendy and there was some trouble with the other guitar player [Dez Dickerson], and providence moved in such a way that Wendy ended up on the road with us.

Was the image you projected in Purple Rain a function of who the two of you were together? Or did it come from Prince, or the director?
Wendy: I don’t think the director had anything to do with it. I think Prince saw us as the couple that we were and used that relationship to add more mystery to him. And I think Lisa and I were willing to go there because at that time we felt mysterious. We were young and it was the thing, so we went with it, not knowing what the result of that would mean or imply later in life. We didn’t think about it in those terms. We just thought, Wow, this is cool!

Before we continue, I have to ask: Have you come out before? Is this it?
Wendy: We’ve never done a “Let’s come out” interview. We’ve never been in the closet, but we never said, “Let’s get an interview with The Advocate. Let’s get an interview with Out.” I didn’t want to be a lesbian musician. I felt really uncomfortable with that role. I was already fighting, being a guitar player in a man’s world and to have that on top of it -- Lisa and I were so very married at the time, it just didn’t seem like something I could handle.
Lisa: With Prince and the Revolution, I think that it was just taken for granted that we were supposed to be the gay reps in the band. [Laughs] The blacks, the whites, the gays. And people would say, “Gee, do you think this lesbian thing is going to work for them?” [Everyone laughs] So, after the band kind of split up, the record labels would be like, “You need to be wearing fur coats and sitting on motorcycles and long fingernails . . .”
Wendy: It was just horseshit.
Lisa: “And why don’t you wear that lingerie like you used to?”
Wendy: Which I never did.
Lisa: I did.
Wendy: But you wore it in a very different way.
Lisa: Yeah, it was more punk, like a fuck-you thing, not, “I’m a sexy girl.”

How did the process of asserting your own identity as a duo conflict with the record company’s perception of your marketability based on the Revolution?
Wendy: To be honest with you, it kind of manifested itself in every aspect of our career at the time. From the songs we were writing to the pictures we were taking to the videos that we wanted to do to the places we wanted to perform to the print that we wanted to give interviews to, it was all in constant contrast to what the business wanted from us. It was extremely frustrating because we were in such a minority as musicians and as young women. We weren’t even considering coming out because we were already dealing with so much adversity coming away from Prince. That on top of it just seemed insurmountable. I don’t think either one of us were prepared at that age to have that be the ultimate battle.

http://dev.out.com/images/2009/wendy_lisa_1.jpg



Were the record companies aware that you were lesbians and in a relationship together?
Wendy: They’d never talk to us about it. I think everybody knew, but nobody said to us, “But you’re a lesbian couple. We could work the Lilith Fair angle. We could work the Olivia Records angle.” No one used that kind of language with us.
Lisa: We were so hung up on the fact that these people wanted us to be Prince. It didn’t matter what our sexuality was. After we would leave the record company offices, I remember one of our managers mentioning that the art department people would comment on the way Wendy and I would talk to each other. LIke I would say, “Yes, dear,” and they would be all like whisper-whisper after we would leave the room. “They’re gay, aren’t they? They’re like an old married couple.” At that point, we had already been a couple for 10 years. It was very normal for us and very precious.
Wendy: I saw a lot of other women coming out at the time and I didn’t want that on my plate. I wanted my life with Lisa to be so much more private and so much more conventional than that.
Lisa: You know, Wendy, I don’t know if you’ll mind me saying this, but we did slightly differ on our consciousness about it. We would do interviews together and people would ask us questions like, “What is it like living in LA?” And I’d start talking about living in a house together and literally get a kick from Wendy under the table like, “You’re going too far.”
Wendy: Lisa, at the time we were talking to bullshit magazines. I just didn’t want the judgment from people who didn’t know about us or the struggle it takes for gays to fucking live a normal life.
Lisa: I know, but I felt that you had to teach by example instead of making some statement.
Wendy: I disagreed at the time. You can hear it still. Lisa and I are so much on the same page as older women, but at the time it was like, “Fuck that!” I’m not gonna go there. I want more control of this. I just simply do. I lead the way for Lisa and I to be closeted.

You were dealing with this during the Reagan years when the AIDS crisis was exploding and the progressive attitude regarding gays started reversing. It must’ve been hard to contend with that while the music industry pushed you to be the next Mary Jane Girls.
Wendy and Lisa, nearly in unison: That’s exactly what they wanted.
Wendy: We couldn’t have been more opposite of that. We were just geeky musicians. We still are. We did a record 10, 11 years ago with Trevor Horn that was never released. We were hoping that we would have the next fucking Grace Jones “Slave to the Rhythm” extravaganza. We thought, “This is going to be genius! We’re going to be musician freaks and experiment.” And he, honest to god, wanted us to be the Spice Girls. My heart was broken.
Lisa: Not only that, but he was so homophobic. I hate to say it, but he wouldn’t even let us eat off of his silverware on Friday because he was Jewish. It turned into this nightmare. He and his wife, oh God, I don’t want to talk disparagingly about anybody, but it made us very uncomfortable.
Wendy: Our homosexuality became quite an issue for them.

That’s especially disturbing coming from the guy who produced Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Grace Jones and the Pet Shop Boys.
Wendy: And Marc Almond and ABC and t.A.T.u. You name it.
Lisa: He would come in and start talking, “Well, I asked my rabbi about homosexuality and my rabbi said it’s comparable to being born a mass murderer. You can be born a mass murderer, but if you practice mass murder it’s sinful.” I was like, “Okay, you can be born gay, but if you practice being gay, you might as well be a mass murderer?” Oh, thanks Trev. Let’s record this song now.

That must’ve been a shock after what you’d experienced in the Revolution. How conscious was Prince of assembling for the Revolution that racial and sexuality rainbow you described?
Wendy: He was incredibly conscious of it. Look at the way he looked during Dirty Mind and Controversy and 1999. He was so androgynous. He didn’t care if you were [paraphrasing Prince’s “Uptown” lyric] “black, white, straight, gay, Puerto Rican, just a freakin’.” That guy wanted fans. So anyway he could get them -- and a more interesting way he could do it -- appealed to him. The Sly and the Family Stone mentality, that whole black/white/freaky thing on stage appealed to him.
Lisa: I’ll give you an example. We had a photo shoot for the Purple Rain poster. We were all in our different positions and he at one point walked over to me and Wendy and lifted my arm up and put my hand around Wendy’s waist and said, “There.” And that is the poster. That’s how precise he was about how he wanted the image of the band to be. He wanted it to be way more obvious. We weren’t just the two girls in the band.
Wendy: We were the couple.
Lisa: We were the gay girls in the band. It was very calculated.
Wendy: And how did it make us feel? I felt slightly protected by it, which is really ironic. There was so much mystery around him and he never had to answer to anybody or anything and I was so young and dumb that I thought I could adopt that philosophy.
Lisa: It was validating. It was just, “Here you go. This is the name of the story and this is what it looks like.” And it was all the more reason why we didn’t feel as though we had to talk about it. People just saw it. They bought the records and we were successful, so it wasn’t that big a deal. It’s like hip-hop today. It’s dangerous, but every little kid in the Midwest is rapping.

So Prince knew the full extent of your relationship?
Wendy: He wouldn’t spend the night at our house. He was very much aware of it. [During the mid-'80s, Prince dated Wendy's twin sister, Susannah Melvoin, who sang the Family's 1985 version of "Nothing Compares 2 U."]

How far back had you known each other before the Revolution?
Wendy: Lisa and I had known each other since we were two years old. Our families grew up together. We had bands together. We went to the same schools together, the whole thing. And then during those pivotal teenage years, we spent a few years apart. I turned 16 and fell in love with her, and we were a couple for 22 years starting when I was 17. We fell in love in 1980, and we were a full-blown couple from 1981 to 2002.

Did you first think Prince was gay?
Lisa: He was little and kinda prissy and everything. But he’s so not gay.
Wendy: He’s a girl, for sure, but he’s not gay. He looked at me like a gay woman would look at another woman.
Lisa: Totally. He’s like a fancy lesbian.
Wendy: I remember being at that “Sexuality” video shoot and him on stage with that little black jacket and that tie thing around his neck and his black pants with white buttons on the side. And we looked at each other for the first time and I thought, “Oh, I could so fall in love with that girl easy.” It doesn’t matter what sexuality, gender you are. You’re in the room with him and he gives you that look and you’re like, “Okay, I’m done. It’s over.” He’s Casanova. He’s Valentino.

http://dev.out.com/images/2009/wendy_lisa_cd.jpg



Prince certainly played up the ambiguity of his sexuality, and yet many straight men have a certain kind of relationship with lesbians that a gay man doesn’t have: It’s a turn-on for them. Did you feel at any point as though you were being exploited to assert Prince’s heterosexuality?
Wendy: Yes. Towards the very end of our relationship together as a working triumvirate, yes. It felt more like he had used up all he needed from us and he was going on to something else.
Lisa: But do you think that was connected to sexuality?
Wendy: Well, it might’ve been because he got Cat the dancer and Sheila E. to be in the band and be more sexually irreverent on stage with him, and that kind of played to his heterosexual side. Because as a lesbian couple, we weren’t playing that sexuality with him specifically, and I think that maybe he needed more of that playfulness, and that probably came from him wanting to exploit his heterosexual side more. Maybe it was unconscious, but yeah, for sure.

All the women on Prince’s record label, Paisley Park, were really attractive. And as time went on, it became more of an issue whether or not they were picked for their musical talent.
Wendy: Prince liked to be your savior. He liked to promise the world to you and he liked to be the guy who could deliver that to you and make you feel bigger than life. And I think he continues to do that with certain artists who would never be signed to a regular label and would never be played on radio and could never sell a record. I think that he actually believes that the women were all worthy musicians in his eyes, but I do probably think that there was a sexual component to it. That’s just my psychology and I could be dead wrong, I don’t know.

Regardless of what you went through and what came after, I’m sure there is a generation of women who saw you two in Purple Rain and went, “Huh, maybe this is what I am.”
Wendy: I remember getting a lot of letters from young girls: “I wanna play guitar just like you,” and you could tell in some of the writing that they were little young lesbians and their parents were freaked. And I would write back and just be like, “Just go for it. Live it. You’ll work it out.” It doesn’t come our way much anymore except from people who are just a few years younger than us. You know, “You made such a difference to me growing up and I wanted to be just like you. A lot of straight girls are like, “You’re the only gay girls who I’d wanna screw.”

How does your musical partnership sustain your relationship and challenge it?
Wendy: We’re so merged that we can either function incredibly high or really fuckin’ low and not get shit done. So we do our best now because we’re both mothers with different women, but you can’t help but have all the other shit try and drag you down. We fight everyday, so it’s hard to answer that question.
Lisa: [Nervously giggling at Wendy’s admission] There was so much of it that was so incredible. To be able to share that with the person that you’re in love with, to be on stage and play music that you wrote together and look over at each other and be like “Wow, look how cool this is!” We had our sisters in the band and our brothers on the road with us in the crew or helping out in the studio. We had this great life and a big house. We didn’t lock the door for 15 years. People were in and out of the house and it was really utopian in a lot of ways. At the same time, it’s really difficult, not having enough privacy sometimes.
Wendy: We started to need different things as far as intimacy [goes] and we knew each other our whole lives. So we decided that it was best to be our higher selves and be where we’re at now.
Lisa: Our marriage ended, but our soul relationship will never end. We’re a couple of sick puppies, basically.

Are you hitting a point in your career where things are finally turning around for you?
Lisa: Now it’s kinda just fun. I actually find myself enjoying my memories more.
Wendy: But we’ll end up getting more calls from Prince because he can’t stand when we talk about him.
Lisa: He’s always like, “Could you just err on the side of privacy?” Well, it was our life too, pal! Whatever. It’s okay.
Wendy: Trust me, Barry. He will read this article and we will get a phone call and he’ll be pissed. Somewhere in this article he’ll find something to be pissed about.

Won’t he be proud of you too?
Wendy: No. No. No.
Lisa: He’s not very generous like that.

Well, I’ll do my best.
Lisa: Make it crazy! I don’t care.
Wendy: Holy shit, Lisa. I don’t wanna get that call.
Lisa: I’ll take the call.

White Flags of Winter Chimneys is now available from major digital outlets and from Wendy & Lisa’s web site, www.wendyandlisa.com. Wendy & Lisa’s score to Heroes will be released April 21.

By Barry Walters
Source: Out.com -- April 20,2009


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v122/FadedPhoto68/Banners/ModBanner001.gif

Offline

 

#2 2009-04-20 09:38:55

Endre
.
From: Bergen, Norway
Registered: 2008-01-21
Posts: 1597
PM

Re: The Revolution Will Be Harmonized

FadedPhoto wrote:

Are you hitting a point in your career where things are finally turning around for you?
Lisa: Now it’s kinda just fun. I actually find myself enjoying my memories more.
Wendy: But we’ll end up getting more calls from Prince because he can’t stand when we talk about him.
Lisa: He’s always like, “Could you just err on the side of privacy?” Well, it was our life too, pal! Whatever. It’s okay.
Wendy: Trust me, Barry. He will read this article and we will get a phone call and he’ll be pissed. Somewhere in this article he’ll find something to be pissed about.

Won’t he be proud of you too?
Wendy: No. No. No.
Lisa: He’s not very generous like that.

Sounds like a really nice guy!
Prince is just making friends left and right these days 001_happy


http://www.princefams.com/images/pfams_userbar1.jpg

Offline

 

#3 2009-04-20 22:28:23

Asentha
Go-Go Funkateer
From: My Own Little Nasty World
Registered: 2009-02-06
Posts: 417
PM

Re: The Revolution Will Be Harmonized

Thanks for posting!


Something 'bout ya.  I don't know.
Makes me wanna go-go!

Offline

 

#4 2009-04-21 01:35:24

Yroseoft
Loyal Royal Rose
From: Texas
Registered: 2008-01-22
Posts: 856
PM

Re: The Revolution Will Be Harmonized

Endre wrote:

FadedPhoto wrote:

Are you hitting a point in your career where things are finally turning around for you?
Lisa: Now it’s kinda just fun. I actually find myself enjoying my memories more.
Wendy: But we’ll end up getting more calls from Prince because he can’t stand when we talk about him.
Lisa: He’s always like, “Could you just err on the side of privacy?” Well, it was our life too, pal! Whatever. It’s okay.
Wendy: Trust me, Barry. He will read this article and we will get a phone call and he’ll be pissed. Somewhere in this article he’ll find something to be pissed about.

Won’t he be proud of you too?
Wendy: No. No. No.
Lisa: He’s not very generous like that.

Sounds like a really nice guy!
Prince is just making friends left and right these days 001_happy

Just say it Endre he sounds like a spoiled little bitch !  There are so many days his antics make me want to just throw all his music out and stop admitting I even admire the man's music.  Yet I still say his music is like a drug, something I can't do without yet.  Sigh I'd love to have at least a person willing to meet his fans halfway.

Prince, you maybe number 1 at the bank but what a turn coat fan hater you've become.  How you sleep at night surprises me at times you've forgotten all the lessons you've taught us throughout the years.  Ones we thought you stood behind and supported.  I'll pray for your sanity tho because it seems to  be slipping away.

JMO


All that glitters ain't gold.
***Thanks Samantha for the banner***
http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e262/yroseoft/sigg.jpg

Offline

 

#5 2009-04-21 07:53:01

MUL
Camille
Registered: 2009-03-04
Posts: 29
PM

Re: The Revolution Will Be Harmonized

Thanks for posting this - what a great interview. I love Wendy and Lisa!! Its so refreshing to an open and intelligent account of their experience with Prince. And I find it interesting that Prince deliberately promoted them as the gay part of the band. I cant help but think that he would not have done so if it were two gay males in his band.

Offline

 

#6 2009-04-21 08:31:51

Pigg
-MCMLXX-
From: Madcastle.
Registered: 2008-01-22
Posts: 3762
PM  Website

Re: The Revolution Will Be Harmonized

MUL wrote:

Thanks for posting this - what a great interview. I love Wendy and Lisa!! Its so refreshing to an open and intelligent account of their experience with Prince. And I find it interesting that Prince deliberately promoted them as the gay part of the band. I cant help but think that he would not have done so if it were two gay males in his band.

the promotion of them as lesbians in the band completely went by me, I didnt see them in that way at all....but then I was only 14.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v114/lospigg/sigg_pigg.jpg
http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/profilewidget/randomint/000000/ffffff/64651549@N00.jpg

Offline

 

#7 2009-04-21 09:21:53

karryflower
Funkarry Funkateer
From: UK
Registered: 2009-01-30
Posts: 305
PM

Re: The Revolution Will Be Harmonized

MUL wrote:

Thanks for posting this - what a great interview. I love Wendy and Lisa!! Its so refreshing to an open and intelligent account of their experience with Prince. And I find it interesting that Prince deliberately promoted them as the gay part of the band. I cant help but think that he would not have done so if it were two gay males in his band.

You're probably right. But then, he sort of played that part himself, didn't he? Is he a woman; a man; gay; straight..yadda yadda yadda...and even today he's still dubbed "gay". Bizarre that it's continued to stick after so many years-3 decades later; 2 marriages; and the JW conversion...(and of course, even more bizarre that it should even matter).

Pigg wrote:

promotion of them as lesbians in the band completely went by me, I didnt see them in that way at all....but then I was only 14.

You're not the only one Pigg. I didn't get it at the time either...though years later the penny finally dropped.


comeabutterflystraightonurskin

Offline

 

#8 2009-04-21 09:32:19

MUL
Camille
Registered: 2009-03-04
Posts: 29
PM

Re: The Revolution Will Be Harmonized

Pigg wrote:

the promotion of them as lesbians in the band completely went by me, I didnt see them in that way at all....but then I was only 14.

Yeah I didn't notice it at all when I was younger, but it is interesting to hear W&L's accounts of Prince actively promoting this role - for the image it presented if nothing else. They are being so much more open than he (probably) will ever be about the Prince/W&L relationship.

Last edited by MUL (2009-04-21 09:33:30)

Offline

 

#9 2009-04-21 09:44:48

MUL
Camille
Registered: 2009-03-04
Posts: 29
PM

Re: The Revolution Will Be Harmonized

karryflower wrote:

Bizarre that it's continued to stick after so many years-3 decades later; 2 marriages; and the JW conversion...(and of course, even more bizarre that it should even matter).

I guess that's just how people think. So many people cant reconcile the image of Prince with that of a typical heterosexual man (whatever 'typical' means). They see him as a strange guy with a high pitched voice, make up, high heels and big hair, and it doesnt suit their traditional perception of what a straight guy should be like - even if he has been married twice! But this happens everywhere. People I meet for the first time never know I'm gay because I'm 'straight acting' (apparently) - 9 times out of 10 they are shocked when they find out. First impresssions stick.

But anyway, Wendy and Lisa are great!

Offline

 

#10 2009-04-21 11:26:59

FEEDOLL2
STILL SOFT-N-WET FUNKATEER
From: wherever I wanna be
Registered: 2009-02-04
Posts: 1439
PM  Website

Re: The Revolution Will Be Harmonized

Thanx sooo much for posting!! 016_cool


~~I JUST HAT3 TO S33 AN 3R3CTION GO TO WAST3~~

Offline

 

#11 2009-04-21 14:01:20

pamtie
African Funkateer
From: South Africa
Registered: 2008-04-19
Posts: 810
PM  Website

Re: The Revolution Will Be Harmonized

Cool thanks 001_happy

Offline

 

Facebook

Who's Online?

Welcome guest!
Please login.

Not registered yet?
Forgotten your password?

Board footer

Princefams on Facebook Princefams on Twitter Tell A Friend RSS Feed
Design: Princefams.com © Copyright 2001-2010
Software: Pun BB© and Pun Frontpage