ILL COMMUNICATION: Q&A w/ Lisa Marie Presley


Lisa Marie Presley’s new, T-Bone Burnett-produced album, Storm And Grace, is her best yet, which admittedly is a pretty low bar. Nonetheless, she plays World Cafe Live tonight. Last week we got her on the horn and asked her about working with T-Bone, what it’s like to win the genetic lottery, how is the daughter of The King taking up a singing career not like Picasso’s daughter taking up painting? Answer, it’s exactly like that. If you ever get the chance to interview Lisa Marie Presley do not — repeat DO NOT — ask her WTF she was thinking when she married Michael Jackson. Of course we had to. And consider this: Maybe, just maybe, if we had been around at the time asking our wildly inappropriate questions to counter the all the sychophantic Yes Men and Women, we could saved all parties involved a lot of pain, suffering and embarrassment. Just like always.


PHAWKER: So congratulations, the new album’s really good.


PHAWKER: Tell me about working with T-Bone. I mean how did you go about deciding to work with him?

LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Well I wrote about 32 songs. I didn’t really have a plan but my manager sent some of my songs over to T-Bone and he heard them. I got the call that he wanted to meet me and he came out and he said he liked the way this was going and off we went.

PHAWKER: Cool. I’m curious. He’s known for being able to get great performances out of people; making people feel really relaxed. Can you tell me at all about the process of making the record? Did you record it at his house, is that how it worked?

LISA MARIE PRESLEY: You know I actually recorded in The Village Studio in San Monica Las Angeles. That is usually where he records. He records everything live so it is very relaxing. He gives us a lot of freedom, he gave a lot of freedom to everybody. It is a great experience to travel. We’d listen to the demo then go in and everyone just sort of had at it live. You know we did about 12-16 songs in about 12 days.

PHAWKER: Recording everything live meaning recording in the same room and everyone separated by baffles, that kind of thing?


PHAWKER: And then you cut the vocals after the fact though?

LISA MARIE PRESLEY: No, vocals were done live.

PHAWKER: Hmm, impressive. I wanted to ask you a couple questions about growing up. You and I are roughly the same age and unfortunately my parents also split up roughly the same time and from what I read you shuttled back and forth between mom and dad, which I am quite familiar with. I am just curious were you always trying to get them back together when you were young?

LISA MARIE PRESLEY: No, they never really gave me the sense that they were separated. I don’t think I tried because there was no animosity or bitterness between them.

PHAWKER: It just seemed like they just lived in different houses?

LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Right. And they spent a lot of time together with me as well.

PHAWKER: When you were 25 you became the sole heir to Graceland which was then worth 100 million, I’m sure it’s worth much much more now. Most people would obviously give up their first born  to be in such a situation. But I’m guessing that there are downsides to even that situation as well. Maybe boredom or maybe a feeling of ‘I didn’t really earn this, it just kind of fell in my lap.’ I’m curious what you went through kind of getting used to that situation or getting comfortable with that situation.

LISA MARIE PRESLEY: I always knew the responsibility that I had and I was taught early how to do it  and I was attending business meetings when I was young. It was just something that I knew I needed to do at some point.

PHAWKER: I’m curious about the decision to follow in your father’s footsteps and become a recording artist. I mean that is a very ballsy move. It’s sort of like being Picasso’s daughter and deciding you want to be a painter. Can you tell me a little about that? Dealing with and standing in your father’s shadow?

LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Well I think I tried not to follow in his footsteps with my first two albums and I tried to find my own identity with it. I don’t think I was trying to do anything. I just always loved music. I try not to look at it that way. I’m a singer and songwriter that’s just who I am, regardless. I don’t try to do anything like he did or sing like him. That’s just all I can do. I knew that when I did it some people will like it and it will change someone’s life, just like music has the power to do. If I looked at it the other way I don’t think I could do it.

PHAWKER: So you’re a Ramones fan, right?

LISA MARIE PRESLEY: I was after Johnny became one of my best friends. I actually didn’t know much about them until I met him with his friends, then he made me get into it.

PHAWKER: How did you become friends with him if you weren’t even familiar with the Ramones? That’s weird.

LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Well you meet people. And I met his wife and then I met her again when she was with him and then we met and then we became friends.

PHAWKER: I was just curious. I was wondering if you will ever thought of doing an album with that kind of punk-y Ramones sound?

LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Not at all. Nope. That hasn’t crossed my mind, nor does that much interest in me. I just kind of do the records I want to do.

PHAWKER: One of the causes you advocate for is de-escalating the medicating of children, especially those diagnosed with ADHD, can you speak to that?

LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Right. I’m not an activist for anything and I don’t get, you know, all political and that type of thing really isn’t a part of my life. But yes I have been in the past and I definitely felt strongly about it. I think kids on meds is big for sure. That is one of the many things I get involved in.

PHAWKER: Can I ask you a question about being married to Michael Jackson? I think to so many people it must have just looked like some sort of publicity stunt but for all I know maybe it was something more sincere or something closer to a real marriage. Can you speak to that at all?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: [clearly pissed off] I think I already covered that. I did Oprah a couple years ago just to get all that out of the way on purpose. So I think I answered it on there.

PHAWKER: Okay so I guess I’ll ask Oprah. Well I think that is all the questions that I have. Thank you for your time and good luck.