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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Acclaimed musician Lisa Germano coming to Chicago


By ERIC SCHELKOPF

Lisa Germano has a history of making emotionally rich music.

She continues in that tradition with her latest album, "no elephants." Germano, www.lisagermano.com, who was once a member of John Mellencamp's band, will perform April 23 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago.

Kaiser Cartel and Freedy Johnston also are on the bill. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $12 in advance, $14 at the door, available at www.schubas.com.

I had the chance to talk to Germano about the new album and her career.

Q - Will you playing mostly from your new album on this tour?

This tour I will be on my own, playing a piano set as I will play much of 'no elephants' and it is mostly piano. I can't take the bees, cell phones, computers and other animals with me this time.

I hope to create an atmosphere people can relax and go into.

Q - What kind of goals did you have for the new album and do you think you achieved them? What does the album's title refer to?

''no elephants'' is a record about consciousness. Things I've learned about our food, how factory farms torture animals, global warming and being aware of these things so you can make conscious choices. 

The elephant in the room can be that there is no elephant in the room because we aren't even really communicating when we don't speak with each other less and less and speak through devices that allow many different interpretations. Also, if we continue to let poachers kill these amazing beings for ivory which no one needs, there will be no more elephants.


Q - "no elephants" is being described like a book made to be read from beginning to end. In this fast paced world, do you find it frustrating to get people to really sit down with your music?

I find it more sad than frustrating that people look at music as bits and pieces, sometimes not even getting through a whole song, but moving on to the next thing. With this record, me and Jamie did make a little book only 30 some minutes where all the songs are connected, melodies going in and out of each song.

I didn't even realize when writing that they were the same melodies, and the outside sounds from my apartment connecting the music to the outside. I wish more people could take the time to listen all the way through, but I don't expect it.

It's just out there now and I have to let it be what it is.

Q - On this album, you work again with Jamie Candiloro. How did you hook up with him and what do you think he brings to each project of yours?


I met Jamie years ago when working on "Lullaby for Liquid Pig." Joey Waronker, who was making it with me, brought him in for some mixing ideas and we hit it off immediately. Since then he has engineered and mixed the next two records. 

On this one, he brought even more to it with great ideas sound wise, bringing the outside
sounds into the record and inspiring me to keep working on it. Sometimes I don't know if a song is working until I hear it back and he always makes my music pull one in which helps me finish.

He really is a great artist and now we know each other's habits so well that many times he's already doing something I am just about to ask him to do, or he's knowing that I'll change my mind in the middle of a thought and doesn't get upset with me, which I need to be able to try any weird thought.

I'm lucky to work with him.


Q - Early on in your career, you were part of John Mellencamp's band. What did you learn from the experience?

I learned a lot about people working in John's band. It was a great experience and many hard lessons, strange things I never knew were included in playing music. It was a shock and a wonder.

Q - At the end of 1998, you said you were done with the music business and started working at an independent bookstore. What made you want to start making music again?

I guess this info must be on some article somewhere. Anyone in this crazy business says "I'm done, that's it!!!" at some point, and then keeps going. That's all that was about. 

I'm glad to keep trying to be out there playing. Reality is that I will be a bad lady if I don't find others means of making money.



Q - Your albums have been described as "savagely honest." How would you describe your music and how do you think your music has grown since albums like "Happiness" and "Geek the Girl?"

I think my music is very honest still, yet I'm a bit less dramatic and can see from a distance better. I like this improvement, but don't feel it makes the past records mean less, just different.