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 Lisa Marie Presley interview: No marriage talk, religion, politics -- what's left

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PostSubject: Lisa Marie Presley interview: No marriage talk, religion, politics -- what's left    Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:31 am

Lisa Marie Presley interview: No marriage talk, religion, politics -- what's left

The offer to interview Lisa Marie Presley arrived with a few stipulations, namely: "Lisa won't be willing to talk about Michael Jackson, Nick Cage, religion or politics."

Jackson is understandable. Presley's barely spoken at all about her brief, mid-'90s marriage to the late King of Pop, but once told Oprah Winfrey: "It was a very profound time of my life." As for Cage -- her third husband, to whom she remained married all of 108 days -- well, no one really wants to talk about him, right? Presley reportedly has severed ties with Scientology, the "religion" she followed for years. And it's unlikely that many folks look to the 44-year-old daughter of Elvis Presley for advice before heading to the polls.

So what was Presley willing to discuss? In theory, her latest album ("Storm and Grace") and a tour that brings her to the Fine Line Music Cafe Tuesday, June 19. And as it turns out, Presley's new record is pretty interesting, all things considered.

On her first two discs, Presley hired big guns like Linda Perry and Glen Ballard to help position herself as a pop star. It didn't work, so she took seven years off and returned with a more organic, rootsy effort she created with Americana icon T-Bone Burnett and several cult British songwriters (Richard Hawley, Ed Harcourt and Travis' Fran Healy). The album earned Presley some of the warmest reviews of her career. Her tour, too, has attracted some kind words, including a critic in Philadelphia who raved "she was tight
as a crossbow" at a gig last week.

But when it came time to chat with Presley, via phone from her hotel in New York, she didn't seem all that interested in talking about anything. Here's what we pulled from the brief, tense interview:

On her game plan in making the new album:

"I didn't have one. It was just write and see what happens. I ended up writing 30 songs in eight months. I was in the process of deconstructing and reconstructing my life. I was starting from ground zero. Everything was falling apart and coming together at the same time."

On what she meant by that:

"Things fall apart. You put it back together."

On her decision to work with various British songwriters:

"In England, they don't charge you to write with people. There was no plan, no record label. It took me forever to get off the last label; I was not eager to get onto another one."

On hiring producer T-Bone Burnett:

"I had mentioned, in passing, he'd be someone I'd like to work with, before all this had been written. Someone played him the demos. That's how it happened."

On performing live:

"This is very, very broken down and much more intimate and quieter on the stage. The vocals are out front and center. It's very much like the record, I'm not swinging from a trapeze or dancing with 15 people behind me. It's pretty straightfoward."

On whether she'd consider becoming a singing-competition judge after performing on "American Idol" in May:

"Uh, I can't really say. It's not really come up. Right now, I'm just working a record. I don't know. I would have a hard time criticizing people who were trying to be creative."

On the possibility she might share her life story one day in a memoir:

"I would never say never. Life changes, I've learned. There's grey, there's no black-and-white. Never say never."

Pop music critic Ross Raihala can be reached at 651-228-5553. Follow him at Raihala.

Who: Lisa Marie Presley, with "The Voice" vet Tim Mahoney

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