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It’s undeniable that Liz has made an impact in the music world. Below is a collection of quotes by her contemporaries and fellow musicians.

Tori Amos

“I’ve been inspired by loads of people who showed things of themselves to me. That’s the creator coming through another being. You know when you hear something pure. Like Liz Phair. Do you know that record?… I just heard it. I’ve been away in another country, what do I know? I heard it and went ‘Thank you for that. I feel so much better today.’ It’s like this wonderful reciprocal sharing thing. It’s so inspiring, and it inspires me.”
Creem, March 1994

Gina Birch (Raincoats)

“All those bloody records I’d listened to for years and years with the boys — The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street and Bob Dylan’s ‘Lay Lady Lay’ — I was having a good time, but I always wondered where I fitted into it as a woman. Suddenly, four or five tracks into Exile in Guyville, I knew Liz Phair’s songs were on my side, that they were twisted to my viewpoint, my advantage. Lots of women have written like that, but to me it had the edge.”
GRRRLS – Viva Rock Divas, © 1995

“As a teenager, putting on things like Bob Dylan’s ‘Lay Lady Lay’, that was not from my point of view — it was a slightly alien thing. Hearing Liz’s stuff [on Exile] made me think, ‘This is right. This is in focus.’ It was madly, wonderfully, wildly inspiring.”
Billboard, July 4, 1998

Tracy Bonham

“I don’t mind comparisons to Liz Phair, because that’s what I listen to… Liz is wonderful, but in a way I want to study what happened to her. Like, where did all that go? What happens?”
huH, July 1996

Michelle Branch

“”Well, you know that new Liz Phair single? It sounds like a lame attempt to be Avril Lavigne. C’mon, Liz, you can do better than that. And that’s what irks me: She can do better. I also don’t like that Jewel song — the one they’re using to sell those razors now.”
Maxim, January 2004

Shawn Colvin

“I used to be scared of Liz (Phair), but I’m not now. I met her, and she’s really nice.”
San Jose Mercury News Eye, June 19-25, 1998

Bethany Cosentino (Best Coast)

“I’ve had people say, “Oh, your voice is reminiscent of Liz Phair.” And I take that as a huge compliment, but I don’t hear it. I don’t really listen to a lot of 90s alternative indie female stuff anymore, but I loved Liz Phair and Kim Deal when I was younger. I always get pissed that I can’t make my voice sound like someone from the 50s who had a very girly, innocent voice, like Leslie Gore.”, February 22, 2011

Sheryl Crow

“That was an interesting testament to the fact that women can sell tickets. I think promoters shy away from having multifemale bills because they feel like men won’t buy tickets. That was an issue in my earliest days of touring and trying to have female openers, or trying to open up for females. I wanted to have a three-way female bill when my first record started having success, and I was met with heavy opposition from promoters… I was thinking of Aimee Mann, Liz Phair, quite a few of the young females. And I wasn’t encouraged.”
Rolling Stone, November 13, 1997


“As a kid I grew up listening to rock n’ roll, blues, classic stuff. Being near Chicago, there’s just that blues/funk influence in the air. I got into Hip Hop when I started creating music in college. Artists that influence my current style are strong female vocalists with a strong presence. Fiona Apple is one of my all-time heroes and Emily Haines is like my homegirl. There’s a presence when they’re singing — that emotionality and vulnerability. The ultimate album for me is Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville. You have songs where she’s super strong and exuding this power, and then other songs where she’s totally vulnerable and insecure.”
KQED, August 17, 2010

Edith Frost

“I thought for sure when I moved (to Chicago) that I would get to meet Liz Phair because I’m a big Liz Phair fan. I got Girlie Sounds (sic) off the Internet, and I have like everything she’s ever breathed upon.”
San Francisco Bay Guardian, 1998

Gabby Glaser (Luscious Jackson)

“As a public, we want to see mindless women. We still want to see that. Or else we want to see the macho feminist woman. Like Liz Phair’s record: I totally relate to a lot of what she’s saying there; I’ve written songs that are really similar to that. But in the process, I’ve seen what happens when you present sentiments like that. Men go crazy. I mean, to be an aggressive sexual woman is a very positive thing, I think; but when you see men drooling over it, it’s repulsive. It’s like, keep your pants on, man!”
Request, October 1994

Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth)

“All these young [female] singer/songwriters who are successful now… I’m just not interested in mainstream music unless it’s amazing, groundbreaking. And the Liz Phairs and PJ Harveys — they didn’t sell a lot of records. Even they’re still not exactly interesting to me. Women have not really explored experimental music. I don’t see the need to have my songs played on every radio station.”
Rolling Stone, November 13, 1997

Patty Griffin

[On writing songs] “…I heard Liz Phair say that they’re almost like sculpturing a rock. They’re already in there, but you just have to chip away a little harder.”
Performing Songwriter, January / February 1999

Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill)

“It was amazing to hear a song like ‘Flower’, to hear a woman sing about her sexuality that way. [Liz Phair] was this really strong femme character.”
Spin, August 1999

Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders)

“She’s a very expressive rock singer. Her songs are soulful, moving and punky. She’s from Chicago, too, like Urge Overkill. There must be something in the water.”
Rolling Stone, January 27, 1994

“An image can’t be something that you work at; the whole thing has to be just yourself. Liz was never into simple self-promotion.”
Billboard, July 4, 1998


“I remember one night performing with Liz Phair, and before we went on stage, she asked me what she should wear. I like her style. I think she’s sexy. I had purple polyester leisure-suit slacks on. She ended up wearing purple hip-hugger bellbottoms and a little red top.”
Allure, March 1996

“My favorite quote is Liz Phair’s. She said, ‘Madonna is the speedboat, and the rest of us are just the Go-Go’s on water skis.'”
Rolling Stone, November 13, 1997

Jenny Lewis

“When I was 18 years old, I spent a couple of months backpacking in South-East Asia, in Thailand and Malaysia, and it definitely changed me. There was actually a moment when I was on a ferry, quite seasick, traveling to an island off the coast of Thailand, with a tape of Exile in Guyville in my walkman. I was looking out on the water, listening to Liz Phair, and I thought: ‘Huh, maybe this is something I could do’.”, November 15, 2008


“Because the stuff that I listen to that really moves me doesn’t necessarily influence what I sound like. When I was 14, Sarah McLachlan was a big influence. When I was 20, probably Liz Phair. Since then, it’s been the Grateful Dead. But the stuff that influences me is music that lets you go off in a place in your head and encourage your fans to befriend one another.”
BlackBook, November 24, 2010

Lisa Loeb

“Liz Phair’s way of communicating through her voice and arranging the emotion and passion in her recordings reminded me that that’s one of the most important things. In a lot of music, you don’t get the person’s individuality.”
Billboard, July 4, 1998

Courtney Love

“Why do women see me as a role model? There haven’t been too many of us. There was our first group: Exene [Cervenka], Debbie [Harry] and Patti [Smith]. Then there was a huge amount of years! Then there was a second group which was Jennifer [Finch] and Donita [Sparks], me, Kim Gordon and Kim Deal, Kat [Bjelland], Kathleen [Hanna, of Bikini Kill] and her little pack of oestrogen terrorists (Riot Grrrls)… well, oestrogen lemmings. Jenny Toomi of Tsunami saying things like: ‘women shouldn’t sing loud or scream because it’s physiologocially not female.’ ARRRRGHHH! Thank God that period is over. (No menstrual pun intended.) There’s also Polly Harvey. I can’t count Liz Phair, I just can’t. She reminds me of a potato. I don’t hate her at all, I just need a bit of angst, I guess… it’s my problem, not hers. It isn’t about being competitve in the slightest… Liz, have a horrible day just once, and then write a song.
GRRRLS – Viva Rock Divas, © 1995

Aimee Mann

“She [Liz Phair] knelt at my feet. It was very surprising. She played a show at the Wiltern, in Los Angeles. I was backstage, and for some reason she knelt at my feet.”
Rolling Stone, February 22, 1996

Barbara Manning

“I think I’m heads and tails above Liz Phair. Her songs are thin and limited, and mine are alive… She’s doing something much more confrontational, and I’ve always done something more introspective.”
Magnet, July/August 1997

Anya Marina

(Question: Do you have some major influences that got you going in the business?) “Certainly… like The Beatles… and Liz Phair… people who sort of paved the way for any woman with a guitar… Blondie, The Breeders…”
A Breath of Fresh Music, February 4, 2012

Chan Marshall (Cat Power)

“The guy from Matador asked if I wanted to open for Liz Phair. I’d never heard her music, but I’d seen her picture. She’d won all these awards. I thought, ‘Wow, she must be really great.'”
April 1997

Charlotte Martin

“[Liz Phair is] such a nice woman.”
Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, July 28, 2004

“I just finished a tour with Liz Phair which was a large theater tour, but I’ve done it all, from the down and dirty club tour to the theater tours. But I really loved touring with Liz because it was the first time that I toured with a woman. I’ve toured with about 20 guys with acoustic guitars – not that there is anything wrong with that- but being with a woman was just different and fun.”
The University Of Hartford Informer, November 11, 2004

“Opening for Howie Day and Liz Phair are two totally different animals. Liz doesn’t take any shit. She is the woman in charge, off stage and on. She’s very professional and I respect the way she runs her show.”
Musical Discoveries, August 26, 2005

Alanis Morissette

“What winds up happening before I’m writing a record is that I don’t really listen to anything, perhaps for fear of being overly influenced. There’s an element of having to be in your own reality when you’re about to write about it. But now the record is done; I went out and bought Lauryn Hill and the new Liz Phair because I feel I can let go of anything I’ve created and move into a less self-absorbed world, which is extremely exciting now.”
Billboard, October 3, 1998

Joan Osborne

“These women are speaking out in a society where women don’t have their own voices like they should. It’s great that Courtney [Love] screams and growls. It’s exciting that Liz Phair sings about one-night stands. These are points of view people have to know about, but they haven’t been stated publicly. The lid’s coming off of something that’s been under pressure for a long time.”
San Jose Mercury News, September 1, 1995

Amber Papini (Hospitality)

“I consumed a lot of indie rock that was out on Merge and Matador. I remember discovering Teenage Fanclub’s first record, A Catholic Education—I really liked that and Liz Phair, Neutral Milk Hotel and Polvo.”
Village Voice, February 3, 2012

Louise Post (Veruca Salt)

“I was one of the people who was so ready to hate Liz Phair’s record, so ready to find it not worthy of all the hype. The first time I heard it, I was so frustrated that I liked it. I didn’t want to like it, and then I just gave in. I was like, fuck, I love this record. I think it’s fucking brilliant.”
Chicago’s Subnation, Issue 11 Volume 2, October/November 1994)

Janet Rains

“Liz is the best. A lot of fun! I totally admire her. She knows no boundaries in her music and that’s what’s so great. Pure genius. I love her writing, I love her voice, and I love singing with her. And may I add that she has a lovely assortment of shoes? (laughs) What else can I say? I just love her!”
I’m Only Happy When It’s Rains, 1999

Bonnie Raitt

“I’m happy Liz Phair is on the planet, all these younger women. It just blows me away that there are so many women making music now. And it’s really good, really smart music, too.”
San Jose Mercury News, April 7, 1999

Katy Rose

“It was a wonderful, fabulous experience. Exile in Guyville was definitely a big record for me, so it was really cool that Liz and I got along so well. Every night before I went to bed, I would watch The Age of Innocence, which is one of my comfort movies. It’s just so soothing — the music, the scenery, the whole love story. Liz would come back to my room to hang out and watch with me. Our bus was totally girlied-out.”
Interview, February 2004

“I already get a lot from Liz; we’re very similar in who we are and I see how she has evolved as a person and where she comes from and can grasp some hope from her, how she maneuvers her career.”
Creative Loafing (Atlanta), August 5, 2004

Molly Shea (Acrylics)

“Jason [Klauber] and I went to Oberlin College together- we were both playing music and I wanted to start a band, so I gave a friend of his a tape of my demo. The friend played the tape for Jason, and Jason thought it was Liz Phair! He was like, ‘Let’s start a band with her’- and we haven’t stopped since.”
Nylon, December 6, 2010

Sharon Van Etten

“I was like an angsty kinda teenager when I was fifteen, and Liz Phair’s Whip-Smart was a big record that I blasted all the time. You know, she was an example of having really complicated melodies. So I’m hoping when I write that I try to have interesting melodies that don’t always repeat themselves… and hope I took that away from her.”
Pitchfork, September 5, 2012

“I started listening to a lot of classic records via my parents – the Everly Brothers, the Mamas and the Papas, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones – but the first records that I found on my own that I connected with deeply were Elastica’s Elastica, Liz Phair’s Whip-Smart and Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine. I was in junior high when I first heard them. I was a pretty angsty kid – but quietly anxious, a door-slammer – and I would blast music so loud and write in my journal. I did not know how to express myself at all, and I’m still working on it; my journals have turned into my music. Elastica was so driven and playful and sexy, Liz Phair was tough but poetic and I loved her angular guitar playing. I loved the industrial nature of Nine Inch Nails and it was definitely the epitome of teenage angst. I was just like: “Wow, maybe I am depressed? I didn’t even know!”
The Guardian, May 13, 2022

Suzanne Vega

“I do listen to a lot of the new stuff because I have a daughter who’s going to be 12. She’s just starting to come into the alternative world; she’s been more in the pop world. And the hip-hop world. So I listen to a lot of that, and I like a lot of it. I love Usher, I love Mary J. Blige. I’m also into music like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. [My daughter] has just started playing bass, so maybe she’ll start to be more interested in alternative… [She is really into] hip-hop, Top 40, girl pop. She loves Pink, Kelly Clarkson, she loved the Liz Phair album before the most recent one.”
Concord Monitor, June 1, 2006

Kitty Vincent (Le Divorce)

“That was like being on the moon. It was like no experience grounded in reality. It was amazing because Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville is probably in my top 10 favorites of all time. It was one that I discovered in my record store years. That album is so dark and pretty and cool, When we got to open for her, I was super excited. She was really nice and very shy. She’s not a natural rock star. That was the biggest crowd that I’ve ever played to. The theater was sold out and we were the only opener. We walked out onto the stage and they were cheering like they knew who we were. They were polite and attentive and asked for autographs. It was terrifying and amazing.”
Reverb, February 24, 2011

Anna Waronker (that dog.)

“I loved the first Liz Phair record. In terms of songwriting, she was breaking the mold. I think that what got me excited about playing my own music was hearing women breaking the mold. When I heard artists like Kim Gordon or Liz Phair, my mind was blown!”
Women Who Rock, Fall 2002

Rachael Yamagata

“Touring with Liz [Phair] was honestly amazing. She and the group of musicians in her band and the other opening bands, Patrick Park and Wheat, were all insanely sweet and funny people. There was a beautiful chemistry among everyone that went beyond stage and just made the performances that much more fun to do. She has such presence and strength, this wisdom behind her eyes where she just knows everything that is going on. I learned a lot by watching her — guiding a band in soundcheck, managing hungry fans, being a mom, etc. and got her take on everything from photo shoots to relationships. The audiences craved her anger, angst, humor, sexiness — everything and were extremely receptive to my pathos, hopefulness, vulnerability, etc. We made a good match I think. She calls me Princess; I call her Goddess.”
Z!nk, June 2004

Source: Ken Lee
Featured Image: Liz Phair in 1994 (Photo: Jeff Kravitz) is independently owned and operated. All relative images and media content is the copyright of their respective persons and is featured here for informational purposes only.