By Aidin Vaziri
San Francisco Chronicle, June 29, 2003
Remember when Liz Phair flashed her nipple on the CD jacket of her 1993 debut, “Exile in Guyville”? That’s nothing compared with the way the 36-year-old straddles the guitar on the cover of her new self-titled set. After five years of marriage to film editor Jim Staskausas, the father of her 6-year-old son, Nicholas, the Chicago native is single again and making a bid at the mainstream with her fourth album, mixing frank sexuality with the high-gloss production of the Matrix — the studio wizards behind Avril Lavigne’s enormous success.
Q: Do you think about sex all the time?
A: I’m in my 30s; what do you want me to say? A 30-year-old woman is like a 19-year-old male.
Q: For a minute there, it looked like you had your hormones in check.
A: That was new motherhood.
Q: But now.
A: They’re raging. It’s true. It does occupy a good deal of my time. It’s kind of embarrassing, but I think about sex quite a bit. I have sympathy for the young man.
Q: Would you say this album is a pretty accurate reflection of your life?
A: It’s pretty accurate. I mean I’m leaving out a lot of the day-to-day mommy stuff. It’s selective. Like, you’re not going to hear a rock song about the day Nick and I planted a garden.
Q: What do you think of the person singing these songs?
A: It’s really hard to remove myself from it. I guess I hear a fighter but a conceder. It’s so funny, but that is the theme of the record for me — the back slash. You know, like AC/DC or love/hate. The back slash is the absolute theme of the record for me, encompassing extremes in one emotion. So that’s part of what I hear. But I also hear my life.
Q: It’s like you have a double life.
A: I definitely lead a dual life, but I always did that. I came from a conservative background, but the artist in me wanted to go wild. It may just be my brain. I’m really left of right. I don’t know why.
Q: Being recently single and all, is the sex better?
A: No. Oh, my God, no. But I wouldn’t marry someone where the sex wasn’t good. I like being in a relationship. I don’t like being single because I don’t like having sex with people I don’t know. I like finding someone that the sex is really great with and really sticking with it. Before I feel safe with a person, I’m holding back. I feel wilder once I feel safe, if that makes sense. I just like owning that body and doing what I want with it.
Q: I heard you’re really hot for Keanu Reeves.
A: Oh, my God, he’s so beautiful. I’m going to have to quote Peaches here, “I like the innocent type/ The deer in the headlights/ Showing his might/ Doing it right/ Keeping me tight.”
Q: Can you explain to me what “The Matrix” is supposed to be about?
A: The producers?
Q: No, the major motion picture starring Keanu Reeves.
A: The new one? I wasn’t so into this movie.
Q: You weren’t?
A: No. I was into the first one. I’m not mad at the actors, though, I’m mad at the writers. I think they should have consolidated the two movies into one good one.
Q: Or just one that made a little bit of sense.
A: Yeah. Like, the Oracle, I really believed her in the last movie as being the oracle because she was very — what is the word — oracular? When she started going off on how you see vampires or ghosts or, you know, whatever, those are programs that don’t want to be deleted. I was, like, OK, that’s too far.
Q: I hate vampires and ghosts.
A: Yeah. To me, the correlation in the first movie was when the black cat said deja vu is a glitch in the Matrix. I bought that. Amazing. But then when you start to do the whole funhouse thing where the Oracle herself is talking about how ghosts and vampires and basically everything weird in this world is part of the Matrix, it seemed like a stretch, and I got really annoyed. And Keanu Reeves had been there six times. I got confused.
Q: I just got confused right now.
A: And the tribal dance scene? Didn’t need it.
Q: What other dumb guys do you like?
A: I don’t think Keanu is dumb. I think he’s brutally sincere. I just think he’s unaffected, basically. I do not think he’s dumb. OK, do you think animals are dumb?
Q: Dolphins and ants are super smart.
A: Well, I think Keanu is really smart.