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The Phairest of Them All

Phair Warning: She’s Back

Rocking in a Man’s World

Dark Light
After a five-year hiatus, our favorite guitar girl returns—and this time she find that men actually are good for a few things

By Parker Ray
Instinct, June 2003

INSTINCT: Hi, Liz! We don’t know if you know this, but you’re our chick we’d switch for this month.
LIZ PHAIR: [Chuckles] That’s hilarious. [Then she starts to moan slightly.] Well, thank you. What an honor.

Okay, so we get this out of the way, what chick would you switch for?
Famke Janssen. She’s quite hot. Also, she can play ferocious and fierce, which I appreciate. I don’t know if you’ve seen her in the movies I’ve seen her in, like Love & Sex and Made. She lashes out. Plus, I like Amazonian types, the Uma Thurmans and Cameron Diazes. I’m so small, the fact that they tower over everybody, including the actors [they play opposite of], attracts me.

Speaking of tall, skinny actresses, you’re in Los Angeles now. Why’d you make the move?
I joined the witness protection program. [Laughs] I moved to Los Angeles three years ago because the work is here. In Chicago I felt like an oddball. I moved out here because the label is here and I could get things going again. After having a child you’re pretty out of it and I felt I had to get people’s interest again.

So, since having your son back in 1996, do you ever think, I can’t swear on this album as much because I have a kid?
I don’t know if this makes me bad, but I don’t think about that. If he hears “Hot White Cum” [track number 11 on the new album] later on he also knows I have The Feminine Mystique and The Second Sex lying around and he’ll know that it comes from a place of education rather than ignorance. I think if I’m a happy, healthy grown woman it’s the best thing for him.

Now, why’d you decide to go with an eponymous album title this time around?
Honestly, I couldn’t come up with a title. Everything I wanted to say I was saying in my lyrics. A title just seemed sort of an afterthought. You know that extra thing when you’re wearing an outfit that doesn’t need to be there? Just take it off. That’s sort of what I did with the title: just took it off.

“Little Digger” is a song about your son. With Madonna and Eminem writing songs about their kids, do you think this a trend or coincidence?
A coincidence. Children have such an impact on your life and emotions, it would be weird to not write about them. “Little Digger” was such a moment for me. Realizing that my ups and downs, my love life and my journey was always affecting his life story.

But in classic Liz Phair fashion, four songs later you have the song “H.W.C.” which stands for…
Hot White Cum! [Laughs]

Where did that come from?
[Laughs] I guess I’m in my thirties and the sex I was having was very, very good. For so long men were the enemy; I always felt that they got more out of sex than I did, or that I gave them more. I always felt a little bit like a whore that way. Then, finally, I claimed my own territory. Finally, I felt like I was having earth-shattering sex.

Do you think cum has some supposed beauty qualities like the song says?
I think it does! You think it doesn’t? [Starting to get excited] My boyfriend used to travel a lot, and he would come back home and I’d be, like, waiting for it. You know those women that work out too much and look like stone? They’re not fluid and bendy and curvy. I became absolutely convinced that it wasn’t about getting fucked, it was about getting his cum, his hormones, inside me.

Uh, wow. Liz Phair just said she likes to have cum inside her. I think I need a moment. [She laughs] Okay, so, uh, we guess you’re no longer married, right? Liz Phair sounds like a divorce album.
That’s funny, because that’s what one of my friends called it: a divorce album. But it’s more than that ’cause I had a relationship after my marriage that was pretty intense, too. Almost the exact opposite kind of man from my husband. That’s another thing I was getting out of while making this record. It was like a double divorce.

Why do gay boys’ like girls who say “fuck” in their songs?
It’s breaking gender rules. I would assume that a lot of gay men would like that to happen in our culture. It’s probably so confining to be labeled as a gay man and all of the stereotypes that come with that.

Okay, I have to think of a title for this piece. I was thinking “Exile in Gayville”.
I really only have three gay male friends!

“Liz Fairy”?
[Laughs] Tinkerbell rocks. If I didn’t have a cold, I’d totally be more witty.

Okay, since we talked a lot about semen, how about “Jizz Phair”?
[Laughs really loud] Don’t you dare! I’m sure you’ll cum up with something, jizz not that!

Liz Phair is due out this month from Capitol Records.

What Our Liz Phair Mixed Tape Would Include:
1. “FUCK AND RUN” (From Exile In Guyville) “I want a boyfriend / I want all that stupid old shit,” Liz sings in her most bored voice. For anybody who’s had it with men.
2. “TAKE A LOOK” (From Liz Phair) “I am some kind of freak now,” she claims about her current place as a single mother rocker chick.
3. “DIVORCE SONG” (From Exile In Guyville) Arguably her best song. Little did she know that she’d be putting out a “divorce album” ten years later.
4. “CHOPSTICKS” (From Whip-smart) “He said he liked to do it backwards, I said that’s just fine with me / That way we can fuck and watch TV.” ‘Nuff said.
5. “BABY GOT GOING” (From Whitechocolatespaceegg) Just some rockin’ fun.
6. “DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS” (From Exile In Guyville) If for nothing other than hearing Phair say the word “cunt” in a falsetto voice.
7. “H.W.C.” (From Liz Phair) An upbeat song about the “secret beauty routine” of your man’s load. Fags have known about this shit for years.
8. “GO WEST” (From Whip-smart) Good to bop your head along to.
9. “EXPLAIN IT TO ME” (From Exile In Guyville) Something old (and great).
10. “IT’S SWEET” (From Liz Phair) Something new (and great).

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