Saturday, August 29, 2009

(INTERVIEW) LIZA JANE Former Background Singer for Stevie and Fleetwood Mac

LIZA JANE Interview by

Liza Jane was one of the background singers on Stevie's "Whole Lotta Trouble" tour, the "Street Angel" tour along with the Fleetwood Mac's "Behind The Mask" tour. Liza Jane also appeared with Stevie on Jay Leno and David Letterman when Stevie performed "Blue Denim". She can also be seen in the "Blue Denim" video on Stevie's "Crystal Visions" DVD.

This is an excerpt taken from a much longer interview that you can find on the Country Stars Central website.

(CSC) 11. What was it like working with Clint Black on his nationwide tour, and being able to perform in the show?

(Liza Jane)
The first thing I enjoyed from working with Clint was I could sing as loud as I wanted and I could sing as twangy as I wanted. The louder and twangier I got the more he liked it. (Laughs) I could just let go and completely be the country girl that I am. I loved it! It was so much fun.

I remember every night in that show it would start out and the stage would be dark. There’d be like a thunderstorm with lightning. The sound effects would start and I’d stand in my position and it was like big boulder rocks set the stage. I’d stand there as all the rumbling and thunder was going on before the lights came up and we started singing. I’d think “Dear God thank you so much for this awesome musical experience.” It was so much fun.

Every night when we’d do “Killin’ Time” there was a part in the song where it’s just singing with the audience, there are no instruments. I got to sing the lead vocal on that part. I would just blow it out. It was so satisfying. He let me be who I am musically.

Now when I sang with Stevie she thought I made her show sound like Wynonna Judd! (Laughs) She didn’t really like it that I sang like that. I had to kind of tone myself down and be more homogenous to blend in with her background singers but with Clint I could just be out there.

Actually, I had just done a Stevie tour and then I went back and did a Clint Black tour. Then I went back and did another Stevie tour and after that Stevie came off the stage and said, “Well that just sounds like the Stevie Nicks/Wynonna Judd show.” So I had to go to a different place musically. Clint was really fun to sing with. I don’t know if a lot of people know this about Clint but he’s funny. He’s really, really funny. He likes practical jokes. He likes to imitate you. He likes to study people and imitate them. He’s just really fun to tour with.

(CSC) 12. Tell us about the job that you held at a famous clothing retailer which later introduced you to Stevie Nicks!

(Liza Jane)
When I first came to Los Angeles I had a recording contract on DOT records. The band stayed in college because they didn’t want to get drafted. So I came out here by myself. We had a couple of songs that were in the top ten back in Ohio but nothing really happened. Like I said, a girl’s got to eat so I found a job at this clothing store that I had never heard of before; didn’t know anything about it. Just saw the ad in the paper and went and got this job. It was where all the stars shop. Everyday in that store, there was two or three celebs. It’s called Maxfields.

One day you may be helping Olivia Newton John or Chicago, and then you’re helping Don Henley, Glenn Frey, or Elton John and the day after that it’s Rod Stewart and Barbara Streisand. It was really a good experience for me. It taught me how to be calm in front of all those people for one thing. That’s how I met Linda Ronstadt and got to sing all those years with her.

That’s also how I met Stevie because one day we got a call in the store that Stevie Nicks was doing a photo session and she needed some clothes. Well everybody was busy and I said “I’ll do it; I’ll go take her some clothes.” So I loaded up my car that night and brought several thousands dollars worth of clothes to her. I got there and that was back in the day when Stevie was notoriously late for everything. I think I sat there for about two hours before she finally got there by myself with the photographer. I set up all the clothes. She walked in and we looked at each other and just started talking like we’d known each other all our lives. We never looked at the clothes. She had had some kind of upset with her makeup artist and she didn’t have a one any longer so I said “I can do your makeup. I went to beauty school.” I ended up doing her makeup and it was for her “Bella Donna” album cover. We just became best pals ever since. I think that was back in maybe 1980 or so.

(CSC) 13. You’ve worked with Stevie professionally for many years on solo tours and with the band (Fleetwood Mac). What’s that experience been like for you? Any highlights?

(Liza Jane)
Oh my, I don’t even know where to begin with that. There’s nothing like standing on stage in Texas in the summer and singing “Edge of Seventeen.” I remember doing that and having all the sweat sloshing around in the bottom of my stage boots. It’s pretty amazing. It’s an amazing thing to get to sing with somebody like that, that’s a Rock and Roll icon, and of course she’s my best pal. We sit around in our UGG boots and jammies just watching old movies and crying and stuff like that. It’s one of the blessed experiences in my life. It’s really fun to sing “Edge of Seventeen” and “Gold Dust Woman.” That’s my favorite Stevie song.

The times that I’ve been on tour with her, singing with her, I’m the one that plays the vibraslap on “Gold Dust Woman.” There are a couple of songs that build up to frenzy and you’re on stage for a very long time doing one song and we background singers have our own little choreography. I always felt like I was going to keel over and die, if the song didn’t end then because it would go on forever and ever!

Of course in Stevie’s live solo show it really went on forever because that’s when Stevie walked back and forth across the stage and picked up gifts, teddy bears, and flowers from her fans. It just goes on forever and there would end up being a big huge road case back in the hallway. For all the stuffed animals that people give her, she puts them in a road case and two or three times a year she goes to the Walter Reed Children’s Hospital to give them to all the little kids there. I think that is really sweet and admirable of Stevie to do that!

(CSC) 14. With each of your crazy schedules, are you able to keep in touch with each other?

(Liza Jane)
We do keep in touch. We always make it a point of spending New Years Eve together. We’ve done that for a long, long time. We know if we’re not going to see each other all year that we’re at least going to see each other for New Years Eve. We try to take vacations together too. Stevie does a lot of girl vacations where she’ll take four or five of her girlfriends somewhere wonderful. I’m blessed that she always invites me to do that. We have a great time because it’s downtime. No work, just having fun. Hanging out, talking girl talk. We went to Cabo San Lucas in July. So when Stevie and I went to Cabo I took my Tony Furtado CD’s and my Sheila Chandra CD’s and put them on my iPod. Sheila is this Hindu/pop singer from India. Then I took a whole season of “The Flight of the Concord” on DVD. Stevie was not familiar with Tony or Sheila or “Flight of the Concord” and every day at the pool I’d play Tony Furtado and Sheila Chandra. We’d sing along and chant and Tony kind of sounds like Lindsey Buckingham. (Laughs) We’d always make jokes that he could be the new Lindsey. You’d love him. He’s fantastic! Then every night we would watch two or three episodes of “Flight of the Concord” and laugh ourselves silly.

Full interview can be found on the Country Stars Central Website

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