Beth Hart // Photo by Mona Nordoy
BETH HART: “Fire On The Floor” interview
1. Is the cover-artwork meant to be like a threat? Is it the moment before you’re about to set on fire to a petrol station?
A: Oh! No, no, no! We actually added the fire in later on the photo. We thought it looked cooler. But no, I just think we were using an amazing set that was designed by a film crew from one of the movie studios. And so different people use it for different things. It’s a hotel, it’s a dinner/supper club, it’s a petrol station. And we thought it was great because it looked so great inside and out. It looks really authentic for that time.
2. What made you go for “Fire On The Floor? How did you come up with that title?
A: Oh, it’s just off of a song that’s on the record. Yeah, I have a song called “Fire On The Floor” that’s on the record. you know, I write songs, and when I put them on the record I usually will name one of the titles that I like the most on the record. I thought that “Fire On The Floor” would suit it nicely, because it is a record that has a little more angst. And a little more of a heavier back end to it. Especially since “Better Than Home”, my record previous. So yeah, I think it sounds like a great title, so that why I decided to use that song as the title.
3. There´s something energetic and dangerous to it, isn´t there?
A: Well, I guess it just depends on how, whatever you want to use it for. I mean, for me, the song – “Fire On The Floor” – is about a very intense relationship with someone that you know is not good for you. And you know if you stay, you’re not going to survive. But there’s no way you can leave. Every time you try to leave, it keeps you coming back. Like an addiction. So yeah, that’s what the song is about.
4. Now, after the last album, “Better Than Home”, did they let you do some more jazz and blues again?
A: On this record, it’s definitely a very different record than “Better Than Home”. “Better Than Home” was more overall a singer-songwriter record. It’s still eclectic, because that is just the way that I write. So it’s got some pieces of old soul, and a little bit of Rock´n´Roll. But basically “Better Than Home” was a singer-songwriter, storytelling kind of a record. Both musically and lyrically. Whereas this record I think definitely moves more towards a blues/jazz/rock… the basic lyric overall talks about love, but that’s certainly not all of it. There’s also some songs that talk about the love for home, and being out on the road so much, and desiring for that simplicity and that comfort and that consistency of being at home – waking up in the same place every day, going out to the yard. There’s also a song called “Fat Man” that really covers decadence over consumption, capitalism… kind of the way that the US kind of runs their life – there’s a lot of overconsumption here, a lot of getting more, getting more, getting more. Instead of being in the moment, and really just embracing your life and being grateful for it. I don’t think that Americans are ungrateful, not at all. But I do think that we are a young country, and we have a lot to learn. So in the song “Fat Man”, I kind of play off of that, but I use as a metaphor a street person. Someone that lives on the street. Someone maybe who’s dealing drugs, someone that would be considered to be “outside of society”. And what I do in a song, is I use them as the one who has actually the higher learning, the higher consciousness. Which is really, you know, an irony in the song. And it’s not at all a preaching song. I guess, I would consider it a little bit of a sense of humour, you know, without preaching. ´Cause I don’t think preaching really does any good. So yeah. So, I mean, there’s some different narrative talk on the record, but I think overall it’s more of an energetic record. Yeah, so…
5. Well, the message behind “Better Than Home” was: “touring is better than home.” Now home seems to be more important than anything else, almost like heaven on earth. How comes?
A: No, no, the song “Better Than Home” is not really about that at all. “Better Than Home” your whole life wanting something more than what you have. And then you come to realize, by facing God, by facing the truth – whatever you want to call it – by facing something that rocks you to your core, because you know you’re in the midst of truth? And that’s when you realize you have something better than what you ever could’ve dreamed of. And that’s what’s better than home.
Beth Hart // Photo by Mona Nordoy
6. But last time you were asked to do something that was more uplifting and not so heavy, or?
A: Oh, I don’t really care about that. I think I just go with whatever it is. I think that on “Better Than Home”, one of the producer’s desire was to get me to write more about the joys and what uplifts me. And it’s really funny, because every record I’ve ever done – including “Better Than Home” – has both sides. It has songs that are about faith, and finding joy, and finding something that releases you. And also songs that are about just the opposite. About feeling lost and feeling afraid. It’s just regular life. Like what we all go through. We all have our ups and our downs, and it’s consistent throughout all of our lives. It’s not a movie, you don’t get to a point where suddenly you’re free forever – it’s life. And so I think that was what his desire was, but it was funny, because if you sit down and listen to the whole album, “Better Than Home”, not every song is joyful. There’s plenty of songs of struggle. So that’s been a consistency on all my records. There’s some humor points, there’s some very sad points, and there’s some very joyous points. So, I think that’s a consistency with me as a writer. And I don’t think that that will change. That’s what interests me, so that’s what I’m going to write about, you know what I mean?
7. So this album is not a counter reaction or a response to the last one?
A: No, no. I made this record less than three weeks after I recorded “Better Than Home”. We hadn’t even mixed “Better Than Home” before I went back into the studio and recorded “Fire On The Floor”. I just did it with a different producer.
8. Who you used to work with more than ten years ago?
A: Oh, god, yeah. More than that, much more than that. The first time I worked with Oliver Leiber I was 26, and we recorded a couple of songs for what would be my record “Screamin’ For My Supper”. And he recorded “LA Song” and he recorded “Leave The Light On”. And, or, sorry, “Delicious Surprise” for “Screaming For My Supper”. And then my records following that he recorded a song – and also co-wrote a song with me – called “Leave The Light On”. And he also wrote a wonderful song called “World Without You”, which he also recorded me for that same record, “Leave The Light On”. So yeah, I’ve definitely worked with him, and I love him dearly. He’s a very, very sensitive and beautiful songwriter/producer/musician. He’s just a really talented guy.
9. Well, his portfolio is impressive: From Paula Abdul to Kesha to the classics – Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin…
A: he’s done a lot of great work. I was lucky to get to work with him again, no doubt about it. And it was funny, too, because recording “Better Than Home” was such a painful experience, because one of the producers – Michael Stevens – had been diagnosed with cancer. And he was really battling it, and he wasn’t winning. And so when it was over, I just called the label, and I said: “Can you please let me go back into the studio? I’ve got a lot of songs that we didn’t end up using on ‘Better Than Home’.” And then also I’ve been writing a lot, even during the making of “Better Than Home”. And when I’d gotten home for those first couple of weeks, and I said: “I just would love it if you guys would support me in making another record.” And I know that that was an outlandish thing to ask. I mean even big pop stars that have a major label and have all the money in the world – they don’t even really go in and do something like that. But it never hurts to ask. So I just asked, and I was pretty desperate. And the head of my label, Ed, is really a spectacular human being. He’s really like the guys used to be, way, way, way, way back in the beginning of the music industry, where he just signed people that he liked. He doesn’t sign people that he thinks is going to be a big radio star, or make a ton of money – it’s not about that. He just signs people that he likes to listen to play their instruments or write their songs or sing their songs. So he backs you, and he was like: “Absolutely. You can go write into the studio.” And I’m so thankful that he did. And then I didn’t know if Oliver would want to do the record or not, but I – again, you know, it doesn’t hurt to ask. So I asked David Wolff if we could call him and see if he was available. And he said he absolutely was. And then I went in and I played him like tons of songs. And he just was like: “Let’s do this record.” And he put together an unbelievable, unbelievable group of musicians. Maybe the greatest group of musicians I’ve ever had for any album, you know? And we made the record in three days! I mean, you know you got to be working with great musicians when you can make an album in three days. So yeah, it was a pretty beautiful experience to get to do that. I’m so, so thankful, so thankful for it.
10. What’s it like returning to a working relationship after so many years? Is it like a reunion sort of thing, like you have to have lunch, and catch up with each other first?
A: I guess so, sure, if you haven’t seen someone for a while, and you’re going to write or you’re going to make an album or do anything, you definitely want to reconnect and get together, and just try and get that energy going again, between each other. But with Oliver it wasn’t at all in any way, shape or form an effort. He makes everything easy like that. He’s just – like I was saying before – he’s really sensitive, and super vulnerable. But also at the same time very professional, and very strong. And it’s really spectacular when you can meet someone like that. You really get the best of both worlds, and you don’t see that a lot. So I think that’s a big part of why – not only it was so easy to make the record – but it really came out fantastic. And he spent so much time on the mixes, and us going back and forth, and listening, and he was so open, and all of his ideas were just right on point. And sometimes in life we know, you know? As much as you want something to work, sometimes it’s just very painful and difficult. It doesn’t mean that the product is not going to come out great. Like “Better Than Home” was very difficult, but the product came out great. I just love that record, I think it’s one of the best records I’ve ever made. But then with this record, it was just easy, and it was just one of those things that you just kind of look up into the sky and you say: “Thank you for throwing me a bone and just making it easy”, you know? And then it came out good as well. So, yeah. Can’t say enough about all that, you know? I’m a very lucky, lucky human being to have experienced this.
11. That’s why I asked you about this being a counterpart to the last album. I heard that was actually quite a struggle for you, is that true?
A: Yeah. It was traumatic, you know? I mean, Rob Mathes did all the music. And he’s so talented, and such a sweet guy, you know? And that part was easy, but the other part was Michael Stevens, who was equally as talented, but was suffering greatly. And when people are suffering, it’s going to be a big challenge. Not only, obviously, number 1 for them. But also very challenging for the people around them that love them and care about them. And watching them go through something like that, you know?
12. Well, this time you got, as you said, one of the best bands available – featuring Michael Landau and Waddy Wachtel on guitar. How did you get them involved?
A: I didn’t get these people, Oliver got these people. He knows all of them. He called them individually, and then they said they would be happy to do it. So yeah, that’s all Oliver.
13. Is there a chance that they might join you on stage, at least for a one-off?
A: Oh god! No, no, of course not, no. They’re in their life, and they’re doing their thing, and – yeah, no, no, not at all. But my band is playing the work fantastically. We’ve had a bunch of rehearsals, and then we’ve been – we just finished a US tour. And during that tour, we didn’t get to play all the songs from the record, because we haven’t released the record, so that wouldn’t be a very good idea to do. But we did get to do a small handful of them. And the band just kills it. My band is playing so beautiful, and I love them so much. They’re such good musicians. And they love the record! So, when you love the music that you’re going to play, of course you’re going to do your best. And they really are kicking it out of the ballpark, it’s fantastic.
Beth Hart // Photo by Mona Nordoy
14. Also, you´ve been working with Jeff Beck – on a song that ended up as the bonus track on the CD. How long do you know each other? How did you meet?
A: So it’s kind of a funny story. I had done a song called “I Got A Right To Sing The Blues” with a wonderful harmonica player named Toots Thielemans, who has since passed away. He was already in his 80s when I made the one song with him on his record. And it was just – it’s a wonderful song. Old song, jazz song that Billie Holiday did. So anyway, I guess then somehow Jeff had heard it. And that he was interested in getting together and doing some songwriting. So, I went to England and we did some writing together. And then he invited Scotty and I to stay at his house, which was so amazing to be there in his studio, and just the most nicest guy. Anyway, that was it. And then he saw a live DVD I did years and years ago – right around the time when I last talked to you, actually – called “Live At the Paradiso”. And he liked it so much that he said would I be his singer on his upcoming American tour. So, of course I said yes. And I got to go out with him and – I don’t know, I just have a real, a special bond with him, you know? He’s very kind, and I really… there’s something about people that are really super sensitive that I just love, you know? I feel safe with them. So yeah, that’s how he makes me feel.
15. Is there like a wish list of people that you would love to work with if you only had the chance to?
A: Oh god, yes. I’ve always said – when I get a question similar to that – is that I’d love to work with Tom Waits. He’s so great. Yeah. And also Leonard Cohen. I would – oh my god – even if I could just fetch his coffee for him when he’s making a record or while he’s writing a song, I mean, I would be there with bells on. Leonard Cohen is probably the greatest lyricist for music that’s ever lived, you know? So I would, I would love that, too.
16. We need to talk about some of the new songs in detail, like “Jazz Man” for example…
A: Yeah, so the funny thing about “Jazz Man” is that it’s not typically something I would do. And when I say that I mean the narrative as a fantasy. So I’m not of one to write songs of fantasy. When I write it’s usually 99.99.99 – whatever the fucking thing is! – of personal feelings or experience or personal hopes or personal fears, whatever. But it’s something that’s personal. Whereas “Jazz Man” is not about that really at all. “Jazz Man” is a fantasy about me stumbling around in the woods, trying to find something in life that’s cool, that’s meaningful, that is real. And I’m in this fucking world of just plastic, and I’ve decided to go into the woods – which I would never go into the woods, cause the woods scare the crap out of me. But I’ve decided to go and face what is the most scary feeling for me in the hopes, you know, that I’m going to find something real – and I do. I come across an old jazz joint, that’s in an old, rickety, wooden, falling apart thing down by this river. And there’s all this voodoo and wickedness going on, but inside is this group of people that are so fucking (chuckles) having the best time! And it’s jazz – but it’s jazz when it was in the beginning, when it was punk rock, when it was rebellious, when it was not a music anyone knew of or heard of. So like most societies when they come across something that’s new, what do they do? They call it wicked, they call it evil, they call it bad. Because they don’t know it. It’s scary to them. So that’s what it was. It’s the beginning. And like, I’m the one who discovers the joint. And it’s so bad ass, and I can’t even go in, and be like who I am ´cause they’ll see me, and then they’ll kill me, like, cause I don’t belong. So I come in like as a ghost. No one can see me, and I get to check out the joint. And it’s just such an amazing discovery of something new and something real. So that’s what that song’s about. And it’s funny – it’s like, I probably never would’ve even attempted to write something like that because – who was it that said, I think it was Dylan Thomas that said: “A writer writes what he knows.” And something along the lines of like: “Don’t try and write something that you don’t know. It’s futile. It’s just a waste of fucking time. People will smell it like a rat, that it’s fake. So don’t waste your time.” But it was someone else that said – oh! It was Tom Waits! What the frick am I thinking?! It was Tom Waits that said: “A lot of times” – and I was very surprised to, to read this… oh, maybe I heard it, maybe it was a recording of an interview on YouTube – and he said something to this, that he loves to write from fantasy, just to make it up. And I was so surprised to hear that, because he just seems like the most honest, from the core of his feelings. And I’m not saying that him saying that he was making it up makes that void – I’m not saying that at all. But what I am saying is that he gave me this feeling of – unlike what Dylan Thomas said – you can write something that is meaningful and honest from a place of making it up, from imagination. So I think that what I stumbled across writing “Jazz Man” that normally, when I would do something like that when it came to the narrative part? I would say: “Oh, I’m not doing this. Cause this goes against everything that I believe in as a writer.” But instead I think – because of what I was inspired by that interview of Tom Waits – I said: “Fuck it, I’m going to do it anyway, and just see what happens. I don’t ever have to play it for anybody if I feel like it’s just a bunch of bullshit.” But when it was done, I kind of liked it. And I didn’t like, really put it forth more than that. And then when I turned it into Oliver, Oliver really liked it. And I was like: “Awesome! Yeah! OK!” And man, the way came out, like the way the band played it was so great, that I just said: “Oh, this has got to be the first song on this record – it’s just so fricking great, the way it came out.” So, yeah.
17. “Jazz Man” is followed by “Love Gangster”, which is another fantasy, isn’t it?
A: Let me tell you the story about “Love Gangster”, OK? Really fast. OK. So one of my therapists – I have a psychiatrist that I do therapy with as well as him prescribing me meds. And he’s a very difficult person to impress. You basically can’t do it. And like he’s turned me on to Keats and Thoreau. He had me reading Walden. He really set the bar really high. When I met him, he was like: “You’re a joke as an artist. You’re not nearly well educated enough”, and ba, ba, ba, ba, ba. And he was just up my butt all the time. So one of the things we were working on was the type of men that I would choose in my life after my childhood with stuff with my dad. And my dad abandoned me as a kid, and then he wouldn’t have anything to do with me, and it was just – it was very traumatic. And he went away to prison, and when he got out of prison he married a woman that wouldn’t allow me in his life. So the kind of men I started choosing at a really young age were assholes and very abusive. And we were working that out through music. And he said: “I want you to write about it. I want you to write”, and cause I have a hard time – he thinks – talking it out? So he says it’s better for me to just write music about it. And it’s easier for me to connect to the truth, and not be in so much denial and protecting myself. So I would be better at writing a song than talking it out, right? So, I was kind of working out some music. Anyway, I happened to see an interview of Leonard Cohen! That day on YouTube, when he was releasing “Popular Problems”. And the interview lady was saying: “Well, how did you go to that monastery or whatever it was, and give up the drinking and the smoking, and the women, and lay on a mat and have a master that you know you were under for six years, and – you know, how did you give up all the sex and the drugs and all that?” Right? And he said: “Well, it wasn’t like I was a love gangster.” I was like: “Whaaaaat?! That’s great!!” And so then I went to the piano and I wrote that song that day. So anyway, thinking – again, it kind of comes from truth, but it’s also like kind of a fantasy, right? So I´m not thinking much of anything of that song, I just happened to bring it in that day and play it, knowing that he would hate it, because Dr. Davidson hates everything I write. And I played it for him, and he said: “Wow, that’s lovely.” And I’m like: “WHAT?!” And he’s like: “I love that.” He goes: “You’re writing your truth.” And he goes: “And I also like the music.” I couldn’t believe it! Because I would’ve never ever in a million years turn in “Love Gangster” to a producer to make a record out of. I write a lot of stuff that I don’t turn in. That’s just either for me personally or it’s just like an exercise – like exercising your writing that day, right? But because of Dr. Davidson’s response, I was like: “Cool!” So I turned it into Oliver. And Oliver really liked it! And I was like: “Really?! You love this ‘Love Gangsters’?” He was like: “Yeah, this is going to be great!” So I was surprised. I was very surprised. And then, the way it came out was even better than what I could’ve even imagined, so I just thought: “Well, frick, I’ll just put that on next.”
18. Next is “Coca Cola”. Is that you applying for an endorsement deal? I mean, you could’ve said “coke” instead…
A: (laughs) No, I know! No, I know. And it’s funny because when I’d written it, my manager said: “Oh my god! You can’t do that, we’ll get sued!” And I’m like: “David, you know what? Don’t rain on my parade, man. I just wrote this song, I really like this song. Do not bring bad vibes into the room.” So he went, I guess to my lawyer or whatever. And he asked him, and the lawyer said: “Nope. It’s totally legal, she’ll be fine.” So when I was writing it, I was thinking of “Sunday In The Park With George”, which is a very old, very, very old kind of American songbook style musical. And I just thought: “I want to do something musical that reminds me of that time.” And then the lyric came – like it always does with me – later. I always work the music first. And then the music tells me what it’s about. So in the music, after working on it forever – I really worked a long time on that one – then the lyrics started to come, and I realized it was something very sexy and fun, of a girl not looking for any one deep or some kind of – it’s just a young girl finding love in the summer at the beach. That’s light, and that’s fun, and there’s nothing heartbreaking about it. It’s just sexy and light. And he tastes like Coca Cola, which to me it’s not a beverage that people write about having heartbreak or deep, you know, anything deep happens with Coca Cola. You just have fucking fun and you laugh, you know? So, I just stuck with that. And then when I heard that – cause I didn’t even hear from my manager again about that, and I didn’t even care. Cause like I’m not a star! Who’s going to sue me? I’m not making any money! You’re not going to sue me for a song I’m not making any money off of. So I just thought: “OK”, I put it on the record. But then my drummer was asking me backstage recently: “Aren’t you afraid you’re going to get sued?” And I’d heard that from two other journalists. And I said to David – he was in the room backstage – and he said: “Nope, I checked in with your lawyer and you’re totally fine.” And I was like: “Oh, OK, good!” But I didn´t care either way. It’s like: “I don’t care”. Just do it, and if you get sued for it, then whatever – you deal with that. But, yeah, it’s just music, so…
19. Then there´s a song that´s pretty funky and has almost like a Motown vibe to it: “Let’s Get Together”…
A: Oh yeah, isn’t that fun? Now, that’s a co-write, and that’s someone who’s been a long time friend of mine for years, named Rune Westberg. I actually made a whole album with him called “My California”. And he and I have a really cool thing. Like in the beginning, I think that we wrote terrible songs together. But over time, we just for some reason kept running into each other, and he’s adorable, he’s from Denmark, and I love Denmark – I did a lot of touring in Denmark. And then he moved here. And so I would just go see him now and then, and we’d write. And I noticed over the years, we tended to write faster and more on the same page and I certainly learned a lot from him. So yeah, so that day we were just having fun, and we were messing around. And then that song just kind of wrote itself, real fast. And I didn’t even finish the lyric – we didn’t finish the lyric in time. So it was just a one day, couple hour write. And then we put a demo up. And so I sang the demo, he put down a quick electric guitar thing to a drum loop. And then did a bunch of backgrounds. And so I turned that in, you know, not knowing whatever – I turned in a ton of stuff to Oliver. Anyway, Oliver really liked it. But I hadn’t finished the lyric on it. And then I thought: “Why? Why finish the lyric? Fuck it! It’s just a fun, light, little ‘let’s get together’ fun song.” And so we just left the vocal that I did at Rune’s studio a year and a half prior. And then Oliver broke the track up around it. And it’s funny, because I was just at my mom’s yesterday, I just got back. And my sister and my mom had come out to a show in Scottsdale, several weeks ago. And they loved that song. So when I was sitting out in the porch – I think it was the day before yesterday – they were like: “Tell us the words to that song!” And I’m like: “There are no words! There’s like four words, and then the rest is: ‘Ooo ah ooo ah’! Like it’s nothing! It’s just light and fun!” Yeah, and it’s funny. I don’t think I ever did that before in my whole career, and I’m so glad I did, you know? It was just like: “Let’s get together and let’s have fun.” That’s it! That’s the whole fricking lyric, and you’re done. Bye-bye, you know. No deep thoughts. Just have fun.
20. Well, simple is better, isn’t it? Instead of overthinking things, just follow your emotions and go…
A: totally. I think that simple requires faith, and – you know, we as human beings… I mean, let’s face it: We’re pretty scared motherfuckers, you know what I’m saying? So it’s hard for us to have faith, so we´re always like overthinking, overproducing, overbuilding, over this, over that, you know. Out of just thinking that whatever it is naturally isn’t good enough, you know? So it was nice that we just kind of let it go. And I don’t think that we let it go because we had faith, I think we let it go because (chuckles) the session was up, you know? It was time to go home. And I’m so glad that it worked out that way, you know? It’s nice to have something simple and light and fun.
Beth Hart // Photo by Mona Nordoy
21. Also, there’s the big ballads about being lonely, being hurt or neglected. Is there a button you press and there it is?
A: You know, it’s not. I guess I would be considered very unprofessional when it came to… no one could ever call me up and say: “Hey, can you write this girl a song?” Or: “Can you write me a song for this movie?” I can not do that. I would love to be able to do that. I would probably make a lot of fucking money. But I just can’t do that. What I do is: I might ignore the piano for a long period of time. I might only go to it to practice or to just enjoy playing songs through that I’d written, that have yet been made to a record, and see if I tweak them a little. But that’s it. And then all of a sudden I’ll fall into a space where something will ignite me. Something will happen, like either something tragic – like with Michael Stevens – or I’ll be struggling with alcoholism again. Or someone that I love is… Or someone I know – someone I love or just someone I’m aware of – is going through some from of great struggle. And I’m afraid. So some kind of intense negative feeling will usually drive me to the piano. And sometimes an extreme feeling of peace or an extreme feeling of excitement – joy, happiness – that will drive me to the piano. But that’s not very often. Maybe peace will drive me to the piano 10% of the time. Maybe joy and excitement will be 10% of the time. And the rest is usually some type of struggle. And the reason why I go to the piano is just for that reason – to look for help. To look for a blanket to make me feel better. To look for God. To sing to God, to try to communicate to God, and see if he can help me out of what’s going on. And that’s why I go. So there’s no way I can plan to go write, you know, if I’m going to make a record. However, I can plan to do a co-write with someone where I meet and go write, let’s say with Rune. Or meet and go write let’s say Juan Wynans. Those are two people that I’ve written with in the last like five years or so. I rarely co-write. It’s not my favorite thing to do for that very reason. It’s hard to show up and turn it on. But if I need to turn it on, and I’m not doing it on my own at home, I haven’t reached that – whether it is excitement or intense peace or intense pain – then I can make an appointment. Go see Rune, and we can hang out for a while, fiddle around. And then he can excite that out of me. So that’s just kind of the way I do it. That’s the way I’ve always done it. And I’m fine with that. I’m really at peace with that now. There were years when I was younger, that every time I’d reach like writer’s block, I would think: “Well, that’s it. God’s abandoned me. He doesn’t want to talk to me. He won’t answer me. And I’ll never write again.” But as I’ve gotten older, I realize that that’s a bunch of bullshit. There will always be a well to pull writing from. And sometimes that well will be depleted. And then that’s when you just have to have faith to walk away and trust that well will be filled again – by living. By living life. And not trying to “create! create! create! create!” Instead just living life – go paint, go cook, go garden. Go hang out with friends, you know? Go get messy and in the mud. Live! And then that well will get refilled again, and you can pull from that again.
22. And your husband is used to the emotional Beth by now?
A: Oh, my god. My husband, that poor guy. I’ve driven him so insane. I’m not an easy woman to live with. He really is a saint – he’s a saint. I don’t know how he puts up with me. I try though, you know? I really do, I try and be really loving, and really complimentary, and I’m always thanking him for saving my life. Saving my life over and over again.” You know? But I’m not a difficult, you know, I’m definitely very emotional, and I have a lot of ups and downs, and so I’m not a very stable person to live with. But you know, it is what it is.
23. You’re said to be a good cook, though. Are you?
A: Yeah, I think I am kind of, yeah. I mean, I love it, so I think any time you love something and you do it enough, you’re bound to get kind of good at it. I mean, I’d like to think that I am, but maybe I would cook for you and you would hate it! I don’t know! But my best friend Ron I just made some killer meatballs that my mother gave me the recipe for. And he just freaked out. He was like: “Oh my god! These are the best meatballs I ever had!” But he’s my best friend, so you know what I mean? So I don’t know. I just know I like to do it. I like to do it.
24. In November you´re playing one German show before you embark on an extensive tour of the UK. Is that a new market for you?
A: No, it’s built. We’re playing large, large houses now, and we’re playing all over England. So it’s been that way for the last handful of years. I don’t know what happened. Well, I mean, I did have some things that did kind of well on radio. But yeah, I mean, it just kind of shifted and turned around for us. Yeah, actually my biggest markets now to play in Europe are France and England. And Germany, I think is like the one right underneath that. So yeah, it’s been good. It’s been a lot of years of working and trying to connect with the audiences in all of those countries. And it hasn’t been easy, but it’s been so worth it. Because we’ve gotten to really go into the small parts of all these different countries. And get to really see the countries. So it’s not like we’re coming in for the first time, and we’re playing a big venue, and we’re only in London, you know what I mean? It’s like we’ve gotten to really work all over – throughout Germany, throughout England, throughout France. And it’s just been really fantastic. We’re doing a lot of work now in Italy, and we’ve been doing a lot of work – basically everywhere, throughout all of Europe and Eastern Europe. So it’s just been great like a slow building, and now it’s really flourishing. And we’re all having such a great time playing in those larger audiences. Especially now, when we play theatres now. So, I love doing theatres. And I would’ve never said I loved them when I was younger. I think they intimidated me. But now, I just love a theatre. And everyone can sit and be relaxed. And we can just do our show for them. So yeah, it’s good. Really good.
25. Have you ever been tempted to move to Europe, spending so much time over here?
A: No. I’m a homebody, you know? I’m born and raised in LA. I did the thing of moving away twice – I moved to Brooklyn, New York, when I was 14. And then I moved to Alabama when I was 25, and it just doesn’t work out for me, you know? This is my roots, this is where I’m from. I love the weather in Los Angeles – love it. And I also love the town I live in – I live in Silver Lake, which is literally right on top of downtown LA. And I love it. So, yeah – this is where I’m from. These are my roots.
26. If Trump gets elected, would you consider leaving the country?
A: Yeah, I just said that very thing to my dad last night at dinner. Last night it was my dad’s birthday, and my dad loves Trump. And I could just wring my father’s neck – I’m like: “Are you kidding me with this?” But you know what? People have their own reasons for being Democrat, being Republican, liking this candidate, liking that candidate. Obviously, Trump is insane, he’s a psychopath. And it would be very, very sad if he were president. But I do think that if he were president – or at least I’d like to think, I’d like to believe that if he ended up being president, that this country is strong enough to even survive him. And that we won’t go down with him. So, that’s what I want to believe. The thing that scares me is like when he talks about wanting to have other countries with nuclear weapons? You know, that is just really terrifying. And he obviously has a really difficult time controlling his temper, you know? His ego’s a big one, so he doesn’t like anyone stepping on his ego. And if they do, he really strikes back fast. And you can’t have a leader that leads with their own ego, you know? You have to have a leader that leads with the people. With what is best for the people. You can’t have a hot tempered leader, that’s just not going to work. That’s just going to cause more chaos, more war. Like look with George W. Bush, you know? So, I’m just praying that whatever is meant to be is meant to be. And sometimes what’s meant to be is something that’s really hard – for who knows what reasons. Maybe we learn. Maybe we get humbled. I don’t fucking know. But I really hope that Hillary is the one. I really do.
27. On a lighter note: For this upcoming tour you have so many songs to choose from. How’re you going to mix the old with the new?
A: Yeah, so this is what I do for that: OK, so my band always knows at least 75 songs. They have to know a bulk of whatever songs I know people like from every record I’ve ever done, right? And then what we do is we go on the road, and we change up those songs night to night. So, Monday night we’ll play maybe three or four songs from “Screamin’ For My Supper”, and then on Tuesday night we’ll play three or four other songs from “Screamin’ For My Supper”. And we do that for each album. And that way we don’t get bored, and god forbid we get too rehearsed. I think that when a band is overly rehearsed, it is so fucking boring. It’s like watching paint dry. There’s something really nice about seeing a singer, seeing a band that’s human and is really taking on a piece. And they’re not quite sure about everything that they’re doing. And I think when that kind of doubt comes in, when you are doubting: “Oh my god! Am I going to be able to do this?” – there’s a beautiful passion and a humility that comes with that that I think is even more important than playing it perfectly. Perfect sucks. I’m not interested in that. I’m really interested in that vulnerability, that human vulnerability, and us being up there on that stage with that energy for that audience, you know? So, we change it up. And then for the new record, like for “Fire On The Floor”? I don’t think it’s a good idea to go out and play the whole record. What I think is good is that every night you go and you play maybe three or four songs from the new record. And then you begin to see through social media, you see through the audience themselves – they’re in front of you live – what they’re liking. And then you can kind of test it and figure it out. But also from country to country that changes. Songs that people might like in Italy, they might not like as well in, let’s say in Denmark. So there will be specific songs that I know Denmark – I have to play when I’m there, that they want to hear. And I am more than happy to play what they want to hear. So that’s something I have to be aware of, and make sure I try to do. And I’m not always successful at that, but I definitely try when I’m coming into a territory – to be aware of what the consensus is that people want to hear. And play that.
28. Have you picked up some Danish, Dutch or German along the way?
A: OK, so all I know in Danish is “tak”! (laughs) That’s it! So just that’s that. “Tak” – it means “thank you”. And then in Dutch I know like (Dutch), which is like “enjoy your food”, right? And “dank je wel”, which is like, you know… I think “dank je wel” is like “thank you very much”. Yeah. And then like in German, I only know like how to count to 10. So stuff like that. I mean, I’m not very good… you know, I tried so hard to learn a little French. I mean, you know what word I learned? “Un oeuf!” That’s it! “Un oeuf” – I learned how to say fucking “egg”. That’s it. I can’t do anything else. I just am not smart enough – I can’t do it. And I so envy how everyone in Europe knows like three, four languages, easy! And it’s like: “How do you guys do that!?”
Beth Hart In Concert – Live Data
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