July 24, 2006

Janis Joplin

Ran across this article in the LA Times, "A Backstage Pass to Intimate Moments in Rock's Oddessey" the whole thing is worth reading but this excertp on Janis is what got to me. Written by the author of the above article, this is what he had to say after interviewing her:

When I caught up with Joplin at a rehearsal, nothing about her suggested "star." It was as if all the flashy boas, oversized glasses and Gypsy-hippie attire were her way of compensating for the beauty that nature failed to provide. Minus that camouflage or an audience to energize her, she seemed weary.

Finally, she retreated to her dressing room, collapsed onto a sofa and reached slowly for a pack of cigarettes. She was tired, she said — tired of fighting with businessmen and musicians and the writers who wanted to know where the pain in her voice came from.

When her road manager closed the door on his way back to the stage, the room felt like a cell. Like the best rock 'n' roll, Joplin's music was mostly about freedom, and yet she seemed trapped. I felt like an intruder. I didn't want to be just one more guy asking about the pain.
"Is there anything you'd like to talk about?" I asked.

Joplin stared back at me across the room. "Man," she finally said, "don't you even have your own questions?"

For me, the time with Joplin was a crash course in rock 'n' roll reality — an introduction to themes I'd encounter time and again. In the end, she got past my clumsy start and began talking about feeling like an outcast growing up, her music, her lifestyle and the one constant in her world: loneliness.

"Somehow you lose all the old friends," she said. "When we're not on stage, we rehearse, lay around in bed, check in and out of motels, watch television. I live for that hour on stage."

On stage that night, Joplin "the star" emerged. Ultimately, though, the lonely hours proved too much. Less than a year later, Joplin was dead in a hotel room. An accidental heroin overdose, it was said.


Perplexio said...

Maybe she just felt she'd never find the freedom she so richly desired in her life and decided to try looking on the other side for that freedom. :-(

Layla said...

I guess we'll never know for sure. Just like so many that left us in a similar way - was it intentional or did the drugs take over?

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