You Are Free - 2003

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You Are Free - 2003

Post  Nicolaoua on Fri 16 Dec - 14:08



La sortie de You are Free en 2003 marque la fin d'un longue attente pour les admirateurs de Cat Power, puisqu'il s'agit du premier album composé de sa main depuis Moon Pix, 5 ans plus tôt.
Contrairement aux disques précédents, qui furent enregistrés en l'espace de quelques jours (voire en 1 seul pour Dear Sir et Myra Lee!), la production de You are Free s'est étalée sur de longs mois dans le studio d'Adam Kasper, entre les sessions qu'il dirigeait pour les Foo Fighters ou Pearl Jam. Dave Grohl et Eddie Vedder ont d'ailleurs participé à You Are Free, le second prêtant notamment sa voix sur Good Woman et Evolution.

Une quarantaine de morceaux auraient été enregistrés lors de ces sessions, et certains titres, dont Free ou I don't blame you, furent composés pendant l’enregistrement de l'album.

Les photos du disque sont signées Mark Borthwick, auquel on doit le concert expérimental de Cat Power Speaking For Trees, tourné la même année.

Side 1

-I Don't Blame You – 3:05
-Free – 3:34
- Good Woman (featuring Eddie Vedder) – 3:58
-Speak for Me – 3:04
-Werewolf (Michael Hurley) – 4:08
-Fool – 3:49
-He War – 3:31

Side 2

-Shaking Paper – 4:36
-Babydoll – 2:56
-Maybe Not – 4:19
-Names – 4:50
-Half of You – 2:42
-Keep On Runnin (John Lee Hooker) – 3:51
-Evolution – 4:44






Last edited by Nicolaoua on Sat 3 Mar - 13:08; edited 1 time in total

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Color Pictures

Post  Cokelike on Thu 23 Feb - 8:08










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"Free" Music Video

Post  Cokelike on Thu 23 Feb - 8:24


"Free" Music Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwet5Oj2pFQ


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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Cokelike on Thu 23 Feb - 8:49


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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Nicolaoua on Thu 23 Feb - 17:18

What are these photos? Promo pictures?

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Cokelike on Thu 23 Feb - 20:08


Yes, pictures taken from the old website promoting You Are Free.

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Information on recording, writing

Post  Cokelike on Thu 1 Mar - 5:31

You Are Free was released on 2/18/03. This is my favorite album Chan has released. Chan's first 2 albums, Dear Sir and Myra Lee were the results of her first proper recording sessions. Recorded with Steve Shelley from Sonic Youth, they allow you to hear the promise of an artist developing her craft. On her next 2 albums, What Would The Community Think? and Moon Pix, Chan worked harder and created some of her best songs. Her fifth album "The Covers Record" was also recorded quickly, following Chan's wishes to be able to tour behind and album of covers the she loved to perform. With "You Are Free" Chan finally had the chance to take her time with the development of an album. The sessions for this album went on for more than a year and reportedly some 40 tracks were recorded during the sessions. This was her first really "produced" album. There are tracks with string overdubs and other instruments that add to the flavor of the album. She collaborated with Dave Grohl on "He War" and "Shaking Paper" and Eddie Vedder on "Good Woman" and "Evolution". The album title "You Are Free" is such a wonderful statement. I always look at the cover and imagine her voice saying, "Hey, You Are Free. Do what you want to." The artwork, showing her and some kids playing in Central Park reinforces the theme.

------------------------------

From Chan's interview with theage.com, 9/6/03:

Chan: I was walking down the street and there was this piece of cardboard, floating along, being blown
about by the wind. I kept trying to grab it, and it kept flying away. I got all mad at it, and I ran after it and caught it and I turned it over and it said, in magic marker, 'You Are Free'. So I took it home, and had it pinned above my door for five years. I thought it was a nice, subliminal message. You Are Free.

--------------------------

From Chan's interview with Vivian for Helter Skelter, 11/17/02:

And for your new record you tried a lot of things and knew the arrangements.

CHAN: Just for fun. Not to be taken seriously. There are things that are…like that song "Free" or whatever. That song actually to me is like…I didn't originally…I might actually try to release it the way I originally wanted it which was just one guitar…(makes guitar sound) duh, duh duh, duh duh, duh…with nothing else in it except the message of like..um…it's almost like…opposite sexes…you know they get together sometimes but they're always kinda like…not against each other but they're opposites, you know? Sometimes they get together and they stay stuck, and they're like a couple. But not everybody has that intimacy, not everybody has that connection, that love or whatever. So I wanted that song to actually be just like the guitar and that one vocal and (makes cymbal hi-hat sound)…that's all…just the drum. But then I got uh…that's a problem because I've only ever recorded in three or four days at most and this time I was recording it mostly for free…well not really at all but…the different places I was recording had really good equipment. Really, really really nice vintage guitars, amps and microphones and things like this. Really great rooms and stuff like this, and I was really lucky to have that opportunity. So that's why the record has more on it than normal. To me it feels like there's a lot…maybe it's just because…there's so many other songs, too.

Because when I was thinking about the arrangements, I was thinking of songs like your recording of "Good Woman", you know.

CHAN: Yeah.

It's beautiful arrangements and if I remember, it's a chor…

CHAN: Are you sure?

A chor…a chor on it? Notes. Maybe it's not that song.

CHAN: Uh what what what? A what on it?

I think it's "Good Woman". Uh there's a sound-

CHAN: The chorus? The little girls?

Yeah, the little girls.

CHAN: Yeah. You should have seen 'em. We all had the headphones and I was layin' down. I had written it out in front of them and one piece of paper said…there we're like three pieces of paper. One said (singing, going up in scale) "I…Will…Miss…Your HEART!" and I was like (makes ascending pointing motion) "I will miss your heart". And there were two girls that are best friends and they're 10. Maggie and Sammy…Samantha and uh…I mean, hey, like they're total…anyway Maggie's like this tomboy, total tomboy. You know with the punk-rock bracelet and the t-shirt with the long t-shirt underneath and she's got the hat on, her hair's kinda hangin' out. She play's every instrument, she writes stories, blah blah blah. And the other girl is more feminine and they trade like uh lip gloss…

How did you meet them?

CHAN: I met them at a concert of uh…Paul Westerberg, played in Washington State. I was standing… because there was this huge long line to talk to Paul Westerberg or to say "HEY MAN!", you know. He was like there (points) and there was a wall here like this and the line went from here all the way around the record store all the way outdoor. And instead of standing in line I just stood right here on the wall and watched him, instead of getting in the fuckin' line. Excuse me. So I'm right here and there's this little girl right here, you know doing this (jumping motion) checkin' him out, lookin' over the wall, kinda bored and I'm thinking "Ok. I'm sitting here looking at Paul Westerberg…" because you know…I'm a huge fan...Everyone's…like "Wow. He seems ok, it's great" you know and there's this little girl and I said "What are you doing here?" You know 10 years old and she's like "Ah, you know. My mom,
my Dad, they love this guy" and I'm like "Oh really? What about you do you like him?" "He's alright, I like Replacements but I really like Sleater-Kinney" and I'm like "Really? Do you play an instrument? Do you play music, do you really like music?" "Yeah well I play drums, I play guitar. I'm supposed to play piano but I don't like piano so much. I love violin." It's like "Oh my god, what is her problem?" (laughing)

It's nice.

CHAN: Yes. So I invited her. I talked to her father. I talked to her mom, her mom was insane. She was like "HONEY GET THE CAMERA! GET THE CAMERA! Come on! You've got to get a picture of me and Paul! Come on! HURRY HURRY! OK". So her mom
was kinda like…but I talked to her Dad. So her Dad ended up…Her Dad brought…I wanted the whole family to come and the friends to come. But it ended up being the Dad, the Dad's best friend who plays music as well really really talented…anyway the two kids, two girls and the Dad and they came. We had Thai food, and we danced and laughed and it's was really fun. Recorded a couple of other songs actually, Rolling Stone's…I mean BB King. Is it BB King? "Can I get a witness?" I don't know who did that.

Uh, I don't know what that song was…

CHAN: I don't think it was BB King at all. (singing) "Can I get a witness"…

I seem to think Marvin Gaye -

CHAN: OH! Marvin Gaye! Whew!…sorry.

No problem.

CHAN: Ok, so um…yes. It was a great experience.

I love…also one of my favorite tracks on the record is the first one, "I Don't Blame You".

CHAN: Thank you. Really? Thank you. That's um…I want that to be the single.

Yeah?

CHAN: Yeah.

So of course I'll be asking you a-

CHAN: Personal question.

-who who-

CHAN: Who do you think it is?

-a musician, but I don't know.

CHAN: You'll have to take a guess. I want everybody to guess because there are so many of them. Anybody. Could be you
(laughs)

(laughs) I'm not a guitarist but um-

CHAN: Ok maybe not you.

Maybe it could be uh…maybe Kurt Cobain, uh-

CHAN: -Could be anybody!

Could be…(laughs)…you won't tell.

CHAN: I don't think I'm going to…I've only told one person so I think I'm going to keep it a secret.

So…it could be you also-

CHAN: That what's the person who I told who it was, told me. That they couldn't believe it because they thought it was me…and then I saw it in a whole different way! (chuckles) and I was like "No no no no no", so…

But it could be…

CHAN: Hmm? I don't think that's it. But, never mind. It could be anybody. There's a lot of 'em.

Yeah it could be a lot of people. But I like the lyrics-

CHAN: Thank you.

--------------------------

From Chan's interview with celestetabora.com, 2003:

How do you feel about your new album?

Chan: I'm just happy that I'm alive to turn it in instead of someone else turning it in for me.

How much time did you spend in the studio?

Chan: Within a year, every couple months - a couple days here and there.

--------------------------

From Chan's interview with Rodrigo Perez for Pitchfork, 1/3/03:

So let's talk about You Are Free. You recorded this record...

Chan: Sporadically. While I was traveling.

And Adam Kasper [Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam] produced it?

Chan: No, he engineered the record and mixed it. Because I don't want anyone ever producing me unless I'm giving my soul to them. Like unless they're writing the songs and I love them so much and I want them to fucking tell me what to do. But I'll never do that.

So how did you record while traveling?

Chan: Adam was working on other things, and I worked on his schedule. He'd get these really nice studios, and when he had off time we'd go in and then try to remember what we did like two months ago and pull that tape up. I'd be like, "Uh, no, I wanna do something new," and then I'd write a new song. So it basically worked like that-- every few months getting together and essentially writing new songs. And then after a year there were like 40 different songs and I was going a little insane. He was really helpful in figuring out which songs to use. At some point, you don't know what you're doing. There's no formula, there's no way to, it's... [long pause]. ...It's weird to talk about shit like this because it's something I usually don't talk about. It's like when you're brushing your teeth and then you're over there on one tooth and you think, "What makes you wanna go over to that tooth?" It's kind of awkward to talk about, you know?

Yeah, I've made some music myself, but I've never really had to...

Chan: Explain it? Just 'cause someone's asking questions doesn't mean anybody cares. And it shouldn't matter if anyone cares or not. As long as it matters to you, I guess, or whomever you're singing to.

So by having to record infrequently was it hard to create cohesion? Was it hard on the songwriting process?

Chan: No, not at all. The difficult thing was never fucking getting around to finishing it because we had so much liberty. [Adam] does a lot of big money stuff, so the studios he was getting were like really amazing-- amazing amps, amazing guitars, amazing mics, amazing spaces-- really organic, strange interesting places. But I felt like I was making a mess cause I don't [normally] do it this way. Usually you put the amp in the same place and you record [the album] in three days. The difficult thing was the idea of the songs lingering over there [points to an empty seat], and not being able to understand if it was real. Like, "Is this the record?" And then thinking, "Am I gonna put this out? Am I gonna put all these piano songs out? Am I gonna... What am I gonna do? I don't know. Oh, [Adam and I] will talk about it in a couple months." Or whatever.

So why did you choose Adam?

Chan: Well, I was looking for somebody who would let me do what I wanted to do, who's a really good engineer. I only sit in a room with someone who presses knobs 'cause I don't know really know how to do it. I'd love to do that by myself, but I need to have someone in there. You know, you rent the studio and they're in there and they're kinda like, [imitates old studio guy] "I mean, you wanna do this, you understand, but like... f-e-e-e-e-e-edback." It's like fuck off!

So you're searching for someone who speaks or understands your studio language?

Chan: No! Someone who will just shut the fuck up. What do I fucking care if you think I don't know what fucking feedback sounds like? You know what I mean? It's none of your goddamn business. So my friend was like, "You should try Adam Kasper, he's really great." But I wanted an engineer, not a producer, and he's like, "Oh yeah, totally, I'll tell him." So I got an e-mail from [Adam saying]: "Engineer, producer, whatever you want." I was like, hmmm... sounds a little too friendly, 'cause I didn't know him at all. I'd never met him before. So I emailed him back, and I was like, "I'm not interested in a producer, I only want an engineer and I want to get that straight so if you're interested, fine, if you're not, you're not." So that's the way it went.

You laid down the law, huh?

Chan: Yes, I did. I think it was hard. I think he's kinda of used to... he's got some big people, you know? [long pause] But I don't want to talk about Adam Kasper. I mean he's great, but that's the whole... this publicity machine... it makes me sick, cause they need a name, they need a... [makes a really disgusted face] blech! I just wanna get away from that. It just makes me mad.

I'm sorry, it's not really my intention to dwell on...

Chan: No, 'cause that's what people at labels do. They try and tell [journalists] stuff to make them write things about that stuff, when I don't want those things to be talked about at all. No, it makes me angry. It's fine to get to know someone and be friends with them and work together. But I wonder who... Because [my friend] said [Adam] was a fan and knew the music and things like that, which is why I think he wanted to [engineer] it. And that's great, but don't let [Adam] be the reason for me having a record out. That's kinda ridiculous. That person is another human being. Like it's sort of unrelated in many ways to me. 'Cause then I think about this guy and the other guys that I worked with on the record [referring to Eddie Vedder and Dave Grohl], and it's just like... I hate that fucking shit where it's about the labels, the names. It's all so very... It should be about what it is, rather than about namedropping and shit like that. It makes me sick.

Umm, that's cool. I know what you're saying.

Chan: No, you don't.

I don't?

Chan: No. I just got the advice from my friend. And you think, "Oh, he's your friend," but you don't want that to be the projection of the interview, the projection of the record, the projection of the magazine or the label in the bio. You don't want that to be a fucking part of it 'cause... ughh! It's so manipulative!

You can't control that sort of thing?

Chan: Nobody listens to me. [Points to her publicists] You think they're gonna listen to me? I mean, there's more to the story. Adam and I talked about him actually doing production, like producing, in a Sam Cooke-ish, really more R&B kind of way, just for fun. Like old Marvin Gaye... but see, I wouldn't want to be... I think...ugh... I'd just rather... I don't know. I don't know. It's like you can't be yourself if someone's directing you. You can't, it doesn't make sense. If you have someone directing you, you gotta lose all your stuff. You just get rid of it. Uuuuugh, I just hate that fucking idea. It just sounds so gross to me. [long pause] I've kind of had that problem when I was younger and I was so ashamed, and being a woman plus being ignorant and uneducated and stuff, and everyone around me were guys playing music and wanting to record. I just felt, I didn't know who to trust. 'Cause it's just some fucking songs! [She bangs the table] I feel like its so... uuuugh. I don't even wanna go there. I just don't even wanna talk about this. Change the subject. [laughs]

Okay, let me switch gears here. What's your favorite song on the record?

Chan: Tell me what yours is.

I really like "Free" on the new record, mostly 'cause it's so different.

Chan: [Chan gives me a sneer, like I'm totally bullshitting her] "Free" I liked better, but I then I started playing with it. But I like it when there's nothing on it but [the guitar].

What? What was that [look] about?

Chan: It makes me feel like a teenager.

The song? It's much more uptempo, more accessible than I think most people are used to. For that
reason, I think the song is really radical.


Chan: I don't think it's radical.

For you, I think it is.

Chan: Hmmm... okay. That's a great word, but I don't think that word sums it up.

I really like "Names" [a song that references the abused lives of several people by name] and I'm wondering if that song is based on people you know.

Chan: I know them. I don't know where they are. My friend said he saw one, "Charles," and said he's alive.
But some of the other ones I know I've tried to find on the... that thing, uh...

The Internet?

Chan: Yes. [Whispering] They're not there.

There's a line in "Free", that says, "Don't be in love with the autograph." Is that a comment on
the nature of celebrity?


Chan: It's like "kill your idols." Enjoy what you have yourself and what you can create. You don't have to look at a television, just... grass roots. Look around, enjoy art. Look to what to you have 'cause things look differently if you look at them all long enough. Just forget what you're supposed to know. It's not really a comment, it was just shit I was singing. You know how young kids buy music. They buy fucking billions of dollars of music and videos. People who appreciate music, like the old man listening to Chopin, like people who are getting moved by [music], by what's making them put records on repeat, they're searching for that energy that is relative to something that they understand, that makes them understand life and death. And their dreams, and their isolation and their idleness. Or their inferiority or their abusiveness or whatever. A lot of people ask what's it like to play music. It's like, fuck-- I never made music before I just started doing it. I've written stories, I've painted stuff, I've sewn clothes. If you do anything long enough and you're interested in doing it the way you want to, you don't need to adapt to like, "Do you like Christina or Britney?", that whole thing, that battle. I don't even want to talk about that because it doesn't even interest me. 'Cause how many teenagers and young girls growing up; there's not a choice for them musically unless they can find that cool fanzine, that has that cool record review about that cool band that probably broke up last week and only ever put out one single. Kids are in a world that's crapping over them all the time... loading them up with all this bullshit and sending them into corporate commercials.

We're lacking stronger female role models.

Chan: Of course, there never have been. Well, Harriet Tubman, but not really. I mean, there have been, but
they're not on our dollar bills.

So what's your favorite song on the record that you wrote?

Chan: I like the first one ["I Don't Blame You"], because it was the last one that I wrote, so it's the freshest in my memory. I remember when I was at the piano and we were mixing and I kept playing it over and over and over while no one was there. They were playing ping-pong and stuff. So I just asked, "Can I record this song real quick?" I like it 'cause it's so fresh in my mind and I'm just glad that I did it, 'cause I could have just forgotten it.

Do you record usually quickly like that?

Chan: Those are usually the ones. That's the problem with recording that I have. Because all your songs are completely stripped down at first and that's the way they sound to you. But then you get into the studio and you try a little bit of this, and try a little bit of this [bangs on table], and then a little bit of this. 'Cause you got time on your hands, 'cause it's a fucking free studio.

-----------------------------

From Chan's interview with Suzannah Tartan for Japan Times, 1/26/03:

On the recording of "Shaking Paper":

Chan: You don't know what you are doing. You have a guitar plugged into this electric thing and headphones on and you are just listening to something growing and coming and you don't know what is going to happen or how it is going to end up.

Some of the songs on the album benefit from the help of a Foo Fighter and a Pearl Jam member, who make guest appearances.

Chan: I don't like the spectacle because they are just normal people. Though they have a different lifestyle, they are human beings. Just call them E.V. and D.G.

------------------------------

From Chan's Interview with The Independent, 2/7/03:

Chan: The album? The album isn't anything. To me, the album isn't even an album. It's, like, periods of time in this ant's life, just looking at... stuff. I never wanted to put out another record after The Covers Record. But I kept playing shows, living life, meeting people – younger people, mostly, now I'm getting older, when before it was peers at my concerts. And they'd say, 'When's your next record coming out?' So I felt guilty. I felt bad. And y'know, it's for free – the record company's like, 'Oh, we'll put your record out.'"

On "Werewolf":

Chan: It's just a song a guy wrote. A guy nobody... I don't want to say nobody likes, but no one's heard of, because he's not hopping around on one foot shaking his tail feathers and bending over backwards with a rose in his teeth trying not to spit while he swallows an enchilada, or doing brain surgery for no reason. I mean, he's not a market-able object.

-----------------------------

From Chan's interview with John Payne for LA Weekly, 2/13/03:

Chan: The poppy songs were just fun to do. I was thinking about teenagers and how they're like the boys over here and the girls over there and, you know, they're so scared of each other, but they like each other so much, but there's nothing in school that kinda helps them get along. I know they teach sex education, but they don't teach understanding and communication. Sex, sex, sex, sex — and then when they go home they don't understand the human part.

Chan: Music is like a place where there's no limit. You have that within you, like with painting — there aren't any rules; you don't even have to think about what you're saying or what you're thinking. That's the best thing about creating; it's just making stuff up.

-----------------------------

From Chan's interview with Jonathan Cohen for nudeasthenews.com, 2/19/03:

Did you go into the studio with these songs at any point?

Chan: Yes. Before I put out Covers Record, I did that and had all these songs. I thought that was going to be the record. But that's why I put out The Covers Record, because I felt like I had a bad thing in my stomach. It wasn't time for that. I felt something telling me to do The Covers Record. I had this love for a lot of those songs and they made me feel joyous. I didn't want to do the other songs, one of which was "He War." It sounds so much different now, which I don't like. I hate that. It doesn't sound the way it used to sound because I hadn't played it in so long. Oh yeah. This record, because my friend Adam - who did not produce - I made sure.. I really wanted a good engineer.. someone I could really talk to in the studio. Everytime I've tried to do that, it's some guy who is like [affects snotty voice] "what you realize here is that you're going to have a lot of feedback." I have to deal with that so much being a girl. That shit pisses me off so much, in the same way as when someone on the street kind of looks you up and down and laughs. It's the same kind of vibe, and I want to fucking beat the shit out of.. I don't want to do that [laughs]. But I definitely get mad, angry, and aggressive. And I don't like getting aggressive.

So I'd rather have someone I can work with who I can talk to and relate to about music, instead of treating me like something I'm not. So my friend said, "you should ask Adam [Kasper]. He's a producer, though." And I was like, well, you know, I want an engineer. No. Everyone was telling me to get a producer. I kind of like acted like I would do that but I knew I didn't want to. Sometimes people pressure you and get on your fucking back about shit, especially because you're a woman, maybe you're from the South, maybe you're younger. I've had these problems. Then Adam emailed me and asked if I need an engineer-slash-producer. I was just like [typing on table] "I don't want a producer! I think we need to get that straight right now, because if you're going to work with me, blah blah blah." There were times in the studio when I freaked out. We'd get in fights and the next day it would be okay. He really, totally supported me and helped me in the studio. I could actually talk to him and it wouldn't be like, "oh, fuck." Sometimes it would be though.

Where did you record?

Chan: That's what I was going to answer. Adam was working on different stuff like Pearl Jam. When he'd have an off day, I'd fly in and have two days on the sly. Songs like "Evolution" and "I Don't Blame You" and "Names" and "Maybe Not," those were written because I was just alone in a hotel room or in a studio. I'm not around instruments. I used to have a piano but I was never around to play it. I wrote a lot of songs on it, which aren't on this record. They're going to come out sooner or later. I wanted to put the fresher ones; the ones I was writing in-between recording all these other songs that I had. Those songs are more special in a way to me because they are fresher. But I need to put songs like "Good Woman" and "Werewolf" on. I knew if I didn't put "He War" on it would never come out. "Speak for Me" was just me, literally, playing around.

Sometimes I do that. Like "Cross Bones Style," I was just playing around. Those songs I feel really removed from, because they're not, you know.. it's like a different thing. It feels different somehow. It is more experimental songwriting because.. there's this other one that will come out later and it's called "You." I was thinking about my friend who died. We were trying to figure out which amp and I was just playing guitar and starting to make something up. That's what I do while I'm waiting around. That is when "Names" came about. Nobody is paying attention. I was sitting there and I started thinking about a friend who I wished could have played on "Good Woman." So that made me think of him and I started playing "You." It is also about another woman I know who is this extreme sexual object and is very self-destructive. It is also about planet Earth. I don't know what I'm talking about. But there were so many different studios. A couple of days here and there. Sometimes I would show up, fly into a place, and have four or five days open but just work on one day. We'd sit there with two bottles of scotch, packs of cigarettes, laughing and listening to old songs and going, "this is so stupid!" "Ooh ooh ooh, I have an idea! Is the tape rolling?" Sometimes it was like, "what are we doing?" You get removed from them. Sorry!

How many of the 40 songs did you record?

Chan: 40. Yeah.

What went into the selection process?

Chan: Confusion. Indecision. This is record number one and we have to get that one done. So we have this package and these other things. I need to turn a record in because I'm a year late. [she arranges imaginary CDs on the table] Let's take these here. Let's move this there. Wait a minute. Let's go back here. But wait. It's a mess. It's so stupid. I should have already released all that stuff.

Will it come out?

Chan: Yeah, it will. But maybe it won't [laughs]. It will but I don't know when.

I want to ask about a couple of specific songs. "I Don't Blame You" sounds like a performer addressing his audience.

Chan: It's not about me. No. That person who is going insane? Oh, yes absolutely. That's why I empathize with it. It is a performer. But there are lots of performers who have come before that person. I don't want to mention who that person is because there is so much bullshit surrounding that person.

We talked about "Good Woman" a little..

Chan: And the two little girls singing on it are Maggie and Emma from Seattle. They're 10. They're almost 11. They're really so cool. They're really great.

That song is a break-up song but it seems like it could be written from either person's perspective.

Chan: Of course. That's what I wanted. That's a decision I made when I was listening to it. I didn't want to be alone in that. Men have suffered as well. I think it's the disconnection between men and women with each other which is the reason for problem marriages, abused children, neglected love, mistrust, lies, and infidelity. That missed connection is why that song was written. It was really refreshing because the person who sang on that song heard the song.. I wanted that person to sing on that song because I was in that city. We had sang a song earlier, the day before. Or maybe it was earlier that night. It was this person wanting to sing a song together and we did that. But then I was thinking I really would love it if this person I'm speaking of -- who I'm not going to mention, because that isn't really important, but he's a really great guy [editor's note: Marshall is referring to Eddie Vedder]. It would be great if you could lend your, because you have a pretty voice, if you could lend your.. it would really help the flipside of what's important about men and women in relationships. Sorry!

There are some sparse songs with just you, but some have other musicians. Does this have anything to do with having so much material to choose from?

Chan: I do hear other instrumentation on some songs. There's a certain energy some songs have to me. But there's some I don't want to touch with a 10-foot-pole. That's how I felt, actually, a long time ago about some songs from other records that were recorded with a band. It was always improv. I didn't want to practice because I was really shy about playing with other people. I kind of got manipulated into doing it, because people were like, "it's really cool. You really should play! We want to be your band." And I said, "I don't know. Why. What's wrong with you?" Then, I realized it was no big deal and now it is easier to play with other people. I feel like I murdered some of the songs by having a band on them. I fought hard with myself about not wanting drums on a song. It doesn't always have to be band. That's why I was really adamant about The Covers Record being completely nothing except a song. Songs are what inspire so much in so many people. It's so important. Not important. Not a big deal. But a handshake. There's so much.. sometimes something simple is just so simple. And easy to understand.

Did Adam ever try to talk you..

Chan: Adam did try to talk me out and talk me into things a lot. That's what I mean about us getting in fights. We did have arguments and there were times I know he questioned being my friend ever again. But if that's what I need... This is exactly why I wish I didn't need an engineer. I wish I knew how to do all the buttons myself. But I don't and that's why I needed... so..

Well, did you come to a compromise on anything?

Chan: One of the guys in the studio put the piano for "Evolution" into a chamber where... I don't know what it is, but it's like a vibration. It makes the sound tremble, rather than a reverb or an echo. It's like a shaking sound. That we kept on the record. The tamborino on "Baby Doll." I wanted castanets but it didn't work. "Baby Doll" all I wanted was this noise at certain points.. something to punctuate.. it was always a push for time. The tamborino guy at the beginning of the song was just practicing. Well, maybe we should just not put it in the song and leave it on the record as an intro. That was definitely not what it was supposed to be.

The songs that do have drums could really be big and powerful live.

Chan: Yeah. My favorite one with drums is "Shaking Paper." I really love the drums on that. When my friend [editor's note: Dave Grohl] was playing.. I got to get exactly what I heard in my head. It was really kind of physically painful for him to do. I got to hear what I heard in my head. It is the same thing for four minutes, I felt guilty for it but I'm so happy, because he was doing exactly what I heard. I probably would have started crying.

And "Names" was something you were making up on the spot?

Chan: Yeah. I got reminded of some people I met at different schools growing up. I went to a lot of different kinds of schools: the inner city school, the cornfield school, the rich-but-fucked-up kids school. The human condition is always the same. It doesn't matter what kind of person you meet. It is always the same stories everywhere. That is always really depressing. Not depressing. But things happen to innocent kids by adults and by society, because society controls children and what they're supposed to think and do and say. I think it is really disgusting that things like that aren't talked about more openly. In the adult world, they keep it hidden. Things like that are probably reasons why we're about to blow up Iraq. Adults don't take responsibility for themselves or their children and it's really sick.

They have shelters and support groups and stuff. Ever since the '50s, or even the '20s, really what shook 'em was getting some opium or going and being a prostitute. Just fucking living their life. Leaving the church. Or a man falling in love with another man. OK. Murder me. I'm going to be myself. That is really hard for people in society, especially for children. Nobody protects their beautiful, perfect.. not perfect.. just difference. No one protects differences. They want to keep differences under wraps so everybody can be the same. Sorry! You know what I'm saying. I do have to go really soon because my car comes at 2:45. I need to go home to pack. Would you walk me to my house? Okay, next question

About "Names." Is what's on the record the first take?

Chan: Yes. Um, oh. Yes. But, "I Don't Blame You" I sat there while everybody was playing pool, ping-pong, and getting stoned while we were mixing and transferring tape. I was in there singing that song. We'd all been drinking all night or whatever. I was remembering somebody and I was just sitting there. Remember I told you I don't want to forget a song so I have to play it over and over and over? I must have played it 20 times. I got so completely delirious that when Adam walked in he was laughing at me. Usually I don't sing when anyone walks around. I was just staring at him and laughing and singing. I was like, [singing] "Adam, why don't you and press record."

------------------------------

From Chan's interview with Michael Goldberg for Neumu, 3/3/03:

Chan: It's like when you get thirsty, or you get hungry, and you say: 'Aw, man, I really need some water'; it's like 'Aw, man, I really wanna play guitar,' or 'Aw, man, I really wanna read a book,' or 'Aw, man, I really wanna go swimming,' or, 'Aw, I wanna make out.' It's just listening to instinct, and that's not hard.

------------------------------

From Chan's interview with Simon Wooldridge for HQ Magazine, 6/XX/03:

On "I Dont Blame You":

Chan: It's not about [Cobain]. That's all I can say… I'm not gonna say who it's about.

-------------------------------

From Chan's interview with CNN, 7/18/03:

Are you happy with your new album, "You Are Free"?

Chan: Yes and no. [I'm happy] because I did it, and it's what it is. And I kept my end of the deal, you know? I promised that I would have another record. And I'm not happy with it because nothing is ever perfect and nothing is ever what you want it to be, ever. But I accept it. So that means it's like yin and yang -- I accept it for what it is. It's not the best, but I accept it.

I've read that this is an epic record for you. How do you feel about that?

Chan: I think that it's important for a lot of people to -- my friends say, "Chan, you're just going to have to keep doing what you're doing because you've been doing it for a while, and you have to kind of accept that this is what you do now. And I think that I'm realizing that that is important, that people, younger people, nderstand that what I'm doing is the same thing they could be doing. Even if it's just expressing themselves ndividually in anything that they are doing, whether it's school, at home, with their friends, with their loved
ones, whatever. Just like expressing yourself individually is the most important thing that's been completely
annihilated from our social structure.

-----------------------

From Chan's interview with theage.com, 9/6/03:

Chan: Knowing what we know now, knowing the history of the '60s, it seems like there’d be more. It’s hilarious that there aren’t any radical artists, any healers marking out what their vision is. No one is
radical anymore.

Asked what freedom means to her, Marshall responds:

Chan: Do whatever you want, whenever you want to, as long as you’re not hurting anybody else. I feel like our lives, individually, are so precious. You only live once, and then you go to heaven, so why is there any fear about being free? Fear is such a part of the militant structures of society, to keep us enslaved. The neanderthal stupidity of war. Lying and killing is just so stupid. It’s obvious, I know — everything is just obvious.

On "Names":

Chan: Those are different people I knew at school, growing up. I don’t make songs up — that bugs me, when I meet a person who wrote a song that means so much to me, and they say it was all made up. It happens to everybody and the sadness is, there's no help for these people. There’s no school class that teaches them: 'This is happening to you, you can find a way to be safe, there’s a place for you in this world'. Adults have all these self-help groups, but children are on their own. It’s this big secret, so taboo, but it happens to millions of children and it obviously affects society. It affects the way those children bring up their own children, it affects the people they befriend, the way they speak, the way they act. I guess those abused boys who are now men, who were hurt by the priests within the Catholic religion, feel some sense of validation now it’s been exposed, but I can’t believe it took so long. It’s important to talk about things like that.

-----------------------

From Chan's interview with Cynthia Joyce for Salon.com, 9/30/06:

When asked what her favorite song to perform is, she answers without hesitation, "I Don't Blame You."

Chan: I'll never tell you what that song is about. That feeling of not being understood, but supposedly being understood by everyone ... being inside of a spectacle, it's like being a prisoner of war. I don't know if that makes sense. It would be like being in an insane asylum, where you are who you are, and the only person you've ever been is yourself, but then they want you to be someone else. What it's about is very simple. It's about someone who plays the guitar, but to me it signifies sort of Everyman's feeling. I just like it, because I can feel like that, like 'I didn't want to play this fucking song tonight,' and it can translate to the audience. There's a lyric in it, 'You never owed it to them, they never owned you anyway.' I like saying that to the audience. I like that I can look at them and say that to them. It makes me feel good about being a musician. Because maybe I didn't sound good that night, or maybe I didn't [sighs heavily] give a good performance. But at least I was able to look at the 14-year-old kid and maybe somewhere it resonated -- maybe that kid got the words, that nobody owns me. A lot of people think my music is sad. It's not sad, it's triumphant. I'm triumphant. If people can be open enough with themselves to be creative and let things like that come out, you know, allow themselves to feel things enough to be that honest with themselves -- I feel like that's really positive. Even though that might sound sad.

On "Good Woman":

Chan: I had just been with someone I'd known since I was 18, and I was deeply in love with him for a long time, and I was just sad, you know, and I couldn't do it anymore," Marshall says, explaining the song's origin. "I was sad. I was all the way across the world, calling him -- two friends of ours had just passed away in Atlanta, and I was just really sad. He was an alcoholic -- he's now since sober, has a family -- but he couldn't love me in that state. I don't know. He was a drunk. He loved me, but he couldn't find the responsibility to respect me the way I needed to be respected -- I mean, it was just half-steps and backslides all the time. It wasn't like he was mean or hurtful. He was a really big part of my life. I couldn't be angry with him, but I needed to move on, you know what I mean? I just had to move on.

-------------------------

From Chan's interview with Fred Armisen for Pitchfork, 10/30/06:

You're very popular in the "SNL" offices. "He War" was played all the time.

Chan: I hate that song.

Don't hate that song.

Chan: Horrible song. It's supposed to sound like the original recordings-- more Stones-y. With a live band. But when I went to record it by myself in the studio doing everything, it sounds like...

No way, the version I heard I love. And the video I love so much.

Chan: The video is good, but I just don't like...I was trying to describe this to someone about acting, because I've never been an actress, but these videos are so weird, because they had me playing a person. Like, "Okay, tell me what to do, tell me who I am." "You're a postal worker." "So how do I feel? Do I feel grumpy about getting up this early? Or do I like this orange juice I'm drinking?" Do you know what I mean? And he was just like, "No, dude, you're just kind of waking up, and going to work, okay?" And I'm like, "Am I me going to work?" So in my video, I am me. It's the weirdest feeling. You are you in the song. You're lip-synching the song. It feels so strange, it doesn't make any sense, because, like in videos everybody looks into the camera, like you're talking into the camera, and nowhere in reality is that normal. I mean, except with friends and stuff like this, but I mean, as far as some sort of artwork, I don't know if that makes sense. It has nothing to do with music. Being in a video, lyrically speaking, your persona has nothing to do with being in a video.

--------------------------------

From Chan's London interview, 4/XX/97:

What was the last song you wrote?

Chan: It's about where in Asian culture the sound of shaking paper supposedly wards away demons. I wrote that driving round in my rental car in Portland.


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Cover and Back

Post  Cokelike on Thu 1 Mar - 5:58

Her last concert of 2011 was in St. Louis at Loufest (I will write a detailed review of the concert later). I was able to attend and at the end of the show I threw my vinyl copy of the album on stage with a marker attached. The album hit her feet and she picked it up. After writing, she held the album above the audience and waved it back and forth. One of the security guys who had seen that I threw it, took it from her and handed it back to me. On the back Chan had added haloes above the kid's head and a heart above her hands. On the front Chan wrote "I Love You, Chan". Thank you so much, Chan. I will cherish your memento from this concert forever. You are one of the few true artists out there. Thank you for all the music.

Autographed copy of "You Are Free", signed by Chan on 8/28/11, St. Louis.




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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Nicolaoua on Fri 30 Mar - 8:06

I didn't realize that it was written especially for you! Congratulations!
I'm looking forward to your LouFest review.

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8/28/11 Loufest Review

Post  Cokelike on Fri 30 Mar - 10:39

Yes, it was only that I brought the album with me that I was able to get her autograph. I wasnt sure if it would work, but I saw a guy do the same thing at a Paul Mccartney concert. So I figured, why not?

Loufest Review:
http://odetochan.forumgratuit.org/t62-cat-power-st-louis-loufest-8-28-11


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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Sab on Fri 30 Mar - 12:00

Nice review, Cokelike. Thanks for sharing this great memory with us.

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Nicolaoua on Sun 5 Aug - 7:09

Good woman live by Eddie Vedder

http://soundcloud.com/jerometurner1980/eddie-vedder-good-woman-cat

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Nicolaoua on Mon 18 Feb - 15:53


It was 10 years ago today... Happy Birthday to "You are Free"! Time went by so quickly...

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Sab on Mon 18 Feb - 17:25

My favourite one!

Je ne désespère pas d'entendre Speak for me ou He War en live un de ces jours...

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Cokelike on Mon 18 Feb - 19:40


http://diffuser.fm/cat-power-you-are-free-album-released/

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Cokelike on Tue 19 Feb - 5:16

Nicolaoua wrote:
It was 10 years ago today... Happy Birthday to "You are Free"! Time went by so quickly...

Did you ever notice:

That beside album title and the song "Free", she also sings "dont you want to be free" and "we can all be free" on "Baby Doll" and "Maybe Not"?

That there is massive hiss on "Keep On Runnin'"?

That she overdubbed herself yelling "Free" and mixed it low during the last 10 or so seconds of "Free"?

That "Free" features the Casio SK-5 for the drum sounds?



I've also thought about how Moon Pix seems more of a personal album, whereas this album with lines like "Everybody, get together", and the lyrics of "Maybe Not" makes it more like reaching out to and addressing the listener. For me, its still somewhat of an ambiguous album. I'm still not totally sure what songs like "Shaking Paper" and "Speak For Me" are about.

I love how it ends with "Keep On Runnin'" and "Evolution" back to back. Her background vocals on "Keep On Runnin'" are just amazing to me. I also love how the album starts and ends with piano tracks and the more overdubbed stuff is in the middle.

In addition to the 14 tracks that made it to the album, there were supposedly a lot of outtakes. I wonder what exactly they were? I'd guess the following might have been recorded:

The Party - This ended up being the japanese bonus track so likely recorded for the album.

Willie Deadwilder - This is mentioned as a You Are Free outtake. But is it really? Would it really have been considered for the album? Or was it just recorded around the time of the sessions. Chan mentions just waking up and recording this so it seems like a spur of the moment thing.

In August 2002, I would guess right around the middle of the sessions for the album, she recorded the Speaking For Trees film in which she basically plays her current repertoire. "I Dont Blame You" and "Evolution" are both played, showing she had them in mind by this date. But also included are a few songs that she might have laid down in the studio as well:

Funny Things - This seems pretty likely since it was played a lot around this time.

Islands & The Moon - Both of course, recorded for "The Greatest".

Also from her live concerts around this time: Real Life, When I Lay Me Down, My Daddy Was A Musician, Why, Norma Jean

---------------------------

Hey Chan, how does "Speak For Me" go?

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Nicolaoua on Tue 19 Feb - 7:19

Cokelike wrote:

---------------------------

Hey Chan, how does "Speak For Me" go?

That's fascinating! Do you have the full interview?

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Cokelike on Tue 19 Feb - 7:29

Nicolaoua wrote:That's fascinating! Do you have the full interview?

Yes, available in the Interviews section

11/17/02 - Helter Skelter Interview (Audio and Text)
http://viviane.vog.free.fr/cat1uk.html

The audio interview runs for about an hour and is in ten parts, there is also text for the interview at that site too. But you gotta hear Chans voice for stuff like this clip. This might be the closest we ever get to a live "Speak For Me". Smile

This is actually an interesting interview, she seems to do very few that year. It also appears that the album was completed by this date since the interviewer mentions different tracks from it. He must have heard a copy. I need to go through and add some more quotes from this interview into the main post I made with all the other quotes.

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Nicolaoua on Tue 19 Feb - 7:40


Thanks a lot! There are now so many great things to discover on the forum that i'm sure that i didn't read/heard all of them! prosterne

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Cokelike on Tue 19 Feb - 7:47

Nicolaoua wrote:
Thanks a lot! There are now so many great things to discover on the forum that i'm sure that i didn't read/heard all of them! prosterne

Actually, same here! I dont think I got to all those interviews, tried to read most of them. The part where she talks about "Speak For Me" is part 5 at about 3:30.

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Cokelike on Tue 19 Feb - 8:36


This is the most I've heard of her playing "He War".

9/16/04, Dallas, TX

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Cokelike on Tue 19 Feb - 8:56


Probably one of the last performances of "Maybe Not", 9/20/06, Mexico City.


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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Nicolaoua on Tue 19 Feb - 10:34

Cokelike wrote:

This is actually an interesting interview

Indeed, and i love the conclusion: "putain, merde, fait chier". clap

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Chan Fender on Tue 19 Feb - 19:57

Sab wrote:My favourite one!

Je ne désespère pas d'entendre Speak for me ou He War en live un de ces jours...

So do I! "Speak for me" is my favorite from all the Cat Power songs, I wonder if Chan has ever played it in a show??

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Re: You Are Free - 2003

Post  Sab on Tue 19 Feb - 19:57

waouh! Nice, thank you for the videos...

Event though I don't recognize Speak for me! Laughing

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