Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Linda Perry - In Flight

Linda Perry is one of the strongest female voices to swagger into rock 'n roll. Part Grace Slick, part Johnnette Napolitano, but unique in her own right and a little quirky, it didn't take long before Perry's solo performances at various Bay Area nightclubs were attracting the attention of scenesters and fellow musicians. One such musician was Christa Hillhouse, who was in quest of a new lead vocalist for her group 4 Non Blondes. Hillhouse asked Perry to join up with her outfit, which also included Shauna Hall and Wanda Day. Perry agreed to give it a try and it wasn't long before 4 Non Blondes were being courted and eventually signed by Interscope Records. The group's debut, Bigger, Better, Faster, More, was released on Interscope in 1992. After 4 Non Blondes imploded Perry sought out a solo career. In 1995 Perry wrote and recorded In Flight. Darker, and more dynamic than her work with 4 Non Blondes, Perry came into her own as an artist on this exceptional recording. Released on Interscope, In Flight was perhaps too dour or sincere to capitalize on the alt-pop success of 4 Non Blondes and the record was hardly noticed by critics, radio, or fans.
Today, Linda is one of the most sought after songwriters/producer. Take a look at her track record to what she's done. From Pink and Gwen Stefani to Jewel and Cheap Trick and many more, she has lent her considerable melodic sensibilities to each, all with critical and commercial acclaim…in a very short time, I might add. There was no greater measure of her abilities, however, than the song that launched Christina Aguilera into the stratosphere of super-stardom, "Beautiful". Once Perry had established a reputation as an estimable song doctor she called up Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine and asked for her album back.
"I guarantee you'll grow to like it. You know, it's a kind of record you have to work at, it's not easy, I didn't make it easy for you to get it. You have to sit with it, and you'll appreciate it. There's a lot of things going on, but there's a lot of space, and it's very mellow, it's very powerful I think, and it's very personal. So the best way I recommend it, you get stoned, you turn the lights down low, you get two sets of headphones, one for you, and one for the person you're about to screw, and you'll love the record (laughs)." - Linda Perry (Andrian Pertout Interview July 1996)
"A few songs were written for…like I wrote it while I was working on the second 4 Non Blondes record, and it's actually some songs I wrote and I brought in and the band looked at me and said "Well?" "Freeway", "In To Deep", "In Flight" and I don't know… another song on there, "Knock Me Out", those were songs that I wrote for the second record and the band just thought I was out of my mind and they were like, "That's not, you know…. we don't like that, that's too different of a direction." And I would just look at them with this blank look, like, you know, okay. Then I would disappear for literally about 10 or 15 minutes and come back with this crap ass, fucking rock tune that sounded like shit to me, that had no emotional attachment, and they were like "yeah, that's more like it." And I just finally got to a point where I said, "Listen guys I just think we want to make two different records, cause you guys want to make the first record again, and I want a complete departure because I wasn't happy with that record and I feel that I have a lot more to offer music than just a bunch of crappy little fucking fast songs. If that's what you guys want to do, you can keep these songs that I wrote. I'll help you find a singer, and you know, I'll help you guys get it together. Other than that I'm out of here." So that's what I did. They obviously declined. Well the label ended up dropping the band, which was unfortunate but kept me, and that was not my intention. I wanted to make a record that wasn't going to be a hit; that was dark; that was expressing my emotions of how I felt, because I needed to do that for myself. Is it a great record? I'm not too sure. But I love it. Do I feel successful from it? Absolutely. So the process of it was once I realized I was out of the band, then I was opened. I was able now to be free, and start really going there with all the other songs. Then I think "Fruitloop Daydream", I wrote in the studio with the boys, and there might have been another song I did with them. It was a wonderful experience. One of the things that bugged me about 4 Non Blondes, was that I used my voice 100 per cent, it was always in your face, it was so annoying. When I hear that record I just cringe. To me it's like nails to a chalkboard. It's so annoying I can't take it. I probably listened to that record a total of 10 times, so when I was doing "In Fight". I wanted to sit down. I wanted to smoke my cigarettes. I wanted to have my glass of wine. I wanted you know have the lights down. I wanted candles all over the place, and I just wanted to be mellow. And I wanted to use my low register because I really like my low register. Because it's not often that a woman has such a low register. So I wanted to embrace that. I was felling really mellow, I was feeling really emotional, I was very suicidal. I was really dark and that's the kind of record I wanted to make. Could I have gotten darker? Fuck yeah. I absolutely could have. But I didn't feel… my heart didn't want to go there yet. So I did what I was allowed to do in my emotions."(Morley Seaver Interview)

“It’s rich, melodious and spooky more Pink Floyd than Pink with Perry’s throaty vocals far more intimate and subdued than the singer of What’s Up was…it’s well worth a listen (perhaps best enjoyed under the conditions in which it was recorded).” —Entertainment Weekly, October 7, 2005
In Flight represents the heart and soul of who Linda is. It’s a deep and endearing recording that with each subsequent listening reveals something you might have missed the first time around.


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