Thu Oct 19 ´06 10:56 am
Brickell regroups with New Bohemians, discusses being Mrs. Paul Simon
By TOM ALESIA
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians rocketed from Dallas-based jam band to MTV favorite in a blink. The group, fronted by singer-songwriter Brickell with her fragile good looks, enjoyed ample radio airplay (especially ´What I Am´) and more than two million sales of its debut album ´Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars.´
That was the late 1980s and 1990. The band amicably split when Brickell moved to New York, where she has recorded periodically and raises two boys and a girl with her husband of 14-plus years Paul Simon. Yes, that Paul Simon.
Brickell, now 40, regrouped with New Bohemians on a surprisingly strong album, ´Stranger Things.´ The band´s tour stops in Madison on Tuesday. She sounds comfortable and happy - and, when asked, notes that her daughter, age 11, took the promotional photo used on Rhythm´s cover.
Rhythm: Is there an audience left for the band?
Brickell: We have a bit of audience left. When we play now, there´s a sense of familiarity and good will. It´s not the same kind of buzz or energy that MTV provided all those years ago. I feel relieved that it´s not that way. It´s more of a slow-burning fire that feels better to us.
Rhythm: Is reuniting with New Bohemians something you expected to happen?
Brickell: We didn´t really reunite so much as we made a record publicly. When I went back to Texas to visit my family, I would visit the band and we would jam. We collected these songs over the years.
Rhythm: You´re playing a mid-sized club here (Annex), but it seems like you´re as content to play a club as a big theater. Is that true?
Brickell: Now more than ever, it´s a lot more fun to play. We made the record we wanted to make. Years ago when we played, it was less about the record and more about being a band someone had seen a video relating to a TV personality rather than the music. This feels better. It´s liberating to go out and play.
Rhythm: Do you look back fondly on your window of fame in the late ´80s and early ´90s?
Brickell: It was a real mix. When we played clubs in Dallas, I couldn´t wait for the days when we get on a tour bus and hopefully get our record on the radio. Then when it happened, there were so many people in our lives. People trying to direct us. I was a wallflower growing up. When it went national, there was a little bit too much attention.
I basically just hung out in my hotel room and tried to figure out happiness. I wasn´t getting it from that attention. I was 22 at the time. I was really insecure. I wanted to have real love in my life as opposed to love of an industry or an audience. (Fame) was good because I did meet my husband because of our sudden success. He took notice of me based on that record. That was fantastic.
Rhythm: Does Paul sing around the house?
Brickell: He sings a little bit. It´s mostly ´50s doo wop. In the car, we both sing. If I start singing something then he´ll jump in and harmonize. Man, it´s so beautiful. He sounds great with anybody. That´s always a joy to hear.
Rhythm: Do you play him your songs for feedback?
Brickell: When I first write a song, I´ll catch myself singing it all the time. If he walks in and says, ´Oh, that´s a cool song. Who does that?´ That´s a thrill.
Rhythm: When you co-wrote ´What I Am,´ did you think it would become such a big hit?
Brickell: I had no clue. There have been songs that I´ve like more than that song. And I thought, ´Everyone´s going to like this song´ and no one did.
Rhythm: What about something as observational as ´Circle´?
Brickell: That seems to get more response from the audience when we play after all these years (than ´What I Am´). There´s a deeper emotional connection to that song. The other one is fun, but people hoot and hollar when ´Circle´ is played.
Rhythm: What will surprise people who go to the show?
Brickell: We´re more joyful because we are older. The self consciousness is way in the backseat. It´s not completely dead. It´s part of being a performer. Before it was just painful. Now we´ve learned to let go and feel free in the music and have a good time.
Rhythm: Did turning 40 (last May) cause any reflection?
Brickell: I´ve always been too reflective. It made me want to appreciate all the people and all the good things around me. I have looked at all the darkness a lot and tried to study it and understand it. Now I´m thinking, ´It´s time to check out the obvious beauty that is all around.´ And express it without being corny.
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
Opening act: Joe Purdy
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Where: The Annex, 1206 Regent St.
Tickets: $15. Go to http://www.virtuous.com or call 256-7750. The show is open to ages 18 and older.
Thu Oct 12 ´06 11:03 am