August 11, 1998
of modern rocks most cherished artists, credited with
everything from Alanis Morissette to my love life, Liz Phair
returns triumphantly to the world of music with her first
new album since 1994s half-million-selling Whip-Smart.
whitechocolatespaceegg is at once her most interesting and
assured record, full of all the candor, insight, and chunky
riffage youve come to expect, along with some surprises.
Produced in separate but equal parts by Liz herself, Scott
Litt (REM), and Brad Wood (the previous two Liz albums), whitechocolatespaceegg
is something of a leap from the homespun intimacy of her other
work. Its sweeping sound is fleshed out with liberal use of
keyboards and organ, ranging from the sultry shimmy of the
title track to Polyester Bride, perhaps Lizs
first perfect pop song. The lyrics, too, run the gamut from
the conversational ramble for which she is perhaps best known
(What Makes You Happy) to a less literal, more
oblique approach (Big Tall Man). Fans of her honest,
brash sexuality will of course be thrilled by hits like Johnny
Feelgood (I never realized I was so dirty and
dry/Til he knocked me down, started dragging me around
in the back of his convertible car/And I liked it),
while songs like Perfect World have a longing
and delicacy which Liz has rarely afforded herself in the
Liz Phair has been plenty busy in the four years since Whip-Smart,
during which time shes seen the creative and commercial
climate for female artists flourish under her influence. The
time between records allowed her to choose only the best from
a wealth of material, as opposed to the more by-the-seat-of-her-pants
attack of the previous two records. She still lives in her
hometown of Chicago.
While in the past Liz has only toured sporadically, and even
then often doing solo acoustic performances, she will be touring
with a full band for this album, first on several Lilith Fair
dates this summer (July 15 through mid-August), then full
international touring beginning in September.
August 8, 1995
one... one... one cause youve got me and
two... two... two cause you owe me and
three... three... three, shes attractive
and four, four, four, were at dinner
and five, five, insecure five
cause its six, six, six and the winner takes everything everything everything!
A video? Jim Ellison thinks we should put these round TV screen
helmets on our heads and rock in front of a sea of bouncing
hip-hop cars (low riders) so that our faces singing
vocalsm can turn into anything we want. But then he
asked me if I knew what the song was really about, and then
explained that its about this guy who is locked away
in prison and has covered his walls with photos of a woman
about which he masturbates and hence turns Japanese
because his face is contorting as he climaxes.
Or we could be these UFO abductee people that discover they have alien implantations
and have to break their own noses to get them out.
is about growing out of puberty and needing gratification. Its also about a
situational romance that never seemed to happen on the days when I was free. This song is
for Lotje Ijzermans, VPRO personality, who is an inspiration of a dame. I wanted to be her
and live in Amsterdam.
seven, seven, seven out of money
and eight, eight, eight I cant believe I dated you and
nine, nine, I forget what nine is but
then ten, ten, ten Im a loser at everything everything everything!
Totally juvenile, embarrassing, and all of that, but theres
no getting around a spooky atmosphere. I think Im Iggy
Pop and Im writing Funhouse.
My family nickname is Bats, Batty, etc... dont
ask. A combination of an old Dentyne commercial (Hellooooo
Betty!) and the obvious. Anyway, most of this Girlysound
music was written while I was still in high school or early
college, and getting out from under the influence of my parents
seemed like a do or damned proposition.
Because my friend Nina pointed out that a shark is like a relationship; it has
to keep moving or it will die.
Lastly, one of my favorites, Easy
I used to pretend that my grandfather, who died when I was
eight or so, was hanging around, watching out for me. When
I got older, I would imagine that if you blew off a friend
or a boyfriend, that their presence would continue to haunt
you, as if you had killed them and they wanted revenge. American
Werewolf in London was helpful in solidifying this paranoia.
September 15, 1994
July 23, 1994
first single off Whip-Smart and an otherwise unreleased
experimental mess on the b-side, Combo Platter.
The CD5 also has the radio-edit of Supernova.
Exile in Guyville
June 24, 1993
and raised in one of the most upscale parts of Chicago, Liz
Phairs parents brought up their daughter in a home with a
serious liberal arts approach in child development. Says Liz
There was really no way for me to rebel against my parents.
My father provided me with my very own subscription to the
Evergreen Reader by the time I turned ten. My mother used
to read aloud from Henry Millers Sexus and
the Victorian erotic magazine The Pearl when I
brought boys over during my teens. My form of teen rebellion
which incidentally took a while for me to perfect was
to get heavily involved with the scientology group at my high
school. I moved out of my parents house the same day
I turned 21 to join my boyfriend at the time, a Canadian hazardous
waste engineer, when his job relocated him to San Francisco.
Ms. Phair likes to refer to her Bay Area stay as her lost
years. When push came to shove during the phone conversation
I had with Liz Phair to prepare this bio, she refused to go
into detail about the time in San Francisco. Just tell
them that I experimented with a lot of different lifestyles,
OK? Further inquiries revealed nothing. This woman literally
has no recorded past. No bank account, no credit card, no
old friends (or none willing to speak).
After her return to Chicago circa Christmas of 1990 (exact
dates are kind of muddy and Liz wont help me at all), she
immediately got heavily involved in music. On a dare, she
began producing a string of cassettes under the moniker Girly
Sound, which circulated through the efforts of Tae Won Yu
(Kicking Giant) and Chris Brokaw (Come), who were the only
two direct recipients of the tapes. These two gentlemen started
dubbing copies for their music-industry weasel friends, which
stirred up a barrage of hype that resulted in Gerard Cosloy
of Matador approaching Liz with a recording contract. After
lengthy negotiations, she agreed to come out of her basement
and actually meet him over coffee. The contract was signed
the same day, but only after Ms. Phairs wish to receive all
of the advance money in cash was fulfilled.
The album Exile in Guyville was recorded
at Idful Studios in Chicago in the summer of 1992, co-produced
with her drummer and bass player Brad Wood. Guitarist Casey
Rice throws in a riff or two. The guys just fuckin
rip, says Ms. Phair.