Indie girl Jenny Lewis, formerly of Rilo Kiley, on love, marriage and kids.
Have you ever sent someone a message in a song?
Yeah. I don't think they listened. I'll tell you about another side of it. Blake [Sennett, co-writer/guitarist/singer] and I started the band, and then we started dating, and then we broke up about three years ago. So sometimes I'll be very angry with him, and I'll write something about him, and then bring it to the practice space. And we're all arranging the song, and suddenly the line will come up that's intended to just hurt him. And I'll have to kind of mumble it at first so he doesn't hear it. But ultimately he figures it out, and then later asks me about it: "Was that, by any chance…?" And I might even lie at that point and say, "Well, no, it's not."
There have been incidents of things being thrown, and screaming, and I hopped out of the van once on a toll road on an East Coast tour. "I’m outta here! Forget you, man!" But we've weathered it. Now we're both dating other people, and we actually invite our boyfriends and girlfriends on the bus, and so we all get to hang out in really close quarters. It's a testament to how we're evolving.
If that [history] weren't there, would you be writing the kind of music you're writing?
No, I don't think so. It's like having a child, this band. It's our poor, dysfunctional child that had to endure mommy and daddy getting divorced. At some point, we'll probably have to send it away to boarding school.
Do you think songwriting goes better when things are going well romantically, or when they're going poorly?
From my experience, poorly. But I don't necessarily want to live by that. Maybe that is the thing that happens in your early and mid-twenties anyway. It's the time for experimentation and figuring out who you want to be with. Do you want to be with someone who's supportive and patient and great, or maybe be with someone who's a little more exciting and causes you a bit more heartache? Your late twenties is an interesting place to be, weighing the importance of career, the importance of relationships, the importance of family.
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