Lennon Murphy started getting noticed right away after her debut album 5:30 Saturday Morning was released. Noted for some of her heavy perfomances and sexy stage presence - Lennon is primed for a starring role on today's rock stage. And just for the record she's not a Beatles fan.
Livewire's Matt Schwenke recently sat down with Lennon to talk about her taste in music.
Backstage as fans clear out after the show, Lennon sits down-- sick with a cold and noticeably tired after her solo acoustic gig, meeting with fans and selling merch for hours.
(strikes of a match... then flare. lights cigarette)
Lennon: No, but OK. (exhales)
Livewire: What are your earliest musical memories?
Lennon: You know I never had that asked of me.
Livewire: Well, I'm glad I got one in.
Lennon: My mother wrote a play years ago called "For Married," and she made me the lead role.
Livewire: How old were you?
Lennon: About 6-7 years old. And I had to sing actually, which sucked. The weird thing is I never had any fear doing it. It wasn't until later on that I actually had the fear.
Livewire: Why a musician then?
Lennon: I never wanted to be a musician. Never, Never. Never. I grew up in the country business, and I never wanted to do it. My mother, the lovely woman she was,... (one strike, match flares, re-lights cigarette) realized I had no friends, great songs, but no life, and she kind of forced me into the business. And the problem is, I fell in love with being on stage. I hate the business. I always hated the business. I've watched the people I respect and the people I loved and adored fucking die in this business. I hated it. But I fell in love with being on stage. It was the one time in my life that no one could criticize me. No one could say anything. And if they did, you know what? I'm on stage. What can you say? I'm where you wanna be. So... (coughs) Sorry. I fell in love with being on stage the first time it ever happened.
Livewire: During your show you mentioned Barry Manilow and Frank Sinatra... are those the main influences?
Lennon: A lot. Barry Manilow I love. And it took me a long time to not be afraid to say that, because I mean you're in the rock genre and you don't wanna say that you would fucking kill to see him live. And I finally realized one day I don't fucking give a shit. I hate to say it, I love Barry Manilow.
Livewire: There's nothing wrong with that.
Lennon: Oh completely there's a lotta' shit wrong with that. I know that.
Livewire: But you like what you like though...
Lennon: Yeah, and I uphold to it.
Livewire: What's your creative process like?
Lennon: I write from experience, and the way I write is usually I'm just bored at the piano. I just play, and if I find a melody I like, I write the songs right then. There are a few songs that actually took some time-- where I worked on them for like weeks and weeks and weeks. But mostly, it's very spontaneous. I have a theory that every song has its own melody and its own words.
Livewire: You've released three albums now?
Lennon: Technically, the second album I don't count because it's just me and piano, but the new rock record is coming out this May.
Livewire: Has your approach changed?
Lennon: It's more straightforward rock. Less industrial shit; It's more guitar-oriented than the whole industrial sound. It's much more me. I will say that.
Livewire: Is that something that worked itself out or was it something you set out to do?
Lennon: Well, I'm a piano player by trade, but it's more of figuring out how to get there... what I want to do... who I want to be.
Livewire: How do you listen to music?
Lennon: I have an iPod, but I don't really listen to music. I'll be honest, I don't. I do listen to the radio, and the last thing I remember really enjoying was the first Audioslave record. And, the first single off the Foo Fighters, but I bought that record and remember being really depressed about it. It should've been better than what it was.
Livewire: What's an ideal show for you?
Lennon: Just having fun. The crowd and me enjoying it. It's not about playing perfect parts or singing perfectly, especially not in this. In rock, I want everything to be perfect, but the acoustic thing is about having fun.
Livewire: What's the best or worst about being on the road with this set-up?
Lennon: Well, our first tour was with the Cult, and we were brought in full-swing. We got used to how it should be done and we got in the mindset of expecting things to be done. The acoustic tour is just less people, so it's more work on your part. It should be an easy tour, but it's a lot harder than it seems.
Livewire: Is there a necessity for you on the road... keepsake... superstitious thing?
Lennon: Right now it's a stuffed Dumbo.
Livewire: Is there a significance to it?
Lennon: My boyfriend gave it to me. I used to be terrified of the part in the movie where the dancing pink elephants go on parade, but... for me I realized you're out there alone and you need a mother, which I don't have,... (long pause) that thing is just about caring. A reminder.
Livewire: You mentioned liking Ayn Rand in a previous interview. Have you read anything good lately?
Lennon: I have. The last thing I read was Marquis De Sade's "Justine" and a couple short stories by him. But right now, I'm reading "Fight Club" by chuck Palahniuk-- I've read every other book by him.
Livewire: What's in the works musically?
Lennon: I've got a new record coming out and it'll be worth the wait. We redid a bunch of stuff and added some new things. It should be about 17 tracks. I look at this way, for fuck's sake I don't know if I'll ever get the chance to put another record out with just the way this business works, so I might as well put out 17 tracks.
Livewire: And then you'll be out touring full-band?
Lennon: Yeah, fuck yeah.
Exclusive Interview - Dec. 29, 2001
Concert review - Milwaukee, WI Feb. 26, 2006
Concert review - Chicago, IL Feb. 19, 2002
Concert review - Chicago, IL Nov. 13, 2001
CD review - 5:30 Saturday Morning