by Victor Mejia
I first spoke to Inger Lorre eight years ago. It was right after the planned overdose of her fiancee and soon before the demise of the Nymphs. We spoke for four days and I have never felt so inspired speaking to another human being in my life. Inger is so honest about things and has an infinite amount of emotional depth. She also has a pension for suffering. When the band broke up, she returned to art school, but finally after all this time she is back and I feel incredibly fortunate to have spoken with her. Adversity has given her strength.
(or skip to PART TWO)
I’ve been kind of waiting for this to be able to talk to you again. I talked to you a long long time ago. One day you had to leave early to go to the city (New York) to get your eyebrow pierced. That was a long long time ago....
You got a lot of the truth then, because that’s when I was like “fuck everything.”
We talked about Courtney (Love) when we spoke way back then. And I talked to (Falling) James about her as well.
That’s her ex-husband. She won’t admit to it though. James is afraid of her still. I got this magazine today, Shout magazine, and it is so hilarious. I am just sitting here laughing. I don’t remember what I say. I am just talking off the top of my head. I guess some people write down what they are going to say. I say, “I think Courtney Love is extremely smart, but the Uni-Bomber is real smart too.” And then on the bottom it says, “I think that Kurt totally loved her and thought she was a total fox. He thought he was getting Nancy Spungeon when all he really got was the punk rockCher.” This is true...I can’t tell you how many people come up and ask me, “aren’t you afraid to be the next person killed?” So, if I get killed, I want everyone to know that she did it. She has nothing to do with me now anyways. She’s an actress and I’m a musician.
She was never really a musician either.
I was looking forward to seeing you open up for Peter Murphy way back when, but....
Did we break up before you got to see us? Shit, when we come out to Oregon, you better introduce yourself.
So, is your eyebrow still pierced?
No, it closed up and then everyone and their mother got everything pierced. The only piercings I have no one can see. I got my first piercing in 1984, my bellybutton. Back then it was so weird that people said, “did you have an operation?” They said, “is your stomach stapled?” That’s what they thought because no one saw piercings, but now it is just so passé.
I want to apologize for this being all over the place, but I was in a rush because I did this while I was working at a high school. It was a rush. I volunteered to prove that I could get back into the real world because I have been on disability for four years because I kind of lost my mind....
Right on. Everyone needs to do that now and then because then you can clear the total slate. I mean, when my father and Jeff Buckley...I was staying at his house. It was Jeff, me and my boyfriend. My father died the week before and how I got there was that I was crying so much in my sleep and Paul (fiancee) thought that I might seriously be losing it, so he took me to Bellevue and they were like, “she is under so much stress.” So, he quit his job and he stayed with me and literally held my hand and made me tea. This is the drummer in my band right now that I am speaking about and then he lost his job because he was with me 24/7 for two weeks. So I was crying, “oh my god, we are going to have to move back with my mother, who is a total alcoholic and really dysfunctional,” and Jeff was like “move in with me. I’m going to go do my record.” He went and you know the rest of the story; it’s history and he never came back. When my dad died, I called Jeff and said, “I have nowhere to stay...I’m going to have to move back,” and he said, “no, just move in with me and I’ll be back in two weeks and he was just going to pick up some more of his clothing and his instruments and his books.” I said, “please come back soon...I really miss you.” He left and he never came back. When I got the phone call it was only a week after my father had died. I heard somebody screaming and then I realized it was me. It was the weirdest fucking thing. It was horrible and then I heard for the next 24 hours, I was talking and everything was rhyming. He took me to Bellevue and they told him, “Take her home and put her to bed.” I woke up the next morning and I was like “How are you doing? Let’s fix some breakfast.” And he was like, “what about the light that comes out of your head?” And I said, “what are you talking about?” “You know, the light that is inside of everyone and everyone is full of spiritual light.” Apparently I had gone off on some tangent and I was talking about this and everything was rhyming and he said it sounded like Dr. Seuss. And I was like, “why didn’t you tape it?” “Cause, I thought you were going to be pissed off...‘I’m having a nervous breakdown and you are taping it!’” He actually said it was really creative, and “it was your best work.” Great, so my best work is lost. I totally understand where you are coming from because it happened to me. I never thought that you could really go that far out of your psyche without LSD or hallucinogens, but it is totally possible. I remember how it started. I was looking at Jeff’s laundry bag. It was kind of swaying. Then I thought it was only two-dimensional and I could put my hand through it. And I remember lighting a candle, and you know, fire is really hypnotic and everyone was talking about how are we going to get her things out of here and do you know which things are Jeff’s and do you know which things are Inger’s. I was so out of it; Paul was asking me questions like: “do you know which things are yours, Inger?” And I was like, “huh?” and he was like, “shit, I’ll do it.” There’s was an upstairs and a downstairs to Jeff’s apartment and they started packing and he packed all the stuff that was upstairs that was mine and then he went downstairs to work on my make-up and my clothing and our instruments and my books and Jeff’s books and separate them and when he came back up an hour later, I had unpacked everything and had threw it around. He was like, “Fuck Inger!” and I didn’t even know that I had done that. The poor guy and the fact that he put up with all of this crap. And, oh yeah, I forgot to mention we had only been going out for one week. Can you imagine...you meet this girl. Her dad dies the second day you know and five days later she loses her bestfriend and then she starts crying in her sleep and rhyming. The fact that he stuck with me...I’m going to stay with him forever. He understands me.
I pretty much shut down for nine months...
Well, there is just too much information right now. There is too much happening so fast, you just feel like stop the world. I want to get off.
What happens is I have a tendency to try and take care of my friends...way beyond the point where it is probably healthy.
Take care of yourself. It is all about self-love. It took me so long to learn that. It was only until I really started realizing and seeing that Jeff is with me...and my father everyday. I see signs constantly. I know that they want me to and I have to for their memory and you have to. This is the place, Victor, where we have to do our thing and do our art, whether it is your band, your lyrics, your singing, this magazine. This is where you work it all out, so that you can move on to the next form. Even if we all just go into one large energy. Even if we are not a conscious like we are now. This is where we get to experience human life. It’s just a little trip. That’s all it is. It’s just an experience and then we go into the collective...the collective conscious. Even if it is just like the Borg, if you are a Trekkie like I am. Who knows what kind of life it is. We might just not even be conscious of it. This isn’t the only place. Because you are so kind to people you will definitely move on further and you will have good karma, but you’ve got to take care of yourself too.
I’m going to ask you a couple of Jeff Buckley questions.
Don’t think I am snotty if they are too personal I won’t be able to answer them. I usually don’t talk about him at all in my interviews, Victor.
How did you hook up with Jeff in the first place?
Well, he came up to me and I was in a bar. It was called Notel Motel. He was like, “are you Inger Lorre?” And I was like, “who wants to know?” I knew who he was. I had seen his video “Last Goodbye” and I wasn’t doing music--I was just going to art school. I knew who his father was so I thought he was going to be some Julian Lennon brat son-of-a-celebrity, but he was really cool. He was like, “My music is kind of corny; you wouldn’t like it.” I said, “Well, what do you mean. You are a musician.” Two years later I told him I knew who he was and he said, “all of you women are the same; I can’t believe you knew who I was.” He was like, “Love songs...it’s corny--you wouldn’t like it. But I love the Nymphs and what you did on that desk. You are the patron saint of fucked over musicians. Everybody wants to do that, but you did it.”
And the other thing was, how did he help out with the demos?
In every way. I had the songs written and he just played. I was like, “this is the way the chords go” and “I was thinking of this” and I would tell him something in my head. He would just say, “let me expand it--what about this?” He played on all of the demos and as far as the music that we have now, he just played on “Thief Without the Take” and sang on it. He would have done a lot more, but they wouldn’t let us. And someday that will all come out. When I can afford to pay Sony, which is going to be a long time.
Were those two questions too bad?
No, that was absolutely totally polite. Everybody wants to know all of the dirt, you know.
[talking about Eva O and her Christianity]
Why does she need anything though? Follow your own path. That’s what most people should know and do. It’s like scientologists...they wear this uniform...
I almost went to a boarding school that is run by them in Oregon.
[Shrieks!] They will take over your mind. You know what they believe in, right? They believe a UFO is going to come down and take them...only certain ones away. You should take what jumps off the paper as truth to you. You should keep this journal and put everything single thing and like, “Right on! I truly believe in that.” And you’ll end up making your own doctrine that is correct for you.
That’s the whole thing with Eva though, her Christianity is so completely different from anyone else’s thing...
There’s the Danielson family. Their Christianity involves anybody that is gay and it involves people that have AIDS. It’s very radical and there certain ones that are really cool and all encompassing, but there are so few. You see these people like that guy who got bashed and killed. People went to his funeral and they were like, “God hates homos.” Shit like that makes me ill.
Christianity is based on the new testament, which is all about love, forgiveness and acceptance, but then they take all the condemnation out of the old testament and add it into it, even though it has nothing to do with it.
Forgiveness is definitely opens up so much spirituality for yourself. If you forgive somebody that you really hate, you will feel all of this lightness. It’s almost like taking acid in a way. If you can really really get with it and really forgive somebody. I forgive Courtney for ripping me totally off, for sending a 20 page fax to Tom Zutaut before she got signed to Geffen Records saying, “you should drop the Nymphs because my husband sold more records than her and I want a record deal and dudududuh....” She finally got her record deal and everything. We didn’t have to get dropped. I quit! I went back to New Jersey. I went back to art school. You know, that’s the way she plays. Whatever. Some people are insecure. They are not into competition. They just have to take out their competition or exterminate it. You just have to say I am higher evolved than that and watch and shake your head and pity them and pray for them. It doesn’t have to be Catholic praying. If you can actually embrace your enemies and say, “You know what? You’ll learn and I hope you do and I love you anyway. It’s not your fault. Maybe you were abused or maybe something really fucked up happened to you.” I like to believe in the good in people. A lot of people think it’s naive, but, truly, like if you can accept that, it’s so transcendental...kind of getting back to the record, you really feel like you are on drugs if you can forgive people. You almost become religious; not religious, but more aware of so many things. I don’t believe there are any coincidences. Like sometimes, you’ll be talking about something. For example, I used to spend a lot of money on art supplies. As early as five years ago, after I spent all of that money, there would be this big box of erasers, for a quarter by the cash register. I’d be like fuck it, I just spent $500 and this is only 25 cents, so I can take this and I’d put one in my pocket. My boyfriend would get really pissed off: “What are you doing?” And I’d be, “Come on, I just spent $500; they’re not going to care.” And he would say, “That’s fucked up. There is somebody somewhere making those erasers and not making any money. It’s very grandiose to say, this is okay...I can take this because I spent $500. It’s rationalization. But if you actually start living life like I don’t have that much money, so do you want this or do you want that. Maybe you shouldn’t be spending $500 on art supplies. So what if you love art that much. That’s an addiction too. Once I got off the drugs, I had to stop being addicted to clothes and records and all the things that I liked. And hair-dye...oh my god. It’s funny, because good things happen to me because every time I lose something that I really like, whether it’s a hat [because I love hats]. Even jewelry. As of last week, I lost...it broke...this silver earring that had a bead on it. It broke off and I was like, shit, oh well. I was just thinking about it and keeping it in my mind, like I will go and return this. Even then I see myself scamming. I bought this in New York, but it looks just like the one at Maya and I wonder if I could go in there and say, “hey, this broke.” I see myself doing it and I am like what am I thinking--that’s so assholish. And I let it go for a day or two. Then yesterday I was walking down the road, and like what kind of a coincidence is this. There is the same earring. It can’t be the same, but it looks like it’s the same size and everything, but it’s probably a little bigger or a little smaller. I brought it home, because it had a little red bead that I slipped on it and I had the bead, the silver thing just broke where it clips on and it was the exact same size and I feel the universe gave it back. Something somewhere...I don’t know if it’s Jeff, I don’t if it’s my father and I don’t know if it’s the intelligence of the universe. I believe there is an intelligence in everything. People might think it’s crazy. Trees and rocks and grass. It’s not a conscious intelligence. It doesn’t think. It doesn’t do two and two equals four. It’s a spiritual intelligence. I don’t think that was a coincidence that that was there. A couple of days went by and the spiritual intelligence of the universe thought, “Well, you didn’t lie and bring it into the store and say I bought this here.” It was just like a gift on the pavement and somebody lost it and maybe that person that day that was wearing that earring didn’t do something so great and then SHIT! you lose your earring. John Lennon used to talk about instant karma and I truly believe it exists. You do something really bad and then BOOM! If Courtney didn’t murder Kurt Cobain, then the other alternative was she really did love him and that was the only person she really did love. And what about all the other bad things she did in her life? It’s no accident that something like that would happen. Obviously she is not happy with her looks because she keeps getting plastic surgery and that’s her karma that she has to live with. Her daughter is beautiful. She looks just like Kurt and she (Courtney) is going to have to learn to deal with that. I feel sorry for the little girl. What happens when she gets to be 18 or 19. She is going to be so flawlessly beautiful, her mom’s going to have a hard time dealing with that. These are all things we are here to work out on earth and if you can work it out, when you move into the next phase...the next...I don’t want to say life form, but I don’t know what it is. It will be an easier path.
Most of this was pre interview. We spent around 20 minutes just getting reacquainted. I decided to include this just to provide a better understanding of who Inger is as a person and as an artist. Next month begins talking about her new album,Transcendental Medication.
- PART TWO -
Here is more of the conversation I had with Inger Lorre regarding her life and her new CD Transcendental Meditation. The interview tended to get a bit conversational after about an hour and a 15 minute chunk of it is missing, so the rest might seem a bit incomplete, but still a good indication of how incredible a woman Inger Lorre really is.
Where exactly did the album title come from?
Paul named it, and he was like, "you know, it just feels like that." Before I ever smoked pot, beer or anything...the first thing I ever did was that I drank vodka at this party and I will never forget it, I was eleven years old and I puked spaghetti and all these warms coming up. It was awful. I just want to get to...everyone thinks it's about the drugs because of the medication, but it's not. The medication is the music. I remember I used to put on headphones and listen to Patti Smith and I wished that she was my mom, because I never had a good relationship with my mom at all. And I used to sit there and listen to the things that she was saying and it was all coming from a place of love and it was transcendental. I felt like I was leaping through worlds and space and leaping through time. That's why I started doing harder and harder drugs like heroine and stuff. To get to that space where I felt so good. Where I didn't think about anything, but the joy of listening to these tunes, these sounds in my head that were so beautiful. This person singing to me at the time, whether it was Patti Smith or Nick Cave or Neil Young or Iggy Pop that would almost bring me to tears. I just wanted to reach that innocence again. It was also a play on words, so you have Transcental Meditation, which is when you sit there and try to think of absolutely nothing. You wipe it all out of your head. You can try it. It's incredibly hard, because you will sit there trying to think of nothing and you'll start thinking, "oh shit! my friend is going to be here in fifteen minutes and I only have ten minutes to do this," or "I have to do my laundry," or "It's cold in here." All of these thoughts will pop into your head. I totally think everyone should try it and see how long you can do it. It's a really great exercise in control. You have to think about absolutely nothing; you won't believe how hard it is. It's a really great exercise in control and it is so freaking hard to do. Once you start doing that, you are seriously tapping into magic. It's not good magic magic or bad magic or black magic; it's life. It's true reality. That is what's reality. We're so involved in commericials and people stuffing thoughts in our heads, so that if you can empty your head and seriously not think about anything...it's such an unnatural state, Victor, that it's hard to even talk about, because it's not what America is about: buying more, being more, better, newer, richer.
Is the cover of the promo the cover of the album?
Yes. It's a differnt logo because I found some better letters. This guy named Mark Ryden did it. There's a magazine called Juxtapose magazine. Get the one this month. There is a lot of stuff by him in there. I wanted him to do a painting just for us, but he charges like $30,000. I was a big fan of his work and I just started naming off paintings just like they were record titles: "What about 'Joe-Joe the Clown' and what about 'Patron Saint of Clowns' and what about 'Saint Barbie'..." and he was like, "my my my, you're really a fan of mine, aren't you?" I was like, "I have every single little thing that you have ever did, " and he was like, "Let me see if I can work something out." And what he did was, he went back through ever illustration he ever did. This is how there are little things working in the universe. This guy charges 30,000 bucks, but when he saw that I was a fan, he sent sent me twenty pieces of art and he told me to pick one out and he would only charge me for the licensing. It saved XXX a shitload of money. There was no way they were going to pay that much; they don't pay that much for any of their bands to record. We got it for $900, I think. He let us use a piece and I think it was so amazing because it was about music being made by a woman transcending space and time. There are little molecules and little atoms. It's weird. Nobody can believe that the cover wasn't painted with the title in mind. The title came first and he sent us all of this artwork...he even saw that it was so close. He was like, "Oh my god, I have this one piece..." He does a lot of work for Sympathy for the Record Industry. He does all those paintings of Long Gone John. Oh, something I forgot to mention, it's called 'All Right This Time Just the Girls' that will be out next month of Sympathy for the Record Industry. We're on it, Hole's on it, L7 is on it....
It's weird to have a CD that has both you and Courtney on it at the same time.
Can you believe it? [laughs]
You put out an Inger Lorre and Motel Shoots single with Sympathy?
It's really cool. It has great art too. It's me sitting in bed covered in blood with my underwear and a gun.
What about the Jack Kerouac release?
That's really interesting because they asked me, because when they approached me they said they were doing this thing. I love Kerouac, but I thought it was going to be corny people so I asked who was doing it and they told me "William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith..." and I was like, "why the hell are you asking me?" I was like, "All right, I'll do it. I might be able to bring a guitar player who is very well known and very talented." And they asked me who and I said, "I don't want to tell you unless I can get him." So, I asked Jeff if he wanted to do it. You see, none of us got paid; we just bought $150 donation. So, I asked him if he wanted to do something for that cheap because he was on a major label and he was like, "Kerouac rocks!" It was great.
Were those the only two things between Nymphs and the solo album?
Over what span of time were the songs written for the new album?
I guess I started writing them in 1994 at the same time as that Inger Lorre thing came out on Sympathy single. I was just writing them for myself and my friends had that band Motel Shootout and I thought they were great. I went to go see them; they played around the corner. And I asked them how long had they been together and they said five years. It was the ex-bass player from the Nymphs. He was in the band and he quit because he was 18 and we were all 24 and it was a big difference because he never lived anywhere but home and we were all on our own and really bratty and we were like: "Look kid, wise up and get out. And if you are going to get out you are going to be disappointed because we are going to get signed to Geffen soon." And he was like, "yeah, sure you are." And then he came around and he felt really bad because "you're album came out on Geffen just like you said it would and everyone made fun of me because 'dude, you could have been in the Nymphs.'" And I told him, "Don't worry about it, dude. Your band is great." Because it really was great and it was his band Motel Shootout. His name was Keith and he's in the band right now. But some things never change, because when we got sober in the band, he didn't. Paul, my drummer, his ex-girlfriend, Monica, who he broke up with because she drank too much, she's a wild alcoholic...now Keith is dating her. It's weirdness because now they share a girlfriend. He's not getting any better. I don't know; it's sad. He's great. He is wildly talented. Like when I told him we had this show at the Bowery Ballroom, he was like, "I don't know. Maybe you should get somebody else." It's unhappiness and lack of control. It's really sad to see a lot of people repeat their mistakes. Other people can see it, but you can't see it. I know I did it for years. What gets really hard is when you know that you are making the same mistake over and over, but still you can't stop. That's the kind of thing that makes you want to hurt yourself and end it all. When you can't control what you do. It's like watching your hand reach for a hammer and hit yourself over the head and your other hand tries to stop it, but you can't. It's humiliating, embarrassing...everything.
So, how did you break your cycle of stuff?
I was lucky enough that there was this really cool place, it's called LICR and they are involved with this place called "Road Recovery."
Does it ever feel weird knowing that you have made it this far while so many people that you have known have died around you?
Totally. I wonder why everyone else gets taken and I don't....
Tell me about your upcoming graphic novel.
Okay. It happened just from talking to Henry because he has his own publishing company and he said that I needed to write down these stories. A lot of it came just from everyone asking me how did the band break up and where did you break up and what made that happen and what happened with the pissing incident and the book got very very long and I realized a picture is worth a 1000 words. There is so much you can say with one picture without having to write it down. Everyone said that is so huge: writing a biography and illustrating it. It's what I am doing and it is just to answer questions.
Is that on 2.13.61 (Rollins' press) then?
It was going to be, but I think Henry might be going out of busy because he is now really concentrating a lot on his acting. It still pretty much could, but we'll see.
Are you putting together a collection of poetry too?
Yeah, it's a whole other book. It's from the beginning of the Nymphs to now. It's not my early early stuff. I have real early stuff from when I was nine years old, which actually I can't believe that a kid could write it. I kind of get upset because I wonder why my parents didn't send me to a special school or something because it's good for a little kid. It's good for anybody. I hated school. I just did not want to go. Now I understand why; I was so bored. I wasn't learning anything. It was like babysitting. I think it's terrible when parents just send kids who are more intelligent or want to travel further in their learning into a babysitting class.
I continued talking to her about how impressed I was that she had arrived with the place she had arrived on in life and through all the hard bumps and deep scrapes, she had managed to come out of it all with an incredible light and strength deeper than I had seen in almost anyone at all. Look for her album. Triple X claims that it will be coming out sometime in September. This album is one of growth and you might just find something out about it yourself.