By Jason Lamphier
I read a Spanish gay Web site that declared you a lesbian icon, to which you replied, �Hey, I want everyone to like me!� What do you think your gay appeal is?
Well, I think a lot of it is probably the way I played with my wardrobe, but I also write about spiritual issues and deeper things, and there�s a lot of sensitivity within the gay and lesbian community. They�re emotional people. Probably for fans it�s just a deep emotional connection because I�ve tried to be comfortable in my own skin and not change myself (even though I�ve had three babies!). I suppose I try to accept myself.
You�re very religious. Have you struggled to reconcile the Catholic belief system with your own convictions?
I don�t agree with everything that the Catholic Church says. I take my pieces out of the Bible, but then I wouldn�t be the type of person that would say, �Don�t do this, that�s wrong.� Who am I to say what�s wrong? I don�t really conform to the conventional beliefs; I have my own beliefs.
What are your thoughts on gay marriage?
I think it�s cool. I think that people should be allowed to do what they want to do. I think we shouldn�t be so judgmental, but unfortunately there are a lot of judges.
In 2005, MTV Brazil viewers voted you the fourth worst singer in the world (after Whitney Houston and Robert Plant). Did you know this?
Why do you think you were chosen (particularly by Brazilian viewers)?
No matter where it happens, I just think people are flavors of the month. One day everyone loves you, and the next day everyone hates you. There�s always going to be banter going on, but you can�t let it affect you. You can�t let criticism knock you off your horse.
The Cranberries scored big with �Linger,� �Dreams,� and �Zombie,� but after their third record, sales started to trickle. What do you think happened?
Touring always helps sales, but the tour was pulled because I had a breakdown and because I was quite sick as well. I had this accident the year I got married, in 1994, and they put metal in my knee. On the tour [for To Our Faithful Departed] I was extremely underweight and I had really bad atrophy in my hip. Onstage it was very painful. The paparazzi would say that I was only acting. I had problems, but they took their angle on it, and it just hurt me more.
Then you went into hiding and stopped doing publicity?
After the meltdown I was creeping back to the fire that burned me. I wasn�t going to jump into it and put any pictures of my face on the cover. So we hired an artist to do abstract stuff. I didn�t want anyone to know what I looked like. The artist suggested doing an abstract image that was metaphoric to being overexposed. On the Bury the Hatchet tour, I only did select dates, and with no press. You don�t have that awareness behind you that you obviously have when you�re doing the media and press on the radio stations. After that, it was nice and easy, I was low-profile, and the paparazzi left me alone.
How will you regain exposure for Are You Listening?
Well, this time I�m doing press, radio, and TV. I haven�t done that for about 10 years. Spiritually, I�m ready to open up again�I�m not afraid. It can never be as bad the second time around. You know what to expect. It�s like having babies.
What musicians are you listening to right now?
If we put on music we�ll stick on something nice in the background and cook dinner. If we�re socializing we might put on a variety, from Aerosmith to Depeche Mode. My husband and I always have these competitions because my taste is completely different from his. When we met I was a Cure-head with black varnish, a skinhead with pink streaks. My husband was Stetson and cowboy boots.
You�re touring this spring and summer.
I have 15 dates across America, then 12 dates across Europe, then I�d like to go back and do more detailed tours. I�d like to go to Australia to do some more shows there as well. We�ll have to see how it goes, play it by ear. I�ll get myself out there and jump into it.
Are You Listening? hits stores May 15.