Is Liz Phair one of Rock's Greatest Living Tragedies?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by I333I, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. Frank

    Frank Forum Resident

    She has (or had, during her peak, said she's over it as of S/T) extreme stage fright.
     
  2. SoundAdvice

    SoundAdvice Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver
    Liz defenders keep coming to this thread because they think she still has something to offer, and that it was her confidence that took a hit rather than her artistry. It's been 12-14 years since I've heard a new recording from Liz I'd choose to remember. Maybe if she stops thinking she's Sheryl Crow and stops the strumming acoustic stuff it will get interesting again.

    The 2003/2005 albums were label driven releases and she had a kid to feed. They would not drop her and could've freeze her out for years and years.

    I was under the impression she's easily written and recorded enough songs as Matthew Good has released. Phair's unofficial output may be larger than her released one. Weren't there 50-70 songs recorded for EACH of the 1998/2003/2005 albums? Probably 50+ more each for Girlie Sounds and the pair of new albums she's working on.

    IIRC, didn't she have a starving artist period in San Francisco before Girlie Sound? I also thought the only time she was married was a few years in the mid 90's.
     
  3. SoundAdvice

    SoundAdvice Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver
    Taking requests like Batmobile or Black Market White Baby Dealer at shows I've attended seem to show someone having fun. She did a very cool Cars "Just What I Needed" cover as well.

    Sales of Funstyle album must have been an eye opener.
     
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  4. Nick Drake fan

    Nick Drake fan Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans
    This is great and it's from 2014's FUNSTYLE:
     
  5. aseriesofsneaks

    aseriesofsneaks Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Catharines, ON
    There are 40 known Girly Sound tracks. It's believed that there are a few additional songs from the elusive third tape that haven't surfaced yet. About 40 songs were demoed and/or recorded for whitechocolatespaceegg and reportedly about as many for the self-titled album. There wasn't much or any unused material from the sessions for Somebody's Miracle. Liz has described that album as a "f***ing compromise disaster" and said that Capitol wouldn't let her finish it. There were supposed to be additional songs that never got completed.

    There's apparently a wealth of unreleased Funstyle-era material. In an interview with the L.A. Times, she said, "I was going to do ‘Funstyle,’ ‘Funnerstyle’ and Funnererstyle.’ I’ve got all these songs, but I can’t handle people freaking out."

    She did have a starving artist period in San Francisco after graduating from Oberlin; she also spent some time in New York City as an artist's assistant. Liz was only married once, from 1995 to 2000-ish. She moved to Manhattan Beach only after her marriage had ended.
     
  6. aseriesofsneaks

    aseriesofsneaks Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Catharines, ON
    Let's keep in mind that whitechocolatespaceegg was originally supposed to be released in 1996, but Liz and Scott Litt had disagreements over how the record should sound. She then turned in a finished version of the album in early '97 that Capitol rejected. It then underwent a number of changes (some songs dropped, others significantly changed, and Liz reuniting with Brad Wood to record some new material) before finally seeing the light of day more than a year later.

    What finally emerged as the self-titled album was originally to be released in 2000 under the title An Evening With, then went through another incarnation (Happy Tragic Thing) before Capitol paired her with the Matrix. If it weren't for label interference, we might got Liz's sixth album in 2003, rather than her fourth. She ended up losing a lot of momentum and has never really recovered.
     
  7. aseriesofsneaks

    aseriesofsneaks Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Catharines, ON
    Lilith Fair didn't start until 1997, well after the release of both Exile in Guyville and Whip-Smart. Those albums did coincide with the emergence of a lot of great female-fronted bands and singer/songwriters, though: PJ Harvey, Hole, Elastica, the Breeders, Garbage, Juliana Hatfield, etc.

    Liz had really bad stage fright early on and only did fairly short tours for Exile in Guyville and Whip-Smart. She toured behind whitechocolatespaceegg for the better part of the year, including dates on both the 1998 and 1999 Lilith Fair tours, opening for Alanis Morissette on one leg of her tour, and a couple of headlining club tours of her own. She played a similar number of shows in support of the self-titled album, but since then hasn't toured often or all that extensively.
     
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  8. Chris Bernhardt

    Chris Bernhardt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago IL
    I'm a Liz Phair fan , but she has to be one of the worst live performers I've ever seen ( I've seen her twice , once was maybe her 4th show ever , so one should giveth a break. One was from the S/T shows).
     
  9. erikdavid5000

    erikdavid5000 Forum Resident

    When was she playing Lilith Faire and opening for Sheryl Crowe? What years?

    The 90’s were a very indie “cred” conscious time. She really had that in spades from Exile to Whip Smart. She was on Matador records which put out tons of mid to high profile cool stuff for the time. You could really build an audience on a label like that and by having your videos on 120minutes/Alrernative Nation on MTV even if you didn’t tour relentlessly like most of those acts did. If you go from that to playing Lilith Faire and opening for Sheryl Crowe you’re gonna lose some fans in those days. That and the extended break between Whip Smart and WCSE couldn’t have helped either. Then with S/T is was more like the label trying to break a new artist rather than an established person. But this is all speculation
     
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  10. aseriesofsneaks

    aseriesofsneaks Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Catharines, ON
    Although Liz did sing backup on "Soak Up the Sun", she never toured with Sheryl Crow. It was Alanis Morissette she opened for. That was in 1999.

    She also played Lilith Fair in both 1998 and 1999. During the first year, Lilith Fair got a lot of criticism for its lack of diversity, particularly the absence of any rock acts. Liz was presumably brought in to help fill that void on the two subsequent tours.
     
  11. erikdavid5000

    erikdavid5000 Forum Resident

    Ah, got it. Well, being an indie cred kid even in 99 and then opening for Alainis Morissette would be a huge turnoff to many of her fans. Not saying this is right or ok, but it was the time. Was a weird time for music all around. Late 90’s into early 2000’s
     
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  12. ToneLa

    ToneLa Forum Resident

    Wesley Willis recorded a touching tribute...
     
  13. Dodoz

    Dodoz Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Dissing your audience usually works very well :D Especially when a fad is already dying out. I often think about the dip in the popularity Nirvana had in the US in 93-94. Even if they were playing to good crowds, most weren't sold out and they were past their (commercial) prime.
     
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  14. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    You're calling Nirvana a "fad"? Wow.
     
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  15. Dodoz

    Dodoz Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    No and i'm actually one of the biggest Nirvana fans you'll meet. But like it or not, they were past their peak when Kurt died, commercially. Same thing with Pearl Jam who still sold millions of records with "Vitalogy" and "Vs" but way less than with their first two albums in 91-93. There's always a zeitgeist thing. Same with Liz Phair. "Guyville" is very much associated with a certain time frame and spirit. Just like the original psychedelic bands probably looked like a thing of a distant past in 73 for example even if they had peaked only a few years prior. If you combine this perception , the fact that her latter music was maybe not as good and if she bad mouthed fans, that's a lot of factors for not doing too well (commercially)in the late 90s. The late 90s were such a strange time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  16. erikdavid5000

    erikdavid5000 Forum Resident

    I distinctly remember a lot of people were sick of Nirvana and all those 90’s hero bands around that time. Was probably more to do with people sick and tired of feeling like MTV was forcing stuff on them, and that bubble kinda did burst not long after.
     
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  17. I333I

    I333I Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ventura
    I saw them is San Diego on their last US tour. I do remember that the seats were fairly empty. They were playing a fairly large sports arena mid you, yet one that had other artists filling up seats.
     
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  18. Dodoz

    Dodoz Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    I'm not putting them down by any means, it's just that the Cobain legend, the myth,the tragedy made him/them bigger than they were.
    There's this interview from december 93 where Kurt Loder asks them about playing stadiums and Cobain goes "we couldn't actually!". And they go on about how people who like them really like them but that they're not THAT hot, that all the places weren't sold out (still well attended) etc.

    San Diego is quite a good show, so you're lucky to have been there :)
     
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  19. I333I

    I333I Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ventura
    I remember it pretty well. The exit music was “More Than This” by Roxy Music. Thought it was an interesting choice at the time. Made sense a few months later.
    (Not to derail the thread...)
     
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  20. erikdavid5000

    erikdavid5000 Forum Resident

    Never got to see Nirvana. I did catch a show at Castaic Lake: Sonic Youth, Pavement, and Mudhoney, and Kurt came out and played a couple songs on acoustic until someone threw a water bottle that hit him in the head, so he split.
     
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  21. Holerbot6000

    Holerbot6000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    Wow - you're right - I substituted the Matrix songs for the EP songs and it plays much better. More akin to the quirky pop of WCSE but it still needs three or four more songs.
     
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  22. aseriesofsneaks

    aseriesofsneaks Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Catharines, ON
    That's easy enough. From that same era, there's "Down" (released on a Capitol VHS promo entitled This Is the Modern World), "Don't Apologize" (released on the Trampoline Records: Greatest Hits Vol. II compilation), and the iTunes exclusive "Insanity".

    There are also a few outtakes circulating: an alternate "Red Light Fever", "Liar", and "Rapids". The version of the last of those songs, probably the best of the three, is sadly incomplete; the full song has yet to surface.
     
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  23. mikeja75

    mikeja75 Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    Funstyle came out in 2010 -- not 2014.
     
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  24. Squealy

    Squealy Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Vancouver
    You must mean three or four more good songs? Because it’s a 15 song album with those EP songs replacing the Matrix ones.

    Has a track list ever surfaced of the album she originally submitted? Did it include HWC and the other songs Michael Penn didn’t produce? I’m not sure which songs she recorded first.
     
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  25. aseriesofsneaks

    aseriesofsneaks Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Catharines, ON
    A track list for the album she originally submitted hasn't surfaced; all that's known definitively is that the bulk of it was from the sessions Michael Penn produced.

    The first songs she recorded were the self-produced ones she did with her WCSE touring band ("Love/Hate", "Firewalker", "My Bionic Eyes", "Don't Apologize", and presumably others that haven't seen the light of day) for the intended An Evening With album. "Down" and "Shallow Opportunities" are both technically demos. I'm not sure whether the two tracks produced by R. Walt Vincent ("H.W.C." and "Good Love Never Dies") were done before or after the sessions with Penn, but apparently all of it was completed in 2001 and 2002, before Capitol brought the Matrix in.
     
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