Equality 365 interview with Melissa

When is your 25 Year Anniversary Boxed Set coming out?
Hopefully, if I can get myself together, I tell everyone it is like landing a dirigible. It is just this massive collection of stuff that I am whittling through. It should be out at the end of November. This has been such a fun project. There are quite a few songs that never made it on albums. I didn’t know there were so many things that I could release. It is probably going to be about 6 CDs worth of stuff. It is crazy. There is some live stuff, some covers, and some solo stuff it is pretty amazing.

Everyone will be getting it for Christmas.
Oh, yeah I hope so. Yes, that is a good plan

Are you working on anything new? I know that your last album, 4th Street Feeling, is just coming up on the one year mark.
No, I haven’t started writing yet. Well, little things here and there. Well with the box set, I actually went back into the studio with my original musicians, Kevin and Fritz. I recorded old songs new. That I am probably going to release next year after the box set. All kinds of stuff, just been having fun.

Any favorite songs that you are reworking that just hit you and meant a lot? Maybe a wow moment?
Well, yeah. There is one from 1995 called “One Way Out.” It is just so rockin’. I just love it. It is fun because sometimes when I got too rocking I would scare myself and back off. That is what I am finding like these great songs and crazy rock tunes that I just backed away from. Not anymore, they are gonna be rockin’. I am redoing them with the old musicians so it has that old feeling but I am not holding anything back. So they will be great new songs.

I promised my partner that I would tell you that he saw you in 1988 at the Starry Night in Portland. I think you opened for Huey Lewis and the News.
Oh God Yes, (laughter).

They went to see you but stayed for Huey Lewis.
Ahh, that’s nice. Wow, that was a long time ago. 25 years ago. Wow.

We saw you last year when you were in Seattle and you had a slight wardrobe malfunction. Your belt broke on stage and your assistant brought you a new one and actually put it on you while you spoke.
Oh god, I remember that.

It was pretty funny because your assistant brought out a new belt. And you commented that you knew he picked it out because it was so sparkly. You were so calm and collected during the entire thing. You just kept talking and seemed to have a cool head the entire time. I guess you knew that nothing was falling down or going south of the border, so to speak.

Have you had any other memorable wardrobe malfunctions?
I have had quite a few wardrobe malfunctions over the years. Remember I have been performing for 25 years. Let’s see, I remember the time, it was the first song in fact, I was singing and playing. At the end of the song, my hands are wide out and I go to bend down and my shirt is completely open all the way to my belly. I was like, really?!? The buttons just flew off. I had a black bra so it wasn’t so bad but still. It was like yikes! I have done the low deep knee bend and ripped the entire back out of my pants. I’ve done that more than once actually. Nice tight leather pants, too. You just have to run off and go, I’ll be right back.

Are there any new or up and coming artist you are enjoying right now?
My daughter is always brings home interesting music but I always forget the names. Personally, I have been really enjoying Delta Rae.

Are you planning anything special or exciting for your show at the Tulalip Amphitheatre?
Ha, you know me. It is all going to be fun and exciting. I am planning for high energy and amazing.

How is your radio show going?
It’s going really well. I have about 25 stations. It is just so much fun to do and I look forward to doing it forever and ever. The show is all about music.

How was it performing on Broadway?
It was such a delight. I am such a huge Broadway fan, of course. I am such a good gay. I love all my musicals and knowing there was a chance to be part of a Rock musical and perform for a week on Broadway was amazing. The community there is just astounding.

Do you have any plans to do it again?
I would like to write a piece for Broadway. I would love to do that. I am actually in the process of writing a piece for about the third or fourth time but it keeps getting moved down the list for other projects.

I saw that you are reading “Game of Thrones.” Have you seen the series? Who is your favorite character?
Yes, I have seen all three seasons and now just reading the books. I love Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons.

You came out about 20 years ago, it was pretty early in your career. How do you feel that has affected or directed your career?
I would not change a thing about it. It was the best thing I did. People ask me if there is a moral obligation to come out. I tell that it is an obligation to yourself. And, I am here to tell you that coming out takes such a load off of your shoulders. It lifts such a huge burden from you. It helps you become a better person , because you are truthful with yourself about who you are. It puts the blame of fear and bigotry on someone else, not you. You don’t have to protect them. This is the world, there are millions of gay people. I just have to say that it is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself.

Is there a message you would like to give to LGBTQ youth, right now?
Oh yes, thank you. You are living in an amazing, wonderful and interesting time. You are coming of age in a world where we are finally understanding that gay is a part of the human fabric. You have a choice, you can believe the fearful things that are thrown at you about yourself or about your life. Or you can believe your feelings and yourself and know what it true. Then, embrace that and know that you can be a beautiful contributing human being. You can be gay and be that. Be yourself and speak true. There is a reason I say that.

Have anything to say about the Anti-Gay laws in Russia and the upcoming Olympics?
Yes, sure. The gay issue is not solely an American issue. You see each country dealing with it in their own ways. There are countries that are so far behind that they are not even dealing with women’s right yet. There are countries like Russia that are hurting economically. They are trying to figure out their identity. Putin is saying let’s look at the things we can clamp down on. We aren’t the West, we have better morals. It is very important that we look at Russia and pay attention. I don’t think boycotting the Olympics by any means would do any good. I think it is time to show up and Russia. Concert in Russia, let’s go.

We are such a finely tuned machine, us gay folks. We have been doing this a long time now. There are wonderful people that are going to help organize the Russian movement. There are gay people everywhere.

I listened to your phone interview with CNN after the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA and Prop 8. I love your quote, “Love is Love and America is beautiful.” It’s been a couple of months, do you have anything to add or say on the subject?
Yes, we all know the direction it is moving, and pretty soon, the people who are in so much fear. The people that come from a place of religious fear and they can’t see that it doesn’t work in America. It is not the way we are built. There is a definite division between Church and State. It may take a long time, 20 years maybe even 30 years, but it is moving in our direction. It is about the Rights of the individual. You can’t regulate morality like that. You can’t go in there and say this is moral and this is not. It is like a big stream that is going to find whichever path it needs to follow.

Do you have any special announcements after the Supreme Court ruling?
Yes, my gal and I are engaged. We are going to get married. We are currently trying to figure out the date. We want to do a honeymoon right after we are married. Between the 4 kids’ schedules and our schedules we have narrowed it down to the next couple of months.

Part 1
Part 2

Date Posted: 
Aug 20 2013