Sex, divorce, feeling inadequate—when it comes to her lyrics, Jenny Lewis has never held back. But somehow, between Rilo Kiley, her rootsy solo work and frequent guest spots (Postal Service, Bright Eyes, Elvis Costello), the demure, 32-year-old former actress continues to keep intrigue high. Her latest solo album, Acid Tongue (Warner Bros.), is no exception. Buffered by snaky guitars, pumping bass and harmonica, she sings about taking LSD, regretting lies she’s told and even matricide in a quivering soprano. Despite being open about vices in her lyrics (whether they’re real or not), when MAGNET reached her in Los Angeles, Lewis shyly asked only one question: “Can it be a fiction sheet?”
Lewis Tracked Down Her Estranged Father, Eddie Gorgan, To Play Harmonica On Acid Tongue.
I’ve always written songs about my parents. They are such fascinating, odd people. On (2006 solo album) Rabbit Fur Coat, I really wrote a lot about my mom. I started unconsciously writing a little bit about my father, and that led me to asking him to come down and play on the record, which was a really lovely experience for me. I’m still kind of getting to know him. And what better way than to play music with your dad?
Lewis Made Her Stage Debut In Las Vegas.
I heard a couple great stories [about my parents’ ’70s-era lounge act, Love’s Way]. One involved a wardrobe malfunction while my mother was pregnant with me. Apparently, there was some sort of button problem, and her dress fell to the floor while she was onstage at the Sands Hotel.
As A Teenager, Lewis Collected Hats, But Now Has Just One Favorite.
I donated [my hat collection] to Goodwill, then slowly bought back the hats over the years. Not the exact same hats. I have one hat that I wear all the time, a Borsalino. I bought it in a pawnshop in Cologne. It’s just a great old hat. You can hide under a hat. From the rain.
Lewis Occasionally Plays Impromptu Music With Other Musicians In L.A.’s Laurel Canyon.
Every couple of months, we go to a house that my friend Jonathan Wilson has, and we just sing cover tunes all night. We sing J.J. Cale tunes. Grateful Dead songs. The Watson Twins came up a couple times. Some of the guys from Wilco. Different older guys who have been playing in L.A. for a long time. It’s really fun. And there’s a bunch of pretty girls sitting around, watching. That always helps.
Lewis Recorded Acid Tongue In A Studio Known For Legendary Recordings As Well As Legendary Debauchery.
There are only two rooms at Sound City [Studios], one of which is the big room where Nevermind was recorded and part of Rumours and a bunch of Tom Petty records. The console is the same for all the records that were made there. I think a couple lines of coke were probably snorted off that. [Laughs] I thought you were gonna ask me if I did a line of coke off the console. I didn’t, just so you know.
Lewis Owns Five Koi Fish.
I got two a couple months ago. Their names are Oreo and Peaches And Cream. And I actually got three more last night. Two are unnamed, but one is called Golden Man. He’s really small. I also have two bullfrogs and one nameless catfish. They’re in a pond, which is, like, 500 gallons.