Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Melissa Etheridge: My Songs 'Aren't Gay Enough' for 'Glee'

By Nicki Gostin Posted May 17th 2010 01:34PM

Melissa Etheridge's eleventh studio album, 'Fearless Love,' is dropping at the same time as she's rebuilding her love life from the ground up. The 48-year-old songstress recently broke up with Tammy Lynn Michaels after nine years and having twins together in 2006. Etheridge spoke extremely candidly to PopEater about the painful timing of the split, the "sexphobia" behind the 'Glee'/Newsweek debacle and the absurdities of being called "too gay" or "not gay enough."Did you separate from Tammy before writing this album?It was written before we actually physically separated, but you know, breakups just don't happen overnight.It must suck having the album and the separation emerge at the same time. Do you wish the timing was different?[Laughs] Absolutely! When I saw these things were about to collide for a while there I thought, I don't want this to come up on top of the album, and then I started doing interviews and they're like, "You're such a family girl, your marriage is great, what's the key to a great marriage?" and I was like, "Oh, I can't sit here and lie." But I would have definitely made the timing different.So is the song 'Miss California' about Tammy?That's a political song. It's about California passing Proposition 8.

Have you been following the Newsweek controversy?No I haven't. Give me the scoop!A Newsweek writer said Sean Hayes was too gay to be in 'Promises Promises.' Kristin Chenoweth wrote a letter in his defense and Ryan Murphy from 'Glee' called for a boycott of the magazine.Oh, the gays are getting miffed! Don't tell us we're too gay or not or whatever. Oh lord, what is gay, anyway? Find me the line -- find me the defining line between gay and straight. Find me the defining line between male and female. There is no line. You cannot draw this line in the sand. Yes, there are plenty of people way over there who will never partake in anything straight and there are people way over there who will never partake in anything gay, but there's a whole lot of gray in the middle. Where's the line? Behind all of it is sexual insecurity. It's sexphobia.Have you been accused of not being gay enough?Oh sure. I've had the gay community say, "Why don't you write a song saying 'her'? Your lyrics are non-gender." They're never happy. And the straight folks, they just assume the lyrics are about a woman, and they assume that if they go to a concert it's going to be all gay people. There are stereotypes we all have. But there's no us and them. Good God, we're all the same.Have you ever been approached to have your songs on 'Glee?'No, I don't think they're gay enough. [Laughs]You're a greenie.Yup, no plastic bottles in my house. My car runs on bio-diesel, which is reclaimed vegetable oil from restaurants.Do you compost?I did for a while, but I was horrible at it. I had rats.I reckon someone could start a business in LA tending compost heaps.I can see it! Compost-For-You. Let's do it! I'll invest.Do you like touring?Touring is the payoff after all the days of being alone in my room writing these songs. I get to see people singing them. It's wonderful.You must have tons of groupies.Well, this will be the first time I'm touring and I'm single. But I am not interested in groupies. I don't need that in my life right now. I have my oldest kids with me on tour -- they're 13 and 11.How do you embarrass them?It's funny because they've drawn a line between what I do for a living, getting up there and singing for people. They allow that because they know that's my work, but if I'm standing around at school and I hum or sing something, they're like, "Oh mom, don't!"I think you are quite the sex symbol.Aww, you're sweet, and you're helping this gal. Thank you so much.Aren't you best pals with Brad Pitt?Not for a while. He's a family man. I haven't spoken to him in a while.How's your health?My health is great. I've been six years free of cancer. I figured out health is about balance. It's what you eat, what you feel, how much you sleep. It's really common things that western society doesn't teach us how to do. You've got to take responsibility; you've got to say, "You know what? I don't need to work that hard. I don't have to buy this." It's not what it's all about.

WATCH MELISSA'S "Fearless Love" video.

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