Linda Ronstadt doesn’t feel like company much these days. At least, not too much company. And on a recent visit, she is definitely not going to put on clothes and makeup.
Ronstadt is withdrawing from medicine she has been taking for more than three years that was supposed to help control her Parkinson’s disease. She suffers from nausea, vertigo, the works. That means no photo shoot today — though she makes it clear she isn’t a shut-in.
“You have to have a life,” Ronstadt says, “but I have to be very selective about what I do.”
That’s why this year, Ronstadt has chosen to come out in public again after her life-changing diagnosis five years ago. She has returned to public appearances last month in Tucson and Phoenix for “A Conversation With Linda,” where she recollected her career interspersed with snippets of recordings and videos. She even answered questions from the audience. Reviews from those events noted, with some surprise, how funny Ronstadt was, as if she has finally made public the brilliant, chatty, outgoing private self her friends have always known.
She plans to showcase that charm again this fall in three Northern California appearances — Sept. 15 at Dominican University of California, San Rafael; Sept. 21 at Folsom Lake College in Sacramento County; and Sept. 29 at Mountain Winery in Saratoga.
But this morning, her short, reddish hair hasn’t seen a brush yet. Ronstadt is curled up under a blanket on a lounge in her Sea Cliff living room, a scarf around her neck.
Outside her home’s windows, the garden is in full bloom. Her two grown children live in a house in the back, and 1-year-old Tucker, whom Ronstadt rescued as a 5-week-old kitten trying to cross a Los Angeles freeway, stalks the living room magisterially. Her longtime assistant, Janet Stark, is busy in the kitchen. Her daughter, Mary, 28, whose painting of Tucker on a clothes hanger is hanging on the wall, calls to check in.
Steven Wilson was remixing Tears for Fears’ “Songs from the Big Chair” and “The Seeds of Love” when he found himself missing the blend of ambition and pop sensibilities that had defined so many classic albums he loved growing up in the ’80s.
“I did a Simple Minds record around the same time,” Wilson says. “And I did Roxy Music’s first album, all of these records that could be described as arty pop or progressive pop. And I kind of fell in love with that notion all over again.”
Just enjoy the music
One of the qualities he loves the most about those types of records, Wilson says, is that the artists wanted people to enjoy their music.
“They’re not trying to be difficult,” he says. “They’re very accessible records with catchy choruses. But at the same time, there’s no sense of compromise in the ambition. And I really miss those kind of records.”
Outside of hip-hop, Wilson says, “there’s precious little these days which you could say occupies the area that bands like Talking Heads once occupied, or the Police, or an artist like Prince or even Michael Jackson, that idea of being able to make a really ambitious record that is at the same time unashamedly aiming for a mass audience.”
Read the rest of the interview at AZCentral.com by clicking here.