Interview with Inger Lorre of The Nymphs

Delusions Of Adequacy: From what I’ve read, you grew up in New Jersey on the East Coast of the U.S. and as a kid you learned to play different musical instruments. Were you self-taught or did you take lessons? Did you want to become a musician at this early age or did your folks push you to take lessons?

Inger Lorre: Yup, I play violin, viola, piano, acoustic bass and guitar, electric bass and guitar, alto sax, toy piano, harmonica, and skin flute. I took lessons on all the above except toy piano, and electric bass and guitar. No acoustic guitar lessons either. My parents were scientists, and every birthday from 11 to 15 I would ask for a guitar…xmas too. They would give me really expensive SCIENTIFIC gifts…but no guitar. EACH XMAS AND BIRTHDAY, in order, I received, a TELESCOPE, a MICROSCOPE, a unicycle (yeah they were weird), and a metal detector… but NO FRIGGIN GUITAR!!!!! They didn’t want to encourage that sort of thing. They were upper class, and quite snooty, if ya know what I mean. My dad was the president of the board of education in our district of 6 or 7 towns….he was a big fish…I was the FUCK UP daughter…my sister was little miss goody two shoes, (Ivy League college, converted to Judaism, married a nice, rich Jewish guy, has a maid, nanny, Upper East Side apt. in New York, wears Prada…you get the picture. She DENIES that I’m her sister. NO JOKE dude. It hurts me, but that’s the facts….Oh, well…I love her, even though she hates me. She’s my sister… Oh, well.).

Finally I dated a rich drug dealer who got me my first guitar, a beautiful 1968 black SG with P-90 pickups!!!! The happiest day of my life… god bless Bobby Ebz. He wuz in a band called GENOCIDE from New Jersey…he’s dead now….Google him. He played guitar with G.G. Allin. He was my first FUCK YOU MOM AND DAD!!!!-boyfriend…(sigh!!!!!!!).
This is true…..but unbelievable….my parents actually took me to a shrink for A YEAR, telling him that I HAD DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR, because, I must be crazy because I “THINK I’M GONNA BE A ROCK STAR!!!” for real!!! What a waste of money!!!! How misunderstood I FELT!!!!!

To all the kids whose parents are making them see a shrink…show your parents THIS INTERVIEW!!!!! My PARENTS’ reality was the one that was skewed, kids!!!! You should have seen how SORRY they were when I FAXED THEM THE 87 PAGE GEFFEN RECORDS CONTRACT with a cover letter that said “WHO’S crazy NOW mom and DAD?????!!!!”.

Believe in yourself! No one else EVER will!! KNOW what you love…what turns you on…what your favorite color is…your favorite song!!! NEVER JOIN THE “JOINERS!!!!”. Follow your fucking HEART DAMN IT!!!!!! Whew!!!!

DOA: After high school and a stint at the Pratt Institute, you headed out to the West Coast of the U.S., specifically Los Angeles. What was it like on the West Coast in comparison to the East Coast?

Inger: FIRST of all, California, to quote Sandra Bernhardt, “is the heroin of weather”. It’s ALWAYS beautiful…and the air is ALWAYS fragrant…and there is a SOFT-FOCUS quality about the light, which is why the movie industry started out here in the 20’s (and YOU thought it was a happy accident!). David Lynch talks about the LA light. It’s beautiful, and unreal, and you need to experience it to “get it”…

Also…it’s so inspiring…to be a NOBODY from NEW JERSEY of all places, whose parents said she wasn’t gonna amount to SHIT…and to see these people who were, like, GAS STATION attendants one week, and movie stars the next, (Johnny Depp). There is SO much HOPE and possibility… you always think…hey, Courtney Love was a stripper, and fat, and ugly too!!!! Wow!!!! Anyone can do this!!!! COOL!!!!!!!!

God BLESS Courtney Love…She was WAY cooler lookin’ when she was “ugly”…and by the way, she was NEVER really ugly, SHE just thought so. Fuck plastic surgery…there is NO SUCH THING as “UGLY”. God doesn’t make mistakes, man!!!! It’s ALL how you carry yourself. It’s ALL self belief!!! Martin Luther King, and Mother Theresa weren’t frikkin SUPERMODELS!!!!! Yet they were two of the MOST BEAUTIFUL people I have ever seen photos of! You dig!????

DOA: How did The Nymphs form and what was the dynamic of the band? Were you the leader per se, or was it a democratic union in creating the songs and getting things done?

Inger: It was definitely my band…I wrote most of the music and words…I had most of the songs written before I even HAD the band, but during the band, when certain members would change a line of lyrics, or come up with a better change, groove, or drum beat, then they definitely got credit where credit was due…because we fought a lot. I don’t think ALEX, the drummer, was actually given his due…or given the attention he deserved for creating the grooves and beats that were the “HEARTBEAT” of The Nymphs…Those who MATTERED noticed though. When IGGY POP came to do the VOCALS on the TRACK “SUPERSONIC” (how many people can SAY THAT ABOUT THEIR DEBUT ALBUM???), HE ACTUALLY ASKED ALEX TO LEAVE AND JOIN THE IGGY POP BAND!!!!! TO HIS IMMENSE CREDIT, ALEX SAID “THANX, BUT NO THANKS. I LIKE THE BAND I’M IN, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!”…BUT WHEN THE BAND BROKE UP, IGGY CALLED HIM IMMEDIATELY!!!!! HE PLAYED WITH IGGY FOR ABOUT TEN YEARS.

DOA: As part of The Nymphs, you played gigs with lots of other bands (Peter Murphy, Soul Asylum, Soundgarden, more). What was the best tour/set of gigs you have been on based on inter-band camaraderie? What was your best show just as The Nymphs?

Inger: Honestly, it’s hard to remember with all of the drugs we were doing back then (WHEW!!!! I’m surprised we survived at all!!!!)…Um, well, there were a STRING of shows in LA with JANES addiction, like seven in a row or something, at the HEIGHT of their popularity, that were just….um…MAGICAL would be too soft and diminishing of a word. They were RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCES and I think anyone who was AT those shows would agree…the kind of shows where everyone in the first three rows upfront were simultaneously CRYING and singing all the lyrics to the songs, BOTH our songs AND JANES…wow… what a few great shows…

DRAMA-WISE? Opening for HOLE at ROSELAND in NEW YORK (I’ll keep my mouth shut about that one. Kurt was very recently dead and she was just NUTS. Little Francis was there with headphone protectors on…and there were THREE, count ‘em, THREE NANNIES!). Drew Barrymore was dating ERIC so that just added to the weirdness. Drew is the sweetest, KINDEST, most NORMAL, and down to earth girl though…

SOUNDGARDEN and the NYMPHS at the Club Lingerie in LA was pretty awsome!…FUCK!!! Chris could really sing his ass off then!!!! Plus he had really long hair…and was a STONE COLD FOX!!! Prettier than most GIRLS I knew at the time!!!!
And also, we had THREE NIGHTS sold out, opening up for the JESUS and MARY CHAIN at the UNIVERSAL AMPLITHEATRE!!! Wow!!!!! The crowd went NUTS!!!! And they were so NICE TO US!!!! So POLITE!!!! We finished the show and went into our dressing room and they had left 5 JESUS and MARY CHAIN sweatshirts, one for each band member! That was a really kind GESTURE!!! So we gave ’em Nymphs shirts in return. It’s these little kind gestures that you remember YEARS later…

DOA: The Nymphs broke up in 1992 and you moved back to the New Jersey/New York City area. From what I’ve read, you met the incomparable Jeff Buckley in a bar and struck up a friendship and recorded on each other’s albums. What was the experience like, working with Jeff Buckley and creating songs with him?

Inger: It’s still too painful for me to talk about Jeff Buckley, his death and all that. I was living with him in his New York apartment at the time of his death. Go out and buy the book “DREAM BROTHER” for all the details about Jeff and me. You can get it in ANY major book store. There are hundreds of pages about Jeff and my life together…Sorry, I’d rather not talk about those precious, private memories… too fuckin’ painful dude…

DOA: I’m a big fan of Jeff Buckley and adore his album Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk – and one of my favorite songs off the album is “Yard Of Blonde Girls”. Did you write that song with him?

Inger: “Yard Of Blonde Girls”, nope, Jeff had NOTHING to do with writing that song. That song was written by my friend AUDREY CLARK of the 360’s (an AMAZING Boston band. Check them out on RCA…great 3 or 4 records…simply amazing!!!! You can contact her at 360’s on MySpace). Anyway, “Yard Of Blonde Girls” was written by Audrey Clark, Inger Lorre, and Audrey’s sister, LORI KRAMER. It was LORI’S verse, “through the yard of blonde girls… through the river, and the sea, gold sharks glittering, a tree of white, breaks the earth”. She is an AMAZING poet who has had a REALLY, REALLY hard life (in and out of mental hospitals, drug addiction, problems with the law…), but, even through all that, LORI is a genius, and a survivor. I adore that girl. She is WAY, WAY more talented than say, PATTI SMITH, who Lori worships. She wouldn’t believe it if I told her that her OWN poems blow PATTI SMITH’S poems away – and that’s NOT to say that Patti Smith sucks either. Did you know that Patti Smith is from NEW JERSEY???? Last Christmas I sat next to her on a train from New York to New Jersey…she was going home to visit her mother for the holidays…it was hard not to stare!!!! Ya know???

Anyway, Jeff always loved the song, and he never, ever got to find out that the lyrics I wrote in that song, “It’s in your heart, it’s in your art, your beauty…even in this world of lies…there’s purity. You got innocence, in your eyes, even in this world of LIES, you’re still hopeful, that’s very sexy…ok, ok…” were actually ABOUT HIM!!!! So when he was singing it, he was singing about HIMSELF!!!!! It’s funny that he chose THAT song to sing of mine, when it was about HIM, and like I said, he never, ever knew that it was about HIM!!!!

Also, there is a JACK KEROUAC (the famous beat poet who wrote the novel On The Road) record out there, called KICKS, JOY, DARKNESS. Steven Tyler is on there, Matt Dillon, and JEFF and me again doing this song called “ANGEL MINE”, which is a Jack Kerouac poem set to music I wrote. I play synthesizer on that one and Jeff plays guitar and sitar with a bow (and the MOUTH SAX). Jeff was a genius. It was a pleasure to know him…truly….

DOA: You released a solo album in 1999 called Transcendental Medication on Triple X Records. How would you describe the sound of your songs? Who collaborated with you on the album? That’s Jeff Buckley on the song “Thief Without The Take”, right?

Inger: Jeff and I do a duet on my solo album, Transcendental Medication. The song we sing together is called “Thief Without The Take” – it’s about robbing from yourself, and coming away with NOTHING…basically about fucking yourself over…which I did for WAY, WAY too long…

The album was recorded with a band called MOTEL SHOOTOUT. They were a Jersey band led by a guitarist/singer named KEITH HARTEL. I was dating the drummer in the band, PAUL BOTTIGLIARO. The album was produced by the famous producer (he is actually a NEW YORK genius who has worked with FOETUS, and the Royal Trux, and Sonic Youth)…his name is JAY WASCO, and his band is called JOHNNY SKILLSAW. JAY is a GENIUS…you will be BLOWN AWAY if you go check out Jay’s website on MySpace. I don’t know if it’s listed under JOHNNY SKILLSAW or JAY WASCO, but if you take the time to investigate, you will NOT be disappointed. You’ll see what I mean when and if you find him…hands down…THE MOST TALENTED PERSON I HAVE EVER MET…more talented than JEFF BUCKLEY and ELLIOTT SMITH and all of the Beatles COMBINED!!!!!! Go find him!!! It’s SO, SO worth it!!!!!!