Chan Marshall - Our Interview With Cat Power
From   By Aidin Vaziri

For several years, Chan Marshall has been a vague blip on the American indie music radar. The chronically shy Southern singer-songwriter prefers to hide behind a loose band concept with the name Cat Power. In interviews, she is often reclusive and elusive. When she performs live, she prefers to stare into the wings rather than impose her presence on an audience. And then there are the rumors of schizophrenia, depression, and a garden variety of other mental afflictions. But to share an afternoon with her, you would never guess that the 27-year-old Marshall has ever had a problem with self-expression. She has just released an album appropriately titled The Covers Record, on which she lends her mournful voice to interpretations of songs by everyone from the Rolling Stones to Nina Simone. What do you do all day?
CM: I guess what I'm doing right now. I just got back from surprising my grandmother in Florida. I just showed up at her house. I see my family. Shopping. Cooking. Drinking. Probably things like that. Do you like having time off?
CM: I'm happy when I have time off. But after a little bit of time I get tired and start getting those thoughts like, "Oh my God, I wish I worked nine-to-five." The monotony of sporadic impulsiveness makes you wonder what is important and what is my direction. That's why touring comes really easily. It just seems like the only answer sometimes. When was the last time you had a straight job?
CM: Oh, man. I would say 1996 I worked at a home-cooking place in New York City. I was the one that was like, "How are you doing today? Would you like anything to drink?" I was putting food on plates and handing them to people. The owner hired different people now, and they're not nice anymore. It used to be just me and him, now it's all these people who are mean and rude and ugly to people. But it was kind of fun. I just met so many people, like squatters and older people. So that was kind of neat. It was a good job. I got paid seven dollars cash plus $30 a day in tips. Would you do it again?
CM: If I wanted a job, I guess. I would do it again, but I would probably prefer working with children. Do you want kids?
CM: Yes. A lot of them. That's probably why I want to be a teacher, because then I can play with children all day long. Are you ready to have them right now?
CM: I've always loved them. Financially and emotionally and psychologically I don't know if I'm ready. Of course, anybody who ever has a child, I don't think they plan for it. But when I do have one, I'll be very excited. What were you like as a child?
CM: I was pretty daydreamy and spazzy. I was energetic. Never could sleep. Always running all over the place. I wanted to be a comedian. I liked making people laugh. Did your teachers realize you would be successful someday?
CM: Definitely not. My art teacher, yes, but nobody else. Are you surprised how your music affects so many people?
CM: Sometimes it's shocking that someone likes something like that. This one girl in France was crying because I was telling her I don't know if I can keep doing this anymore. She said if I quit, she'll die. Sometimes there are people like that who make me think I'm doing something right. How do you feel about people using your records in the bedroom?
CM: What do you mean? What are they doing with them? Having sex to them? No! They don't do that to my records. I guess the new one is a lovers record, because all the songs are about love, so I could see how it could make you want to love and kiss somebody. But sex is so sexual. Are you okay with being the indie Sade?
CM: "Smooth Operator"? I see what you mean. I guess I can't really say anything because I'm not the one doing it. Have you ever tried it yourself?
CM: What do you mean? No, I haven't. Are you insane? I've done it with the lights on before, though. Does it freak you out being in people’s fantasies?
CM: I guess it's normal. I really love Bob Dylan and Otis Redding. It's normal to appreciate someone you don't know when you really believe in what they do. Would people who fantasized about you be disappointed if they met you?
CM: I think they would be happier. Interviews always say I'm so depressed and melancholy, but I'm not like that. I don't think they'd be let down. What's the best rumor you have ever heard about yourself?
CM: Are rumors best? I heard I was Kris Kristofferson's daughter or Jim Morrison's daughter. I told someone I was Jim Morrison's daughter because they were annoying me. So I was just making up lies for the whole interview. I told him it was off the record, and then he printed it. Then someone in Knoxville thought I was Kris Kristofferson's daughter. Then this dumb bartender in New York told everyone I was a junkie. That's probably the worst.

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