What do you mean?
Well‚ there was nowhere to hide‚ you know? I think probably through that experience of actually living in West Africa for a year‚ I didn't walk in there like‚ "Hey‚ woo hoo!" overly confident. I'm really insecure‚ actually. I really am‚ but‚ I don't know‚ it's hard to explain. I think maybe just knowing that is also why I'm like this. Because really everybody is to some degree. If you're not‚ then you're probably an asshole‚ you know? [laughter]
Yeah‚ you're just oblivious.
It's pain and fear of the human experience that connects everybody. So if you can be in touch with that but not let it take over you‚ then it makes it easy for you and for people to relate to you. Am I getting too psychological or what?
No‚ it's right on. That whole experience sounds really empowering.
Definitely‚ but‚ you know‚ not without struggle. It was really difficult at times. It was definitely a process‚ but definitely empowering in some ways‚ such a full‚ full experience. In other ways‚ it was very disempowering.
What was it like bringing the band there?
It was so incredible‚ and it was also difficult‚ you know? Especially the first time -- I was with my former husband. And so it was just he and I making decisions together. Traveling‚ doing anything with a group‚ can be incredibly annoying. Going out to dinner with ten people can be annoying‚ you know? So‚ yeah‚ it was difficult. I felt pretty powerless a lot of the time‚ because not only did we have the structure of Aphrodesia‚ but we also had an entourage of Ghanaians that traveled with us and played with us‚ and they don't let women tell you what to do in Ghana.
They didn't get the memo?
Exactly. [laughter] So it was challenging in that way‚ for sure‚ but it was also so amazing that we were able to travel and play music in all the different situations that we did. And I obviously couldn't have done that by myself or with one other person. And it was good. I think we all grew a lot. We kind of had to trust each other‚ you know? It wasn't like a choice. It wasn't like‚ "Well‚ see you guys later." [laughter]
"I don't think I want to be in a band anymore." That's really interesting you put it that way. I mean‚ a lot of interviews that I do‚ it comes down to that on any level‚ that you have to have this serious level of trust to get up onstage and make it as good as it can be. And here you are going to this place together that's really out of your comfort zone. That seems like even a deeper level of trust than just getting onstage.
Yeah‚ definitely.
So how does it feel to come back and play gigs? Do you think naturally you guys are on a different level?
I think we're on a different level‚ for sure. In some ways‚ it feels really great‚ and in some ways it's… well‚ there are now additional concerns for friends and communities that we connected with in Ghana. And it's really not easy to have relationships with really poor people in third world countries‚ because they really do need a lot of help. And so not only now do we have our own financial struggles with the band‚ but there's also an extra consideration of like‚ "How are we going to bring this guy over here?" and "How are we going to send money to our friends?" I'm not complaining‚ but I'm just noting that there's now even more complex… I don't know….
I hear you -- it's hard. No‚ I imagine it's very difficult to do what you think is right‚ and to keep everything going and bring in these other aspects into it.
But‚ you know‚ it's kind of making us more responsible and more serious‚ too. It's not just about being the big stars or getting lots of attention. Now it's very clear that there's a greater purpose.
That's good to be thinking that way.
Yeah‚ it's important. It's easy to forget. It's really easy to get wrapped up and unplug from what's really going on in the world because it's hideously painful. I mean‚ it's impossible to think about it all the time because‚ personally‚ I would be debilitated. War‚ religious war. I'd be really depressed.
In 2004‚ you drove across country registering voters.
Yeah‚ that was our first tour. That was so fun.
Yeah. In the biodiesel bus‚ which I thought was awesome. It's weird‚ I think we all kind of felt this in a way‚ and then the elections happened and it's like‚ how much can you get beat down?
It's true.