"So, um, whadja think of 'Coal Miner's Daughter?'"
August 22, 2006 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: "I have an interview with Loretta Lynn this afternoon. What should I ask her? What should my lead be?"

I would have helped her myself, but my knowledge of Loretta Lynn is basically nothing. So, what questions should she ask? I think the best interviews in the world come out of the Onion's AV Club, so something in that vein is what I'm looking for as opposed to the title above. What timely, intelligent or unique questions should my friend ask?

Thanks, all.
posted by Terminal Verbosity to Society & Culture (23 answers total)
You can't go wrong checking out her Wikipedia page and seeing what interests your friend about her. Personally, the ties to Jack White made me want to ask if she's a fan of the White Stripes music.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 9:21 AM on August 22, 2006

I'd be curious about what she's listening to now- what was the last album she bought?
posted by mkultra at 9:28 AM on August 22, 2006

I'd suggest focusing on what she's doing now. People don't like to reminesce if they are doing something great now. He should listen to the new album done with Jack White, ask her about working with him, etc. Find out if she's listened to the White Stripes, what's it like to connect with a new generation of fans, is she suprised when young people on the street recognize her from her new work etc.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:29 AM on August 22, 2006

I would also be interested to know if she's noticed any sort of shift in her fan base since her collaboration with Jack White. How are they different from her fans earlier in her career, if at all, and what is that experience like?

Also, I am sure there is a good question to be gotten from the fact that she, like Johnny Cash, has managed to redirect her career to a whole new group of people who might not have been familiar with her. Is there a certain aspect of her music that she feels lends itself well to the more mainstream "indie" audiences? Does she think that the sentiments she expresses in her music are different from what is currently topping charts on country music stations?

She's renowned for being a positive female role model, and having a strong feminine voice back when other people were singing "Stand By Your Man." Who does she think are comparable contemporaries? What does she think about the brouhaha about the Dixie Chicks?
posted by mckenney at 9:34 AM on August 22, 2006

Ask her if she really said "Doolittle, all you wanna do is get on top of me and sweat like a dirty ole pig" or if Sissy Spacek was ad-libbing.
posted by m@ at 9:36 AM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Ask her about her song "The Pill," the best song about birth control I've ever heard.
posted by Sara Anne at 9:47 AM on August 22, 2006

If you ask her about the Dixie Chicks, keep in mind that she campaigned for Bush senior in '88.
posted by hermitosis at 9:47 AM on August 22, 2006

It might be useful to read Rolling Stone's Jancee Dunn's account of meeting her... there could be some interesting stuff in there to build upon.
posted by xo at 10:04 AM on August 22, 2006

I was just thinking about her last night, that damn "Portland Oregon" is stuck in my head and I was thinking of her singing a song about a one-night stand with Jack White. That said, I imagine she's tired of talking about him, since that album was released a good bit ago.
I would ask her what she's learned about the music industry after all these years, and how she thinks it's changed. I love the question about what she's listening to now, and maybe how her personal musical tastes have changed over time. I'd try to get her to say something about New Country, I bet she hates it.
I'd ask her about some of her more famous partnerships/duets and who she's enjoyed working with the most.
Have fun, I'm jealous.
posted by pomegranate at 10:18 AM on August 22, 2006

I'd want her perspective on the future of the music business. What does she think of the big labels, what about online downloading, the RIAA sueing kids and dead people... etc.

Ask her if the music business has gotten more or less honest/reputable/easy to break into/supportive of artists over the years. She's been in the business for years so you know she'll have some good insight (as Tom Petty did in a recent Rolling Stone interview).

Ask her how she stays so young and healthy looking.
posted by DragonBoy at 10:32 AM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'd ask her about the change in country music from real country to mainstream pop... from Hank Williams and Johnny Cash to Dixie Chicks and Garth Brooks.
posted by kdern at 10:57 AM on August 22, 2006

The best interviews I read (like the ones in the Onion) are done with a knowledgeable interviewer. I'd probably recommend that your friend at least read Still Woman Enough or Coal Miner's Daughter. Your friend should be able to come up with some good questions after reading those books.
posted by JJ86 at 10:59 AM on August 22, 2006

Jack White's been mentioned, but what I'd like to know is what working with him did for her career. I've never been much into country, but the last time I heard of her was in the 80s on those commercials for compilations of classic country hits. Seems like she disappeared. Then out of nowhere (from my perspective) Jack White digs her up, dusts her off, and reintroduces her to a whole new audience. Was she plugging along this whole time or was she semi-retired or what? How have things changed since then?
posted by kookoobirdz at 11:53 AM on August 22, 2006

The best interviews I read (like the ones in the Onion) are done with a knowledgeable interviewer.

Definitely do your research. Read everything about her, listen to all her music, Google her and read every link that comes up.
posted by orange swan at 11:56 AM on August 22, 2006

Thanks everyone. Jessica says:

"She was great...it was like talking to one of my aunts. Very talkative and always with a story to tell. She invited me to see her show Saturday.

I love that website, by the way. I'll be registering on it soon."

And I've marked the best answers per her guidance.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 12:24 PM on August 22, 2006

So when/where is the interview coming up?
posted by pomegranate at 12:29 PM on August 22, 2006

(By which I mean when/where will it be published?)
posted by pomegranate at 12:29 PM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Nice Title
posted by wheelieman at 3:13 PM on August 22, 2006

This is too late... but a big UGH on all the Jack White questions. C'mon, this is Loretta Lynn! She lent Jack White a little bit country (if anything); Jack White didn't make her indie, much less "dig her up and dust her off." Listening to all but a few songs on Van Lear Rose made me cringe.
posted by footnote at 5:14 PM on August 22, 2006

Pomegranate: she writes for a small Wisconsin newspaper. Their readership is small, but they do have a web presence. Not everything makes it online, though; mostly front page stuff only. If it appears tomorrow, I'll throw up a link.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 7:26 PM on August 22, 2006

Pah crust: shortnin' or buttah?
posted by rob511 at 3:16 AM on August 23, 2006

Loretta Lynn has been interviewed thousands of times, by some of the best in the business. She's smart as a whip and has heard every question you can think of. The interview will be (or rather, sounds like it was) about whatever she wants it to be about. And about nothing she doesn't want it to be about.

And while "The Pill" is a great song, arguable the greatest song ever written about contraception is, IMHO, Two Nice Girls' "I Spent My Last Ten Dollars (on Birth Control and Beer)." Loretta's "One's On the Way" is the best song about the need for birth control, however.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:58 AM on August 23, 2006

The interview didn't make it to the web, so only residents of a particular sleepy little town behind the Cheddar Curtain can read it.

I read it in an email, however, and fourcheesemac is right; right off the bat there was a great story from her about being on stage and flinging off the heels her manager insisted she wear, because she'd never worn them before and they hurt, telling the audience, "If ya'll don't mind, I'm going to kick off these shoes." She seems like fun.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 10:40 AM on August 23, 2006

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