by Tracey MacLeod
BBC 2 TV Show
May 1991

Rapido BBC 2 TV Show UK, 1991

Joni: (plucking the strings of her guitar one at a time)

Joni laughs and plays intro to Come in from the Cold

Joni Mitchell's first album for the '90s is a triumphant return to the style that made her one of the '70s most popular singer-songwriters.

I think everybody feels better, you know, I don't know, it just seems like a good experimental time on relationships, the '90s, 'cause we went too far one way in the '80s. It's like, you know, too lonely a route. With hard times coming, people got to, you know, strengthen themselves and their compassion because we've got hard times coming.

Those albums of the '80s, particularly the lyrically pessimistic Dog Eat Dog and Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm, weren't that successful, but for her they felt right at the time.

Obviously, you don't want to spend a long period in a state of anger. Dog Eat Dog was an angry album, I think that was the appropriate emotional response to that time, considering what was happening in my personal life and considering that the American press and the American populace had basically gone to sleep and no one was speaking out against the era. It was a nasty job but somebody had to do it, it was viewed as a negative project, but I defend it.

Come in from the Cold video plays.

It is the duty of an artist to be the antenna for the populace. We have the luxury of (the) time. Aside from interview mode and certain scheduled periods, like touring, our job is unstructured and we are supposed to sit up late at night, and early in the morning, and think about the world. We should have, if we're doing our job correctly, an advance insight into things that are to come. There's no magic crystal ball to it, it's just common sense, the seeds are already planted.

After the chart failures of her recent albums, Joni welcomes the attention her new record is receiving, although she's too much of a veteran to let it affect her.

I don't need more fame and I don't need... the only reason I need more money... I could do with a little trickling income, like because you have a lot things, tentacles on you, and if there isn't [income], they're not getting paid... you know... like on that level there needs to be... yeah I have a big debt at Geffen because the other records haven't sold too well and they cost a lot to make. I wouldn't mind to lift the ceiling off of that. Do I want more fame and fortune? No thank you, please. [Laughs]

Video clips of Rickie Lee Jones and Suzanne Vega play.

The many fans of Joni's classic albums maintain that she represents the singer/songwriter tradition at its best. Both personal and intelligent, though many have tried to inherit her mantle since, from Rickie Lee Jones to Suzanne Vega, not all have admitted her influence.

I've since met Suzanne Vega, who came up and said, "I love your music", and I said "Oh well, that's not what you said in Ireland, that's not what you said in Italy", and she said, "Oh wow". This was after her third album, she said, "I didn't realize then how much courage the job takes". And that's true, you know, so having experienced... it's easy to snipe at me when you are up... but after two critical failures under her belt, you know, "A great tragedy hath humanized my soul." [Laughs.]

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