life : Quotes

"I hope you're going to edit this stuff. I don't want to sound like a senile, self-pitying chick babbling on and on about her days of glory."

"You're supposed to be doin' an article on me, man. Fuck reality!"

"Onstage, I make love to 25,000 people - then I go home alone."

"When I'm there, I'm not here," Janis said later. "I can't talk about my singing; I'm inside it. How can you describe something you're inside of?"

"'I feel, you know, I hurt, please help.' I'm saying words, man, and if I look at an audience and they ain't understanding me, it's just like getting kicked in the teeth."

"People, whether they know it or not, like their blues singers miserable. They like their blues singers to die afterwards."

"Don't compromise yourself. It's all you've got."

"I was on stage and I looked out, and I knew they weren't ready. We were doing 'Piece of My Heart.' You know you can do a lot of different things: you know sometimes they get up spontaneously. Out in the Midwest they don't. They aren't supposed to stand up and they know it. It's hard to get 'em up. But I remember I was singing 'Piece of My Heart,' you know that 'Come on, well, come on' line -- well, you know the guitar solo that leads into that part? I came in early, and I walked all the way to the front of the stage and shouted [in a hoarse whisper], 'Come on, come on!' and just fucking stamping my foot, and saying, 'I'm not going to sing anymore unless you do something,' you know, and they're going, 'Whoo-ooo-ooo, yes ma'am! Yes ma'am, yes ma'am!' A riot. Groovy. All they want is a little kick in the ass. You know, sometimes I jump off the stage and grab somebody and say, 'Let's dance.' When they reach a certain level, you know, they want to be lifted, but they're scared. Then all you gotta do is give the old kick in the ass, a big fucking kick in the ass, man. Then the promoters get goony, turn the lights on, pull the power, but by then it's all over [crackles]. I dig it! I dig it so much, man!"

"I'm a victim of my own insides. There was a time when I wanted to know everything. I read a lot. I guess you'd say I was pretty intellectual. It's odd, I can't remember when it changed. It used to make me very unhappy, all that feeling. I just didn't know what to do with it. But now I've learned how to make feeling work for me. I'm full of emotion and I want a release, and if you're on stage and if it's really working and you've got the audience with you, it's a oneness you feel. I'm into me, plus they're into me, and everything comes together. You're full of it. I don't know, I just want to feel as much as I can, it's what 'soul' is all about."

"I was the same chick, because I've been her forever, and I know her, and she ain't no star: she's lonely, or she's good at something. I have to get undressed after the show, my clothes are ruined, my heels are run through, my underwear is ripped, my body's strained from my clothes, my hair's stringy, I got a headache and I got to go home, and I'm lonely, and my clothes are all fucked up, my shoes have come apart, and I'm pleading with my road manager to please give me a ride home, please, please, just so I can take these fuckin' clothes off, and that ain't no star, man, that's just a person."

"If you can get them once, man, get them standing up when they should be sitting down, sweaty when they should be decorous, smile when they should be applauding politely-and I think you sort of switch on their brain, man, so that makes them say: 'Wait a minute, maybe I can do anything.' Whoooooo! It's life. That's what rock and roll is for, turn that switch on, and man, it can all be."

"You never can tell....Sometimes they think they're gonna like you. And then you get out there and you really damage and offend their femininity. You know, 'No chick is supposed to stand like that.' I mean, crouching down in front of the guitar player goin' 'uuuuhhhn!' You know, lettin' your tits shake around, and your hair's stringy, you have no makeup on, and sweat running down your face, you're coming up to the fuckin' microphone, man, and at one point their heads just go 'click,' and they go 'Oooh, no!' You get that a lot. It's really far out. When you're standing on stage you can't see the whole crowd. The trouble is the groovy crowd is usually in the back, because they can't afford the seats down front - the seats down front are the local rich people, the local doctors' sons and their country club dates. They're the ones that are just sitting there, man, with their knees just so. You know, only cross at your ankles, keep your panty girdle tight together, and you sit with your hands in your lap. And I'm up there singing, I'm going, 'Cha-cha-boom-quack-quack,' and I look out at the crowd and the front rows are goin' -- these girls have these little pinched smiles and the expressions on their faces are of absolute horror. They're never seen anything like it, and they don't want to again, man. The chick's up there, shakin' it all and sayin' , 'How do you like that, boys?' and the boys are goin' , 'Aaaaaaghhh!' The girls are going, 'Oh my God, she may be able to sing, but she doesn't have to act like that!"

"All my life I just wanted to be a beatnik. Meet all the heavies, get stoned, get laid, have a good time. That's all I ever wanted. Except I knew I had a good voice and I could always get a couple of beers off of it. All of a sudden someone threw me in this rock 'n' roll band. They threw these musicians at me, man, and the sound was coming from behind. The bass was charging me. And I decided then and there that that was it. I never wanted to do anything else. It was better than it had been with any man, you know. Maybe that's the trouble."

"Is that what you guys talk about, really? Is that all, man? At least you could've been talking about me, you fuckers..."

"They sure laid a lot of shit on me."

"Knock it back, man." Janis says sympathetically. "You can't sip this stuff at eight in the morning. That's Happy Hour shit."

"...Besize, honey, this Janis's tour so...you better pay attention to me, motherfucker!"

"Don't mind me, man, I'm just fuckin' with ya..."

"Honey, to them I'm just a chick who is hung over at 11:00 in the morning. My hair isn't combed, I'm wearin' funny lookin' clothes, plus I'm wearin' feathers. I walk in here and say I want a drink. These people don't want to see me, baby. I mean, let's face it, they don't want me in here - period. So there's three old cats sayin', 'What is this chick doin' here and why?' They'd just as soon be talkin' about the Mets game and they don't want this chick walkin' in with bells on and a big sack of beads. There's the snide remarks I'm not supposed to hear, but loud enough, of course, for me to hear. Everybody gets it, man. Getting' treated like a hippie, that's what I'm talkin' about."

"I read a story about some old opera singer once, and when a guy asked her to marry him, she took him backstage after she had sung a real triumph, with all the people calling for her, asked, 'Do you think you could give me that?' That story hit me right, man. I know no guy ever made me feel as good as an audience. I'm really far into this now, really committed. Like, I don't think I'd go off the road for long now, for life with a guy no matter how good. Yeah, it's the truth. Scary thing to say though, isn't it?"

"Dear Lord! Regular bar conversation. I love bar conversation, man! There's four people talkin', nobody listening to anybody else, someone constantly offending, another cat constantly interrupting with a monologue about his car gettin' repossessed or some other matter of great import - 'So I told that guy...' - and a third person constantly apologizing. This third cat is saying, 'I'm really sorry about a minute ago that I'....Talk about cinema verite! Drunks are all alike. Bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, and every quarter of an hour they've got their arms around each other sayin', 'I'm sorry, you're the greatest buddy I ever met.'"

"Being an intellectual creates a lot of questions and no answers. You can fill your life up with ideas and still go home lonely. All you really have that really matters are feelings. That's what music is to me."

"I gotta go on doin' it the way I see it...I got no choice but to take it like I see it. I'm here to have a party while I'm on this earth...I'm gettin' it now, today. I don't even know where I'm gonna be twenty years from now, so I'm just gonna keep on rockin', cause if I start saving up bits and pieces of me...man, there ain't gonna be nothing left for Janis."

"You can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow."

"I don't understand how come you're gone, man. I don't understand why half the world is still crying, man, when the other half of the world is still crying too, man, and it can't get it together. I mean, if you got a cat for one day, man - I mean, if you, say, say, maybe you want a cat for 365 days, right - You ain't got him for 365 days, you got him for one day, man. Well I tell you that one day, man, better be your life. Because, you know, you can say, oh man, you can cry about the other 364, man, but you're gonna lose that one day, man, and that's all you've got. You gotta call that love, man. That's what it is, man. If you got it today you don't want it tomorrow, man, 'cause you don't need it, 'cause as a matter of fact, as we discovered on the train, tomorrow never happens, man. It's all the same fucking day, man."

"Women to be in-a the music business give up more than you'd ever know. She's got kids she gave up. Any woman gives up home life, an old man, probably, because you're so crazy on planes and runnin' and you never find 'em egain. You give up, you give up a home and friends, you give up children and friends, you give up an old man and friends, you give up any constant in the world except music. That's the only thing you've got man, after you boil it down, the only thing you got left in the world is that music, man. And, so for a woman to sing, she really needs to, or wants to. A man can do it as a gig, 'cause he knows he can get laid tonight."

"This whole thing that's happened to me, you see, this whole success thing, er, it hasn't yet really compromised the position that I took a long time ago in Texas, that was to be true to myself, to be the person that I f ... that was on inside of me and not play games. You see, actually what I'm trying to do mostly, if I, in the whole world, is to not bullshit myself, and not bullshit anybody else. To be righteous to myself, I mean to be real, you know what I mean ? And so far, you know I'm, I'm just tryin' to ... I'm doin' that, I am, you know. I'm not wearin' cardboard eyelashes, and, and, you know, and girdles, and playin' in Las Vegas. By still bein' Janis, I just happens to be on a slightly different level or somethin' now. And ... you know I suppose it's because I've never been premeditated enough in show-business that I was worried about putting on a, a face, you know what I mean ? So I can sit here and tell you the truth. You know? Although that's slightly inhibiting, (nodding towards camera) really, it doesn't, it doesn't force a game on me, because I refuse to let it force a game on me. So I can sit here and be just as honest as I would be in a bar, although I'd be a lot happier in a bar!"

"Music's for grooving man, and music's not for puttin' yourself through bad changes, y'know? I mean, you don't have to go take anybody's shit, man, just to like music, y'know what I mean? You don't. So... so if you're getting' more shit than you deserve, you know what to do about it man. Y'know, it's just music. Music's... music's s'posed to be different than that."

"People expect Janis Joplin to be a tough bitch, and say I start talking to them like a lonely little girl--that's not in their image of me--they don't see it. Say you meet somebody you've heard about, you don't ever see them, you don't see who they are and who they need to be recognized as, you see who you need them to be."