life : Reflections
"Janis Joplin as a white singer, I felt she had soul. She was definitely kickin' with the songs she did with Big Brother And Company. I don't hear too many stars today coming out and quoting Janis Joplin, but she's definitely someone to look back at."
"You listen to a Janis Joplin record and she just puts -- she wears everything on her sleeve, whether she's completely drugged up, it's on her sleeve. If she's totally just passionately screaming at the top of her lungs, it's on her sleeve. You feel like whatever she's talking about and whatever she's singing about, she sang it with no cares, no second thoughts, no looking back. She didn't say, 'You know what, let's take that take again.' She sang it and she sang it with every bone in her body, and that was that."
Amy Ray(Indigo Girls)
"Janis Joplin taught me about passion."
"The thing that really got me about Janis the most, was how liberated she was. She stood in that power even though it was kind of that platform of blues of being completely tormented, that enabled her to just stand there and let it go at a time when woman were not doing that...she just came out in the completely undone, unwrapped way and I think spoke right out of a woman's soul. Directly."
"Janis Joplin sings the blues as hard as any black person."
"I have been so inspired and humbled by the level of this woman's intelligence, love, passion and her uncompromising focus. Janis was a real warrior. God bless her, man."
"Janis didn't, you know, do steps or anything, but she had this fabulous way of using her body that was very original; very much her own. I loved her."
"The thing about Janis is that she just looked so unique, an ugly duckling dressed as a princess, fearlessly so. Seeing her live (Blossom Music Center, Richfield, Ohio 1970) was like watching a boxing match. Her performance was so in your face and electrifying that it really put you right there in the moment. There you were living your nice little life in the suburbs and suddenly there was this train wreck, and it was Janis."
"I once served a steak to Janis Joplin at Max's Kansas City. She was quiet and very polite. She didn't eat her steak but left a five dollar tip."
It was 1967, and on the advice of the leader of her first band, Crow ('the crow being me, because I was the only black member of the group'), 18-year-old Summer went to the Psychedelic Supermarket, a music venue in Boston, to check out a singer. 'I went in and there was a woman with a big huge porcelain keg of whisky, and she was holding it over her shoulder and drinking from it. And she had no bra on, and very large boobs, and what we called a granny dress at the time, it had sort of rubber under here,' Summer says, indicating a line under her own chest. 'And it was Janis Joplin.' Joplin was in the early stages of her career, still a singer with Big Brother and the Holding Company. She wasn't yet fully in the grip of the alcohol and drug addiction that would kill her in 1970, at the age of 27. But her voice was already a raw, primal force. 'It was more than just rawness,' Summer says. 'It was the life that was embossed on her voice.'
Eon (Honey Child)
"She didn't have the control that Billie Holiday had, but she had lots of power as was going to get there had she lived long enough."
"Janis was like an angel who came and paved a road white chicks hadn't walked before." "I began feeling proud to be her role model. When I heard her sing, I recognized my influence, but I also heard the electricity and rage in her own voice. I loved her attitude."
Exene Cervenka (Formerly of X)
"I don't know what Janis Joplin's, um, outer life psychology was composed of. I think she probably felt really ugly as a kid, real outcast like I did; like most women feel, and really wanted to feel it deep. But, you..........it doesn't feel like anything; recognition and adoring fans. But people worshipping you; to me it's never been a real feeling, and maybe she was looking for something that wasn't ever going to really be there. Unfortunately she died before she could tell what it was like to be around then and be her. Sometimes on tour, you know, you get that horrible feeling Janis Joplin always talked about; one minute twenty thousand people just think you're so great and they're worshipping you and the next minute you're walking down the street on the way to your hotel and you don't have anybody to talk to and all that....."
"Janis knew more than I did about 'how it was', but she lacked enough armor for the inevitable hassles. She was open and spontaneous enough to get her heart trampled with a regularity that took me thirty years to experience or understand. On the various occasions when we were together, she seemed to be holding in something she thought I might not want to hear, like older people do when they hear kids they love saying with absolute youthful confidence, 'Oh, that'll never happen to me.' Sometimes you know you can't tell them how it is, they have to find out for themselves. Janis felt like an old soul, a wisecracking grandmother whom everybody loved to visit. When I was with her, I often felt like a part of her distant family, a young upstart relative who was still too full of her own sophistry to hear wisdom. Did we compliment each other? Yes, but not often enough."
"We were too young, too rich and too happy to be suicidal."
"I remember thinking that Janis Joplin sang like Mae West talked. When I first heard the primal scream in 'Piece Of My Heart,' I was hooked. 'Cheap Thrills,' Janis 'Live' with Big Brother And The Holding Company, was one of my all time faves. During the 'whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa's' in 'Combination Of Two,' I couldn't help but go to the mirror and pretend I was a wild woman like Janis, in a rock band."
"Janis Joplin was, and remains, beautiful. Hers will always be that bruised, yet strong voice that to me has no gender. It is so raw that it has gone beyond. Janis' recordings have become symbols for the unselfconsciousness of that time - the '60's. Women were creatively a little freer - they had yet to be commodified as 'women in rock'. When I was a teenager, listening to her voice, I knew it as a model for not being afraid to do something which may be considered ugly in order to create something entirely original - and beautiful."
"She was very jazzy, I think. Every night it was all improvised."
Maria McKee (Formerly of Lone Justice)
"The most influential women performers for me personally have been.......Janis Joplin. The way she had of sorta just emoting on stage in such a way that it was almost that you felt like you were barging in on some personal experience she was having. Maybe a woman is expected to be a certain way, you know, and perhaps bounding around on stage and slinging a guitar is very unlady like .....(Laugh)"
Melanie Williams (Temper Temper)
"She looked like she was completely on her last legs that evening, but she was going for it. She was giving it everything she had. Me and my friend, a fellow I was seeing her with were holding our throats and watching, and being singers, it was hurting just to watch, and we were going "Oh no, how can she do that!?" I was fasinated by someone who could give so much."
"She just always came from her gut. I felt like she needed to live at top speed and energy all the time, or what was the purpose? When you've constantly got that much energy coming at you and coming through you, it's intense. For years I listened to her music and tried to emulate her because I felt such a strong connection to her."
N'Dea Davenport (Brand New Heavies)
"You don't know what her pain is. To be able to juat stand in front of the audience and just give it to them; cry if she wanted to, you know? She was the real thing. The real woman."
"I think she allowed women to have their pain. Her thing was so borne from her pain. Her amazing talent was because of the pain she had...I think she was so misunderstood, and she was so intelligent, emotionally intelligent, and what came out of her was almost beyond what her physical body could even do as a singer, and what she was putting across."
"I have a deep, spiritual connection to Janis. And I don't know how, why or when. But, I've always been extremely attracted to her energy, and her pain, and her voice, and her life. I just think she is one of the most amazing women that ever lived."
"I felt for her because she was pioneering that road and it's a heavy responsibility and you're out there on your own, you know?"
Patti Smith (Radio interview 1976)
"A lot of people helped me along way back when I was just getting started and I didn't think what I was writing was any good. Like at the Chelsea, people like Johnny Winter; Janis Joplin were always at me. They were,' You gotta keep going. Everybody need poets. The world needs poets'"
"I was just watching the Monterey Pop Festival. When Janis Joplin goes up at the end of Ball and Chain and she kind of cracks on the top note, that's one of my favorite moments in all of music. It's just so much heart that she's belting out into the microphone. I'd rather hear a cracked note by Janis Joplin than anything these American Idol people sing.
"I only saw Janis Joplin one time--on a hot summer day in San Jose, California, at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds...She was extraordinary. She had a connection with the audience that I had not seen before, and when she left the stage--I knew that a little bit of my destiny had changed--I would search to find that connection that I had seen between Janis and her audience. In a blink of an eye--she changed my life."
"She's a Hell's Angels' bike lady and she drugs and she smokes and she swears and she's one of the boys...........it was just too much. She was the first girl to be one of the boys, but in doing so she let go of her......what made her strong as a woman, and she gave in to the image and she lived it offstage as well as on, and I think that's kinda sad. I think that's why she ended up dead."
Toni Halliday (Curve)
"My first impression though was that she was.....she was in tremendous pain. But I think she was an individual, and I think that's brilliant. She was a total one-off. to be so unlimited as to be able to actually go onstage and say .....Here! It's all here; there you go! This is how people feel. This is how I feel. I'm a normal person. Do you feel like this?"
Wayne/Jayne County (From the song Rock n Roll Ressurection)
Janis tore 'em up, she was little girl blue If you want to solve a mystery, you have to find a clue She never really knew who her real friends were All she ever wanted was somebody to love her.
"Janis had the friendly warm smile that is so rare and she gave them to everyone so freely."