Interrogation: Joan as Police Woman
Published February 11, 2009
Joan As Police Woman is Joan Wasser, solo artist, onetime member of Antony and the Johnsons, and girlfriend of late musician Jeff Buckley. In June she released her second solo full-length, To Survive. The video for her new single, “Start of My Heart,” features Joan’s face in different color washes. Her hair is short by its being slicked back, but Joan isn’t crying: in fact, her eyes are carefully and resiliently made up. The alternating crystalline and candied color palates make a magnetic complement to the escalating march of Joan’s vocals—and while director Chris Moukarbel cited the drawings Interview‘s vintage covers (available for viewing in our archive), we also appreciated the connection to December’s Cate Blanchett cover. We gave Joan this questionnaire:
ALEX GARTENFELD: Where are you, Joan?
JOAN WASSER: I’m frolicking in the endless ocean of brain waves in Brooklyn, NY.
AG: Educational background?
JW: I studied classical violin but gratefully escaped into the rock scene.
AG: Who came up with the concept for this video?
JW: I had the original idea and Chris [Moukarbel] expanded on it. It’s about singing a love song with no apologies, fearlessly facing the viewer; to surrender while retaining one’s power.
AG: I heard that the video was loosely based on old Interview covers. Is this so?
JW: The Interview cover concept was Chris’ idea. I loved those old covers and used to stare at them while in a teenage trance. I love two from 1982: The Faye Dunaway cover and obviously the Cher one.
AG: Do you remember the first time you saw Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U?”
JW: Yes. It confused me and turned me on at the same time. I have found that this is the way I like it.
AG: What’s your favorite color?
JW: Orchid and gold, femininity and magnificence
AG: What make you a police woman?
JW: I just play one on TV. in real life, I attempt with all my might to stay away from cops.
AG: Then what are you named for?
JW: One fine day I ran into my friend on the street and he remarked that I was channeling Angie Dickinson from the 70s cop show, Police Woman. She played an undercover cop named Sgt. Suzanne “Pepper” Anderson. I was outfitted in a particularly 70s-style pale blue pantsuit and the name just stuck.
AG: Joan, who is a modern martyr?
JW: Pee Wee Herman.
AG: What else should we know?
JW: I hope that through breathing the same molecules of air, we can find ways to talk to one another with gentleness, learn one another’s love songs and laugh together watching “The Mighty Boosh.”