Let's start with what you probably don't know about Lisa Marie Presley (and don't worry, we'll get to Michael Jackson, her dad, and some of that tabloid stuff soon enough):
•She spent the summer reading Beat writer Charles Bukowski for inspiration.
•Presley's a scrapper when it comes to the music biz, and she can sincerely say things like "Fort Wayne (Indiana) is a fun place to play" because that's where she's accustomed to playing. For example, her fall tour opens tomorrow at Toledo's Club Bijou, and she has the same complaints about lack of record company support as any musician.
•Finally, she can quickly work herself into an profanity-laced lather when asked about her ex-husband Jackson, especially the notorious kiss on the Video Music Awards in 1994, but she doesn't whine.
So get off her case.
"It's one of those things like, I don't like to say I have regrets but I definitely regret that time period," she said in a telephone conference call with about a dozen journalists.
"And what are you going to (expletive) do, to be honest with you? You're young, you're stupid, and you're blinded, and you do something really dumb, and you can't ever live it down? How many people do that on their own and don't necessarily get it advertised? I know that was kind of enormous, but I'm just saying it's not something I'm proud of."
Clearly exasperated, she wrapped up the answer with a question and a blunt demand.
"What am I supposed to say at this point? Get over it. It was a long time ago and I made a mistake."
A candid, blunt interview subject who comes across as refreshingly honest and intelligent, Presley spent 45 minutes chatting about anything anyone asked as she prepared for an 18-date tour that ends in early November.
She's released two discs over the past three years - "To Whom It May Concern" and "Now What" - both of which have received a fair amount of critical accolades. Her music is guitar-dominated, tough-rocking singer/songwriter fare with highly personal lyrics.
Think Alanis Morissette with a husky voice and penchant for anthemic rockers, a style of music that, unfortunately for the 38-year-old Presley, isn't in vogue right now.
"There's not a lot of female singer/songwriter rockers out there that are doing good. I've been watching for a year and I get the charts every Wednesday and it usually baffles me," she said. "It's pretty disappointing what happens every week. I'm going '(Expletive)', it's like they all have an anchor attached and everything just drops right now."
She cited Tracy Chapman and Bonnie Raitt as current examples of women who put out good new music, only to have it tumble quickly off the charts.
Presley said she has been asked to do covers of songs by Elvis Presley, her famous father, but her tastes lean more toward punk rock, heavy metal, and folkier material, so it doesn't feel right to play her dad's music.
"I'm kind of all about personal integrity and staying true to what you want to do. I have a big mountain to climb, obviously, and I don't think he would want me to do that, to be honest with you," she said. "I think he would understand and would not encourage that. That's the most honest I've ever answered that question."
Married to guitarist Michael Lockwood earlier this year and the mother of two children with a previous husband Danny Keough, Presley said she started her music career in 2003 unsure of herself, especially on stage. Now, she's a more confident performer and hopes to hone her music even more on the current tour before taking time to write songs for her third disc next year.
Don't expect to see her pandering for attention or cashing in on her father.
"I'm quite happy with the fact that I've never done anything to violate my own artistic integrity," she said. "I've never sold out, I've never gone pop, never done all the things I could have done that would have been easy to get."
Lisa Marie Presley performs tomorrow night in Club Bijou, 209 North Superior St. Doors open at 7:30 and the opening act is Toledoan Kari Nichole. Tickets, $26.50, are available at Ticketmaster outlets or www.ticketmaster.com.
Contact Rod Lockwood at: firstname.lastname@example.org