Web Exclusive: More from Our Favorite Women Who Rock

Joan Jett, Gladys Knight, Yoko Ono, and Emmylou Harris talk about what they’ve learned and where they’re headed.

By Holly George-Warren
I think indie music is it now — that’s the future. Each time when I was creating something, it was just a suggestion to other artists and the people who listened to it, too. If the suggestion is taken, I’m very happy. The first record that John and I put out together, Two Virgins, was called Unfinished Music No. 1. I felt it was unfinished until people put their own thing on it, perceptually or physically. But nobody did that — I think they just trashed it. Finally the instructions are being fulfilled.Q. Did it take a lot of courage to pose nude on the cover of Rolling Stone with John in 1968? A. From my point of view it was not that brave, because I come from an art background, where nudity was not particularly different.Q. What do you know now that you wish you’d known at 25? A. Life can be so long, and more and more beautiful, because you learn to appreciate it more.Emmylou Harris, 60Q. You’ve been "one of the guys" with your bands — is there a different vibe when you’re touring with women? A. Oh, yes, with [harmony singers] Pam Rose and Mary Ann Kennedy, we’ve been like girlfriends who hardly ever get to see each other — and when we do, it’s as if we picked up on a conversation that just ended the night before. I’ve been able to see a lot more of them in the last couple of years. We’ve been doing some recording and then going out on the road.Q. What are your on-the-road survival tips? A. Don’t eat pizza after the show! You have to watch the ol’ indigestion. And it’s important to get a lot of sleep. I actually sleep really well on the bus. I also recommend having a dog; if you want a creature that is just going to always get you up, get you out, and put you at ease, there’s nothing like a dog.Q. What part of your career has been the most meaningful to you? A. I suppose it will always be meeting Gram Parsons [the influential singer-songwriter with whom Harris sang in the early ’70s; he died at age 26]. He opened my eyes and ears to the music I was supposed to make. He helped me discover my voice — not just what my voice sounds like, but what I could do with it. I don’t know if I would have found that on my own.Q. What do you know now that you wish you’d known at 25? A. Maybe there are a lot of things that it’s good you don’t know. Everything seems a lot easier when you’re younger. No one realizes how much hard work motherhood is. I’ve been very lucky — my girls have turned out great. They don’t play the guilt card; I wasn’t around much. But they’re in my life now, and you never stop being a mother. Originally published on MORE.com, October 2007.

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