Sunday, May 7, 2017

Early Solo Belinda Interview Highlights: "100 Percent" Nutty

It would appear that, in the days following her first solo album, life was treating the newly-minted Mrs. Mason well. Here's how she put it in Lips Unsealed:
I was in a good place, the best in years. I was most accurately described by my new catchphrase: 100 percent. I used it all the time. I was giving my career 100 percent. My attitude was 100 percent positive. I couldn't say I was 100 percent sober, since I allowed myself an occasional glass of wine.
Well, fair enough, but 100 percent doesn't leave much room for error. Maybe she could have gone with 96.2 percent? Doesn't have the same ring to it I guess. I might also add that perhaps she wasn't giving 100 percent effort to her catchphrase creativity. Nor would I say that she managed to be 100 percent articulate in interviews, as the following clips prove.

Here's an interview that's labeled as a segment from Solid Gold, but is (at least according to one of the YouTube comments), actually from America's Top 10 with Casey Kasem. Here we find Belinda in her Cybill Shepherd phase. I love how she passive-aggressively tries to tell the media to get off her back about her "hot new look":
I think "bubbly and effervescent" has, uh ... hopefully I don't come across that way because, um, that's what I'm trying to out- ... I mean, I've grown up, and I don't, I don't ... I mean, I can't help the way I look.
It's not my fault I'm gorgeous! Then Casey starts to give a little "inside scoop" on Belinda's weight "problems," and her follow-up explanation seems superficially mundane but is actually rather depressing:
Well, I uh ... started going to a nutritionist, and um, she sort of educated me about foods, and I - I tried to stick to her diet, but it didn't work, I don't like depriving myself of, um, cookies and sweets that I like, so what I did is, over the course of a year I just sort of ... pretty much stuck to, um, as well as I could to her diet, which was no sugars, and once in a while I'd ... I'd have a little bit of a binge but I try to keep the calories down and I exercise a heck of a lot.
This sounds soooooo psychologically healthy. I mean, this kind of mentality is perfectly sustainable over the course of several years, right? Honestly, with those entrancing eyes of hers, I'm tempted to believe anything she says.

Here's Dick Clark interviewing Belinda on American Bandstand after a (lip-synced) performance of "Mad About You". He asks Charlotte, "Do you still collaborate?" and Charlotte says "Yeah." He then turns to Belinda and asks, "You do a lot of writing and stuff?" Her technically not untrue answer is politician-worthy: "Well I try. Charlotte does a lot of the writing." As in, "I co-wrote the lyrics to one song on the album, but we don't need to go into that here." Also, apparently Belinda was remixed in London by William Orbit (??).

Here she is on The Tonight Show performing "I Feel the Magic" (live!). In the interview afterward (starting at 3:30), Belinda eagerly throws her punk heritage under the bus:
Johnny: You've changed. When you and the Go-Go's were really cookin', you had purple hair at one time, you wore trash bags as dresses ...

Belinda: I've come a long way since then.

Johnny: Yeah you sure have. Was that just a phase you were going through at the time?

Belinda: Um, well, I guess part of it was, um, rebellion ... and it just seemed fashionable at that time to, uh, wear trash bags and to be different.
Exactly! That's all punk was! A passing fad! Not an ideologically oppositional subculture intent on bringing back excitement, rawness, and political insight into pop music again. Just a silly fashion statement. Hi-Yo! Belinda and Johnny then spend the rest of the interview talking about - I kid you not - Belinda's desire to raise miniature pigs. What the hell was going on in there?

Here's a clip from an unnamed show with a host who is apparently in 9th grade, featuring liberal doses of the "Mad About You" and "I Feel the Magic" videos, but also some dynamite interview excerpts where Belinda crawls out from under her gigantic shoulder pads and pontificates on - once again - pig farming, being married, and being able to actually function as an adult. Here's how she describes a typical day:
So I get up every morning at 6:30am, and then I'm over at Jane Fonda's at about 8:00am in the morning, and then, um, I go shopping, and after that I usually go to lunch with friends, and then go shopping again in the afternoon.
So is this supposed to be a good day, or a bad day? It sounds like my idea of hell, but ... whatever floats your boat.
What I like about myself these days is, um, I'm finally becoming a responsible person. For years and years I never really took care of business, and never was really too on top of things, and I think, um, the challenge of being responsible is a ... big one for me and I'm finally doing it, taken about a year to get into it but I think I like the fact that I'm not a flake anymore.
Well, let's not jump the gun here. I also love how she describes "not running around being a completely drugged out space case" as if it's something to "get into," like how you'd get into a new band, or a new novel. At the end of the clip she holds up a giant gold record, which I'm thinking was probably just the third one I.R.S. Records had ever handed out.

Finally, we have an evocatively maritime PSA for R.A.D., an ad campaign I don't recall in the least, which apparently stood for "Rock Against Drugs," although I feel that would sort of be like creating an ad campaign called Politicians Against Corruption. I mean, isn't drugs what rock is all about? Belinda leans against the sand in her grey blazer, white tank top, and jeans, and solves drug addiction once and for all with these simple words:
I used to do drugs. And one morning I woke up, I looked in the mirror and I said "You look frightening." Nobody said "Quit." And nobody said "Stop or else." I got sick of it, so I quit. And now ... life's a beach!

Or is it? Favorite YouTube comments:
The funny thing is that she was off of cocaine at the time, but was doing pretty much anything else. And that makes this so much more awesome in retrospect.

Then I bought this oversized blazer and wore it to the beach

I'm like, Gee, this commercial would be much more effective if she just popped her tits out.

I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.
All right, all right, let's not pile on here. So perhaps Belinda got a little over-confident. But at least she was on the right track. Here's a suggestion: if you're a rock star, and you've only been off drugs for a year, and you're only 28 years old, don't make a PSA boasting about how sober you are, OK?

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