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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Alanis Morissette still swearing to secrecy
In a bawdy, entertaining interview, she makes it clear she's not revealing the inspiration for songs on her upcoming album, either.
By Sean Daly, Times Pop Music Critic
Published January 26, 2008
Alanis Morissette Opening for Matchbox Twenty, with Mute Math, 7 tonight, St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $49.75-$77.75. (813) 301-2500.
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Alanis Morissette is looking forward to her next panic attack. This nasty shard of self-doubt will arrive this spring, on the eve of the release of her new album, Flavors of Entanglement, yet another brutally revealing look into the heart, soul and messed-up love life of the pop poet.
"The night before my albums are released, I always wake up in the middle of the night seized with horror," says the 33-year-old, calling from Los Angeles. She'll worry that she has said too much. She'll freak out that a former paramour is going to go ballistic.
"But then I eventually go back to sleep, and I'm fine in the morning. Every time I've panicked, nothing's happened. The sky didn't fall. It's been fine."
And no, she says, none of those former paramours has ever called to complain.
Morissette, who plays the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa tonight, is "really excited to share" her new batch of tunes. At the same time, she's aware that an increasingly gossip-gorged media will dissect every aspect of her disc looking for juicy clues. After all, they've been doing so since her breakout album, 1995's Jagged Little Pill, some 30-million copies of which have been sold worldwide.
Was smash single You Oughta Know really about that goofy dude from Full House? The guessing games turned the song into a modern-day version of Carly Simon's You're So Vain - and turned the Canadian-born Morissette into a phenom.
On 1998'sSupposed Former Infatuation Junkie ("that title is too f------ long!" she now laughs), Morissette went even further. The song Unsent was a series of letters to more past loves. "Dear Matthew I like you a lot / I realize you're in a relationship with someone right now . . ."
But this time, TMZ-cluttered heads might actually explode. Last year, Morissette split with actor Ryan Reynolds, who is now rumored to be engaged to Scarlett Johansson. So naturally, the Reynolds Watch will be in major effect on the 11-track Flavors of Entanglement, which was produced by electronica guru Guy Sigsworth. The album, Alanis says, helped her get through "fragile moments."
Per usual, though, she'll let the music do the talking. Oh, she'll be coy. And charming. She might even mess with a few heads. But as for name-dropping? "I see a huge difference between secrecy and privacy," she says. "I've always been authentic in my songwriting. But I don't talk about who I write about."
So aware is Morissette of her diary-entry reputation that she spoofed herself on a classic episode of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which she finally "told" Larry David the inspiration for You Oughta Know. So, did she really spill the goods to the cranky comic? She laughs: "Every take, I whispered a different person. (Co-star) Jeff Garlin gave me people to say that would make Larry laugh."
At the risk of betraying Morissette's heavy-thinking aura, she'd actually make the ideal party partner. She swears more than any rock star I've ever interviewed, an f-dripped torrent of profanity threading her considerable smarts. She likes to brag about her two motorcycles, a Ducati and a Triumph.
And she's thoroughly convinced that tequila - tequila! - has made her a better person. "Some people see alcohol as being destructive," she says. "I see alcohol as my turning point."
After years of intense professional drive and ferocious work habits, Morissette is actually starting to have fun. "I'm just now balancing things out," she says. "And cocktails help." She has even written a new song, On the Tequila, to celebrate her loosening up.
"I take great pride in being vulnerable and human," she says in classic Alanis-speak.
Even with all the inevitable Reynolds talk, this will be a sweet year for her. After this current tour, in which she's opening for Matchbox Twenty, she'll release Flavors of Entanglement. She'll also play a series of European dates before returning to the States for a headlining run.
No song is off-limits on her tour, no matter the subject matter. This includes Everything, a bared-soul heart-smasher off of 2004's So-Called Chaos. "I'm still all the things I wrote about on that album," she says.
During her show, there will even be a "tip of the hat" to her YouTube-hot cover of the Black Eyed Peas' My Humps, which Morissette remade as a dirgelike pro-feminist rallying cry - which it may or may not be. Like most of her music, Morissette is not revealing the true motivation behind her Fergie impression. That, apparently, is our job.
So while we obsess over her motives and her life, Morissette will be singing and smiling and swearing up a storm.