That self-portrait doesn’t resemble you very much.
No, but it does explain how I am right now. [Laughs.] Everybody who interviews me says, “You’re so dark, you’ve had so much trouble in your life.” I always think that out of this chaos, particularly right now, there’s a wildflower growing, and you just have to take notice of it.
So why did you name your new record Wildflower?
It’s about my last year — being in a new relationship [with cycling god Lance Armstrong], living in Spain and watching what was happening in our country. Anyone who is inquisitive has to look at the religious right and the way it’s dictating policy and say, “Why are we letting this happen?” Religion is good, but it doesn’t belong in politics. Still, at this stage in my life, even with all the craziness, I’m still very hopeful.
Let’s say it’s Friday at 11 P.M. — what are you doing?
If I’m not working, Lance and I are probably home, with his kids. And if he’s racing, then we’re asleep.
Your schedule and his must be very different.
They are totally day and night — and I mean that literally. My day starts around 1 P.M. when I’m on the road, and by then, he’s in mid-workout. Now that he’s retired, we’re gonna get on my schedule, by golly. I’m gonna force him to sleep until 9:30 in the morning.
Do you remember your first experience with alcohol?
I remember drinking pink lemonade and pure grain alcohol with my girlfriends in Missouri when we were 15. One girl’s mom owned a Camaro, so it seemed only fair that we should take it. She got grounded, and most of us wound up throwing up pink barf.
If we drug-tested you, what would we find?
Caffeine. That might be it. To be perfectly honest, I never really took drugs. I maybe even just tried pot.
Have you ever stolen anything?
Nope. When I was a kid, the minister said to us, “If you steal, you go to hell.” And I just really didn’t want to go to hell. I thought that would suck.
We’ll let you know. What personal habit of yours do other people find annoying?
I snore. I’ve had two or three people complain about it. “Well why didn’t you wake me up, or tell me to turn over?” “I did.”
What would your ex-boyfriends say about you?
That they blew it. [Laughs.] I’m gonna leave it at that, though that is kind of a joke.
How much is a quart of milk?
$1.49. Is that about right? Listen, I go to the grocery store. Lance has three little kids — I know how to fix Kraft mac and cheese. And I do my own laundry. But I’m not so keen on cleaning toilets.
How would you characterize your taste in sex?
Oh jeez! I’m saving myself, because I’m not married yet.
Have you ever been mistaken for someone else?
Yes, and I’m too embarrassed to tell you who. It’s so heinous.
Oh, c’mon. It can’t be that bad.
I was on my way to Vegas. My first record had just broken, and these guys wanted my autograph. I thought, “Oh God, they recognize me.” Turns out they thought I was Heidi Fleiss. Being mistaken for a madame?
Were you popular in high school?
I was homely, but everyone else was homely too. And flat-chested. Now, I see 10-year-olds who already have boobs. I’m still wanting in that area, but even when I was 15 or 16, I was just a boy.
What won’t you eat?
Oatmeal. It makes me gag. It’s like eating vomit and then wanting to vomit it back out.
There goes the Oatmeal Awareness Council sponsorship. Are you a good girl or a bad girl?
I’m innately a good girl. Unless I’m drinking red wine or tequila. Ugh. Tequila and I, we had to have a separation for a while. With good tequila, you don’t even know you’re wasted until you’re wasted.
What’s your favorite curse word, and how do you use it?
“Oh, that is so fucking stupid.”
“Stairway to Heaven” or “Freebird”?
“Freebird.” I can totally get with that Southern, beer-drinkin’, leather hat-wearin’, Harley-drivin’ scene. Those are my peeps. I’ve been in cover bands since I was 17 or 18, so I’ve sung “Freebird.”
And if someone shouts “Freebird” while you’re onstage?
That’s when I use my favorite curse word.