Sinead O'Connor The Exclaim! Questionnaire
Published Jan 01, 2006What are you up to?
Right now I'm having a coffee latté and a large spliff in my manager's room and I'm talking to you.
What are your current fixations?
I suppose I'm a bit of a religious maniac so I'm stuck on the books of the prophets; that's my main fixation. I like lots of them, but particularly there's a prophet called Jeremiah and I like him because he's the only child prophet. And also he's the only one that doesn't want to be a prophet, he hates it - he's always giving attitude to God, always moaning at God, like "'why did you have to fuckin' pick me, you bastard?" It's quite funny.
Why do you live where you do?
Because I have a child with a man who lives there.
Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art:
Van Morrison's Veedon Fleece.
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig?
Patti Smith recently performed her entire album, Horses, in London and that was fucking outrageous. She's just incredible, she's a witch, she's like a king, she's a pharaoh.
What are your career highs and lows?
Career high was definitely making this record, being in the studio with all of the guys that played on this record. Career lows, let me think - I don't know that I've had any to be honest. I may be about to have some.
What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
I don't think I've ever heard anyone say mean things to me around gigs actually. The meanest thing that anyone ever called me in public, though, was an Irish journalist who referred to me when I was 20 as a "jumped up little pregnant upstart." Which I obviously objected to the use of the word pregnant but I didn't mind being called a jumped up upstart, but obviously that didn't sound as good, you know.
What should everybody shut up about?
I think whoever it is that is in power in America should shut the fuck up. Their fucking war on terror is an oxymoron and the entire world is paying for the crimes of a few people. So I think George Bush should shut the fuck up about everything.
What traits do you most like and dislike about yourself?
I dislike that I have a very bad temper. I don't loose it very often but when I do it's very, very ugly. What I like most about myself is that I have a massive heart and I'm an extremely loving person.
What advice should you have taken, but did not?
When "Nothing Compares 2 U" got to #1, I had a teacher at the time that was a Rabbi and he tried to talk me out of going any further in music because he said to me "fame is a curse." And I didn't listen to him. Maybe I should have.
What would make you kick somebody out of your band/bed and have you?
Out of my band? I guess class A drugs. Back years and years ago when I worked on my first record there were a couple of people around who dabbled and I did ask them to leave. I never had occasion to since, but I have had occasion to kick many the man out of my bed - usually when they say things that make it apparent that the only reason they're in there is because I'm Sinead O'Connor. One time I went to bed with this bloke, we were on tour together, he was in a different band. He said something about what would I like. I don't know what I said but he said: "You're the boss." He kept telling me I'm the boss. If someone in bed says I'm the boss then that's an offence worth chucking him out. Oh, the other reason I'd kick a man out of my bed - I got into bed with this one guy and before I got into bed with him he had hair and when I looked up I saw a big bald head. It was a full moon and a big shining head, and I didn't mind that, but it frightened me because he didn't tell me at first. I did the "well, it's not you, it's me."
What do you think of when you think of Canada?
South Park. And maple syrup, obviously.
What is your vital daily ritual?
Marijuana, I'm afraid.
What are your feelings on internet piracy?
I feel very strongly against it. Obviously I understand most musicians haven't a pot to piss in. The same applies to lots of people who work around the making of records. I also know from experience that people leave their children to go and work on records and I see the effect on the whole family if they don't get paid, do you know what I mean? In fact, only this week I've managed to convince my own son, who's 18, who's been downloading all kinds of illegal crap - I hope I don't get him arrested now. I got Net Nanny, so we're blocking them all to make sure he does it legally. That's how strong I feel about it, I'm policing my own child.
What was your most memorable day job?
I worked in a chip shop - that was my favourite job. My most memorable night job was even more interesting - I was a kiss-a-gram girl in a French maid outfit.
How do you spoil yourself?
Big bubbly baths.
If I wasn't playing music I would be:
I would probably be a beautician, make-up artist.
What do you fear most?
I suppose anything happening to my children.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
Any number of things. Generally I like gentleness.
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
One time I went to the gynaecologist in London, and this is maybe ten years ago. He's Australian, this gynaecologist, and I'm lying on the table and I'm obviously completely embarrassed that there's this total strange man with his arm halfway inside me. The guy starts laughing with his arm up there. I say to him, "What are you laughing at?" He says to me, "I know this is a strange time to tell you but I've always been a big fan of yours."
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Muhammad Ali. He'd probably be vegetarian. He would certainly not eat pork, so I'd probably serve some sort of vegetarian food and I'd have it blessed by every manner of priest by every religion under the sun.
What does your dad wish you were doing instead?
My dad loves me singing. He'd be pissed off if I wasn't singing.
Given the opportunity to choose, how would you like to die?
Shot down in a blaze of glory.
Sinead O'Connor's new reggae album, Throw Down Your Arms, has been in the making since she was listening to the Dread Broadcasting Company in London at age 17. And it was more than just a casual flirt with Jamaican music that lead the controversial artist to sing Bob Marley's "War" on Saturday Night Live in 1992 wearing a Rasta prayer cloth before tearing up John Paul II's picture. That moment symbolised a shift from commercial to spiritual endeavours for an Irish woman long enamoured with Rasta culture. O'Connor has flirted with reggae on many releases since, including "Fire on Babylon" and 2002's Celtic/dub experiment Sean Nos Nua, but travelling to Kingston Jamaica, recruiting Sly and Robbie on production and compiling a track list heavy on roots pioneers like Burning Spear, Lee Perry and Israel Vibration was the harvest of the dread seeds planted long ago. Determined only to release spiritual music from now on, Throw Down Your Arms embraces the Rasta themes of God's living presence on Earth and the struggle for self-esteem in the face of adversity. And the fact that a small, bald Irish woman is singing them is a wickedly subversive act considering the male-dominated Rasta tradition. But subversion, of course, is nothing new to O'Connor.