Cal Poly’s Christopher Cohan Center will be colored indigo on Thursday with Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, known in the music industry as the Indigo Girls.
I recently talked with Ray, guitarist and singer of the duo, about their music and playing in San Luis Obispo.
Mustang Daily (MD): Hey, how’s it going?
Amy Ray (AR): Good, thanks.
MD: Where are you two based?
AR: Atlanta, Ga.
MD: How long have you two been playing together?
AR: For nearly 25 years. We met in high school in 1980, in chorus. We just decided to get together and play music.
MD: Why music?
AR: I really enjoyed it when I was young. (It was) a way to escape. It’s fun.
MD: Who are your influences as a musician?
AR: Back (when we started) it was Neil Young. Now it’s artists like Patti Smith, The Clash, politically influenced music and a lot of “indie” bands. I probably listen to more unsigned stuff.
MD: Where do you get inspiration to continue playing and writing?
AR: I gather stories from books, movies, mostly other music, stories from neighbors. Just things that are going on.
MD: How long do you two continue to play music?
AR: We’ve been doing it for so long. As long as we can keep it fresh and have new ambitions.
MD: How has the industry changed for the Indigo Girls over your time as musicians?
AR: Things are radically different (now). (Back then) the (inter)net wasn’t a tool, and there was a lot of indie-underground, post-punk era music to get out then. Now most of the airplay is corporate, and it’s harder to get played. But with things like Myspace, the
Internet is taking over. Everything stays the same, but the tools change to achieve what we want.
MD: Where does the name (Indigo Girls) come from?
AR: (We were) trying to think of something to call ourselves. We looked at the dictionary trying to find a name that popped out.
MD: What have you been listening lately?
AR: Queens of Stone Age, The Shins, The Gossip, The Distillers.
MD: What do you want students coming to the show (on Thursday) to get out of it?
AR: We just want people to have fun in a communal situation. We want people to feel empowered, and ready to face the day.
The Indigo Girls’ performance begins at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Christopher Cohan Center, with opening act, rock ‘n’ roll band Three5Human, which has been described as “Tina Turner meets the Black Crowes” by music critics.
All tickets for the Indigo Girls’ performance are $38, with student discounts available, and may be purchased at the Performing Arts Ticket Office.
For more information about events at the PAC, visit www.pacslo.org.