Friday, August 06, 2004

Lo Galluccio is a multi-talented artist. Her career includes stints in the theatre, a songwriter and vocalist with Roy Nathanson and "The Jazz Passengers", and a vocal artist who released CD's with the "Knitting Factory" label in NYC. Galluccio worked with John Zorn, the renowned avant- garde Jazz saxophonist, and had a track on one of his compilations. Most recently Galluccio has released a collection of poetry with the "Ibbetson Street Press" of Somerville, Mass. titled: "Hot

Lo is from a prominent Cambridge, Mass. political family. She recently recited her poetry at the "Toast Lounge" in Somerville, Mass. as part of "The Somerville News at Toast" series. Lo has read at the Warwick Art Museum, Boston University Barnes and Noble, The Out of the Blue Art Gallery, and other venues around the Boston area. I talked with her on my show Poet To Poet/ Writer To Writer.

Doug Holder: Lo you told me that two major influences on you are the Rocker/Poet Patti Smith and performance artist Laurie Anderson. In fact Smith approached you once and told you
that you have a beautiful voice. Do you take anything from Smith's and Anderson's work, and incorporate and use it in your own alchemy?

Lo Galluccio: Laurie Anderson was someone who influenced me to stop being an actress, and start wanting to have an original voice, and speak my own words in a certain way. I studied at the "Goodman Theatre" in Chicago. My acting teacher talked about the performance artist Laurie Anderson, and how she had such a weird, and "right" perspective on things. I was like:" Hmm..., who is she?" I was interested in her pieces " Big Science" and "Strange Angels," and eventually I just feel in love with her. The reason was because she took the spoken word and made it into music. She is an architect of music and sound. She is also a conceptualist person.

Patti Smith is a totally different animal. To me she is the saint of Rock'n Roll. She is a brilliant lyricist. When I encountered her, I was surprised to see that she was at my show at St. Mark's church in NYC. But there she was, wearing a ski cap, and she had these blazing black eyes. She looked like a little crazy crow. She came up to me and said" You have a beautiful voice." I was just speechless, becuase she meant that much to me. Patti Smith is like a saint. That record "Horses" really inspired me because she does a stream of consciousness that's mixed in with Rock 'n Roll riffs. There are expansive piano chords as well. My first record has been compared to hers a bit.

Doug Holder: You have a beautiful, fey voice. I noted that in some ways your singing reminds me of the brilliant and doomed horn player Chet Baker? Is he an influence?

Lo Galluccio: I was turned on to a Chet Baker documentary "Let's Get Lost" I got into how beautiful Baker was as a young man. Roy Nathanson use to call me the "ethereal girl" in the East Village. Roy, is the lead saxophonist and band leader of the "Passengers," and he is tremendous. His voice is so quirky, and his phrasing is so original. I was lucky to have him play on a demo for me. I was stunned by his voice. He said to me: "When you start singing in your own words you are not going to want it the other way again. "

Doug Holder: You told me you were discovered by Roy when you were watching your underwear revolve in a washing machine at as laundromat you frequented.

Lo Galluccio: I moved to the East Village because someone said that is where the "weed" trees grow. In other words, where the outsiders, where the wild things are. I was in a laundromat on Second Ave. and Roy lived in a dumpy place around the corner. He saw me staring at my laundry and said: "You got to be an artist because no one stares at their underwear as long as you have. Do you have anything to show me." I said: "Yeah, I do, I have this collection of poems: "Hot Rain" I gave it to him and he said" Wow...this stuff is really incredible. I want you to write a song with me for the "In Love" record that the "Jazz Passengers" are making for Windam Hill. That was my first professional gig as a lyricist. It was a thrill. Roy was old school...that way. If he saw you, and read you, he would take a chance on you.

Doug Holder: So many artists live hardscrabble lives. It is rare that I meet one who hasn't suffered the "black dogs" of depression, drug addiction, or some bout of mental illness. Can you talk about this?

Lo Galluccio: A friend of mine, a Soul singer Kore, said" " Everyone goes crazy at least once in their life." Maybe "other" people are afraid to enter the sanctuary that madness provides for some artists. For me, I probably made it tougher on myself than I needed in some ways. I took one hit inNew York that was really rough. I broke up with someone who mentored me. He was a partner and a lover, and we had a band "Fish Pistol" together. We had an alchemy. And when that fell apart I was devastated. It was tragic because we really loved each other, and we were really good together artistically. I made a mild suicide attempt. I was put in St. Vincent's Hospital psychiatric unit. At the time I fought like hell not to go in there. I really spent three hours in the E. R. saying you can not put me in the locked ward! They said " Yes we can."

Doug Holder: Do you think meds and hospitalization compromise the creative process?

Lo Galluccio: Not completely. I think it is good for some people to spend time away from the pressures of the world; whatever is hurting them. Being around other people and being supported by people, when that happens, and medication, when it works, is a good thing. At the time I was a raging bull about it.

Doug Holder: How much of "Hot Rain" is fictional, and how much is "autobiographical?

Lo Galluccio: It is not fictional. I am a highly subjective person and I like a high degree of subjectivity in Poetry. I like Sexton, Lowell--the "Confessional" poets. Some of my poems play with identity, and wild imagery. In those cases the images take over the place of a rational narrative.

Doug Holder: You told me that you were inspired by a voice you heard while taking a bath?

Lo Galluccio: After I broke up with my boyfriend, I was in a lot of grief. So I went to a Yoga center in New York. I went religiously , because I didn't know how to heal myself. When I started to do Yoga I heard about the Elephant-headed god: "Ganesha. I really worshipped his shrine. So I think that's where the voice came from. It was like an echo of my own subconscious. It said" Pale blue eyes." 'Wow'" I thought. " What is this voice coming from outside of me?' I was enamored with " Ganesha" He is a dreamer's God. I still have this voice with me. When I got to NYC it is more pronounced because of the energy of the city. I think Gods are protecting all of us, somewhere and somehow, in different cultures and traditions.

for more ino about Lo go to: