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My 1985 Interview Tapes Print-ready version

by Michael Small
May 28, 2022

On October 18, 1985, Joni Mitchell gave me a multi-hour interview about flunking high school, Woodstock, Bob Dylan, her Chelsea apartment, poetry, painting, and much more. I shared the tale behind the interview, along with Joni's thoughts and stories, in my podcast I Couldn't Throw It Out.

Ed note: The article was originally published in People Magazine

play Listen (part one)

- In the first podcast episode [transcript here], I talk a lot at the start, explaining how I heard about Joni in high school, how I got the interview by asking her to dance with me at a nightclub, and showing what a lame interviewer I was. Then there are a bunch of Joni excerpts from my tapes that I string together. That includes...

- Her thoughts about "Both Sides Now" ("it's young work")
- Her Dylan imitation
- How she learned to play piano
- Her first instrument (ukelele)
- The Dog Eat Dog painting
- The Rolling Stone article that labeled her as a heartbreaker
- The story behind the song Woodstock
- Her first apartment in Chelsea
- What she flunked in high school
- Her beatnik parody in high school
- Her teenage obsession with dancing
- Being hurt by the reaction to Hissing of Summer Lawns
- And a few other things

play Listen (part two)

In the second podcast episode [transcript here], I picked out the longest stories Joni told me and just give a little background for each one. So it's mostly Joni. The stories are about:

- the beginning and end of her marriage to Chuck Mitchell
- her relationship with Bob Dylan
- casting Rod Steiger instead of Jack Nicholson for "Tax Free"
- the Mingus project
- the story behind Furry Sings The Blues
- her memories of Mr. Kratzman and the poem she wrote for him
- her meeting with Jimi Hendrix
- a fundraiser where Richard Nixon and John Wayne spoke
- her epiphany in Vancouver and her life there on retreat before For The Roses
- her phone call to a reviewer who misunderstood her music
- her first interview with Cameron Crowe

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Added to Library on August 3, 2022. (1998)


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