Interview: Linda Perry Discusses Two-Day ‘Rock ’N’ Relief Concert Series & Live Stream Event’
Legendary producer & Hall of Fame songwriter Linda Perry has curated and is set to take part in this weekend’s two-day Rock ’N’ Relief: Concert Series (& Live Stream) at L.A. City and CORE’s mass vaccination site at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on March 5 and 6. CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) is a non-profit organization started by Sean Penn and Ann Lee that has worked tirelessly, and without any government funding, to provide access to free Covid-19 testing and vaccines across Los Angeles.
This two-day live stream will benefit CORE’s life-saving programs as well as raise money for CORE’s mobile vaccination. A program which brings access to the vaccine directly to low-income and communities of color who need it most. Perry’s Rock n’ Relief concert aims to give the community live entertainment, in the safety of their cars, while they wait to receive the vaccine.
Hosted by DJ Kat Corbett of SiriusXM & KROQ, the lineup for this two-day concert series features live performances from artists like Miguel, Macy Gray, Scream, DJ Adam Bravin (She Wants Revenge), Willa Ami, Juliette Lewis, Donita Sparks (L7 & Friends), Linda Perry, Pete Molinari, Kevin Bacon, Silversun Pickups, Jen Awad, Aloe Blacc, Mariachi Lindas Mexicanas, Troy Noka and house band Flashback Heart Attack. The series also includes digital performances from artists around the world, including Carly Simon w/ David Saw, Foo Fighters, Deadmau5, Gavin Rossdale, Pete Yorn, James Blunt, Jewel, Gary Barlow, Tracy Bonham, Deborah Cox, Shaed, Sheryl Crow, Sammy Hagar and Jenny Lewis & Blake of Rilo Kiley.
I recently spoke with Perry about the Rock N’ Relief Concert Series, her involvement with CORE, songwriting and much more in this exclusive new interview.
What’s it been like for you as an artist (and person) living during these uncertain times?
Linda Perry: I feel very focused, clear, creative, and determined to be of service in any way that I can. There’s a lot going on in the world right now. There are people who are dying and others who’ve lost stores they’ve spent their whole lives building. I’m extremely grateful to be alive and that my family is healthy and safe.
How did you become involved with CORE and what inspired this event?
LP: I first got involved with Sean Penn when I scored the documentary he made about his organization going to help Haiti to assist after the earthquake in 2010 and how they’re continuing to help them. Here in L.A, Sean’s CORE Response has been out for eight months. With zero government funding they’ve given out five million covid tests for free. Now, they’ve already given over 450,000 vaccinations (12,000 a day). I decided to help raise money for the mobile units they’re putting together to go across the county and in places like New Orleans and Chicago. There are a lot of people in the Latino community who are struggling to get to this sight to get vaccinated and older people who can’t sit in a two-hour line. They need someone to come to them. That’s why me, my team and the artists got involved. It’s a human cause to help each other get through this very difficult time. Seeing how people have come together to unite and take a stand to help the world in crisis has been a beautiful thing to see.
What changes do you see in the music industry when this pandemic is over?
LP: That’s hard to predict. Music is still going to be here and touring is coming back, but I think people will take it slow. Some big artists might wind up playing smaller venues a few nights in a row. The bummer about that is that the smaller artists who need those gigs won’t be able to get them right away. The question then becomes, which artists will get on that supporting bill? It will be interesting to see.
What’s your songwriting process like?
LP: I don’t have a thought process or format. When I’m in my studio I’ll go to my guitar or piano and it will just come. Usually, five or seven different ideas will show up and I’ll pick the one I favor the most. It comes with melody and arrangement and lyrics. All of my biggest hits came that way. Over the years I’ve learned to go with what feels right and not to second guess it. It’s very organic.
Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?
LP: There’s an amazing Soleil Moon Frye documentary, “Kid 90,” that I scored which will be released on Hulu on March 12th. I’ll also be releasing a new song from the movie, “The Letter,” later this month, which is something I haven’t done in decades. Soleil also asked me to score the Punky Brewster reboot. I had so much fun doing it because it didn’t involve any creative thought going in. I just saw where they wanted cues and came up with them. I didn’t have to labor over them. I just wanted them to feel and sound good. You have to have an idea of what the director might be feeling, interpret the tone and then turn it into an underscore. I’m really good at tapping into emotions so this is a very natural position for me to fall into for the next stage of my career.
Of all the highlights of your career is there a moment that stands out to you as most memorable?
LP: I’m not nostalgic. If you come to my studio you won’t see one gold record or any trophies on my wall. Truthfully, what I’m doing now is my greatest moment; being at Dodger Stadium about to put on a two-day live stream. Then on Sunday morning I’ll wake up and think I haven’t done anything and will start figuring out what my next journey is going to be. I’m just trying to get through life the best I can. Every day I’m trying to grow and learn. By curating this livestream event I’ve been able to talk to, delegate and empower people, which makes everyone feel good. Maybe one day when I’m older I’ll sit down with my son and look back on my journey and go, “I did some pretty awesome things.” Then, hopefully, I’ll be able to rest.