He Said, She Said: How Liz Phair Took the Rolling Stones to 'Guyville'

Page 3 of 3

What about "Tumbling Dice" matching up with "Never Said"?
Oh, that was a big one, I remember thinking the most important song happens at the fifth song. Because in my mind "Tumbling Dice" is the big radio hit. I was like, I need to do the big radio hit there, which is funny because "Never Said" ended up being the radio hit off that record for me, and I don't think Matador would have gone with that just because I said so. I think that was the natural song to play on the radio and make the video for. "Never Said" was one of those times where I was showing I could be just as unaccountable. "Tumbling Dice" is really about, again, I'm picturing all the guys from Urge Overkill, hey man, you may get to go home with me tonight, you may not. I may show up at the bar and be available, and I might not. You gotta roll me and see how it's going to roll. I was playing that same game. "I don't know what you're talking about, I never said nothing, you can't pin that on me." I was playing the female version. Most women don't spend their lives sitting in bars maybe going home with people, but we often spend our lives socially networking, "No, I never said that about you behind your back!"

And "Flower" is your response to "Let It Loose."
He's saying let it loose, stop being an uptight girl from the suburbs and I'm like, really, OK, here you go, here's what's in there! I had part of that song beforehand and I developed it. I had the roundabout thing and I wrote the rap at school thinking about this boy with these beautiful lips.

Have you ever met the Stones?
Yes, I met Mick at the A&M studios in Los Angeles. It was, five, six years ago, and they were doing a listening party and it was such a big deal. I was working with John Shanks and he was like, you want to meet him? We go back to meet him and I swear to God, John must have said something like, this is the woman that did the Exile in Guyville thing, and Mick gave me this look as if to be like, "Yeah, all right, I'll let you off the hook this time for completely making a name for yourself off our name, but don't think I don't know." It was very clear they live in some second dimension where little tiny people like me don't exist and as far as he understood it he was going to forgive me because I was so charming for using their name to further my own. I wasn't mad. He's Mick!

Aside form the lyrics and music, were you inspired by the Exile on Main Street album art when considering how to approach the Guyville cover?
For sure, 100 percent, I was thinking of all those black and whites of the freaks. I felt like the Stones were more identified with freaks, even though they were rock stars at the time, like that was more the circus of their lives and how life looked to them. When you're doing drugs and living at night and living outside normal society like I was too at that time, everything does look freakish and circus-like and you feel like a freak and that's what I took that to mean. And when I did that picture of myself it was very important to me too that it had that freakish aspect, that exposure. But then again, that was also helped along by Nash telling me, what do you want me to do?

Theirs is collage of tiny others and yours is a blow-up of you. So it's kind of the inverse.
I hadn't thought about that. It totally is. That would be my freak side. At the time I was such a little suburban... you know. I didn't walk around like that at all. I was getting my freak flag on.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

More Song Stories entries »