Jenny Lewis Hopes to Get "Intimate," Debut Songs on "Acid Tongue" Tour

April 10, 2009 3:27 PM ET

Jenny Lewis was just in Australia, where she learned that sports stars trump rock stars in the fame game. "We were on an airplane with two rival rugby teams and the paparazzi were waiting not as we got off the plane but as they got off the plane," she tells Rolling Stone. "Later, on the news, I kind of saw our crew in the background."

The Rilo Kiley singer isn't fading into the crowd on her Acid Tongue headlining tour, a trek that has her hopping from giant festivals at Coachella and Bonnaroo to smaller club shows, which the singer admits she prefers. "In the club setting, you get to perform your intimate material. I'm hoping to do a little acoustic section within the show, but I don't think that will necessarily work at an outdoor free show or Bonnaroo."

Lewis' band on Acid Tongue — her boyfriend (and fellow Laurel Canyon resident) guitarist Johnathan Rice, lap steel guitarist Farmer Dave Scher, drummer Barbara Gruska and bassist Jonathan Wilson — will back her on the road, and the singer-songwriter is eager to already start work a new LP. "I'd like to have the opportunity to play a couple new songs as I write them along the way on the new tour and dip into my old songs from many years ago and try to rework songs from Rabbit Fur Coat and Acid Tongue," Lewis says of the acoustic set, which might also include reworked versions of Rilo Kiley songs. Fans of her band with Blake Sennett do come out to her solo shows: Lately, they've been screaming at her lap steel player to play the triangle. "They were going ballistic and sort of making a triangle with the shape of their fingers. A 'More Cowbell' sort of thing," she laughs.

After road-testing the songs on Acid Tongue while touring for her debut solo album Rabbit Fur Coat, Lewis decided to document the laborious process of tinkering and perfecting the songs in the studio. The result is her first documentary Welcome to Van Nuys, which Lewis admits was inspired by Jean-Luc Godard's Sympathy for the Devil, which tracked the Rolling Stones' long road to recording the titular song.

"We set up three cameras in the studio during the entire recording process and we kind of left them rolling and over the past year. It's taken me about a year to sift through all the footage," Lewis says of Van Nuys. "One time, my dad stopped by to play on my record and he brought with him this harmonica synthesizer called the Millionizer. We were also rolling when Elvis [Costello] came down to sing with us, which was really exciting, to kind of see us all nervously waiting for him to get there."

As far as Acid Tongue's next single, Lewis says "See Fernando" is an option. "I'm not really single-minded," she admits. "But it's upbeat so I guess it makes sense, it's not a total snooze. We performed it on that children's show called Pancake Mountain, but the song is about a dope dealer. It was actually a joyous performance, the kids were dancing like maniacs, they loved it."

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