I SWEAR TO GOD, ALL I DO NOW IS drink vodka straight,” says Avril Lavigne, 19, staring at two empty airline bottles of Ketel One that she raided from her New York hotel room’s minibar. In addition to a new poison, the pint-size Canadian has a new album, Under My Skin, Which she wrote mostly with new best friend Chantal Kreviazuk – wife of Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida – as well as one track with former Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody. Lavigne describes the songs (four of which she plays piano on) as “darker” than those on her debut, 2002’s 6-million-selling Let Go, and her upcoming summer tour will show her more subdued side. “I’ll probably bring out huge candleholders to make the show a little more moody,” she says. “Then I’ll fly in on a rope…. Just kidding.”
What is your favorite album right now?
I’ve been listening to Third Eye Blind, Oasis, Marilyn Manson and System of a Down on my iPod, but I really like the new Blink-182 record. They totally grew — the music is more creative and artsy. I love track three, “I Miss You.” When I hear it, I’m just like, “Oh, my God.”
I heard you’ve been hanging out with Manson.
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We hung out a couple of times. We just sit and talk. He’s a really cool guy. The first time I met him was at his show in Toronto. I walked backstage, and he said, “They’re actually letting you come in here alone?” [Laughs] I thought his show was really creative. It made me think about my live show – different lighting and a few different props.
What the hell did you and Manson talk about?
Just about shit. Just kickin’ it. We hung out on his bus. It’s good for me to talk to another artist. [Long pause] We actually painted each other’s nails.
How many songs can you play on guitar?
Lots of songs.
I can usually figure out a song by ear, or ask my guitar player to figure it out. People have heard me play Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” I learned Green Day and Dashboard Confessional songs. I just play along with whatever CD I have in.
Do you hear songs in your dreams?
Yes! I wake up in the middle of the night, and I’ll call my cell phone and record something. I wake up in my sleep with a melody, usually. It’s so weird. I’m like, “Fuck! I should record that.” I have a song called “He Wasn’t,” and I came up with the bridge and wrote the words [sings]: “Na na na na.” I thought it was pretty cool.
What musicians have tried to hit on you, besides Fred Durst?
[Laughs] It doesn’t happen a lot. [Backstage at a Metallica tribute] I mentioned to Fred that I was hungry — like, “I want an In-N-Out burger.” He had someone go out and get me a whole box of them, with fries. I was like [sarcastically], “Yeah!” Then he took a private jet out to one of my shows, expecting me to bang him. He was disappointed that I wouldn’t even go near him [laughs]. He was a little pissed that I went to my room alone that night.
What’s your favorite rock T-shirt that you own?
My favorite one, that fits me perfectly, is an Offspring shirt. It’s a vintage T-shirt I picked up on Melrose. It was, like, fifty dollars.
Are you sick of all the songs on your first album?
Yeah. Except for a couple, “Tomorrow” and “I’m With You.” When I was on tour, I was like, “I’m over this.” I was just looking forward to my next record. I can’t stand performing “Complicated.” But I’m not gonna pull the “I’m not singing a single” like some bands who are too good to do that. You should always play your hits.
What is the rudest thing you’ve ever read about yourself?
People saying I can’t sing, but I have no problem with that, because I know that I can. People saying that I can’t write, which pisses the fuck out of me, because I’m a writer. Don’t you fucking dare try to take that from me.
What’s the best lyric you’ve written?
One of my favorite bridges I’ve written is in “Losing Grip” [sings]: “For crying out loud/For crying out loud.” I just get lost when I’m performing it. It’s so me.
What’s it about?
Is it easy to write about guys?
Oh, fuck, yeah! It’s so easy. It’s what I always write about.
So no new political material?
You know, I have, but it didn’t make the record.
No way! What was it about?
The way I wish that people would just come together. Like, “Why is this planet suffocating?” I talked about a few things that were going on on TV. You remember the serial killer, the sniper dude.
Yeah, the Beltway snipers in D.C.
Yeah. One of the lyrics was “On my TV there’s a serial killer who’s taken too many lives/He shot somebody every day/And now he’s still getting away.”
What would you put on a mix tape to a boy you like?
“Iris,” by Goo Goo Dolls. I’d put a few Coldplay and Oasis songs. Radiohead — The Bends is one of my favorite albums.
What’s your favorite party song? [A]”Hey Ya!” I have to be careful to keep my clothes on when that song comes on [laughs], especially when I have a few drinks in me.