The Hot Seat: Pink
Life is a carnival for the pop singer and her lost-and-found husband.
Wed Sep 30 2009
Illustration: Rob Kelly
More than any other pop star, Pink puts her personal life right out on the table. Early this decade, she was wailing about industry woes and an upbringing marred by divorce and isolation on her breakout album, Missundaztood. On last year's single "So What," she sings, "Guess I just lost my husband?/? I don't know where he went." And it's true, the punked-up diva separated from her motocross-pro spouse, Carey Hart, early last year, only to get back together in time for her to tour on the album she made about their split. The arena show brings all the attendant over-the-top production values, including eight costume changes, aerial acrobatics and plenty of high drama. TONY spoke to Pink by phone from Australia, where she spent the summer smashing Kylie Minogue's attendance records. Her theory about why she's so popular Down Under: "Aussies tell it straight, and so do I." We took that as an invitation to get right to it.
RECOMMENDED: Full list of Hot Seat interviews
So, let's recap. You and Carey split up, you made an album about divorce, but then you got back together. Is it maybe a little awkward to have a song about how your husband is a tool on the radio every five seconds?
Hey, he taught me the word tool, so I felt like giving back when I wrote "So What." I always try to locate him in the audience and sing that line straight to him.
No, no! He's a good sport. He's got a good sense of humor. [To someone else] Right, baby? Aw...
Oh my God, he's there?
Yep, he's right here. He's out here with me doing a freestyle motocross show in the parking lot during the day, and then I perform at night. I feel bad for him because he has to watch my show every night. But on days off, we jump on the road bikes and see Australia. It's been great.
Your record dates from the time when you were separated, but it's called Fun House. Not to be taken literally, I assume?
Well, I knew Target wouldn't sell Heartbreak Is a Motherfucker, so I went with this. It shows the dark side of things. It's like, you go, you buy cotton candy, you have a good time, but there's fucking creepy clowns and you can't find your way out and the rides scare the shit out of you but you're probably gonna go back and buy another ticket. It's sort of...
Haaa! No, it's just that nothing is what it seems, really. It's like a love-hate thing. I mean, I love rides, especially the rides that make you sick, but I don't like clowns. Stephen King ruined the whole clown thing for me. I also hate where you go in and it's all mirrors and shit. I don't like being in the dark when things reach and grab you. Like, if I had a gun I'd be on the news.
Did making this record help you work things out with Carey?
I think so. I mean, going back to songs like "Family Portrait," which is about my childhood, I feel like with every record, I'm working through some sort of issue. I look at it as, like, group therapy for two-year cycles. By the time that album's finished I can no longer feel bad about those issues. I mean, Carey knew what he was getting into with me. I'm kind of psychotic and I like to talk about things. I'm a Virgo, too, so I like to analyze and overprocess.
You do a ton of aerialist work in your show. What makes you feel more vulnerable, facing your personal issues every night, or gliding through the air on a trapeze in a leotard?
When the audience is with me, like when we connect and when they give back energy, it's fucking awesome. I did two months of training for the trapeze and I'm never not a little bit scared. But then, the audience is scared shitless too, so I know we're all feeling the same thing.
Pink plays Madison Square Garden Mon 5.