Madonna: On The Cover Of A Magazine!


Our favorite British actress graces the cover of Rolling Stone this month, and despite the old Herb Ritts-shot cover photo, there’s some new stuff to learn about Madonna:

Some highlights from Mrs. Ciccone’s sit down:

What were the first shows you saw?
My first concert was David Bowie at Cobo Hall [in Detroit] when I was 15. He had mime artists with him. It was amazing. I wish I could have seen him as Ziggy Stardust. My second show was Elton John, and my third was Bob Mar- ley. Not bad, right?

Not bad at all. Did you drink at the shows?
When I was in high school? No way. I was a geek. I didn’t really have a drink until I got divorced the first time [from Sean Penn], when I was 30.

Did you do graffiti?
Walls, subways, sidewalks . . .

What was your tag?
Boy Toy.

No shit! Who came up with Boy Toy?
It could have been Futura. He’s clever. He painted the whole inside of my bed- room on 99th, which my landlord was not happy about. We had a little gang – [the actress] Debbie Mazur was part of it. We called ourselves the Webo Girls – like hue- vos, girls with balls.

When you were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, there was a video montage of your career. When you took the stage you made a joke about “all my bad hairstyles.” Which Madonna fashion era do you look back on with the most disdain?
I think it was the purple lipstick, fluorescent-green sweater combo. So many of those hairstyles. It’s OK, it was the Eighties. It was a bad-hairstyle era, let’s face it.

On the flip side, is there a time you look back on when you say, “Fuck, I was pretty hot.”
Like I’m going to admit to that! And be annihilated for the next 10 years for it? I’m not answering that one.

Did you have the sense that [“Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl”] would become such huge hits?
No. They just resonated with me. I’ve never been a good judge of what things are going to be huge or not. The songs that I think are the most retarded songs I’ve written, like “Cherish” and “Sorry,” a pretty big hit off my last album, end up being the biggest hits. “Into the Groove” is another song I feel retarded singing, but everybody seems to like it.

Has anyone ever turned down an offer to work with you?
Sure. Or it’s, “I don’t have time.” I wanted to work with Eminem. I don’t think he wanted to work with me. [Smiles] Maybe he’s shy.

You and Lourdes, who is now 12, went to a Lady Gaga show together in New York. Do the two of you go to a lot of shows?
We’ve just started. We like the same music. I think Lady Gaga is great. When we saw her, I actually felt a kind of recognition. I thought, “She’s got something.” There’s something quirky about her. She’s fearless and funny, and when she spoke to the audience, she sounded intelligent and clever. She’s unique.

Can you sense an artist’s ambition?
Yes. There’s people like Justin Timberlake, who’s really good-looking and laid back. He’s sort of a Cary Grant. I love him, I love working with him, but I don’t recog- nize myself in him. But I can see myself in Lady Gaga. In the early part of my career, for sure. When I saw her, she didn’t have a lot of money for her production, she’s got holes in her fishnets, and there’s mistakes everywhere. It was kind of a mess, but I can see that she’s got that It factor. It’s nice to see that at a raw stage.

Last year, you and Guy Ritchie got divorced . . .
You don’t have to lower your voice when you say that. It’s not a bad word. I thought we were talking about music, though. If you can connect the idea of divorce to music, I’ll talk to you about it.

Then let’s talk about the lyrics to “Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You” from “Hard Candy”: “I should just walk away/Over and over, I keep on coming back for more.”
What can you say? It was a challenging year. I think work saved me, and I’m very grateful that I had work to do. I may have thrown myself off a building. Life is an adjustment. It’s different. My sons aren’t with me right now, they’re with their father, and I’m not very comfortable with the idea of my children not living together. There are pros and cons, but I feel good now.

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