Text over a black and white background reads, "Interview with Lisa Germano". Underneath an additional text in lightening font reads, "Interview With A Geek".

Lisa Germano — Interview With a Geek


So I’m on the phone with my mother, and the other line clicks. I say “hello” and hear “this is Lisa Germano.” “Hold on” I reply, then to my Mom say “Mom, Lisa Germano is on the line, I gotta go.” She replies “good, go out with her, she sounds like a nice italian girl. … “o.k.…” Lisa thought that was funny, my mom didn’t get it. I ran down to the Bar & Grill and talked with her for almost an hour, but it seemed like ten minutes. She’s very small and unintimidating. Hard to imagine such a powerful voice inside her 5’2” frame. She sometimes feels like a geek, thusly the name of her latest album, and my lame attempt at an interview. She’s not though; Lisa is quite intelligent, funny and very cool. You’d expect to see her playing pool at Burt’s on a tuesday night. She also loves the 49ers. Maybe my mom was right…

So which Happiness CD did you like better?

I like the second one better, or I probably wouldn’t have done it over.

What didn’t you like about the first one? 

Lisa: Well, I like it, but there was some things like the sequence and just being on a major label, they want to market you how they think you should be marketed. My stuff is a little left field, and I don’t think they got it. I don’t think I should be on a major label. They tried to make radio friendly songs out of these weird little songs, and that’s just not my motivation. 

You read what SLUG wrote about “Geek the Girl”, how did you feel about the album? 

This album is a piece of work, that’s the way I like to think of albums… as pieces of work. I’m not like an entertainer, more like an artist. I think of them like paintings, which is why I wanted out of the first album. They weren’t pushing me as me, they were pushing me as John Mellencamp’s fiddle player. The people who like John are gonna get my record and say this doesn’t sound like John, and the people that don’t like John aren’t going to listen to the record. I’m proud of what I did with Mellencamp, but that’s not my thing, this is my thing.

Is the 911 call on “…a psychopath” a real one?

That’s a real call from a Houston rape crisis center that I got off a documentary on violence. I felt guilty at first for using it, but the whole point is that when you live with that fear all the time, and you call the cops, they’re like ‘you are being paranoid, these peeping toms dont’ do anything’ Well they do, listen to this lady’s voice. That’s what’s going to happen to you once he gets in the door.

So, it was pretty personal for you…

Yea, I couldn’t even sleep at home the night we mixed that song, so I knew it worked. I captured the fear that I feel.

Does it bother you to play it live? 

No, it’s just a song. It’s more intimate and bare live, and on the record it’s more frightening. 

How long have you been writing this kind of material?

Ever since I started playing, but then I quite for awhile and started again, which is why I write songs about hidden desires and hiding away, and about how ridiculous it is to not do what you want to do.

Where were you writing while you were playing with John Mellencamp? 

I wasn’t writing at all. I would start songs and never finish them. Mostly because I didn’t have confidence, but after working with him, I watched him and he’s not doing what he’s doing just by luck, he works his ass off. I learned that if you are sure about what you’re doing, then no one can get you. 

Do you care now, if people don’t like what you do?

No… I like it when they do, but I only like what I do because I think I’m being honest. Sometimes I feel like my songs are really stupid, and I wonder why I’m singing these songs for people, but other nights I know why, I can feel it. When people come up and tell you they liked it, it gives you the faith to go ‘ok, even though you think you’re a stupid asshole, don’t think you’re a stupid asshole’ John taught me that too. Even if you don’t feel strong, pretend that you’re strong. Instead of being scared, why not try the other thing, and then you believe in yourself. 

Well if only I had more time to talk with Lisa. That night, she played outstanding versions of ‘Cowboy’, ‘Happiness’, ‘Cancer Of Everything’ and after a quaint announcement of “This is about a guy who loves me” she did a wonderful, very bare, intimate version of “…A Psychopath”. Probably one of the best performances that I’ve ever seen, Lisa Germano is definitely not to be missed. But she will be, at least by me. 
—Madd Maxx

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