Nunn says “Animal” is the result of her love affair with the current electronic dance music (EDM) scene. That notion is evident on the first single and video for “Animal.”
The video was filmed in an S&M dungeon in Los Angeles and directed by Chad Michael Ward, who has worked with Marilyn Manson and Combichrist. Still breaking boundaries and an LGBT ally, this edgy video features guest appearances from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Raven, who can be seen involved in an androgynous steamy encounter with Nunn, and Sister Indica and DeMencha of the renowned charity organization Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Still fierce at 52, Nunn is embarking on a new tour along with Berlin, which will include stints at The Wonder Bar in Asbury, NJ, April 30, and Gramercy Theatre in New York, Saturday, May 3. Get Out! magazine talked with the eternal rocker about the new album, her love affair with the LGBT community and how she almost landed the role of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars films.
From what I‘ve heard of the new album, you’ve gone back to your renowned hedonistic, synth-alternative, with a dark edgevibe. What story are you telling with “Animal”?
Oooh, I like that! The way you worded it is better than I could describe it. It’s not just one story I’m telling in this album – it’s many. I wrote songs about both of my parents – “Blame It on the World” and “Mom” – for the first time in my career. “Nice To Meet You” is about my fear of people, which I recognized only recently, and my awkwardness in group situations. “It’s theWay” is about my fear of intimacy and my fight to overcome it. “Animal” and “Break the Chains” are about getting out of my critical mind and into my body, enjoying it more and my life. Both of those songs do that for me. “With the Lights On” is about watching my man strip for me.
Tell me more about this tour.
We’re playing anywhere that’ll have us, and we have more shows booked than ever. I want people to hear this stuff!
Though the mainstream hit “Take My Breath Away” took the band to another level, it obviously caused issues within the band. What do you attribute that to?
We already had issues within the band. We couldn’t agree on where to take Berlin on the third album and beyond. “Take My Breath Away” came along while we were recording the album and added to the rift. John [Crawford] didn’t want to do it because it wasn’t written by us. I did because it was a good song, and I would’ve sung to a fart from Giorgio Moroder [who wrote the song]. I loved his music so much!
Did you have dificulty retaining the fan base when you reformed Berlin?
Sure, it took a while to reconnect. Berlin had been silent for eight years.
Berlin was one of the originators of the New Wave era and the synth-pop sound in the 1980s. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the music these days has gotten more and more electronically infused.How do you feel about being pioneers and your modern contemporaries?
I feel great about it now. At the time, it was rough. Being a pioneer in anything isn’t for the weak-hearted. A lot of people laughed at us or scratched their heads when they heard our music. Labels didn’t understand it, couldn’t categorize it, so they just ignored us initially. I LOVE unique music though. In modern contemporaries, Skrillex is one who stands out for me. WOW! I’ve never heard some of the sounds he’s creating. Fantastic!
It’s no secret that you have a huge gay fan base. How much does your gay fan base have an effect on what you record in the studio or perform on stage?
I don’t think of people’s race, creed or sexual orientation when I write music. Maybe I should. OK, maybe I do when I’m writing about sex. [laughs] To me, people are the same at the core, where it matters.
You even feature The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in your new video! That’s so awesome!
I agree! Credit goes to director Chad Michael Ward. I love him because he’s a sick puppy and has some wild friends, some of whom came to be in my “Animal” video, like Sister Indica.
Tell me more about your hosting gig for the radio show “Unbound with Terri Nunn.”
I started that show in January 2012, two years ago. KCSN Los Angeles is a great station because they let me program my two-hour show any way I wanted. So I played dance music and fun music and classics, because it was a Saturday night show. I also interviewed musicians and comedians and even Steve Wozniak for an unforgettable U.S. festival show! I had to let the radio show go last month though. I’m too busy with album promotion and touring now.
To get geeky for a minute, I read that you auditioned for the role of Leia Organa in “Star Wars”? Can you tell me more about that experience? Why didn’t you get it?
You can see my audition with Harrison Ford on YouTube. Type in “Terri Nunn Star Wars Audition.” It should come up. Really weird experience because “Star Wars” hadn’t been created yet, so reading lines referencing “R2D2” and “Chewbacca” – I was thinking, “What the fuck’s a Chewbacca?” George Lucas actually told my agent I was too good an actress to do it, and championed me after that in the business. It’s because of him I got offered the role in “Dallas,” which I turned down to go try and find a band. A year later I met John Crawford and joined Berlin. So I guess you could say George Lucas indirectly pushed me towards my ultimate
Are you going audition for the new Star Wars films? [laughs]
More than 30 years of success in the biz. What do you have planned for the next 30 years?
Family, friends, music, touring, recording, maybe a talk show and trying to stay as healthy as I can to enjoy it all!