TIM BENZIE Your new album 9:11/24:7 is all about the events of September 11. Can you tell me a little about some of the songs from the new album?

TINA C Yes, you know it’s kind of spooky, I don’t know how I did it, but I seem to have presaged the whole of this spat that’s happening right now, with a song that I wrote months and months ago called Iran, Iraq, Irate. But yeah the majority of the songs on there are about getting over bad times, grieving, whatever. I sum all that up with a big power ballad, which is probably my favourite song on the whole album, called Kleenex To The World. That’s kind of my role. It’s not just Twin Towers stuff, there’s a song about Washington, I don’t know if you’ve heard this one -¦ it’s called Penta Gone. Oh yeah, it’s beautiful. I feel you feeling it.

TB Tell me about the impact that the day had on you personally.

TC Gosh, that’s a pretty big story and I don’t know if I want to tell you everything that happened to me that day. It was pretty intense and I ended up having what I would say is an almost unique relationship with the events of that day -¦

TB What happened?

TC Well, I don’t want to tell you that, do I? Until you come to see the show. Okay, so I’m bein’ a little cagey. But let’s just say I felt kind of alienated in a lot of ways.

TB You felt left out of the events?

TC Well, that’s just a little crass. That’s a different way of puttin’ it, but maybe. And so I thought, well, because I have this different perspective, that gives me even more impetus to sit down and write some country songs -¦ And that has so changed my life in the last kind of 18, 20 months. Sure you know I travel the world and do my shows and stuff, that’s always been the case. Everywhere. Kuala Lumpur, everywhere. I have a wonderful career in Korea. And it’s kind of changed things -¦ I’ve gone on to a more political arena. Talking about political events, in a stadium context is, I think, possibly the most powerful place to do that.

TB What does your album raise money for?

TC It raises money for various charities, you know the people directly affected and the war against terror, which I have to say I wholeheartedly support -¦ even though it is one of the worst acronyms ever coined -¦ I have my own charitable foundation, which provides foundation for people with real bad skin -¦ but this has kind of thrust me in a new arena -¦ I’ve started talking on various issues without the aid of an autocue.

TB You’re touring to Australia and you’ve been to the United Kingdom. Are you only visiting countries that support the war?

TC Well, yes, there’s here, but [I’m touring to] New Zealand, hmm. Let’s just leave them out. Why not? You always seem to -¦ Yeah -“ it’s funny how that’s worked out, isn’t it? Maybe I’m helping these countries kinda address how they support us, and maybe make the point -“ thanks for your support, it’s so valid, so needed, but it’s not gonna give you a whole lotta rights at the end of it, know what I mean? It’s not gonna change a lot. You know U, S, US, there’s a clue in the spelling. Us -“ and them. We love ya and all, but you’ll always be them. So that’s maybe what I’m here to say.

TB What did you make of the various other albums about September 11, I’m thinking in particular of Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising?

TC I think it’s all wonderful. I think it’s the way it should be -¦ Events happen, everyone’s gonna write songs about it. That’s what songwriters do -¦ But what I love most of all is when you bring a real emotional level to bear to big, complicated questions. Because if you bring everything down to a real emotional level, then it’s a real help to the debate.

TB What would you say to people who say that this war is a farce?

TC Well, I would say that I’m anti-war, in a pro-Bush way. Look at it from this way -“ all we’re trying to do is go to these countries -“ Iraq at the moment and whoever the hell is next -“ all we’re trying to do is go to these people and say, -˜We want to give you the right to free and fair democratic elections. The same kind of free and fair democratic elections that brought George W. Bush to power.’ That’s all we’re trying to do. Our aim is simple, isn’t it?

TB Will you be voting for Bush?

TC Well, of course he’s seeking re-election isn’t he? Or election. We’ll have to see about that, I’m not sure I want to divulge.

TB I heard that you were heckled recently in Melbourne?

TC Yes, I really did feel his pain. I really did. I felt his pain for the first eight or nine times he said what he said. After that I started to feel my pain more. I think that guy probably had issues around understanding me and what I’m about. I think he probably had issues around sanity. I would say he possibly had issues around irony.

TB Is there anything you’d like to say to your many gay (and some lesbian) fans in Sydney?

TC Yes. The bottom line for me is always demographic and making money. So if you’re buying records then the love will flow, you know?

Tina C performs The Twin Towers Tribute at the Enmore Theatre, 130 Enmore Road, Newtown, on Tuesday 22 April at 8pm. For bookings phone 9266 4800 or visit www.ticketek.com.au.

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