Although she shares plenty of first-time experiences in her tell-all memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream, Ani DiFranco, still has plenty to spill when she sits down with Rolling Stone for “The First Time” video series.
Watch: Ani DiFranco chats with Rolling Stone
As a veteran of the music industry, the founder of her own Righteous Babe Record, and a master of breaking down genre labels, DiFranco has plenty to say about rock history.
The interview includes personal stories and anecdotes from her storied career, including her first album (Prince’s Purple Rain – the title track of which she compares to a “cum shot”), meeting “uncle mumbles” Bob Dylan, shaving her hair off, and the first time she kissed another woman.
“I was probably 19 or 20?” she begins. “ … And we had a private moment – which lasted all night – and which I then had to explain to my boyfriend, because when you’re young, promiscuity just makes sense.”
Ani’s recollection of the first time she can remember being heckled is a swift comment on the unfair demands fans can place on artists. “I remember walking out on stage in a dress one night, it was probably the mid-90s and somebody [was] yelling, ‘Sell out!’ Just because I wasn’t butch enough that night or something, or queer enough, or something giving the right exact image for that human,” she speculates. “I just remember being crushed, and full of self-doubt, which is not a good thing to make a show out of.”
The first time Ani shaved her head she was when she was 18. “I had just moved to New York,” she remembers. “I just hit the wall of being objectified and, ‘Hey baby’d’ on the street. So I changed my footwear radically and shaved my hair off. I shaved it right down to that blue, shiny, white vibe – no more, ‘Hey baby’s.’ Not even one,” she laughs.