Nothing But Hits! with Blag Dahlia
Ashlee Simpson Interview

Nothing But Hits! with Blag Dahlia      Itís been a few weeks since Ashlee Simpsonís Saturday Night Live mishap. The late night talk show hosts have had their fun, the record execs and handlers have made their excuses, but Ashlee has been hesitant to air her side of the story. Until now.

     The reluctant vocalist made it clear from the outset that she would only talk to a dedicated journalist, someone kind and sensitive, who nonetheless exuded a certain rakish sex appeal. When she heard that I was now writing for Plug In the choice was clear. As a rock legend I have access to artists from all over the musical spectrum, but Ashlee Simpson is truly one of a kind. An enigma, wrapped in a conundrum, swaddled in a total lack of talent. What follows is a small part of what we discussed over Mai Tais poolside in Honolulu last week.

BLAG: Ashlee, you look great.

ASHLEE SIMPSON: Thanks, Blag. For an old guy you donít look bad yourself.

B: Critics always say that you arenít as cute as your sister, (7-11 Christmas Album chanteuse Jessica Simpson) but your career seems stronger than ever. Does being a brunette make you smarter than her or just more of a rebel?

AS: Jessica is a lot smarter than people give her credit for. Sheís got a great head for business. Did you know that she insured her hymen for two million dollars before she and Nick got married? Thatís looking ahead.

Iíve always been the rebellious, spiritual, artistic one in the family. Like on SNL -- most people go on that show, perform their song, and thatís about it. I had the Zen mastery to go out there and not sing. Itís the kind of thing that only a really gutsy performer can pull off.

B: The dance you did afterward was pretty masterful, too.

AS: You must mean Ďthe ho-downí, thatís one of my best moves. Britney, Cher, Celine, they all rely on this elaborate choreography and a bunch of underpaid dancers. The ho-down, by contrast, is a truly economical dance number, the kind of minimalism that you might see in Ballanchineís best work, or from the San Francisco Mime Troup. Try pulling that off while youíre singing. Or not singing for that matter.

B: Many featured performers refuse to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the musicians who play with them, but you were quick to point the finger at your band just when all of the worldís eyes were on you.

AS: Thatís just the way I roll, Blag, Iíve got to give credit where credit is due. Sure, the band screwed up, but they are human. Even the drummer. After I fired him, I made sure he got paid for his last day and I let him keep the drumstick endorsement my manager (Col. Tom Simpson) got him before the tour. Letís face it- good help is hard to find!

B: So what does the future hold for Ashlee Simpson?

AS: My health is my number three priority, after my career and saving the rainforest, so Iíve really been working at not singing for the last couple of weeks. My doctor told me he really wants to get this acid reflux thing taken care of too, before it becomes an even bigger problem. Thereís stuff I can do to help, like Iíve stopped eating nachos or pizza after midnight, and this Christmas Iím laying off the figgy pudding and gooseberry pies.

And for my throat the doctor recommended that I gargle with something warm and salty before bed. Do you have anything like that around here, Blag?

B: Ashlee, I thought youíd never askÖ