She went on to gain “Control” of her career with a dance track of the same title that reached #2 on the Billboard chart.
Currently with a new movie called Excision and new song “Last Drag,” we caught up with her when she was recently in Chicago.
Jerry Nunn: Hi, Traci. Welcome to Chicago! Have you been able to try out some food in the city yet?
Traci Lords: I had some salmon downstairs in the hotel. It had capers and onions.
JN: I have some gum if you want.
TL: Is that a hint?
TL: At first he fed me gum… I love it here. I arrived late last night and fly out today after my Rosie O’Donnell interview.
JN: You have to come back when you can spend more time. We need to get a performance at one of the clubs.
TL: Let’s do it. Do people like just a few songs in that setting?
JN: Two or three then fans like signatures on their memorabilia afterwards.
JN: How does it feel to have the new hair color?
TL: I have been red before. It was about ten years ago. I have been blonde most of my life. We were getting ready to go to Sundance about a week ago. I have a film called Excision there. In homage to its bloody ending I need some fire!
JN: I heard you just did a movie with your past director John Waters.
TL: It is intense and a trip. It is called Excision. Richard Bates, Jr. directed and wrote it. He plays the reverend, which was fun for us to get to work together since he is not making as many movies as he should this was one way to do it.
JN: I had the opportunity to speak with John Waters last year.
TL: Well, you know at Sundance it was the first time I had seen it with an audience. When he comes onscreen there is a huge close up of his face and the whole place just laughed with just one little raised eyebrow. He has a really nice cameo in it. His presence is really great.
JN: Did he go to Sundance?
TL: No, he has been doing speaking engagements.
JN: I saw his Christmas show and it was hilarious.
TL: He’s too funny! He plays the reverend, which was fun for us to get to work together since he is not making as many movies as he should this was one way to do it. AnnaLynne McCord plays my daughter in it. She is quite deranged and delusional. She wants to become a surgeon and practices on the neighbors and animals in the neighborhood. My younger daughter is played by Ariel Winter from Modern Family. She has cystic fibrosis.
JN: That sounds intense.
TL: I play this very religious uptight mom that had a perfect life on the outside and married the right guy with the right house with the white picket fence. I was homecoming queen that now has two beautiful girls. None of it works. The older one is really crazy and mess. The younger one is dying. I try to hold it together but it slowly comes unraveled. The whole family sort of implodes.
JN: This sounds like a good part for you.
TL: It is a juicy role. I am hoping it will bring more Hand That Rocks the Cradle roles. I want smart, feisty, and layered roles. No kitten roles! I am not a kitten anymore. I am a fierce feline. There is a difference.
JN: And a mother now.
TL: Yes, I am a red-hot momma!
JN: Explain the name Traci Lords. I have heard conflicting stories.
TL: It is not from The Philadelphia Story. If I had known that I would have just been Tracy Lord. I think that is cooler. I wasn’t that together then. Traci was the name of a close friend when I was little. Lords came from Jack Lord on Hawaii Five-O.
JN: Good to get the real story. There are all kind of things out there.
TL: There are all sorts of weird things out about me. Don’t look on the Internet!
JN: You had the name legally changed.
TL: It has been mine since 1986. It does feel like forever but I am not quite that old thank you.
JN: Life seems good for you right now.
TL: I feel great. I have been having fun. I am here now and not in the past. Where I am is a good place. That was just part of the journey.
JN: I played “Control” all the time back in the ‘90s when I was going out to clubs.
TL: You were dancing. I was too. It was all about the black latex. Those rubber dresses you couldn’t get off when the sweat was going.
JN: That CD had a great cover.
TL: Thank you.
JN: Your new song “Last Drag” is number one on the dance charts. It is not techno like past songs.
TL: No, I think my music has evolved also. My first album was really electronic and techno based but had rock elements to it. The beginning riff for “Control” definitely did. It was Killing Joke, Ben Watkins, and KLF, all of that stuff. It was classic rock wanting to come alive in the music. I think you hear that in several different places in 1000 Fires. The problem with that album was that it was ahead of its time. Electronica was just starting to happen. Moby was just starting to be huge. I opened for Thrill Kill Kult and Moby as a DJ back then. The masses didn’t know who Moby was. I think if it had been slightly delayed it would have done better. Madonna had it right to wait for Ray of Light. She has been a lot better with her timing than me. I am proud of that album because I hear it now and it still feels current. It doesn’t feel dated.
JN: No it doesn’t.
TL: I really wanted to make music that people would listen to and is not underground. I have done so much stuff that is underground, porn, techno. I would like to do some stuff that is above ground, something that would be played on the radio. It is not like selling out but wanting to reach more people. Plus I am in a fluffy place in my life where I want to have fun. “Last Drag” is a fun record and not meant to be serious. It is about confronting your demons whatever they are.
I am making a lot of great music this year. I am signed to Sea to Sun Records. Creatively a lot of things are just juicy, with the film out and the music all happening. My son is now four years old so I can walk away from the sandbox for a second. That is my biggest most important job being a mom. It truly is. It is difficult, time consuming and all consuming.
JN: Will there be time for a complete album?
TL: There will be another single by late spring early summer, maybe a full album by the end of the year or fall. Fans are going to have to wait a little bit longer. I am working on it. I was only going to work on the one track for Sea to Sun Records but decided to play. The collaboration is really great. I love a lot of the mixes on the record like the Sted-E & Hybrid Heights version. The Andre Jetson remix is great. There are lots of things on the single. We are even doing some things specifically for soundtracks. This year I want it to be about the music and juicier roles. Hello, David Fincher please! I want to record and see my music played in some films. Did you see the new video?
JN: Yes, I did, kissing girls. It is a hot video.
TL: You think? Zalman King directed it who did Red Shoe Diaries and 9 1/2 Weeks. The only thing I regret was not getting the guys naked. What do you think?
JN: You should have.
TL: Or more shirts off, something. What was I thinking?
JN: From the title you think drag queens but it is about smoking.
TL: It all ties into it. It is not meant to be an anti smoking thing at all. It was really a metaphor. The lyrics are “You are my last drag.” It is being addicted to something that you love. You have to do it one more time. The whole idea of the video is to walk into a den of my temptations and sins. To see them whether it was girls or whatever. It was meant to go together and flirt with that. People have asked me a lot about it because they consider it very bi curious.
JN: The View just talked mentioned you recently.
TL: What did they say?
JN: It all started with a man from Vivid Entertainment claimed you couldn’t be a victim in the adult world because you did films after the scandal.
TL: That is not true. My entire porn career was done before 1986. There was only one film that was done two days after my birthday. After that I never stepped foot back in the porn world again. It is interesting because when I did porn I was a kid. I was 15. I have never held the sign victim around my neck or that someone held a gun to my head. It was the experiences and choices of a fifteen year old. The fact of the matter was I was an exploited kid, whether I did it willingly or not. The reason for the law is that you should not be in that position at that age. It’s like what were you doing in high school? The thing we did back then can be a bit much.
JN: Sherri Shepherd was on your side.
TL: That is interesting because years ago Barbara Walters was snarky about me. Isn’t it funny how times change? Now it is hard for me to take porn seriously. It is so frivolous. I was in it for three years and all of a sudden I am an expert at it. I am supposed to have an opinion about sex. Maybe I am an expert but it is a heavy load to carry!
JN: I’m sure (both laugh)!
Lots more of Lords can be found at http://www.tracilords.com.