Rickie Lee Jones talks ‘Last Chance Texaco’ and tales of music, heartache, addiction and family

Singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones says she decided to write her life story for one simple reason.

The material was just so good.

“I know I have great stories to tell,” she says recently by phone from her home in New Orleans. “I’ve told a few to audiences in live shows, and told them to friends, and watched them play in my head again and again.”

Readers can now get the chance to experience these tales themselves in Jones’s memoir, “Last Chance Texaco,” which hit stores on April 6.

She recounts the hard lives of her parents: Jones’s loving but difficult mother was raised in a hard-hearted orphanage while her restless, often-missing father was the son of a vaudevillian named Peg Leg Jones. And Jones tells her own stories as well, remembering the difficulties of bouncing from one school to another as a child or peeling back the curtain on her tempestuous love affair with singer-songwriter Tom Waits early in her career.

“I don’t know. There’s lots of reasons,” Jones says about the origins of the memoir, which takes its name from song on her 1979 debut. “Other people are telling my story with their voice for their purposes. That won’t do.”

Rickie Lee Jones at 14. (Photo courtesy of Rickie Lee Jones)

Rickie Lee Jones posing with a car, 1968. (Photo courtesy of Rickie Lee Jones)

Rickie Lee Jones with Bob Dylan at Chasen’s restaurant in Beverly Hills, 1980. (Photo courtesy of Rickie Lee Jones)

Rickie Lee Jones performing with Bruce Springsteen at Jazz Fest in New Orleans in 2014. (Photo courtesy of Rickie Lee Jones)

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Rickie Lee Jones’ memoir, “Last Chance Texaco,” is the story not just of an iconoclastic singer-songwriter but an American daughter and the family from which she came. (Book jacket photo by Bonnie Schiffman)

Rickie Lee Jones entering fourth grade. (Photo courtesy of Rickie Lee Jones)

Rickie Lee Jones, front right, with her family in 1963. (Photo courtesy of Rickie Lee Jones)

Rickie Lee Jones with baby daughter Charlotte during the shoot for the “Makin’ Whoopee” video in 1989. (Photo courtesy of Rickie Lee Jones)

Rickie Lee Jones with her daughter Charlotte and her mother and grandmother circa 1993. (Photo courtesy of Rickie Lee Jones)

Rickie Lee Jones’ memoir, “Last Chance Texaco,” is the story not just of an iconoclastic singer-songwriter but an American daughter and the family from which she came. (Author photo by Astor Morgan, book jacket photo by Bonnie Schiffman)

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It’s the subtitle of the memoir — “Chronicles of an American Troubadour” — that might get closest to her inspiration. Because the book in many ways is less about the acclaimed music she’s created over the past four decades and more about the American life she and her parents and grandparents lived in the many decades prior.

“I wanted to tell the story of my family,” Jones says. “So back about 2001, I called the Smithsonian to see if …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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