of her appearance on ABC TV's program, "Enough Rope"
with Andrew Denton, Australia, 2004)
by Andrew Denton) The interview you are about to see
does contain some bad language, so if that sort of thing
offends you, here's a couple of seconds to switch channels...
first guest has been described as the world's most famous
daughter. From day one she's been subject to a level of
celebrity that is almost impossible to imagine. Like many
famous kids she pushed back, rebelled in her teens, made
some dodgy choices, and got her name into the papers for
the wrong reasons. Now in her mid-30s she's ironed her life
out and has recently begun a singing career that has brought
her success in America and to Australia for her first concert
tour, ladies and gentlemen, Lisa Marie Presley.
Denton: Lisa Marie, welcome to the show and congratulations,
the album's gone gold in the States I believe?
Marie Presley: Thank you, yes.
Denton: Well done, we're going to see a clip very shortly.
Now a lot of people in your situation would have taken the
sort of Kelly Osbourne route, they would have linked up
with a few stylists and a few good producers and cashed
in on teenage celebrity, but you've waited till your mid-30s
and you've done it your way. Where did you get the strength
to do that?
Marie Presley: I don't know, I just think it's in my character,
basically I don't think I have anything in me that would
want to do something like that you know for a superficial
purpose or, I'm not saying that they are by the way. I'm
not trying to do that whole number but I'm just saying me
or who I am.
Denton: Look I don't think anyone on this planet would look
at the Osbourne's and think superficial, so it's all right.
Marie Presley: I didn't say it, you did.
Denton: Ah, as you were growing up, as you were a teenager
though, I can only imagine with the name Presley, that a
whole bunch of producers came to you and said come on, let's
do an album.
Marie Presley: Yeah it happened periodically, it did, but
it wasn't something that I was ready to do and didn't really
have... I mean I started singing when I was 21, 22, a sort
of outlet on my own. And then, you know didn't have any
reason to, I didn't really want attention any more than
I already had on me particularly, so I didn't pursue anything
publicly with it until later on. I just felt like, you know,
like that's enough, I'll just do this and sort of use this
record to be cathartic and let it go and see what happens
and have my own thumbprint for whoever wants to have it
or hear it or whatever, whatever you have.
Denton: I should point out by the way that you've got a
shocking cold and that you are seconds away from passing
out, is that correct? Yeah? We're about to actually play
a clip from the album which is called "To Whom It May Concern".
This is the single "Lights Out". Let's take a look at that.
Denton: Do you remember the first time you performed in
public and what that was like?
Marie Presley: God, I, they put me out, I think it
was just a convention called "Norm", it was being
held in Florida and they basically threw me out really
fast. I think the third time I performed live was
on "David Letterman" in the States, so it was never
something that I you know had a runway in doing.
Marie Presley: You know, I just didn't have the time to
I guess when it was when that engine was running and the
machine was going, the record was going I just sort of went
out. I didn't have a normal runway of playing small clubs,
which is getting used to the idea of singing live. And I
don't really know actually the answer to that question now
in retrospect. I thought that I could, I should do that
and then I didn't end up doing it. So I ended up having
to sort of dive off the diving board.
Denton: So you're standing there on the stage, I'm just
trying to get inside the Lisa Marie Presley head at this
Marie Presley: Oh God bless you.
Denton: Ha ha. Lisa Marie Presley: I mean you know watch
out, beware I'm warning you.
Denton: Ha, ha. So you're standing there on stage, I mean
at what point did this realisation hit you that I'm a bit
Marie Presley: God, when did it hit me? I think on tour.
You know I think I could pull off various things, and I
don't know there were a few things that were live, and when
I went out on tour I was like a deer caught in the headlights
at some point and I was like you're going to have to get
yourself through this cause it was just, you know, no matter
what I had to go out and do it. And I was, I just came to
this thing where I was like, you know, I'm not somebody
who likes attention on me so what the hell am I doing standing
up front of the stage singing. And I had this sort of, you
know, "be okay with that". So that kind of took me a little
while. And then I was okay with it.
Denton: I'll bet it did. What advice has your mum given
you about going into the industry?
Marie Presley: She's, you know, tried to get me to just,
she's been really really supportive actually about that.
She's goes and travels around with me and she's now a road
dog so when I go out she comes with me. She kind of just
lets me do my thing, she knows better than to tell me what
I should or shouldn't do at this point I think.
Denton: On the liner notes you dedicate the album to the
kids, Riley and Benjamin, as the loves of your life.
Denton: What do you like about being a mum?
Marie Presley: I think everything. I think just the grounding
experience, you know everything's better when you have children.
Whatever they're experiencing you experience as well with
them, over again, even if you're grown up, even if you're,
no matter what's happening they're always there. They're
there to ground you, you have to get out of yourself and
everything becomes about them, and that's really good. Ah
Denton: What is it from your childhood that you'd like your
kids to have?
Marie Presley: From mine? What do I want? I think just,
you know, what I want is for them to be able to do what
they want, and not have to be overshadowed by you know anybody
else in their family. That's going to be a big feat, it's
going to be a big mountain to climb, and it's one that I,
I've struggled with and I think you know they're going to
have to find their way on that front.
Denton: When you were, oh about Riley's age about 13, you
were by your own account, you know, apathetic. You'd lie
on the bed and stare at the ceiling. You started getting
into drugs which you did for a while as a teenager. As a
mum now of a teenager the same age, does this make you a
bit paranoid, "oh what's she up to"?
Marie Presley: Yes. Andrew Denton: Mm. Lisa Marie Presley:
Denton: Welcome to parenthood!
Marie Presley: Yeah.
Marie Presley: And as much as I want to think she's, you
know, she's actually doing really well, but I, I still like
go "what are you doing, where were you?" And I'll like get
up really close when she's come home and start sniffing
Denton: Ha ha.
Marie Presley: You know.
Denton: Actually, because do you know all the angles? Or
have teenagers now have they learned new ones?
Marie Presley: I haven't, she's really good at whatever
she's doing. She's got me really, really convinced that
she's not doing anything she's not supposed to be.
Denton: Ah she's playing you for a sucker big time.
Marie Presley: Ha, ha I know that that's coming, I know.
I know when she grows up she's going to tell me that entire
time I was higher than the mountains, I was whatever.
Denton: Has being a mum and now a single mum, has that made
you think differently about your relationship with your
Marie Presley: Yeah I think it has. I mean my mum and I
have become closer in the last two, three years than we've
ever been so, I don't know what changed that, but that happened.
Denton: What do you think changed it?
Marie Presley: I don't know it's just kind of, we looked
at each other and we're okay with who the other was, even
though we're nothing alike. We just had a moment where we
just realised that we were okay with each other. It was
just a constant resistance before that. You know I was too
this, she was too that and we just finally went okay you
know what, we're still who we are, you're my mother and
I'm her daughter and we're all we have, so you better...I
don't know something just happened, changed.
Denton: Do you look back on her as a single mum and think
wow, that was, you did a pretty good job?
Marie Presley: I do, I do. Especially because she was young
raising me. You know she started, she, when you're younger
and you have children you grow up with them, or you tend
to, still. When you have them later in life you tend to
have it together a little more. So I have to give her credit
for trying to find herself and growing up with me.
Denton: On the album you also dedicated to your mum and
dad and you say, I hope I make you proud of me. Do you reckon
Marie Presley: I can answer for one. I don't know for the
other. But, I can, I can say that she is seemingly.
Denton: Yeah, seemingly?
Marie Presley: Right yeah.
Denton: Oh come on, you know.
Marie Presley: I don't, I'm not one to blow smoke at my
own arse, so...
Denton: Yeah, but she...
Marie Presley: I'll tell you the truth.
Denton: But, I'm asking you to tell me what smoke
she blew off your arse. I mean she, she's...
Marie Presley: She's blowing enough smoke up my arse
to be with me on every show now.
Denton: Yeah. I guess so. I guess.
Marie Presley: No, I mean she's very supportive is what
I'm trying to say.
Denton: Cause your dad, and let's use the name Elvis for
Pete's sake, he loved to hear you sing when you were a little
Marie Presley: Yes.
Denton: He'd be pretty proud of you don't you reckon?
Marie Presley: I reckon.
Denton: Yeah. Have you and your mum talked much about the
impact Elvis has had on your life? Lisa Marie Presley: Mm,
no we don't.
Marie Presley: No, I mean I think it's just known, I don't
think we talk about it too much.
Denton: In the song on the album "No One Noticed", it's
actually, it's very sweet about Elvis. You say, you know,
I don't know, correct me if I've got this wrong, "you're
still sweet, you always were, the things you had to endure,
it seemed like no one noticed". You were you were nine when
he died, and now you manage his estate. You've got the whole
thing. Do you have a sense of the man or is he hard to find
behind all the hype?
Marie Presley: Oh no, I have a sense. A very accurate sort
of never dying sense.
Denton: And, what is that, who is that man that you sense?
Marie Presley: Ah, just someone who was you know everything
that everyone perceived him to be and in the way that he
sort of came through his music and his spirit came through
and affected people. He was that spirit that was behind
Denton: What do you think of the people that reckon Elvis
is still alive?
Marie Presley: I have no idea. I really don't. I have no
good answer for that or an Elvis impersonator or the other,
I don't, know what ever else flies around.
Denton: Yeah. And a lot does fly around doesn't it. A couple
of years ago, this gives a sense of your life, a Swedish
woman published a book in which she said that you were an
impostor and she was the real Lisa Marie Presley.
Marie Presley: Right.
Denton: Did it ever give you pause for thought?
Marie Presley: You know what, I almost wanted to say, take
it lady, go for it. You know what. She would have found
herself in the tabloids every other week. Yeah. And what
ever else comes with that.
Denton: And is that a joy to be in the tabloids every other
Marie Presley: Oh my god, are you kidding? No it's not.
Denton: What is it like to be that, that play thing of people?
Marie Presley: You know what they were really, excuse me,
fucking quiet last year. When this record came out, I heard
Russell Crowe curse so I'm doing it.
Denton: Ha ha.
Marie Presley: Sorry.
Denton: That's okay.
Marie Presley: They were quiet when my record came out,
cause they didn't really have much to say because it came
out. Now I was stuck up and then I was all over the place
and I sort of went into another stream of media, and they
didn't start doing anything till I went on tour and they
now they're, you know. Every time I go on tour they're kind
of putting me in there for what ever reason. So I, I hate
Denton: It makes you angry, does it ever make you laugh?
Do you ever look at it and go this is just, now funny?
Marie Presley: You know, right now there's one in the, I
think it's the U.S., where they're talking about 150 pounds
and bingeing and miserable and I'm in a dark room and everyone's
trying to get me to go to a fat farm. I mean I can't. I'm
laughing right now. But, here's the thing, the thing is
that it's not true, I'm not 150 pounds. I'm not saying I'm
the skinniest lady in the world, but anyway, it just seems
to happen every time I'm about to go on tour, which then
you know they try to set this whole picture of a miserable
bingeing in a dark room, crying, fat person, who, I don't
know what that's supposed to do, other than say I'm like,
I'm losing my mind perhaps. And it sort of, it makes it's
somebody's out there doing that and deciding to do that
right when a tour starts.
Denton: So do, I gather there's no line of defence you can
run other than to appear on stage patently not fat, miserable
Marie Presley: Right, what do I say to that?
Denton: You apologised for your bad language before, I'm
going to apologise for your bad language too, I want to
read this to get it right.
Marie Presley: Oh Jesus.
Denton: Now. You've described yourself, and I'm reading
this as a quote "crazy arsed, mother fucking shithead".
Do you stand by that?
Marie Presley: Yes, I do, absolutely.
Denton: In what way?
Marie Presley: I'm under oath. In what way? Every way.
Denton: It bespeaks a certain wildness. Do you like the
idea of being a bad girl who's got a bit boring?
Marie Presley: Oh yeah, without question. Yeah.
Denton: So what is your idea of wild Lisa Marie?
Marie Presley: But there's good, there's got to be a fine
line, you can't just be bad and crazy and on drugs and out
of your mind, and that's all I'm talking about, but you
know to stand by what you believe in and be strong and you
know, that sort of thing.
Denton: What I'm hearing here, but what you keep tap-dancing
around, is somebody that's had a hell of a fight to be herself
in the eyes of the world. Am I right?
Marie Presley: Right. Right. Isn't that expected, but yes
I wasn't thinking that specifically and no I was not tap-dancing
I just, I don't know on what level you're talking about
but, you know, sorry go ahead.
Denton: Go on.
Marie Presley: No you.
Denton: No you. Lisa Marie Presley: No you. Andrew Denton:
I can win this you know. Lisa Marie Presley: No, go. Andrew
Denton: You've got a cold, you're weakened.
Marie Presley: No.
Denton: Ha, ha. You, you've said that your taste in men
is psychotic, what do you mean by that?
Marie Presley: Has been. You know.
Denton: Has been.
Marie Presley: What I mean is if you lined everybody up
that I was ever with in a row, that it would never make
any sense. They're all very different you know.
Marie Presley: There's two that are, when I was up, but
there's also others that still would be, you know, there's
no pattern of sanity. And there's no method behind the madness.
Denton: Are you attracted to people that are a bit like
you, that like to be wild at heart?
Marie Presley: Yeah, but see those are the, that's the not
good match ups, cause you have to have somebody that sort
of counteracts that. You know, you can't have both people
Denton: Your producer Glen Ballard, when you went to do
this album, he said to you, he said you asked him for advice.
He said, "Write about your life". So it's interesting to
look at the lyrics and and particularly 'SOB' and it says,
"I lost my trust in you, you were dangerous and scary and
you poisoned me with sweets, everyone was intrigued by".
Why did you fall in love with Michael Jackson?
Marie Presley: Oh see, I knew this was a segue.
Denton: Yeah. Well look, it's the word dangerous, it's a
Marie Presley: Right, right. Why did I?
Marie Presley: I have no idea, why does anyone fall in love
with anyone. it was 9 years ago, can't really remember you
Marie Presley: Just, just hung out, we were friends. And,
he wasn't anything like he is right now, I don't know what's
happened, but I don't know. Same reason anybody falls in
love with anybody.
Denton: He was different to what you expected though wasn't
Marie Presley: Yes.
Denton: In what way?
Marie Presley: Just more normal. Not the things that he
sort of puts out about himself.
Denton: Cause you've said that he is the opposite of how
he appears. The Michael Jackson we saw last year, you know
dangling the baby over the balcony, putting veils over the
kids' faces, is that him?
Marie Presley: Okay. No, I don't know, I don't know anymore.
Denton: You, when you talk.
Marie Presley: I never saw anything like that, is what my
Denton: When you talked about him, you described a man who
was very smart.
Marie Presley: Yes.
Denton: Pretty ruthless, pretty manipulative. Now as a strong
woman, you clearly are, was it difficult to be in a relationship
where to some extent you felt powerless?
Marie Presley: It was, that's why I left. I mean only powerless
in a lot of ways, in terms of, you know, realising that
I was part of a machine, and seeing things going on that
I couldn't do anything about. You know and don't ask me
what sort of things, cause I'm not going to answer. But
Denton: So what sort of things?
Marie Presley: See! You know what, I watched interviews
of you, like two of them before and I saw where you were
going to go in on me. What were we saying?
Denton: I'll just read back my question. Ah, what sort of
Marie Presley: Of what? You mean that I noticed.
Denton: Okay I'll...
Marie Presley: And that I had no control over?
Denton: Yeah, I got the sense that you, and believe you
me I'm not going to spend the next half hour talking about
Michael Jackson, we'll move on.
Marie Presley: Thank you.
Denton: But, I got the sense, cause I know that this is
a tender area, but I got the sense that you had become a
part of Michael Jackson Incorporated. That you had an Access
Most Areas ticket, but that you didn't have access to the
board room necessarily. Would that be a fair way to describe
Marie Presley: I didn't want access, I mean I wasn't in
it for any other reason than I had fallen in love with someone,
so it wasn't like I was trying to find access to something.
Like for some, I don't quite understand the question maybe.
Denton: It must be very difficult to have a sense of being
used in full public view.
Marie Presley: Right. I don't think I was aware of that
so much at the time.
Denton: And now?
Marie Presley: I have a different take now.
Denton: And what do you think?
Marie Presley: I look back at anything and look at my own
responsibility in it and so I'm not going to sit here and
tell you that it was all, I'm a victim, and there's this
whole bad stuff or whatever, but I will, I mean I, I look,
when I look back now I look at what I was doing, where was
I coming from, and what did I do to cause that on myself
Denton: And when you look at that man now, and I'm not asking
you to say what's going on now because you can't possibly
know, but when you look at him, how do you feel about him?
Do you feel sorry for him, do you feel for him still?
Marie Presley: I, I you know ta... I can't, it's really
bizarre, I feel nothing. It's just, I watch just like anyone
else when anything's going on, and I have the same reaction
and "wow", or you know, "holy shit", or what ever, it's
whatever people are doing I'm doing the same thing. That's,
well with nothing attached any more, which is, it took a
long time but that's where it's at now.
Denton: You've seen fame and you've experienced it in a
way very few ever will. What does fame do to people?
Marie Presley: It depends on the person. It kind of puts
you in a position where you will immediately show you'll
either expand it or you'll become an arsehole and lose it.
You know and there's one, there's not really in-betweens
on that one I don't think. You'll either become a real jerk
and abuse it and become obnoxious and unrealistic, and fall
down the chute or you'll learn how to deal with it.
Denton: And how do you learn how to deal with it?
Marie Presley: You kind of just have to go through stuff
and figure it out. I guess me having been born and exposed
to a lot, I sort of figured things out quietly along the
way. But I mean I know, it's really, that's an interesting
subject cause there's a lot of people that I know that are
very very famous that would, they don't like to talk about
how famous they are and they don't like to talk about themselves
and they're not what you'd think and they don't like to
blow smoke up their own arse. And then there's people who
just become famous from doing a sitcom or they've just got
a bunch of money or whatever and they're the biggest arsehole
that ever walked the planet. And you're sitting there going,
you know. They're more important in their own heads than
the real, it's just, it's a very bizarre life and subject.
Denton: Your dad was surrounded by sycophants and people
Marie Presley: Yes.
Denton: Do you have a pretty good bullshit meter?
Marie Presley: Yes, you know but every once in a while I
get a challenge and something happens that I wasn't ready
for, and you know, throws it off. It's not perfected yet.
Denton: Ha, ha. For example?
Marie Presley: For example people that get close to me that
are there for the wrong reasons and have a whole other thing
Denton: Which means what, people that are basically trying
to get money or vicarious publicity out of you?
Marie Presley: Something yeah, or you know even closer,
even deeper than that, not so much monetary things, just
Denton: How does someone in your position, having come from
where you've come from and seen what you've seen, how do
you learn to trust?
Marie Presley: God, that's been an ongoing thing, but, I
think that me surrounding myself by people that I've known
since I was a teenager and I've sort of been through life
enough with, I have sort of a good support team around me,
that I've had forever. So that helps. It's so many, you
know I have the same problems that everybody else has on
that, you know people trust, if the trust is just a general
broad subject that's kind of controversial and shady, shaky,
ah what did you say, you had some word, adjective, what
Marie Presley: Dodgy.
Denton: Yeah, that's a good word, that's a good Australian
word you can take it with you, check it at customs as you
Marie Presley: Right.
Denton: You talked before about issues of trust.
Marie Presley: Right.
Denton: You've been through a series of relationships, as
you said, you stack all the men you've been together with,
it wouldn't make any sense at all.
Marie Presley: Mm, mm.
Denton: In the furnace of your life, how are you going to
forge another bond?
Marie Presley: It's, they come along, somehow.
Marie Presley: From somewhere. Yeah.
Denton: How do you make space for it though?
Marie Presley: I always do, somehow, manage to do that.
Denton: And the age old question, how do you find the right
Marie Presley: I don't, I don't know how does anybody find
the right person. How did you find the right person?
Denton: I actually looked across the room and there she
was. But it was...
Marie Presley: See.
Denton: But it was one of those moments. Literally eyes
met, love at first sight.
Marie Presley: Right.
Denton: Have you ever, have you ever had that?
Marie Presley: Or so I thought. You know when how many times
has someone thought that, and then they, you know that's
great that it's worked out, but it doesn't always work out
Denton: With respect and with sympathy though, yours is
not a typical situation.
Marie Presley: Exactly, which makes it more difficult and
it's not that easy to be with someone who's, you know, the
female that's the strong one that's got this, you know there's
a whole thing connected to me and it takes quite a male
to be able to deal with it.
Denton: See I would have thought that somebody in your position,
for whom money is not a major issue, you could go to anywhere
in the world and not be hassled. Why don't you do that?
Marie Presley: Wait a minute, in what sense not be hassled?
Denton: Well you could go to the middle of Australia where
there's no one and they don't give a rats who you are, it's
just g'day. You could go to Iceland, the volcanos of Iceland,
you could go to Antarctica.
Marie Presley: Well, I'm working, right now.
Denton: Yeah, but when you're not working.
Marie Presley: When I'm not working, well yeah, I would
if I wasn't working. I don't usually, I don't get over here
unless I'm working, I'm here cause I'm working.
Denton: Sure, but you could chose not to work.
Marie Presley: But, I don't want to not work.
Denton: Okay. Okay, so when this work cycle's finished.
Marie Presley: Right.
Denton: Are you going to go somewhere?
Marie Presley: Yes. I am.
Denton: Yeah. And can you tell us exactly where that is
so that I'll let...
Marie Presley: See?
Denton: No, no, no, I don't want to know that.
Marie Presley: You know what the thing is, I saw the earlier
interviews that you did with a few people and I understand
that it's very, you people are very open and honest here
and normally I am too, but you know this is going to bleed
over to the U.S. so I, I tend to be more, cause I know that
they're going to take it and do, maybe you know, that's
what I'm used to having happen anyway, when I do an interview.
Denton: Okay, so.
Marie Presley: Something's being taken out of context, and
then you know, bam! It's on the cover of everything.
Denton: Well what, you know just so you can relax we're
going to edit this interview so it's got you saying, "I'm
fat and bingey and desperate" and then we're going to have
you coughing and saying "crazy arse mother fucking shit
head", and we're just going to cut that together and it's
going to be me saying, "What is the matter with this woman?"
So, I really don't think you have anything to worry about.
Marie Presley: Thank you.
Denton: Will you respect us in the morning here in Australia
Marie Presley: Absolutely.
Denton: Yeah, look I hope the tour's good for you, more
importantly I hope life is good for you.
Marie Presley: Thank you.
Denton: And thank you for being with us tonight.
Marie Presley: Thanks for having me.
Denton: Lisa Marie Presley.