OCT 28, 2012 – Mary Bridget Davies is currently singing as Janis Joplin in the "One Night With Janis Joplin" show, and JTMP caught up with her for an interview about Janis and the show. We wanted to get her feeling on Janis Joplin, and how she played a part in the culture of music and social revolution of the 1960s, and her activism, the interview is below.
JTMP asked Mary how she felt about Janis Joplin's influence on the 1960s social culture and revolution and she told us, "[Janis] definitely was one of the front runners, accidentally, for change and revolution. She was not super politically motivated, she wasn't out and rallying or anything like that but she was ingrained with mutual respect and equality. She grew up in Texas in a very, very strict oil refinery town, and there was racism everywhere; but she just wouldn't tolerate it. She was always preaching the message of equality and freedom in the arts. In Kris Kristofferson's song she literally sings about freedom. She was just a good human being and a good humanitarian, she wanted everyone to be equal, and she wanted everyone to express themselves." She added, "I really do think if she had lived longer and gotten more mature, because she was a very intellectual person, maybe she would have become a stronger voice. Not even just for women, but race issues were very important to her, she was very much about equality. With the music, the way she respected and revered all those other artists and strove to be like them, she wanted them to be just as equally treated as the males."
FOR MORE OF THE INTERVIEW CLICK READ MORE.
JTMP asked her about the African-American female soul singers that influenced Janis Joplin as she was growing up, and are featured in the show. Mary replied, "When they were teenagers, those blues records she was listening, even in the mid to late 50s to the early 60s those were considered "race records" and they were illegal where she grew up. They would sneak over the border to Louisiana and they would trade records behind their parents back and listen to this music like there was some taboo. They would go over to Louisiana and go to the honky-tonks and hear that music, the cultural difference, the self expression, which is so prevalent in the African-American music. She was very moved to the core by all those early, black female blues artists. It really helped her identify who she was. The other woman in the show, the blues singer, she's kind of Janis alter ego; that's who Janis' wanted to be, that's who she was inside"
Then we asked her about Janis Joplin's stance on the Vietnam War, and Mary told us, "I've heard many stories from the guys, Big Brother, about that. I believe one time we were talking, they were playing in Detroit at some ballroom and it was around Thanksgiving; it was really awful and the war was crazy. So, what's his name, "Wavy Gravy", she had done something where they lined up people to bring in donations and stuff to families who lost husbands. She was physically ill about it, it's in the stuff she records . She was against it on a basic human level all the way."
We asked Ms. Davies what message should we get out there about the show and she said, "Even if someone isn't the biggest Janis Joplin fan they should still come to the show because we do have the other music, the blues angle, it is a really entertaining show, vivid Technicolor and a great production. About Janis I would just say, we are really trying to capture her true, and I think our director did a good job. I love being her every night, and I give it all, whatever I have I give it to the crowd every night."