10 Things We Learned From Lady Gaga's Howard Stern Interview
There's a vault with all her costumes, "Joanne" sealed the Super Bowl halftime gig and she has a skull tattoo.
After her triumphant return to Saturday Night Live over the weekend, Lady Gaga stopped by Howard Stern's SiriusXM show on Monday morning (Oct. 24) to perform a moving solo piano rendition of "Million Reasons" from her new album Joanne, talk about how she got the Super Bowl halftime gig, buying Frank Zappa's old house and the secret "vault" where she keeps her career memorabilia.
-- Her aunt Joanne, for whom the album was named, was like a "goddess" in Gaga's family. "We talked about her all the time," she said of her father's sister, whose framed photos were all around the Germanotta household when Gaga was a child. "For me she was like my guardian angel or spirit guide." Joanne died as a result of complications from the painful, incurable disease Lupus, and Gaga described how her aunt was sexually assaulted in her dorm room in college, which caused the disease to flare up, killing her a short time later.
"I never understood why my father drank so much and why he was so angry and why he was so overprotective," Gaga said during the nearly 90-minute interview. "I always thought it was my fault. So this album for me was about healing the wounds of being a young woman growing up in a tough family and figuring that out."
-- She recently purchased Frank Zappa's old mansion. "The house is very special, very magical. Because his studio is in it and I get to keep his [sound] board!" she said of the rock icon's former home. "It's mystical to me that the music he made traveled through this board." The entire basement of the house contains Zappa's legendary studio (Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) and Gaga said anytime one of her musical friends -- like say Joanne co-producer Mark Ronson -- want to stop by they are all invited to drop into the Los Angeles home to lay down tracks. "Just give me a call and I'll set it up for you," she said. There's also a "scream room"-- a long hallway with "amazing acoustics" and great reverb -- that connects two other rooms in the basement that Zappa had built to record his more outrageous vocals.
-- Gaga's new songs cemented her Super Bowl halftime gig. "The NFL wanted to hear the new record... and it was the record that sealed the deal," she said of the football league, who knew they had their woman when they heard Joanne. Also, she guaranteed there will be no wardrobe malfunctions, going into a fairly graphic explanation of how her stylist keeps her underwear in place.
-- When Gaga walked off stage after performing "Million Reasons" on Saturday Night Live this weekend, she didn't go to the after party, but out to dinner to eat meatballs with her parents and rest her voice. The first people to greet her after the SNL gig were A Star is Born co-star Bradley Cooper (and comedian Dave Chappelle). "It was such a release," she said of why she started crying as soon as the cameras went off. "I've been waiting three years to put out a pop album and I couldn't wait to put it out... I felt relieved and I was crying and Bradley was right there and Dave Chappelle was there with him It was kind of really sweet. They both gave me a big hug and they were like, 'You did it!'."
-- She has a tattoo of an angel on her skull. You can't see it now, because her hair has grown back, but it's there.
-- When Gaga is having a bad day she'll call her pal and Cheek to Cheek companion Tony Bennett. "And he'll call me. Not when he's having a bad day, but he has a sixth sense," she said about the 90-year-old pop icon's deep connection to her.
-- She's still very close to ex, Taylor Kinney, who has been very supportive of her new music. "I hate to sound like a hippie but I kind of am one and so is he. We love each other, that's it," she said. Explaining that breakup, she said, "life changes," giving Kinney credit for being "pretty f---ing" cool over the years they were together about all the creative transformation she underwent. "There's a lot on this album that was inspired by our relationship," she added, noting "I'm not going to throw a f---ing party," when Stern asked how she might feel if Kinney started dating someone else. She also explained that "Million Reasons" was written about all the men in her life, including Kinney, her father and every guy she's had a relationship with. "It's never just about the guy," she said. "It's always about that guy, the guy before him..."
Taylor and I have always believed we are soulmates. Just like all couples we have ups and downs, and we have been taking a break. We are both ambitious artists, hoping to work through long-distance and complicated schedules to continue the simple love we have always shared. Please root us on. We're just like everybody else and we really love each other.
-- "Million Reasons" was also written for women all over the world. "How cool is it that it was No. 1 in Saudi Arabia?... I just really want women to be heard," she said after playing it on Stern, wiping away tears. "I've dated a lot of cowboys and I just really want women to be heard... Not in a way that 'men are bad,' but I think it's time for us to heal from those wounds that divide us. In this country we are so divided. I just hope this album provides some healing."
she said of the rock icon's former home
-- Asked if she was getting political on the album, Gaga reiterated that "Angel Down" was about the "assassination" of Trayvon Martin and explained that "Come to Mama" described her feeling that "people need to come together and love each other and stop fighting over the same ideas we've been fighting over for 100 years." She's also been watching the news a lot lately. "It helps to inform my performances," she said, noting she's currently reading the Tama Janowitz book about the New York art scene Slaves of New York. "I just pray for a peaceful election day," she said. "There should not be violence that day. That should be a peaceful day where we all remember we're in this together."
-- Her mother keeps all the memorabilia from her career and Gaga has an archive called "The Vault" with all her props and costumes from the past decade. She said she's hardly visited because it might make her too sad and feel like "a funeral." When creative director Hedi Slimane split with design house Saint Laurent in April, Gaga said she bought all the archives of the clothes he made before he left to store in the vault. "Hedi is a preservationist of rock and roll fashion history," she said of the impulse buy that made her dad hit the roof.