Nancy Sinatra is stomping around a Burbank rehearsal studio in — you guessed it — boots, but these days they’re made for motorcycles, not you-know-what. And while she still has that laughing face her dad, Frank, famously sang about, now the smile is due to her comeback album, Nancy Sinatra, out Sept. 28. It’s packed with contributions from unexpected artists like Bono, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, and Morrissey. Sinatra, 64, describes the CD as ”totally magilla.” We’re pretty sure that’s good.
EW How did you end up working with Morrissey, of all people?
NANCY SINATRA In 1995, I was in London and he called my hotel room and said, ”This is Morrissey. May I come up?” He brought all of these albums and 45s he wanted me to sign. Thank heaven I knew who he was, because my kids grew up with the Smiths [Sinatra has two grown children with the late choreographer Hugh Lambert]. My daughter Amanda had a poster of Morrissey as tall as a refrigerator over her bed. Now we’ve been friends going on 10 years.
EW On your new album, you sing Morrissey’s ”Let Me Kiss You” — a song from his recent CD You Are the Quarry.
NS Over the years, I kept begging him to let me do ”Bengali in Platforms” [from 1988’s Viva Hate], because I love that song. He kept saying ”You’ll never do ‘Bengali’ — so forget it.” Then a couple years later he sent me a rough version of ”Let Me Kiss You” with a note that said, ”If you do this song, you’ll be back on the charts for the first time since 1972.”
EW After 30 years out of the limelight, you’ve had a tough time getting a record deal. What do you think was the problem?
NS My age! I got clobbered by a newspaper recently for my performance at Little Steven’s International Underground Garage Festival [in New York City on Aug. 14]. The critic said nasty things about my being too old. Ten years ago, I would have cried, but not anymore. This time I wrote an e-mail to [the critic] that said, ”If you want to talk about this, please get in touch with me. If you don’t want to talk about it, go f— yourself.” I wasn’t proud of what I wrote, but it’s like, give me a break. Do I make good music or don’t I? If I don’t, then tell me and I’ll get off the stage. But don’t criticize me because I’m getting older, because dammit, you’re getting older too.
EW Your age didn’t stop Quentin Tarantino from opening Kill Bill — Vol. I with your rendition of ”Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).”
NS To have a brilliant director say he built the opening of his film around my song, I thought, Wow. I was so grateful because I’ve always felt I get no respect. Me and Rodney, you know? Younger generations have made me feel like I matter. A few weeks ago the girl from the Raveonettes came over to me and said, ”You’ve been such an influence on me.” And I’m like, ”How did she even hear of the stuff? Her grandma?” Little kids are dancing to ”Boots” for school, and their moms write my website: ”Can you tell me where I can get a pair of white go-go boots?” I should have gone into the boot business.