It wasn’t enough to have a global hit single (”Believe”), a new book (The First Time), and several movies in the works (Tea With Mussolini, The Breakers). With the recent launch of Cher.com, the 52-year-old comeback kid has moved her Sanctuary catalog online, found an audience for unreleased songs, and joined the rest of her Web-surfing family. For the first time, the diva Chers her Net experiences. — James Oliver Cury
ON CREATING CHER.COM
— Truthfully, I didn’t know anything about [the Web] and my friend [Chastity’s old girlfriend, Heidi Shink] said, ”Do you realize that there are other fan-run Cher Web pages?” She took me on the Net through AOL, and I was kind of astonished that people would go to all that trouble. The idea of designing the website — that I was totally into. I did that with [Tom Paddock of SRA NetWorks] the company that did the Grateful Dead’s site. I sent them a copy of the two catalogs I designed because I wanted [my site] to look like that: the Sanctuary catalogs.
ON CHAT ROOMS
— The first time I went on, no one believed it was me. And that was really a pain in the ass. They were trying to get me to answer questions they thought would trip me up, like ”What’s your manager’s nickname?” The horrible thing is that a lot of times these people know more than I do about what I’ve done. I forget stuff.
ON THE SECRET ALBUM SHE MAY POST ONLINE
— I have an album I wrote once that will never come out. I wrote it with a couple of friends of mine at this castle in Bordeaux, I did the demos with the guys from Letterman’s [Late Show] band, and I wanted to produce it, but it’s not commercial. I was thinking I’ll call the album Not Commercial. The songs are pretty un-Cherlike: They’re all autobiographical, except one I wrote about Kurt Cobain called ”The Fall.” If someone wants [the album] from the website, they can get it there [in the near future], and it would be something you couldn’t get anywhere else. I thought that would be really cool because really dyed-in-the-wool Cher fans would understand it.
ON BEING WIRED
— It seems everyone I know has some sort of Web connection; I’m accidentally on the cutting edge. Also, I need software that helps me talk because I can’t type and I’m dyslexic. So it’s a nightmare for me. Is there any software for the Mac that helps you talk into it?
ON HER FAMILY’S ONLINE HABITS
— [My son] Elijah wanted a computer laptop for Christmas. He’s designing things for his own website already. My mom loves the American Movie Classics, the movie channel, so we took her to the website and she was completely out of her mind. She had no idea that world existed. Chas [Chastity] has been [online] for a long time.
ON HER FUTURE PLANS
— I’ve got all kinds of ideas, and all the people who go on the website, they send me ideas too. I’m gonna get one of those disc-movie things and when I go away, take little minute movies and put them online so people can see where I am or what I’m doing. [The site] gives people a good look at you without any buffering. And I like that.