The following is an expurgated transcript of a Britney Spears phone press conference held last week, in advance of her summer tour. By expurgated, I mean we have deleted some of the more banal questions and duller responses--but not all, since we'd have only six words left once all the trimming was done ("Hi, this is...uh...Britney Spears!"). Frankly, we're not even sure she's speaking English.
In an effort to draw in the fetal-to-12-year-old audience our corporate office in Phoenix demands we go after, we could not turn down such an invitation in good conscience--though, in truth, we doubt Britney's audience reads this publication, since their fathers usually keep each copy to browse through the "massage" ads found a few pages after this. Also, we doubt Britney's audience reads anything beside CD thank-yous, a Britney Web site or thousand, and the doctor's instructions on how to keep those implants from getting hard.
The full, unedited audio version of this transcript will be available off of this page a little later, yet another unabashed, shameless effort to attract the preteen chicks out there who aren't getting chatted up by 50-year-old mental patients pretending to be 13/f/hot! The Observer got to ask only one of its handful of questions, and it was by far the least interesting (something about the band Travis--even she didn't give a shit). Among the questions not asked: Do you need a spanking? And, do you need a spanking? We are pretty sure the answer would have been, "Well, uh, like...so, like, uh, yes?" This interview also proves one more thing: The only people dumber than teeny-pop musicians are the old farts asking them questions. Incidentally, we tried to spell all the so-called journalists' names right, but many of them (and, for that matter, their media outlets), couldn't be located on the Internet. It is likely they do not exist at all.
Moderator: "Britney, would you like to make your opening statement?"
Britney Spears: "Uh, yeah! Um, hey, everybody, this is Britney, and...I'm really excited I can, um, talk to you guys about my tour. Um, um, the first question?"
Moderator: "Thank you. We're now going to begin our Teleprint conference call. Each writer will have the opportunity to ask Britney one question regarding her upcoming tour, round-robin style, determined by the call-in order. Due to the limited amount of time, we ask you please limit yourself to one question, and keep your question as brief as possible. We'll pause for just a moment to assemble our roster. Our first question today comes from Joan Anderman with The Boston Globe."
Anderman: "Um, I'm wondering if you feel misunderstood, and if so, what you think is the biggest misconception about you."
BS: "Um, do I feel misunderstood? Um...I really don't...I mean, there's some misconceptions about me, like, you know, a lot of people think that what has happened to me has happened overnight, and that really kinda bothers me, because I worked really, really hard to get where I am right now. But, um, other than that, I think people, um, they see in interviews and stuff. Like, that I'm real, and I'm just a real person just like everybody else, and um, I can just try and be me, and hopefully they'll see that, so I, uh, y'know, I think that when they see me on television and stuff like that they see the real person I am. But that--the other, what I just talked about--I think that is the main misconception about me."
Moderator: "Jackie Jurose with Superteen magazine."
Jurose: "As you know, our magazines kind of, um, asks questions way in advance, so this is kind of, um, an advance question. Um, if you could talk a little bit about any back-to-school memories that you have or, or, you know, anything weird that ever happened when you went back to school, where something happened that maybe you thought would and didn't or something like that."
BS: "Um...really...I remember when I was like in the 2nd grade or 3rd grade, my favorite thing was to go--I mean, this sounds really retarded, but to go to Wal-Mart and get all my supplies. It was so much fun when I was younger, but then when I was older, um, y'know, and I started that age when you start worrying about what how you dress and how you look, um, that was so much fun to go shopping, like, y'know, the back-to-school shopping, y'know with your mom and stuff like that. So that's what I really remember."
Moderator: "Gary Graff with Reuters."
Graff: "Tell us, uh, you know, as much as you can about what we can expect from, you know, from the tour--the staging, the set pieces, you know, what everything's gonna look like."
BS: "Um, well, really we're having tour rehearsals right now, and, um, I'm really, really, you know, excited about it, 'cause, uh, most of the shows that I've done, I've really been the director of the show, and, uh, I have a lot of, you know, incredible people, like Jamie King, who does like all of Ricky Martin's shows and stuff like that, to come in and help me out. But, um, yeah...I mean, of course, I have the new songs from the new album that I'm gonna be doing. And, um, yeah, it's gonna be fun, like the first part of the show I hit 'em strong, really, really hard, and then I come out and I have, like, you know, the sets are really amazing, like I have, like, one bedroom set, and it's just, like, really cartoonish looking, and it's, like, it's a lot of fun to do. And, um, then I come back and I do the harder songs like 'Don't Go Knockin' On My Door' and 'Satisfaction,' and it just has, like, the show flows really, really well, but then again it has levels to it, and it, you know, there's really, really sweet parts to the show, and then there's really, really strong, hard parts that are really, you know, edgy. But, um, and the costumes are just amazing. They're really, really nice. I'm really excited about it. So...a lot of costumes, hee. A lot of quick changes. We haven't really worked all that out yet, but we'll manage. But I'm really excited about it."
Moderator: "Margie Szaroleta with AP Radio."
Szaroleta: "Britney, uh, at the end of your, um, thank-yous on your album, there's one that's not really to anybody. You talk about 'twisting your hair' and 'you'll always be a part of my heart and soul.' Who's that to?"
BS: "Um, it's a mystery person."
Szaroleta: "A mystery person? Can you tell us even if it's...you know, is it a guy?"
BS: "No, it's a mystery person. Hee hee. If that's OK, that's all I'm gonna say."
Moderator: "Andrea Dresdale with ABC Networks."
Dresdale: "I interviewed your mother not long ago, and she told me that you were looking at a lot of, uh, movie scripts, including one that might be a remake or some update of Grease, or something like that. Could you tell me a little bit about your acting, uh, some of the stuff you might be doing in the future?"
BS: "Um, I would love to do a movie. But a movie is something I would definitely like to do next year, because, you know, my schedule with touring and stuff like that. But, um, yeah, there was talk of me doin', um, you know, Grease, but there's a lot of talk of me doin' a lot of other movies too. But that one, I guess, stood out because, you know, it's such a, you know, great idea. But, um, nothing is set in stone. Actually, I actually don't think I'm gonna do it at this point. I'm not really for sure, but it's probably...it's just...it was just, you know, some talk. It's not definite, though."
Moderator: "Raina Meyer with Pop Star."
Meyer: "I especially want to congratulate you on the amazing album sales. And I wanted to find out, like, where were you when you found out about your sales, who told you, and, like, what was your reaction?"
BS: "Um, actually I was in the car, and my manager called me, he told me, and I was just so excited. 'Cause I was really, really worried about it, especially because we put so much into this album, and, you know, I've had a lot more association with this, and it was just, you know, it's like really special to me and especially, you know, with it being the second album, you know, you always wonder, you know, your first album, it does really well and a lot of people's second albums come out. So I was really worried about it, so. You know, I prayed about it, and, you know, thank God everything turned out OK."
Moderator: "David Siminelli with In LA magazine."
Siminelli: "Hey, I'm a big fan..."
BS: "Thank you!"
Siminelli: "...and I'm also a big fan of the Stones--the, uh, Rolling Stones--as well. So, I wanted to address, uh, 'Satisfaction.' Now, before the album even came out, a lot of the critics commented on how bold a move it was for you to remake such a classic like 'Satisfaction,' and the same critics kinda said the same thing about Madonna doing 'American Pie.' So, I just want to know, is it a coincidence that that happened, or did maybe Madonna remaking such a classic kinda give you the confidence to, to, you know, take on such a strong, well-known song as 'Satisfaction'? You know, how did that come about that you recorded that?"
BS: "Well, really, um, I, I really liked the song a lot when I was younger, and, I wanted to do, you know, a remake of the song so I'd have an opportunity to work with Rodney Jerkins, 'cause I talked him, talked to him about it at a party once, and I was like, 'Well, we should do something together!' and I just threw the idea at him. And, 'cause the record label at first, they weren't really strong, you know they weren't really happy with the idea, because, like you said, it's kind of a, you know, daring move to do something like that. But then we went ahead and we recorded it anyway, and then they liked it, so it may be a possible single now, but that's how it came about."
Moderator: "We'll take our next question today from Raina Meyer with Pop Star magazine."
Meyer: "First of all, I wanna say how we thought you were so, so great on SNL."
BS: "Well thank you, thank you so much."
Meyer: "And we loved that opening monologue. We wanna know, was that your idea to make jokes about all these rumors...how'd you feel about it when...?"
BS: "Um, yeah, it was my idea. They were like, what are you up to doing, and I was like, anything, you know, and I mean I was like, well you know I was ready to make fun of myself and just you know, have fun, you know, was my whole, uh, you know, way I was looking at it."
Moderator: "Mark Bialczak with Syracuse Post-Standard."
Bialczak: "When people say that your music on this second album maybe sounds a lot like your music on your first album, what is your reaction to that? Was that your goal, or were you looking to change things up?"
BS: "Well, I think I did change things up, because I mean, it's...The first album was talking about heartbreak and how, you know, you know, I'm lonely and stuff like that and, and the whole, you know, message that I'm portraying with this, with the next album, is talking about you're stronger, you know, what you see is what you get, and I think with them saying that, you know, it's a similar sound, well that is my sound, you know what I mean? Just like when Michael Jackson did Thriller and then his next album, you know, it, it was, still, you know, I, I think it's cool that I have my own sound and that no one can touch that and I'm, you know, marking my territory, and this is the kind of music that I sing, you know what I mean? I can still go and have different kinds of songs and, you know, you know, talk about different things in each song, so I definitely think that this album was a major growth from the first one, but I think that it's, it's cool that you can have your own sound, you know what I mean? And that's what I think I did with this album.
Moderator: "Ramiro Burr, San Antonio Express."
Burr: "A lot of people probably see you as a very popular hot teen star with a very glamorous life, but can you tell us frankly, as frankly as possible, about what are your biggest pressures, your biggest headaches day to day, and how you deal with that--how you relax?"
BS: "Well, really, I mean, every day is different for me. Like right now, um, I'm doing tour rehearsals, and I just get up every morning, and just, you know, work my butt off basically. Like today, I'm working on, um, focusing on trying to sing and dance at the same time. Like, I know all the choreography to the new songs, but, we're just trying to work out, you know, the vocals and stuff like that, and, um, yeah, I mean, really it varies for me, you know? I mean, one week I'll be worried about an awards show coming up, and the next week, you know, you know...Right now, I'm really, it's really hectic and crazy, because I have a video coming up in between tour rehearsals, uh. But, um, the ways I relax, just, you know, finding time for yourself, and you know, getting massages, spending time with my mom, you know, stuff like that."
Moderator: "Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News."
Takiff: "Funny you should talk about, uh, trying to sing and dance at the same time, 'cause that's what I wanted to ask about. There have been reports that when you in fact are doing your most serious dancing, that you're not singing, that you're singing to tracks. Is that going to be the case in this show, and how will you deal with criticism of that if that in fact is so?"
BS: "No, that's false. Really, um, on the first tour that I did, and the second tour, when I had the big screen up ahead of me, there's a delay. And what's actually happening is happening on the stage, so I think it was confusing them and they were thinking that I was lip-synching. But no, I'm never lip-synching. There's times in the choruses where they up those background vocals and it helps me out, but I'm singing my eyes off."
Moderator "Melissa Ruggiero, Richmond Times-Dispatch."
Ruggiero: "I was just wondering if you could just comment on what it's like to be a role model for so many teenagers. I mean, that again is a lot of pressure that's put on you, so what do you do about that?"
BS: "Well, really, I don't really, I try to think of myself not as a role model, you know what I mean? Because I think that's a lot of pressure right there. I just try to be...me, you know what I mean, and hopefully people will see the good qualities in me and try and take that on. But, you know I'm human just like you and everybody else, and I make mistakes. You know? So I really don't like to, you know, consider myself as a role model."
Moderator: "Gary Graff, Reuters."
Graff: "Uh, on 'Oops...I Did It Again,' the interlude with the gift and everything, what is that?"
BS: "Hee hee hee hee hee. It's, really, it's being sarcastic. It's...the song's talking about a girl who has everything, and, you know, she's playing with the guys' hearts and da da da da da, but then all of a sudden in the interlude or whatever the guy comes and then he gives her a gift and she's like, 'Oh, you shouldn't have, thank you!' It's being very catty, you know what I mean, and making fun of the whole thing. And that's what it's about. You understand?"
Graff: "Yeah, I do."
Moderator: "Jeff Dean, Times Leader."
Dean: "Um, if you're willing to talk about this--I know you, uh, expressed your frustration from time to time when this comes up--but you're criticized often for being overly sexual for your age. Do you want to respond to those criticisms?"
BS: "Um, I think people are gonna have opinions about things, you know what I mean, and I can't worry about what everybody thinks, otherwise I'll drive myself crazy. But, um, no, I can just try and be me, you know what I mean, and...I mean, I think you're the sexiest when you're just being yourself, you know what I mean? And, you know, I'm just here and I'm gonna try and be me and, you know, if they think that's, you know, sexy, it's flattering."
Moderator: "David Fantall, Reel to Reel"
Fantall: "Hi, Britney, I look forward to seeing you in Milwaukee this summer."
Fantall: "What did it feel like the first time a fan recognized you on the street and the first time you heard yourself on the radio?"
BS: "Um, the first time someone recognized me, um, on the street was probably when, um, me and my friend Felicia, we were walking in New York, and we were by Times Square, and you know how there's like a lot of fans by there because of TRL? And the girl noticed me, and I was like, 'Oh, goodness, someone noticed me,' and I felt so cool. You know, I was like, 'Ohmigod, they recognized me,' like a total goof, and now I'm just like, 'Oh, I'm over it.' But um, no, and the first time I heard my song on the radio was when I was at home, and um, I just got in the car and we had like so much luggage and we just came in the car and we just shut the doors, and it came on the radio. And I was so excited, but then I found out that my mom had called in and made 'em play it. Hee hee."
Moderator: "Bridget Byrne, Washington Post."
Byrne: "Um, how do you feel about your, um, shorter haircut? Are you growing your hair again, and what was your fan reaction to it?"
BS: "Um, actually a lot of people thought it was really cute and sassy, but, um, I just wanted it shorter because, um, I don't know, it's summertime, and it's just a lot easier, and you can always put extensions in if you wanna change it up, so...but this isn't for me."
Moderator: "Sarah Rodman, Boston Herald."
Rodman: "I know that 'Lucky' might be the next single, and I was curious, even though you didn't write that one, if that's something that, perhaps, you feel a spiritual kinship with the song and what it's about."
BS: "Do I relate to the song? Yeah, in a lot of ways I can, but, um, I hate it when a lot of celebrities talk about how, you know, depressed they are and how their life is just so hard, you know what I mean? I wouldn't trade my life for, for anything. I'm just so happy. But, yeah, there are times when I'm just like everybody else, you know, and I come in and have bad nights and, you know, sometimes when you're surrounded by so many people you can still be really lonely, you know what I mean? So uh, yeah, I can relate to the song, to a certain extent."
Moderator: "David Siminelli, In LA magazine."
Siminelli:: "On 'Dear Diary,' I wanna know if that was inspired by maybe an entry in your own diary, and if so, if you've ever been that intimidated, like, to like somebody but be too intimidated to actually talk to 'em."
BS: "Well, I mean, well, actually, right now, when I'm really attracted to someone, I get really quiet and really shy. It's horrible. But, um, yeah when I was younger, I would definitely, you know, if I was really into someone I didn't know what to say to 'em, you know, you would come in and you'd write about it in your journal. But those specific words that I used in the song, um, aren't words that I wrote in my journal, those specific words, but I can relate to that situation, you know, when I was younger."
Moderator: "Robert Wilonsky, Dallas Observer."
Wilonsky: "Have you heard Travis' 'Baby, One More Time?'"
Wilonsky: "The band Travis."
BS: "Oh, they did a remake of 'Baby, One More Time?'"
Wilonsky: "Yeah, they did it..."
BS: "Yes, I have heard that. Actually, I was in the mall the other day and, um, I heard this song come on, and I was like, 'Oh, my Lordy!' It was so weird. Hee hee."
Wilonsky: "What was your impression of it?"
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BS: "I liked it. I thought it was cool, you know. I mean it was totally a different vibe from what I did. It was cool, though.
Wilonsky: "Were you surprised that it could make the transfer from your way of doing it to theirs, stripped down?"
BS: "Yeah, yeah, it was really bizarre."
At this point, exhaustion sets in. Britney keeps talking, but it soon turns to clicks and pops and buzzes. The week keep on; the strong retreat.