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Juliette Lewis

A "Natural Kind of Girl"

You donít have to be a fan of oysters to enjoy San Franciscoís 9th Annual Oyster Fest that returns to the Great Meadow at Fort Mason on May 17th. Just ask Juliette Lewis, the actress turned rocker who performs during the two-day festival along with the Dropkick Murphys, She & Him and others. She can stomach cinematic ultra-violence (see: Natural Born Killers, Kalifornia), but apparently has a harder time with small sea creatures. Lewis spoke with SF Station during a phone interview from her home in Los Angeles near the end of a two-month break from her music and acting career.

SF Station (SFS): Are you an oyster fan?

Juliette Lewis (JL): Is it literally a festival for oysters?

SFS: I think so.

JL: Thatís cute. I canít say that Iíve eaten a lot of oysters in my life. Iím not very adventurous when it comes to seafood.

SFS: What have you been doing during your time off?

JL: Iím a natural kind of girl, so I just took up hiking. I have also been taking piano lessons and Iím doing a sauna program. I take vitamins and run and sweat in a sauna.

SFS: Is it one of those body-purification programs?

JL: Totally. Iím all about it.

SFS: What do you like most about hiking?

JL: I love the scenery and just how it feels. Iím starting to fall in love with California because Iím seeing parts of it Iíve never seen before. It just feels good to commune with nature.

SFS: Your next gig is at the Santa Monica Pier. Do you have to tone your set down for that audience?

JL: I donít know; I just might tone it up. Itís just entertainment and I think you have to have a real harsh personality to not find the joy in a Licks show. I donít know what kind of set we will do. I donít think itís going to be a real punk rock crowd down there.

SFS: You might have to be a little tourist friendly.

JL: Yeah, but no matter where we go, rock íní roll lives in the heart of people of all ages. At a Licks show, there will be Hells Angels-looking dudes, 15-yearold girls, gay kids, straight kids, conservative folks and hardcore dudes.

SFS: Do you get many people that just come to see the spectacle of a movie star at their local club?

JL: If people know me from the films Iíve done during the past 10 years and they want to come out for that reason, I donít care. I donít care what brings them in the door as long as they are there.

In Europe, people know me as a musician first and as an actress second. When we started out doing the Warped tour in the United States, that demographic was 12 to 18-years olds and Iím not really that famous to that world. I was known more as a female-fronted rock act in a sea of 50 male-fronted bands. It varies, but the music has to carry and be good to have a future. Iíve been doing this for five years now and full-time for the last three years.

SFS: Is the band still your main artistic priority?

JL: It is. There is a lot of pressure, but also a lot of fun. I havenít done a movie in a couple of years. I love movies and I hope to do another one in the future, but it is not something Iím pursuing right at this second.

SFS: When did you start thinking about doing music?

JL: I first started thinking about it when I was about 8-years old. I always wanted to do music and drama. I wanted something that facilitates drama, performance art and music, and for me the live show does that. After the next record, I want to write more of a cinematic-infused rock íní roll cabaret. I want to blend all of the things that I love and put them in music.

SFS: If you were to do a biopic, who would want to portray?

JL: The two people that interest me most are Janis Joplin -- they canít seem to get that movie made -- and Patti Smith. I met Patti Smith and she said she has no interest in having her life story told while she is still alive. Iím so interested in her when she was in her early 20s and she was riding the trains, playing clubs and doing spoken word and freaking everybody out.

Juliette Lewis performs May 17th at Oyster Fest. The festival continues on May 18th. Visit www.oreillysoysterfestival.com for the complete lineup and ticket prices.