“After 35 years, we’re pretty much sharing one brain,” says Pat Benatar with a laugh of herself and husband-guitarist-co-songwriter Neil Giraldo, to whom she has given equal billing for over a decade. (She calls him by his nickname, “Spyder”; he calls her Patricia.)
The four-time Grammy winner and her copilot are on the road for their annual summer tour, which comes to the House of Blues on Wednesday.
The couple hasn’t released a new album in 10 years but they have been busy on a number of projects. Benatar released a memoir, “Between a Heart and a Rock Place,” in 2010 and is now working on a book on the second coming of Christ. Giraldo is at work on a multi-artist Christmas album of original material, his own memoir, and reissues of their back catalog — “I documented our life in audio,” he says. Jointly, they’re working on a cookbook and have been raising two daughters.
Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo
“I’m 60 and I’m kind of cruising. We have so many songs written, I just have to get in the [studio], which I’m not really interested in doing right now or in the last 10 years,” Benatar says with a laugh on the phone from Philadelphia. “Every once in a while you’ve got to take time out and do life.”
Q. Were you gratified that the recent Dave Grohl documentary, “Sound City,” shone a light on Neil and his contributions to your career as well as Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” and other songs?
A. Oh sure. This has been a conscious effort on my part over the last 15 years to turn this around so that everyone would understand that this is not about me. This was always about us right from the [start]. I always look at it as the name that we use, my professional name, as Jethro Tull. It’s not a real person, you know what I mean? (Laughs) It’s the name of a character. It was never one person, it was the two of us combined and I’ve been turning that perception around.
Q. So far you all have resisted doing the full album tour concept that has become so popular. Does it just not interest you?
A. It doesn’t really, especially Spyder. Spyder has ADD so bad so the idea of him doing one album in succession, song after song after song? I think he would commit suicide. But it’s our 35th anniversary in 2014 so that’s of course been asked of us to do the first record, and then do whatever else we want in the second hour. I can’t even imagine doing that. We have the “holy 14” we call it. Those are the 14 songs that pretty much have to get put into the set in some way or everyone [complains]. So we’re always trying to integrate songs that are also perhaps ones that we like or are a little more obscure or maybe a little artistic venture out of the norm. We don’t have to do anything but we do it because [audiences] really like it, but doing an entire album like that doesn’t appeal to me at all. We’ll maybe include more songs from it next year. It’s like looking at your preschool pictures, you know what I mean? I look at it and I love it because the memory is so great, but it’s so far removed from what you are today. Some of it stands up, like “Heartbreaker.” I can play “Heartbreaker” till I’m dead. You want to do things that are honest. I can’t fabricate stuff for the sake of pleasing the audience. I can’t. I try to accommodate as much as I can, but you’ve got to do it for you too.
Q. I’ve read you’ve been working on a book about the second coming of Christ. True?
A. Yeah, it’ s a novel. That’s the other thing I’ve been doing, instead of making records. (Laughs.) Writing is really a huge thing for me so I’ve been working on that for a few years. Not because it’s taking so long to write, but because I can’t get time to write it, so it will be out soon.
Q. What sparked your interest?
A. I’ve always been really interested. I’m not overtly religious but I’m really very interested in religion and I was raised Catholic, and between that and Buddhism I’m in there somewhere. (Laughs.) I’m always fascinated by the influence that it has over people’s lives and I think Christ was an amazing human being. I don’t know where I stand on that whole thing, but the point is I think this was an amazing phenomenon that happened on earth, and the idea that it wouldn’t happen again is crazy — of course it would — so I’m just going there.
Q. What did you think of Mary J. Blige’s version of “Shadows of the Night” in “Rock of Ages”?
A. I think it’s always fun when people do different versions of other people’s songs. The whole thing was a crazy endeavor, so I liked it, it was fine.
Q. Has anyone approached you about doing a jukebox musical?
A. Well, we are. We’ve been working on it for a while. It just takes time. We’re actually going to maybe try it out in Las Vegas first.
Q. Is it your story or another story set to your music?
A. They want it obviously to be our story exactly, but we want it to be a fictitious story based on our story so that we can have more latitude in the scripting.
Q. Does it have a title?
A. I’m not allowed ever to tell anybody anything until it gets a little further along! So it does have a working title.
Q. Just tell me it’s not “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”
A. Of course not, oh good Christ. I swear to God I tell my kids, “Listen when it’s time, I’m going to be cremated so A: don’t bury me, and B: I don’t want a headstone that says ‘She gave it her best shot’ or I’ll come back and haunt you.” (Laughs.)
Q. You’ve been married over 30 years, what are some of the keys to your success?
A. He has to put up with show tunes in the car and he has to be cute. And he’s really cute so it’s good. He gets away with murder. (Laughs.)