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  Milla Jovovich
                      Milla Jovovich backstage, Sept. 16th
                photo © 1999 NY Rock
   
Live from New York, It's Milla Jovovich! by Mason Hawk
I may never learn to pronounce Milla Jovovich's name entirely right. My best guess, after being corrected by Milla herself backstage at the Angel Grensanz Foundation, is Joe-vov-vich. Fortunately, the supermodel seemed more charmed than put-off by the mispronunciation (if such a thing is possible). She does, in fact, seem to have a strikingly amiable disposition (among other obvious striking qualities).


The occasion was a private showcase (held September 16, 1999 and hosted by MCY.com in celebration of fashion week and the CMJ Music Marathon) of her band Plastic Has Memory at the aforementioned Lower East Side synagogue – which has become the party spot of choice, as of late, among Manhattan's movers and groovers. Much to my surprise and delight, Milla turned out to be an accomplished musician, with a voice that is nearly as stunning and lovely as her physical appearance (if such a thing is possible).

Sporting a maplewood Fender Telecaster, Jovovich took the stage around 11 p.m., fronting an ensemble of five (including herself). The band's music leans towards the ethereal; the songs draw you in with subdued openings and often wrap up with cathartic, soulfelt crescendos. Following her performance, I caught Milla backstage for a brief chat, the text of which follows.


    NYROCK:

It may surprise a lot of people that you have such musical talent. How long have you been playing?

         MILLA:

I've been playing since I was a little kid. I played piano when I was little, then I started playing guitar when I was a teenager.

    NYROCK:

So why do you bother with all of that modeling stuff?

         MILLA:

Money. It helps me to be able to do this and not have to go through any record companies.

    NYROCK:

It allows you to be independent.

         MILLA:

Exactly. And it's really great. I'm young and if people want me, why not? It's flattering.

    NYROCK:

Have you been playing around a lot?
  
Milla Jovovich performing with her band Plastic Has Memory, Sept. 16th, photo © 1999 NY Rock

         MILLA:

Not in New York. We've done 12 or 15 shows in LA. We played at the Viper Room twice and we opened for Remy Zero at the El Rey. We just started this and got these really cool gigs. People seem to really enjoy it. It's fun. I'm having a great time.

    NYROCK:

Do you have plans for the studio, to record?

         MILLA:

Yeah, of course, I would love to record at some point. That would be ideal. But right now I think we're sort of experimenting. Just keep it chill for the moment and maybe next year we'll record a record – once we've really written a lot of new songs and gone out and played them.

    NYROCK:

Who does the songwriting?

         MILLA:

I wrote the songs that you heard tonight. Right now, me and my band are writing a lot of new stuff together.

    NYROCK:

So, going forward, you're going to be doing more collaboration...

         MILLA:

Oh yeah, definitely. My boys are just so incredibly gorgeous and talented. And they all play everything. So we just get together and jam.

    NYROCK:

How long has the current line-up been together?

         MILLA:

Four months.

    NYROCK:

And is the official name of the band "Plastic Has Memory" or "Milla Jovovich and Plastic..."

         MILLA:

Joe-vov-vich [correcting the pronunciation].

    NYROCK:

Ooops.

         MILLA:

No, it's OK. Don't worry about it. It always happens. Never have anybody say it right, except my friend of ten years – and my father.

Plastic Has Memory, for the moment. If we like it by the time we record the record, we like it. If we don't, it will be something else.


Editor’s Note: Milla has recorded two albums as a solo artist: The Divine Comedy (1994) and The Peopletree Sessions (1998). An accomplished actress, she has appeared in films such as The Fifth Element (with Bruce Willis) and Two Moon Junction (her debut). The latest film to feature Milla, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc opens November 12th and also stars Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich and Faye Dunaway. Milla recently worked on the movie Million Dollar Hotel with Jimmy Smits and Mel Gibson.

September 1999

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