By Billy Manes
Slapping the carelessly sewn layers of blond extensions from my eyes, I realize that my entire life has somehow secretly become dictated by both sympathy and derision for the Britney/ Paris social complex. Somebody hiccups? I think of Britney. Somebody snorts? I defer to Paris. I'm a cheap party mime stuck in a VH1 sound-byte blurb, thinking quality and acting collagen. Dear Mom: I've made it ... and I need some money.
Anyway, I've recharged my cell phone long enough to catch a call from pop's mouthy bad girl Willa Ford, the artist formerly known as Nick Carter's Girlfriend, and I love her. No, I do. Not just because she's known for having pummeled the former (still?) Backstreet Boy into a gelatinous pool of warbly nonesuch, but also because she was the original Anti-Britney or Britney antidote or even Britney anecdote, for that matter. She's the "I Wanna Be Bad" girl, or wannabe bad girl. She's the kind of girl who gets drunk after quoting Norman Vincent Peale, which makes her the perfect kind of girl for me. Plus, her new song, "A Toast to the Men (Fuck the Men)" -- besides being a mildly trashy rewrite of the recent, angstier Aguilera "this is for my girls" madness -- includes the caveat "Fuck the Men." And I do. So I love her. And I'll tell her.
"So I love your new song," I tell her. "Y'know, 'Fuck the Men.'"
"Mmmmm-hmmm," she black-ladys.
Off to a good start, then. Apparently, the track precedes a full length of potentially hazardous experimental numbers (she's been listening to Björk), but for now she's just bad. In a good way.
"The whole thing is really, really fresh. It's a new sound for me. Even more new than 'A Toast to the Men,' which was supposed to just be this club thing, and it ended up going on radio," she says, slapping the carelessly sewn ... oh, whatever. "We have another song that we had meant for radio, but this one took off. I don't think it's going to No. 1, but we kind of just had to play to the public on it."
"The whole record's really fresh, it's really dear to me. I mean, I've been really crazy about it, really rude about it. I mean, I won't let people play it. I won't settle for anything less than exactly what I want. That's why it's taking so long."
And that's why I don't have it. For our interview, even.
"I mean, if someone just gives birth to a baby, then you don't tell them how to raise that baby! You know what I mean? That's how I feel sometimes about the power and pressure trying to get going with your record."
Power and pressure eminent, Willa mouthed off to Blender magazine recently about -- here it comes again -- PARIS HILTON!
"I just kind of like read it, and then I laughed. I had put it out of my mind, then I'm like, omigod, you called Paris Hilton a cunt. Britney Spears probably could have used a different word. I could have used a different word."
Britney, Britney, Britney!
"I'm not gonna lie about that. What I mean by it was that she was mean to me before I was anybody. Then when I was somebody, she was kind of nice to me. And I don't like people like that! I'm sorry."
"All I am is kind of the honest person, someone you don't want to show that side to. Because if you've got it, it's gonna really, really, really piss me off. It's gonna make me mad."
And just when I've wrapped the noose around my neck really, really, really tightly, Willa pops back all genius and without a flaw. "That's what Willa Ford stands for: higher education," she laughs the laugh of those who laugh too much. Then it's back to Britney.
"The difference is, I feel like if you're gonna do something, don't apologize for it. I mean, so what? You got really drunk one night. But that whole marriage thing, forget about it. I would be like, 'You know what, I'm 22, I got drunk.'"
"I don't bash her, though," she quietly disappoints. "I think she's just a little girl, and what she's going through right now -- you know, the world's picking over with a fine-toothed comb. It starts to get ugly, you know? I stay out of it. The only thing I do is, when someone is ugly to me, I tell them about it. I can't help it. But she's not the sharpest tool in the shed."
Bingo! In a twist of cruel irony, former gelatinous Backstreet blob Nick has been seen on the scene of late with one, gulp, Paris Hilton -- a bone of contention, to say the least. And a little bone at that, if I can read her correctly.
"It's hysterical, because I made the comment about Paris Hilton way before. I'm like, 'That little fucker, he saw my interview and was like 'huh, huh,'" she Beavises then Butt-heads.
"I used to know him, but he's not the same guy anymore. I'll say that much. That being said, the old Nick would laugh at this. But Nick's just about what he's about now. He'll eat it up for a little while. And that's cool."
No it's not.
"You can't even tell me that you can be with someone for three years and then go out with someone like that. Y'know, people are gonna think I'm as bad as her! I'm blond, I'm not bad."
Amen, sister! And speaking of sisters, Willa's even included the requisite gay anthem (cue Aguilera, again) called "What I Am," even though she, er, isn't.
"I have friends who are. You know how it is when you're a girl."
I do. Fag hag.
"Total fag hag," she throws back. "I'm really over surface, and I'm really over trying to be something you're not. This record, when you listen to it, will probably remind you of, like, when you were a kid, and, like, growing up."
That would be "Mad World" by Tears for Fears: I find it kind of funny/ I find it kind of sad/ The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had. Sniffle. Oh, wait. This is your interview.
"It's not about Nick, is it?" I scoop.
"That's another story for another day," she worries me. "I'm labeled a bad girl. But if you hang out with me, I do everything for you. That's the girl I am."
And the girl I love.