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Interview:
Benatar Keeps Hitting Us With Her Best Shots
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK





Pat Benatar says that when she started releasing albums in 1979, she figured that "we had approximately an eight-year shelf life."

But 27 years later, Benatar -- along with husband and creative partner Neil Giraldo -- are still hitting us with their best shots thanks to a prodigious parade of hits in the '70s and '80s that included "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," "Heartbreaker," "Promises in the Dark," "Hell is For Children," "Love is a Battlefield" and 13 others that ascended the Top 40.

But Benatar, 53 -- a classically educated singer who broke ground for women as self-contained artists in the then-chauvinistic world of rock -- says she and Giraldo also try to remind audiences that they did more than just churn out hits over the years.

"Half of the show is vintage stuff," she explains, "and then the other half is material from newer records or songs that we're working on that haven't been recorded yet.

"I think that's (the audience's) favorite part," Benatar, who was born Patricia Andrzejewski in Brooklyn, says of the latter. "They get to be part of the process of the writing. We put songs out there to see if the choruses fit the way we think they do and see what their reaction is to them. It's before they're recorded, so they get to hear them in their infancy."

Benatar says she and second husband Giraldo, who married in 1982 and now reside in Hawaii, are "probably nine months away" from recording their next album, which will be their first since "Go!" in 2003. But the couple -- who have two daughters, Haley, 21, and Hana, 12 -- have more on their plate these days than just new music.

Giraldo, who scored the 2005 teen drama "Smile," is working on another, as-yet untitled, film project. Benatar, recently named to Entertainment Weekly magazine's Fashion Hall of Fame, is the subject of a new Candie's fashion campaign. And the two are also setting to work on an autobiography about their lives and times in the music biz.

"It's not gonna be some down-and-dirty book," Benatar says, " 'cause there isn't any down 'n dirty stuff. Our personal life is pretty normal and happy, so not a lot of (seedy) stuff is going on there.

"The only thing that we're focusing on is the professional, what happened in the late '70s and early '80s with being a female doing this and what has happened in the world with the women's movement and that kind of stuff. We're kind of going for that angle as opposed to all the personal stuff."

As for the fashion work, Benatar says it's "fun to do" but not anything that will soon take the place of her day job.

"I'm basically a singer; all I really want to do is write songs and play live," she says. "I'm not a model. I'm not an actor. It's not the place I'm comfortable in. If I'm not up there singing, I really feel like a fish out of water.

"Listen, at my age I'm not looking to start new cans of worms, you know? I'm just trying to continue where I am. That's the beauty of getting older; it's not so much about exploring new territory all the time. You really just want to expand what you have."

Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (June 22nd) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $32.50 pavilion, $10 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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