It's been four years and one big meltdown SINCE Fiona Apple released her brilliant When the Pawn..., which was nearly eclipsed by negative PR after she threw an epic tantrum on stage at New York City's Roseland Ballroom. Now, the angsty Apple is prepping her third CD, Extraordinary Machine. It's her first work since her breakup with director P.T. Anderson (Boogie Nights), her longtime beau, so Apple has plenty of heartache to work with. ''I tend to write about being hurt, but there's always anger in it,'' she says. ''I can't let myself just be absolutely sad.''
EW What's up with the title?
Apple The extraordinary machine is me -- this era of my life. I feel like you can put anything in the machine and it'll be processed into something good, even if it's painful. [The machine] is happy. I feel pretty good.
EW And what does this machine's new music sound like?
Apple People have compared it to Tom Waits and OutKast. It's probably more OutKast than Waits. It's an amalgam of different elements.
EW Are you worried about touring after what happened last time?
Apple Once your worst nightmare comes true, it's horrible. For a while, just the name Roseland would make me cringe. After a while, there's this certain calm about it.... I don't think about it unless someone brings it up.
EW Oh. Sorry.
Apple No, no, it's okay. It seems really far away now, like when you peed your pants in kindergarten.
EW I still wake up thinking about that!
Apple I'm sorry... I have to go now. (early summer)