Loves the Look of Old Cars, but Leans Toward Practicality
Quick Stats: Lisa Loeb, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter
Daily Driver: 2007 Lexus GS 350 (Lisa’s rating: 9 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Favorite road trip: Texas, New Mexico, and the Grand Canyon
Car she learned to drive in: 1979 Buick LeSabre
First car bought: 2007 Lexus GS 350
Singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb sometimes goes through phases of wanting a classic car and searching for one online. But then practicality always wins out. At least for now. “It’s funny, I always imagined that I’d have a 1950s car, something pink or a T-bird.” Loeb’s love of pink and Hello Kitty are well-known among fans.
“For a minute I was looking at Mr. Peavey, who has Peavey guitars, he had a robin’s-egg blue T-bird which I wanted to buy,” she says. “But I keep getting too practical. I love the look of the old cars. Sometimes my husband and I go over to the Big Boy restaurant. They have a bunch of cars from the ’50s and ’60s. Everybody gets together and you can go check out their cars. But when it’s a gazillion degrees outside those air conditioners don’t work great and you have the smell of the oil and the gas, or when it’s freezing outside and the air won’t kick on.”
When Loeb was a little kid, she wanted a pink and purple VW Beetle. “I’ve test-driven the newer Beetles. They’re so cute, but I don’t think they drive great. Just like the Minis. I think they’re so cute. They’re one of the cuter modern cars, but I didn’t love the way it drove. If I could have an extra car. Well, now we’re looking at minivans, so an extra, extra car,” she says with a laugh. “I should have a retro car, a vintage car. I need to get one.”
For now, Loeb loves her “mom car.” It’s a 2007 Lexus GS 350, which she rates a 9 out of 10, subtracting a point because she says it’s not the “coolest-looking” ride. And she knows the Lexus brand well.
“I went for a practical car over a really cool, awesome-looking car,” she says.
When her breakthrough 1994 No. 1 hit “Stay (I Missed You)” was released and featured in the movie “Reality Bites,” she was living in New York City and didn’t need a car. When she moved to Los Angeles, she needed a car and test-drove a slew of cars that included BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, and Porsches. She leased two Lexus models for a total of seven years until she bought the GS 350, which provides a comfortable ride if she has to be in the car for a few hours.
“I ended up getting a Lexus because for the amount that I drive, it’s quiet and so easy to drive,” she says. “It wasn’t as small and sporty as other cars, but it’s very nondescript, which I wanted at the time — to drive in privacy. It doesn’t stand out, especially different periods of time when you’re more recognizable, it’s nice to know that nobody’s following you because you’re not driving Angelyne’s pink Corvette that I really want. There are so many great cars I would love to have.”
Angelyne, who also loves the color pink, is known in Los Angeles for buying billboards to promote herself, or as Loeb says, “she’s a professional celebrity who drives a Barbie Corvette.”
When it came time to buy her current car, she ended up buying the same model. But before buying the Lexus she did look at other cars.
“I kept looking at cute cars and cars that were vintage, but the reality was I didn’t want to be stuck on the 405 in traffic in a vintage car that I didn’t know how to fix. Also along the way, I ended up getting married and having two children, so I’m stuck with a car that’s safe, easy to drive.”
She chose the sedan instead of an SUV because it’s a good car for her height. “It’s easier to get in and out of a sedan for me. I go through phases of wearing shorter skirts, so that’s a little bit more practical in a sedan than in an SUV. Shorter skirts don’t go great with SUVs. And I was trying to be slightly gas-conscious.”
She wanted to try a Prius, but the sales staff wasn’t helpful so she didn’t get to test-drive anything.
“I was close to getting a Lexus convertible and then I realized even though I like the idea of a convertible, I actually don’t love driving a convertible that much. It’s just not practical,” she says. “It’s loud; the sun is shining down on your head all day. I think it’s more fun to drive in someone else’s convertible or if you have the space, it’s good to have a second or third car.”
Loeb had two reality shows during the earlier years of that genre, “Dweezil & Lisa” and “Number 1 Single” and even back then had a white Lexus. “I’m just all about a Lexus,” she admits. “I used to joke and say it was a ‘mom car.’ It was like my car pool car. Now literally, it’s a mom car.”
But since Loeb and her husband, Roey Hershkovitz, the musical production supervisor on “Conan,” are looking to get a larger car like a minivan, she may be driving a true “mom car” sometime soon.
Car she learned to drive in
Loeb grew up in the Dallas suburbs, where she learned to drive in their housekeeper’s compact late 1970s Chevrolet Chevette and her grandfather’s 1979 Buick LeSabre.
“My mom drove a huge Buick station wagon, so that wasn’t the best car to learn how to drive on,” she says.
The LeSabre was a hand-me-down car from her grandfather to her older brother and then to Loeb. It was her high school car, which she says “is literally like driving an early ’80s living room around Dallas.” “My younger brother eventually got that same car. He called it the Loaf. It was beige, with Cocker Spaniel-colored upholstery, like honey brown. The Buick LeSabre was like driving a boat. It was enormous.”
She recalls the LeSabre felt very plush and the seats were “mushy.” “In high school I was living more vicariously through my friends who had cool cars,” she says. “One of my friends had a 1950s Checker cab that we’d drive around in and that was really cool, with the seats that flipped down in the back. Another friend had a red Corvair that we would drive around in. It was unsafe at any speed.”
When Loeb went to college, she brought her younger sister’s Honda Civic. “Especially compared to driving a boat around town, that was a sporty little car that even though it was a few years old, it drove really well,” she says.
After being handed down several times, the LeSabre eventually met its end.
“My younger brother got the LeSabre, which ended up at some point on the side of the road, lost forever,” she says with a laugh. “Something crazy like that. It has a whole lore, folklore that goes along with it. There might have been a repo man involved — I’m not sure.”
After Loeb moved to New York City, she didn’t have a car for years. She points out that growing up in the 1970s it was all about station wagons, or her dad’s Porsches, which is where she got her appreciation for Porsche. And that’s why she also contemplated buying a Porsche when she moved to Los Angeles.
“I always thought of myself more as a Porsche person, but the more I drove them, I was more comfortable in the Lexus driving around for hours,” she says. “I was so thorough. I would try all these similar models, usually a GS 300 or whatever version of the car that was almost the same. I would have gotten the IS series if I had gotten this car one year later. But the 2007 version of it didn’t drive as well as the current version of it.”
But Loeb is still thinking about that extra car. “I have aspirations to awesome cars and I keep going back to what’s practical, which wasn’t the plan,” she says. “I need a powder pink T-Bird. I love pink. I want a pink car so bad. It would look really good with our house, too.”
Favorite road trip
While Loeb loves driving from Dallas to Los Angeles, another favorite road trip is cruising through Texas, New Mexico, and to the Grand Canyon.
“I love the flat land in Texas especially, but then see the landscape change as you get closer and closer to Arizona and then drive up the road to the Grand Canyon,” she says.
Loeb also has a penchant for driving fast. “One time I got in trouble driving 100 mph, but I wasn’t driving my own car. I was driving my friend’s big, heavy Mercedes and the policeman pulled me over and told me he could arrest me. But he just gave me a warning for driving 100 mph,” she says.
She was near the Grand Canyon, headed towards Phoenix, and the speed limit was 55. But she was able to get out of the ticket with her reasoning. “I explained to him that the sky was really big and that the car was really fast and there was no one out on the road and I couldn’t help myself,” she says, adding, “I was energized by the trip to the Grand Canyon.”
Although she’s gotten a handful of warnings for speeding, Loeb recently got her first moving violation because she was late for a doctor’s appointment. “I saw a car in front of me speed up, so I followed it and he pulled the person in front of me over and I was like, ‘Oh good, he didn’t get me, he got the guy in front of me.’ And then a second policeman pulled me over.”
It was on a suburban street in Los Angeles where people often drive fast. “You know when you’re frustrated behind a car that’s driving really, really slow? I was just trying to get around a car that was going slow. I just had a new baby and I was trying to get to a doctor’s appointment,” she says. She ended up doing online traffic school.
“No Fairy Tale” and other Lisa Loeb projects
Despite being a recent mom, Loeb has been busy with various projects, which include “No Fairy Tale,” her first adult album since 2004, co-produced by her friend Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory. She’s touring as much as she can in support of the new album.
“It’s a lot more rock than my car,” she says. “I’m a brand-new mom for the second time with a second child who is eight months old, but I have a super rock record out. It’s a punky, poppy rock record. It’s a very electric guitar-driven record.”
She says it’s a good album to play in the car. “You know, it’s funny how some records make more sense when you’re driving and listening to them? This one actually makes more sense all the time of course, but it’s especially fun to listen to when you’re driving because it’s very upbeat and driven rhythms and lots of electric guitars.”
In recent years she’s also been making children’s CDs and books. Her new book, which comes with a CD, is called “Lisa Loeb’s Songs for Movin’ & Shakin’: The Air Band Song and Other Toe-Tapping Tunes” and it will be released on April 2. It’s the second in a series. The first one was “Lisa Loeb’s Silly Sing-Along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs.”
When her platinum-selling “Stay (I Missed You)” became ubiquitous on the radio, Loeb immediately became known for wearing cat-eye glasses. So naturally she now has an eyewear line, so people can buy the glasses she’s sporting or ones that have her style.
“I work with designers and we create glasses that fit different face shapes and different skin tones and different sized faces, different ages,” Loeb says. “They’re all inspired by kind of the sexy librarian look.”
Loeb also has Camp Lisa Foundation. A portion of her album sales goes to help kids who normally can’t afford to go to summer camp. For more information about this, her eyewear and tour dates, please visit LisaLoeb.com.