Last night, we said farewell to our favorite (and not-so-favorite) scheming, scandalous Upper East Siders and the kids from Dumbo who love and cyberstalk them. The Gossip Girl series finale was a pretty satisfying send-off as send-offs go, providing moments of closure, plenty of fan service, two weddings and a funeral. The funeral would have been hard to plan but they’re just going to do what they did the last time Bart died, so don’t worry about it.
Lisa Loeb, who appeared in a 2008 episode, returned for her second cameo on the show. The first time around she hosted a “Forgotten Bands of the ’90s” concert, which, of course, featured fictional former rocker Rufus Humphrey — father of Dan and Jenny — and his band, Lincoln Hawk. On Tuesday afternoon Loeb talked about what brought her back to Manhattan, how she feels about ’90s nostalgia and why she and William Baldwin have so much to discuss.
How did your first cameo come about?
I was on the show a few years ago. I think they were looking for a storyline for Rufus to have a relationship with another professional musician from the ’90s. I’m friends with a writer on the show, Jessica Queller, she’s a friend who was dating a friend of mine in the ’90s in New York City.
(Writer’s note: Fun fact – Jessica Queller is the name-inspiration for Headmistress Queller from Constance Billard School for Girls. Remember her? Remember those early high school seasons? Remember headbands? Anyway.)
What was the reaction to that first appearance on the show? You got to sing “Stay (I Miss You),” which some of the younger viewers might have been hearing for the first time.
A lot of people came up to me and said, “If I didn’t know the song was from the ’90s, I would’ve thought it was a new song.”… That’s a song that’s still a major part of my repertoire. I always play the song live. I was glad for new people to connect with it, and for it to reconnect with people who’ve been following me for a long time.
Did you realize the song was special when you recorded it?
[One sign was when] Ethan Hawke requested I give him a recording of that song when he went to Ben Stiller, who was directing “Reality Bites”… As a musician, you never understand why people connect with certain songs. It was a surprise to see it go to No. 1 on the charts.
I won’t question it, I’ll just appreciate it.
Back to the “Gossip Girl” finale: the show doesn’t give too many details about your relationship with Rufus. What do you think is your story?
I think that we got married, and I think that we just – we reconnected in an episode a few years ago, and we kept in touch, and dated and got married.
What was the atmosphere on the set like, given that you were shooting the big goodbye episode?
Since I wasn’t in the cast, I wasn’t privy to all of the emotional feelings
and goings on. I think they were tired! But it’s always amazing to be a part of something that’s so iconic, especially a grand finale. And it was cool for me because I’m a fan of a lot of the actors in the show, including Wallace Shawn [from “The Princess Bride”— in the “Gossip Girl” universe, he plays Blair’s amazing stepdad]. I saw him in plays in New York City when I lived there ... And in the particular scene, I was sitting next to William Baldwin, and we had a lot to catch up on, we hadn’t seen each other in a while. And I love to hear about his wife [Chynna Phillips] because she’s a musician too, and I love to hear about how she balances her work life and her professional life.
How do you feel about being this go-to touchstone for the ’90s?
I totally have a good sense of humor about it. I enjoy it. When I was a kid, I watched “The Brady Bunch.” And they had my crush from the Monkees ... Davy Jones! He [appeared] on “The Brady Bunch.” I love when people in culture show up on fictional TV shows. I don’t mind at all being a name from the ’90s.
Why do you think there’s so much ’90s nostalgia going around?
When I was a kid, for me, the ’60s seemed so far away. But I was actually born in the late ’60s. For some reason I feel like grownups today are younger than they were even 30 years ago…For a lot of us, [the 1990s] just doesn’t feel like that long ago ... I think people are always for nostalgic for a time about 20 years before they were born.
What are you working on now?
I have an album called “No Fairy Tale” coming out at the end of January. It’s “No Fairy Tale” because real life is better than a fairy tale. Real life is more interesting. I worked on it with Chad Gilbert, the guitar player from New Found Glory. He talked to me about a concept to make a “poppy-punky-rock” record. It’s a lot more energetic than my albums from the past.
And you’ve still got your eyewear design business, right?
That’s an ongoing process. We just keep having more and more styles come out throughout the year. We continue the look of that sexy librarian cat eye.
When you first started wearing those glasses, did you realize they would become your signature? Or was it just a practical thing, like, “I really don’t feel like wearing contacts right now?”
It was very practical. And like everyone else who wears glasses, I was always on the hunt for the perfect glasses. And finally I was able to realize my lifelong dream of being able to create glasses that I could wear, that I wanted to wear. And I could help other people find glasses.
Were you wearing your own design on “Gossip Girl”?
Those were some of mine! That pair is named after the album “Cake and Pie.” It’s philosophical. You should be able to have everything you want!
Did you design Matthew Settle’s pair as well? Because the two of you looked very coordinated.
I did not do his glasses. Heavy and prominent glasses have been in style for many years now. There’s been a resurgence of that look… And I will say that the stylists on the show are amazing… I wish you could see, my dress is beautiful! You can only see the top of it.