How we met: Peter Farrelly & Lissie - Profiles - People - The Independent

How we met: Peter Farrelly & Lissie

'He can get away with saying something that would make most people blush'

Lissie, 30

Born in Rock Island, Illinois, Elisabeth Corrin Maurus was 'discovered' through her MySpace page by Lenny Kravitz in 2008 and signed to Columbia Records the following year. Her debut album, 'Catching a Tiger', earnt her many accolades, including 'Best New Solo Artist in 2010'. She lives in California, with her dog, Byron

I'd moved to Los Angeles because I thought that's what you had to do to get a record deal if you came from the Midwest. But I never really liked the chaos of being in the big city. I like nature, fresh air, staring at the stars and solitude. So about four years ago I moved out of LA to a town called Ojai, in California. It's very small, about 7,000 people, but it's got an interesting mix of characters.

I'd heard Ojai was a nice place, but I moved there sight unseen after finding a house to rent. It was perfect; more than I could have wanted. I'd just gone through a break-up so I really needed to have some healing time.

But I still had to go to LA for meetings and at one of them I was introduced to Guy Webster. He's a photographic legend. He took pictures of the Doors, the Stones, the Mamas and the Papas… And we got talking and he said, "I live in Ojai." I was like, "That's random. So do I."

A few weeks later I'm out having lunch and I see Guy walk by, and I invite him to my next gig, in this bar up in the mountains called the Deer Lodge. He became a fan and then, at my next Deer Lodge gig, he brings Peter Farrelly and his wife, Melinda.

After the gig we were hanging out, drinking tequila and laughing a lot, cos Peter's very funny. He can be outrageous, but always in an endearing way, which means he can get away with saying something that would make most people blush. So we're talking and it turns out that he's been to Rock Island, where I'm from. He thought it was crazy I came from there as he thinks it's a bizarre place. There aren't tons of people to be friends with in Ojai, but I really liked Peter and Melinda a lot.

The very next night they invited me to dinner and as the months went by, they'd come to all my little shows and we'd just sit around and laugh. And then, suddenly, you realise that you're hanging out with the guy behind Dumb & Dumber and There's Something About Mary. Who hasn't seen those movies? They're part of our culture.

But Peter is just so easy to talk to and so warm and if you didn't know he was in the movie business you'd never guess it from meeting him. On a more serious note, I drink quite a bit but Peter gave me this nugget of advice: "If you can't not drink for a month, you shouldn't drink at all." So I quit drinking for a month last September and then did it again in April. So that was really cool advice and, at the end of the day, Peter is just a normal person and great friend who happens to excel at something that we as a society lift up.

Peter Farrelly, 56

Together with his brother Bobby, Farrelly created the genre of the 'gross-out romantic comedy' in films such as 'There's Something About Mary' and 'Shallow Hal'. He lives with his wife and daughter in Ojai, and is currently filming the sequel to 'Dumb & Dumber'

When I make a movie, I'm constantly listening to music and I knew of Lissie before I'd met her. I have a couple of people who are always sending me new stuff and I think it was a co-producer who gave me Lissie's song "Everywhere I Go", which I used in [my 2011 film] Hall Pass. Everyone who heard it thought it was awesome and so I Googled Lissie and found out that she was living in my town.

I saw her briefly from afar one day and decided to leave her alone. And then I saw her play at the Deer Lodge. It was such a fun show, especially at such an intimate place, and we ended up talking. It turned out that she was from Rock Island, which is one of the weirdest places in the world. I like to drive cross-country a lot. I've done it alone maybe 16 times and I do it whenever I need to get my head together. On one of those journeys, a friend said, "You got to stop in the Quad Cities [five cities, including Rock Island, on the Iowa-Illinois border]; I had one of the strangest nights of my life there. It seems to be frozen in time. It's a tractor town and there's something freakishly bizarre about it. It's the kind of place you want to get the hell out of.

She has a few quirks, which is not surprising when you know where she comes from. She likes to live and she likes to have a good time and there is no night that is off limits to her. So when she told me that she sits on her porch and drinks a bottle of wine every night, I said, "Maybe you should just check that the brakes are working a little every once in a while." I've known enough musicians and actors to sniff out when it might be a problem so I suppose it was a fatherly thing for me to do.

Ojai is pretty low-key, an old hippie town, but Lissie is more hippie than I am. Her music is a throwback to the 1960s and 1970s and she would have fit right in with Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne at [Hollywood nightclub] the Troubadour back then. There's a lot of music these days that I don't get, but I get her. She sounds like she's coming off the Delta but she's from this funky little town in Illinois closer to the Blues Brothers than the blues.

She's the real deal. She's authentic and there's no telling her what to do. I have many friends who are musicians and, if I had an idea to make, say, Jonathan Richman [who Farrelly gave a key role in There's Something About Mary] the biggest thing in the world, he wouldn't want that and I don't think Lissie wants that either. She wants to stay true to herself, make good music and be able to play it for a living. She may become a superstar – but I don't think that's her dream.

Lissie's 'Back to Forever' is out tomorrow. 'Dumb and Dumber To' is released next year

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