Q&A: Cyndi Lauper Works It All Out

Cyndi Lauper's got a new CD, "Bring Ya to the Brink," and she's going on her "True Colors" tour. She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh.

When you get ready to tour, do you pack a lot of stuff?
Is the pope Catholic? What, are you kidding me?! Since day one. I remember I was doing a TV show in Germany with John Oates and Daryl Hall. John was helping me carry stuff. He said, "What the hell are you carrying?" I was, like, "Well, that's a stainless-steel pot and a hot plate, because I have to boil water and steam my throat." What if I get the sudden urge to play trombone? OK, not onstage. But still. A ukulele is very soothing.

You don't really take a ukulele.
Oh, I love that thing. I found a ukulele in Australia that has a metal top. It's really loud and kind of fabulous.

You've had a lot of odd jobs.
I tried to work in an office. Apparently, my clothes weren't right. I was a Gal Friday the 13th. I would answer phones and people would call up very upset. Then they'd call back screaming and yelling because I had to go to the file room and I would get sidetracked. I used to fall asleep reading the mail. I didn't want to. But it was so boring to me and I hated it.

How old were you?
I was 17, but I lied and said I was 19. I also worked at IHOP for a quick minute. But they said my mistakes cost more than my salary. The chicken potpie and the fried chicken, I kept getting them mixed up. You'd be surprised—chicken is chicken, but not for some people.

I read you sang at a Japanese eatery dressed like a geisha?
I wasn't dressed like a geisha. I was dressed like me.

I saw "True Colors" last summer. It's great, but it's so long.
You think it's long?

I had to go to the bathroom.
Well, there's something for everybody. Did you see the cover of my album?

Not yet.
It's so pretty. It's a picture of shoes and she's standing in flowers. A person's feet.

Are they your feet?
Yeah. They're my feet. Listen, I'm cheap. I'm a good model. I don't have to pay myself.