Shalom Life | July 25, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: BETTY's Elizabeth Ziff Talks Activism, Israel, and Their Upcoming Album

BETTY's guitarist/vocalist joins SL to discuss touring, off-Broadway, Judaism, and suing Disney over Phineas and Ferb

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: November 29th, 2012 in Culture » Music » Interviews

Alternative pop rock band, BETTY, has celebrated a loyal cult following since 1986. Based in New York City, Alyson Palmer and sisters, Elizabeth and Amy Ziff, combine delightful harmonies and unique instrumentals with a defiant attitude and incredible sense of humor to both entertain and inspire audiences around the world.

BETTY first gained notoriety in Washington D.C with their two-act ‘autobiographical’ act entitled “BETTY: Inside Out” in 1987. After playing to several sold out audiences, the band relocated to New York City, playing at popular nightclubs and lounges, growing a devout fan base.

Since 1994, BETTY has released 8 albums, starting with “Hello, BETTY!”. The band has enjoyed success with their off-Broadway show ‘BETTY RULES’, directed by ‘Rent’s’ Michael Greif, appeared as a regular guest artist on Showtime’s ‘The L Word’, and have been featured in various TV shows including ‘Weeds’, ‘Ms. Adventure’, ‘Remote Control’, and ‘Love Bites’.

BETTY are known as “activist entertainers”, often performing at rallies and always raising awareness for causes close to their hearts including LGBT rights, women’s equality, and AIDS awareness. In fact, an early “BETTY Rules” t-shirt is included in one of the AIDS quilts.

BETTY has been touring for the majority of 2012, and is currently writing music for their upcoming album, but guitarist/vocalist, Elizabeth Ziff, found a few moments to speak with us about the band’s current endeavors, musical influences, her experience playing Dorothy at an Israeli kibbutz at 17 years old, and trying to sue Disney.

ASHLEY BAYLEN (AB): You’ve been playing with BETTY for almost 30 years. How have you evolved as a band over this time span?

ELIZABETH ZIFF (EZ): Wow. Yeah. 27years. Seems like we just started. The one thing that's changed is we fight a lot less! We keep evolving. Writing new music, traveling to new places. It keeps being amazing. I guess that's why we keep doing it. That and what the hell else do I do?

AB:Your off-Broadway show BETTY RULES was a huge success. Do you intend to follow it up with another theatrical production?

EZ: Well, we've thought about it but we've been really busy doing new music -we have a new CD slated to drop in the spring- and we are also touring a lot.

AB: BETTY is known for its activism as much as its music. What organizations or efforts are you currently supporting?

EZ: We are now and always have been huge supporters of the Pro-Choice movement. We are involved with Planned Parenthood. We are involved in gay rights, women's rights, gay marriage, human rights. breast cancer and Aids awareness, anti-bullying.

AB:What is BETTY currently working on?

EZ: This year in addition to touring, we have been arts envoy's for the U.S embassy, which means we play concerts and go to places to speak about acceptance and human rights in addition to just playing concerts. It's been amazing. We were brought to Lithuania and Estonia. Tomorrow we go to Argentina! We are also writing new material for our new CD.

AB:When you’re not playing music, how do you spend your time?

EZ: I like to eat chocolate.

On page 2, Elizabeth Ziff talks living on a Kibbutz and growing up as a Jewish military kid.

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