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Q&A with Melissa Crispo

Last year for Women’s Week, Melissa Crispo came to Provincetown for the very first time after years of friends and other musicians telling her Ptown was where she needed to be. A native of Upstate New York, Crispo has lived in Florida for some time now, fine-tuning her musical and songwriting abilities and touring in the U.S. as well as on Melissa Etheridge Cruises for three years now. She’s excited to be back in Provincetown this Memorial Day weekend (and again in July) performing at Pilgrim House.

Provincetown Magazine: How did you come to be a musician?

Melissa Crispo: I think I was about 5 or 6 years old and I knew from that moment on that’s what I wanted to do. It was a dream I had and it never went away, and I’m 41 now and I still have it.

PM: Did you have people in your family who were musicians; were you around musicians a lot?

MC: I didn’t have anybody in my immediate family. I do remember going over to my cousin’s house and my uncle would have a drum set in the garage, and I just remember every time, as many times as I’d been over there, cause he lived next door, I remember just being mesmerized over it, just staring at it and wanting to play it. And still to this day, drums are actually my favorite instrument.

PM: Who are some of the musicians who are your most important influences?

MC: There’s a good amount. The Beatles are probably one of the biggest influences to me on a songwriting and musical level. Other than that: Melissa Etheridge, Sheryl Crow, Matchbox 20, Billy Joel, Elton John, and Queen. And Fleetwood Mac, I love Fleetwood Mac.

PM: You did Melissa Etheridge’s cruise line gigs for a few years now. Has that kind of changed your career at all?

MC: Actually, it pretty much changed everything about my career… It kind of got to the point where I was like—I think I was about 31 years old—and I realized that I was just working so hard and trying so hard, and I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. And I couldn’t keep relationships, because here you’re an adult and you still have these dreams of being a musician. So relationships weren’t working, I was starting to think, “oh, I need retirement,” and so I actually decided to quit playing music, and I went and got my two-year degree and became a firefighter. And then I became a paramedic after that. And I’m still paying back those student loans! So I did that, and then something happened and I got lucky, and got onto that first Melissa Etheridge Cruise, and I think it just opened all the doors that I’d been wanting to open for a while.

PM: So do you consider yourself a risk-taker?

MC: (Laughs) I would definitely consider myself a risk-taker. But you know what it was, it was like at that point after that first cruise, the fan base started growing and I was realizing that I had a choice to make. Because you only have so much vacation time from your job and so much sick time, and I was already blowing through that in just a quick amount of time trying to play gigs in different areas that I was invited to play. So I thought, “You know, I can be safe and continue to do the job that I just worked really hard to get, or I can do what I’ve always wanted to do, which is my dream.” And I just, I had to do it. There was no doubt in my mind that that was the decision I had to make. Number one, I never want to look back and regret anything, and I knew it was my dream since I was a little kid.

PM: In the current political climate, performers in town have to decide is that going to be part of it, are you going to be an escape from that? Do you address political things in your music?

MC: You know, I do not. I found myself just slightly do it, just a bit before on social media, and I’ve been attacked. Comments like “Good luck with your music career. I’m throwing your album away.” (laughs) I’m not kidding you! So I try to just keep about the music and the storytelling and try not to get involved in that too much.

PM: Your writing seems to come from a very personal space. Do you have boundaries about how much personal stuff you put out there? Do you think about that?

MC: I do struggle with it. There was even a song that I wrote that was on this last album that just came out, and I pretty much told my wife and my friend, I said, “I’m not going to put that on the album.” And they said, “What do you mean? You have to put it on the album.” I was like, no, you know, because there’s songs about hurt and there’s songs that have affected me with other people, and the last thing I’d want to do is call somebody out — not that you’re saying their name in your song, but, but you know if you put two and two together it’s probably not hard to figure out certain things. So I was afraid to put that particular song on the album, and you know people were like, “This is you, this is what you do, you know, you can’t be afraid.” And so I put it out there. I haven’t had any repercussions yet.

PM: And what’s the name of that song again?

MC: (Laughs) Oh, boy! It’s called “Trip Wire.” My little anger song that’s on there.

Melissa Crispo will be performing at Pilgrim House, 336 Commercial St., Provincetown, on Friday, May 24, 9 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, May 25 – 26, at 7:30 p.m. For tickets ($25) and information call 508.487.6424 or visit To hear some of Crispo’s music, visit

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Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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