With her extravagant outfits, outrageous performances, and outspoken attitude, it is easy to forget that there is a real lady behind Lady Gaga. Often, interviews focus more on her extensive sources of inspiration than on her years before the meat dress. Last night, MTV aired their hour-long documentary, Lady Gaga: Inside the Outside, giving her tribe of Little Monsters a more personal look into the Haus of Gaga. After the jump, we’ve listed everything we learned from the interview, from her connection to Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” to how she got discovered to what she named her bicycle.
1. Gaga still dreams about getting cast as Adelaide in her high school’s production of Guys and Dolls
2. She was — surprise, surprise — rebellious as a young girl.
3. She used to take piano lessons from a stripper. She didn’t know her teacher’s other trade at the time but would ask her why she had “such long nails.”
4. Gaga used to play the piano so theatrically that one of her teachers adopted desperate measures to get her to play evenly. Eventually, Gaga had to wear a string around her wrists with a Pink Panther figurine hanging from it and make sure the toy didn’t drop.
5. The first CD she bought with her own money was Green Day’s Dookie.
6. One Christmas, Gaga received Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered, The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, and a boom box as gifts.
7. She once watched a performance of Prince’s “Sexy MF” with her father.
8. Her father gave her a Bruce Springsteen songbook for the piano. He told her that if she learned how to play “Thunder Road,” he would take out a loan for a baby grand. She did, and “Thunder Road” is now her favorite Springsteen song.
9. After The Fame and The Fame Monster, Gaga suffered a tremendous feeling of loss because she was away from New York for so long on tour.
10. She was “discovered” singing in a boutique when she was 13. One of the employees was Don Lawrence’s nephew. Lawrence, who has taught Mick Jagger and Bono, became Gaga’s vocal coach.
11. She claims that when Lawrence asked her if she ever thought about writing music, the words changed her life.
12. Gaga wrote her first song in 15 minutes. It was called “To Love Again.” She says: “Of course my first song had to be some giant, dramatic power ballad.”
14. She grew up four blocks from New York’s Lincoln Center.
15. She would sneak out of her house as a teenager to hang out in the East Village.
16. “I had to fuck myself up and lick the ground for a couple of years to understand New York City and a whole different side of the pavement,” says Gaga.
17. She used to notate music on Mickey Mouse staff paper.
18. The rent for her first apartment was $1100 a month.
19. Her first jobs were as a go-go dancer and a waitress
20. At her first show, she wore a “big white hippie skirt, a green tube top, and a flower in her hair.” She played for an hour and half. “I played a bunch of songs no one knew and didn’t give a fuck.”
21. When she opened for the Semi-Precious Weapons with Lady Starlight at the Knitting Factory, the venue’s owner called her a hooker.
22. She used to refer to her shows as “pop burlesque.”
23. Gaga and Lady Starlight used to light hairspray on fire while on stage.
24. At 20, she was already performing “Boys, Boys, Boys,” a song later released as a single off of The Fame.
25. When she was dropped from her first record label, Gaga cried on her grandmother’s couch. Her grandma gave her the rest of the day to recover and then told her to “go kick some ass.”
26. When she was younger, boys from her school picked her up and threw her in a trashcan outside a pizzeria. She didn’t tell her parents because she was too embarrassed.
27. On Sundays, Gaga bottles homemade sauces with her family. Afterwards, they eat sausage and peppers and pasta together. “We recently switched to whole wheat pasta for my dad’s heart,” she says.
28. Gaga’s aunt, Joanna, passed away before she was born. Gaga says she always felt connected to her father’s sister because she was a painter and poet. She printed her aunt’s poetry in the liner notes of The Fame.
29. She says she has two hearts: “I think when my mom gave birth she passed along the spirit of my dad’s sister”.
30. Gaga believes in ghosts and bad luck.
31. Both of her parents were the first in their families to go to college.
32. “I am really quite traditional actually, contrary to what some people might think of me. I’m quite traditional in the family sense,” says Gaga.
33. “Marry the Night,” a track on her new album Born This Way, is about her “husband,” New York City.
34. She and her best friend named their bikes Karen and Henry, after characters from Goodfellas.
35. Some parting words on Gaga’s famous Born This Way jacket: ”My leather jacket is like my Dorothy slippers.”