Grammy winner Melissa Etheridge returns on Oct. 7 to the “salt air and yellow street lights” of Long Beach that inspired her when she first began working as a professional rock singer, guitarist and songwriter.
She’s returning to her old stomping grounds and performing at the Terrace Theater to promote her latest album, “4th Street Feeling,” which was released on Sept. 4. The album, she said, draws from her childhood experiences in Leavenworth, Kan., and also reminds her of the years living in Long Beach near Fourth Street on Newport Avenue.
“I lived in Long Beach from 1982 to about 1985 — for about two or three years,” Etheridge said. “I love Long Beach. It is a sweet place where I grew up from 21 to 25 and I would play there even until my album came out in 1988. I have a sweet spot for how they supported me in Long Beach.”
Etheridge, a lesbian and gay rights activist, was on a date at Long Beach’s Executive Suite when she saw a piano in the corner and decided to audition for a job. She got that job and later became a regular performer at Que Sera — playing every Wednesday and Friday for several years.
“I played at Que Sera year after year, and finally Chris Blackwell (founder of Island Records) came to see me play, and the rest is history,” Etheridge said.
She never expected that she would someday play at the Terrace Theater.
“When I lived there, I never went to the Terrace because I couldn’t afford to go there, but I knew it was there and it was always the place for the big acts,” she said.
Several of Etheridge’s songs are inspired by the time she spent living in Long Beach. “Breakdown” and “Cherry Avenue” are prime examples of how Etheridge has paid homage to the town.
Whenever she has played at the Terrace, Etheridge said she always makes sure to play a special selection of songs that remind her of her time in the city.
“I’m so grateful for the time I spent there, and I love coming back and playing,” she said. “I’m looking forward to rocking the new album down there, and I’ll be doing some reminiscing and apologizing for my transgressions.”
Etheridge, who has won two Grammys as well as an Oscar for an original song, is known for the hits “Come to My Window” and “I’m the Only One.” She also hosts “The Melissa Etheridge Radio Show” and one of her gold records will be incorporated into the Long Beach Historical Society’s upcoming “Coming Out in Long Beach” yearlong exhibit.
She will be performing at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7, at the Terrace Theater. Tickets are $29 to $150 and are available at TicketMaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000.