Scissor Sisters

Silent Uproar: How does it feel to be back home? You’ve been in Europe for most of the summer, right?

Babydaddy: Well, it’s kind of been off and on. We’re going right back. I’d feel a little bit more relieved if we had a month in the US, but I think it came out to two weeks or something.

SU: And you’re in Boston tonight? Gonna compete with Kerry’s acceptance speech tonight, huh?

Babydaddy: Exactly! When is that happening?

SU: I think the main speakers go on generally around 10PM.

Babydaddy: Oh perfect. We’ll be the warm-up act.

SU: Hey! You guys need to do his wardrobe!

Babydaddy: Oh he’d get a lot of votes with that! laughs

SU: Well, he would get a few at least, but we just won’t even go into that.

So how would you like me to address you? Do you want me to call you Babydaddy?

Babydaddy: Well, most people do. It was my nickname before I joined the band. But you can call me whatever you’d like. Ok, but yeah, Babydaddy.

SU: Ok, we’ll go with Babydaddy and the occasional “darling.” How does that work for you?

Babydaddy: Beautiful. BD sometimes works too.

SU: Yeah, I was trying to think of B Diddy or that whole thing.

Babydaddy: B Diddy’s happened too. But any reference to Puffy is not my ideal either. But you know, the guy is a busy man and does good deeds so…

SU: Who came up with that amazing logo?

Babydaddy: Actually, I’m a modest guy, but I do have to take credit for that. I did make it. It was sort of the first couple of days, and we decided to record music, and Jake had the name on the tip of his tongue. He told it to me, and I made the logo the next day. It was sort of done and made sense. And then we performed.

SU: Well, I think it’s perfect.

Babydaddy: Thank you. Well, her shoes are really cheap I’ve been told, and we tried to fix them. We’ve also tried to fix the whole thing – she’s a little lopsided. Well, maybe not lopsided, but she’s a little uneven. Her waist is a little high, but you know, it just is what it is.

SU: I have a friend with a British promotions company who told me that you participated in a charity photo shoot at Glastonbury. Do you try to do a lot of things like that?

Babydaddy: We haven’t really done too much, and it’s something that we really should do. Unfortunately, we’re in a weird position where, you know, you sort of do charity when you have, well when you call the shots – when you’re famous and powerful enough to sort of do that. And we’re not in that position. A lot of what we’ve been doing lately is shows that were booked months in advance and well before our album when #1 in the UK, and we’re fulfilling a lot of those obligations. The album is just starting out in the US, so unfortunately we’ve got to get out there and promote it.

We see this as a build, and we’re gonna not rush into things. The UK has happened really fast, and we’re trying to keep our head on straight about that. So I think that’s one of those things that comes in time.

We feel very strongly about certain things, [like] the pro-marriage equality show in New York, and New York’s a place where we do have a lot of fans and are sort of guaranteed a good showing, and therefore, we have the power to do a charity show like that. But it’s tough in the early days, and we are in our early days. But we will, I’m sure, continue to do it and do more of it as time goes on and more people buy the album and give us a little footing.

Especially in the US where it’s gonna take some time. You have a lot more ground to cover in the US. We can tour the whole UK in a week but you need months to do the US, just to get all the major cities.

SU: So was it a conscious decision to promote over there first? How did that happen?

Babydaddy: Well, what happened was we were playing around New York for sort of the first year, and our manager found one of our shows in Brooklyn, and he had worked a lot on the UK side of things and had a lot of connections over there. The buzz just started building over there.

SU: Now, I first heard of you on the Hotel Pelirocco soundtrack, and that’s where I heard “Comfortably Numb.”

Babydaddy: That was just one of those things, you know. The buzz over there just started to build and build, but we were in America. We didn’t really go over to the UK too much in that first year and a half. And all this time, we were playing our asses off in New York and really trying to get some attention in the US, and the UK was just buzzing.

You sort of go where you think things are working. And then for us, guys are flying over and wanting to sign us from the UK, and not a single US label was calling us. So it just sorta happened that way.

We knew that the US was not ready for what we’re doing. I say that, and I’m not trying to say that we’re better or worse than what’s out there; although, I’m sure people have opinions about that. What we’re doing is just different from what’s on the radio in America.

I can’t even listen to the radio in America. It seems like everything on the radio falls into one of five categories, and we did not fit one of those categories. But apparently, we’re falling into one of those categories that I did not thing we would fall into, and that is the Adult Contemporary category. Our video’s on VH1, and they’re playing us all over HOT AC, which is the Adult Contemporary genre. It’s weird that they’re the ones picking it up first, but that’s kind of the way it happened in England. I mean, nothing works as an underground, cool band forever.

We had always intended this music to be for the housewife as well as their kids. This was music for everybody. This was music that was meant to be accessible. This is pop music in the very classic sense of the term “pop.” So, we’ve never tried to make that fight and say, “Oh, we don’t want to be on VH1. We want to do all the cool stuff first.” We go where people are accepting. And it just so happens to be that the 30-somethings and the 40-somethings are eating it up as well as anyone else, and we love that.

SU: Do you think that’s a result of some of your surprising influences like Hall & Oates and Steely Dan?

Babydaddy: Sure, yeah. Billy Joel for me and Chicago. I mean, it’s all stuff that we grew up listening to on the radio and that our parents were turning us onto, so it does make complete sense. We’re family people. We’re all mama’s boys and girl. We went on road trips. We sat in the car with our parents and listened to the radio. They were the first teachers of music to us. And that’s what it was.

It was different things for all of us. For me it was soft rock and AM Gold stuff and the Annie soundtrack and all these things that touched on these basic needs that we have. And I think that people migrate to good songs.

SU: Right. Good songwriting will bring its own fans.

Babydaddy: Exactly. Which sort of defies genre in a way. And that’s why people want to put us in that soft rock/soft pop category. And you know, that’s alright, and we’re not going to fight it, but I think what we have in common with that much more than a particular sound or a nostalgia is simply the fact that we want to write pop songs.

You know, we use a lot of electronics. I’m a sucker for samplers and drum machines, and it’s all there on the album. It’s funny that people see this as retro because for me this is a complete update of the past 30 years.

SU: Pink Floyd is somewhat sacred to many people. How did you come up with the idea to do a cover of “Comfortably Numb”?

Babydaddy: It was Jake’s idea. He was down on the farm in Virginia, singin’ in the barn, throws up convincing hick accent and that’s how it came out. He’s a huge Floyd fan and was listening to a lot of Floyd at the time. It’s one of the first things that we finished and have not touched since. It’s actually the oldest song that we have that we’ve recorded. I didn’t know much about production at the time, and there are some weird things in there that we didn’t intend. But that’s fine. It is what it is.

SU: It’s sort of an anomaly to me on the album. I mean, I didn’t really know what to expect from a full album. Everything is really good; it’s just that that song kind of stands out as being different.

Babydaddy: Yeah, it definitely is. It’s the only one we didn’t write. It came from the very early days. If you listen to some of the stuff that we made at that time, you may hear more of the similarities. But it was one of those songs that we couldn’t throw out to record this album. It’s so much music. It’s a part of us and a side of us. We originally put that song out as a B-side on our first 12”, kind of to just be there as the flip side to a single that we had written.

We had never wanted it to be the focus of anyone’s attention when it came to us because we know the danger of doing a cover song as a band on the rise. But if you listen to “Electrobic,” you might see more similarities there. “Comfortably Numb” was just one of those songs that got a life of its own, and we just kept it around.

SU: Have you heard Luther Wright and the Wrongs’ country/western version of The Wall?

Babydaddy: I have not heard it! Would you email that name to me? That would be amazing! I would love to hear that!

You know, I think if we had just released that and nothing else, people would think of us as a gimmick, and that’s what we’ve fought with our whole career up till now.

You know Pink Floyd actually gave us their blessing after it was released. They said that they liked it and to tell everyone that.

SU: Oh that’s cool.

I was watching my recorded Nip/Tuck last night, and what do you know! “Filthy/Gorgeous” turned up during a scene where they were applying this woman’s labia to her mouth to form lips. What do you think of that for “product placement”?

Babydaddy: You are kidding me. Does that happen?!!

SU: Apparently, yes.

Babydaddy: Oh, I’ve got to call my manager now and make sure we got paid!

But seriously, anything these days is good for us. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is using “Filthy/Gorgeous” in their ads too, which we thought was perfect because I think the show is kind of amazing and disgusting at the same time.

SU: What would a typical Scissor Sisters groupie be like?

Babydaddy: Oh we’ve seen it! You know what? We have some really, really cool fans. And they tend to be really smart and most of them are not fanatical. I mean, they’re really big fans, and they know everything about us, but they hang back and are people we’d probably be friends with. That’s kind of creepy, isn’t it?

SU: Not really.

Babydaddy: I mean, groupies, sure. They’re people up for a good time; that’s what I think.

SU: So what’s your favorite disco song?

Babydaddy: I love “You Should Be Dancing” by the BeeGees. That’s an amazing track. And I will also say “Baby I’m Burnin” by Dolly Parton. We open every one of our shows by playing that track. It’s part of her disco period and was apparently only released on pink vinyl. It’s amazing.

SU: What artists are you interested in working with or possibly doing remixes for?

Babydaddy: We’ve talked about [Brian] Eno before. I think he would be someone really interesting to pick their brain. There’re a lot of amazing idols. Some of them we’d be scared to work with, others would just be amazing.

SU: What’s been the coolest thing you’ve been able to do since gaining notoriety that you know damn well you would never have been able to do before?

Babydaddy: This is silly, but to just play the shows that we’ve been able to play. I mean, we’ve been playing to tens of thousands of people, and that is a whole new experience to me but an amazing one. Like nothing else I’ve ever done.

SU: Any plans for group nudity at future shows (like T in the Park)?

Babydaddy: To do group nudity? Hell no! Jake is the only one that’s gonna take it off. The rest of us preserve a sense of mystery…or whatever’s left. And also, the rest of us aren’t whores.

SU: Now what’s Jake gonna say if I print that you say he’s a whore?

Babydaddy: I didn’t say it! Ana said it!!

SU: Ok, well, we’ll blame Ana [Matronic].

Babydaddy: She’ll take full responsibility, she says. He probably would be the first one to admit it anyway. Although he’s been pretty tame. You know, life on the road is pretty busy. He’s a whore in the sense that he loves to show off though. Get attention by any means necessary. I mean he started off as a go-go dancer before he was in the band. You could call him an exhibitionist.

SU: What’s your favorite outfit that you or anyone of the others has worn onstage?

Babydaddy: Ana wears some beautiful outfits. She has this one, and it’s my favorite. It was made out of a scarf by this designer that we work with, Mrs. Jones, and it’s a scarf with fringe on it that she basically turned into a dress. Ana spins around in it and looks like Tina Turner. This designer is really amazing, and she sort of helped create the look because some of us, I will not say all of us, but some of us are a bit seedy on the style side of things. But she helps us find ourselves. I can go shopping now on my own.

SU: Well, I’ve only got time for a couple more questions…

And it was a good thing too because it was at that moment that Babydaddy lost signal.

But! True to his word, and a gentleman if I’ve ever met one, he was gracious enough to email his answers to my final questions

SU: Comedian Bill Mahr once said that he wasn’t in favor of heroin, but it certainly hadn’t hurt his record collection. What do you make of that?

Babydaddy: I think we've been fortunate enough to come into pop music at a time when there's already a great history to learn from. So yeah, I don't think we'd stay as busy as we do if we were on junk, but we'd be a different band if Pink Floyd hadn't written a great song about it.

SU: What is one thing that you want the sometimes puritanical/often fickle/generally judgmental American public to know about the Scissor Sisters?

Babydaddy: All the American public needs to know is that we wrote an album that we are proud of, and we bust our asses to put on a great live show. Knowing that, we can hope people will give us a chance without jumping to conclusions based on stereotypes printed in the press or hearing our single and not getting the full picture of who we are.

Well fine, if I DO have to narrow it down to one thing…the American public should know that Ana does a MEAN Carol Channing impression.

Well, I’d say that just about covers everything, wouldn’t you?

Jul 29 2004