What are your limitations in terms of sharing yourself with people who love your music?
Online, I prefer to overshare. There is a barrier there: the screen. However, I would never let a fan physically come to my house before I had coffee or I put lipstick on. If you catch me right after I come offstage, I am most likely pretending to be the life of the party. Physically, I need my space and alone time in the van — yes, I am another so-called extroverted introvert, sorry!
I also don’t talk about my marriage, even though my husband has been in most of my musical projects and is an amazing and important aspect of my music. Maybe it could make good fodder for my art, but I am old-fashioned in a way. I love being a wife. I perform that role, and my personal brand of femininity, in my own way. You may see me sweat and scream on stage, but you’ll rarely see the quiet, intimate moments of my day. If I have ever cooked for you, you might catch a glimpse, but I prefer to reserve that part of myself for my closest loved ones.
Which feminist voices are keeping you alive halfway into 2018?
Whenever I tour, I make a point to play with women and marginalized folks, and lately I have been inspired the surge of female/queer empowerment I have found in the music scenes of Portland and Seattle. Queer cartoonist and zinester Nicole Georges, of the podcast Sagittarian Matters, inspired me to start my own podcast, Sparkle and Destroy, to celebrate those noisy women. For example, a recent podcast showcased a female sound engineer I met on tour.
So, a lot of the voices saving me are voices I am personally engaging with day-to-day or in my earbuds. Aside from these everyday comrades, the voice of Phoebe Robinson on her podcast Sooo Many White Guys makes me laugh through the pain. I think we are in a great era of female comedians, and I love it. The new wave of feminism is funny, human, smart, and lethal. Of course, Leslie Gore is all of those things. She was my first feminist love. I mean, c’mon. “You Don’t Own Me.”
You have aptly labeled your fan community “The Crusherverse.” What would populate the Crusherverse were it a physical location, and what kind of space would it be – a city? A planet? A solar system?
This is going to sound cheesy. Crushing it looks different for everybody, but my personal Crusherverse has a lot of small wiener dogs and a neverending pizza buffet and Dolly Parton playing on repeat.
So much of what you do is DIY: music videos, the aforementioned zine, your Sparkle and Destroy podcast, even a bit of homesteading with your many beautiful chickens. What new skills/projects do you see yourself picking up in the next year?
In the next year, I’d like to try a career that isn’t writing. Don’t ask me why. It’s probably a horrible idea. I also want to try to finish my damn book, so there goes my first resolution. Also, more podcasts, more touring, more videos. My new album Cool Lame drops September 28 and I want to push myself to book a more ambitious tour to support it. Booking is an art, probably harder than getting a black belt.
At some level, it feels reductive to ask women about their wardrobes, but yours serves as such a powerful artistic expression that I have to go there. How would you describe your personal style, and which fashion icons have inspired you most?
When my big sister was a teenager, she shaved her head and her eyebrows and drew on a Ziggy Stardust lightning bolt across her face and took to wearing metallic Spandex. She lounged topless, wore body paint, and made Victorian dresses out of twigs and thrift store fabric. One day, she wore a lampshade covered in wrapping paper on her head as a hat to school.
After she left home, my fashion icon vanished, although she left her guitar, which had a tiny anarchy sign carved into the headstock, and a cluster of books: The Philosophy of Andy Warhol was a favorite. Well, I read the book and got some dark sunglasses. Then I plugged in that guitar, found the Ramones, and saved up for a leather jacket 10 sizes too big. After reading The Feminine Mystique, I started wearing ’50s-style housewife dresses with combat boots.
Bottom line: my outsides have always tended to reflect the buzzing of my insides. It’s all tongue in cheek, a social experiment that’s maybe a little radioactive. Blondie was haphazard and playful in little boys’ T-shirts, yet commanded the stage, and Exene Cervenka (of my favorite band, X) was a respected punk rock poet, yet she always wore an apron. Harnessing the dual nature of womanhood is a constant game and struggle.
Lately, playing guitar in vintage swimsuits has just felt right. Would it be such a disaster if someone looked like they were having fun onstage for once? I want to feel like it’s summer and I am running through the sprinklers.