1What is the name of the fictional director of the video to ‘Kick It’, your 2004 collaboration with Iggy Pop?
“Is it some Italian name that I don’t remember?”
WRONG. It’s Georgia y Romero.
“Oh right! Like the horror director George A. Romero? I’m going to fail! (Laughs)”
What was it like working with Iggy?
“Super-easy because he wanted to do it. If he doesn’t want to do it. he doesn’t do it – he’s a very straightforward person. While we were recording the song, he said: ‘If I don’t get it in an hour, I’ll never get it’. I used to have a rock‘n’roll instrumental band called Feedom with [Chilly] Gonzales and Taylor Savvy back in 1998, and I remember us once saying: ‘This band will always be an instrumental band because Iggy Pop’s the only person that will ever be able to sing with us’. So when Iggy asked me if I had any tracks for his 2003 album ‘Skull Ring’, I responded: ‘Yeah, I have this instrumental track from my band Feedom’ [which became the track ‘Motor Inn‘] and it felt like a real moment.”
2You played The Strokes’ debut London gig back in 2001. Name the other bands on the bill.
“I know it was an NME Awards show, but you’ve lost me! Oh God, where are my memories? (Laughs)”
“It was a horrible gig. I was hated. People were booing me and the review said: ‘Grandma, you’re scaring the kids’. I was 33! I was very angry but also said to myself: ‘Get through this and don’t leave the stage’. The press were terrible. People would say: ‘Her ugliness is what makes it so interesting’, and I’d think: ‘I’m not ugly!’’. But I just accepted that it was something new and rooted in rock‘n’roll that people weren’t seeing. And on the other side, a lot of people told me they were at Reading Festival assuming they were going to see another boy-rock band then walked into what I was doing and said: ‘I couldn’t watch another band after you ‘cause it was so different and changed everything for me’.”
3What onstage prop caused to you be almost arrested when you toured with Queens of the Stone Age?
“A leather dildo!”
“(Laughs) I got the dildo right! There was absolutely no reason to have any issue with what I was doing, but I remember people standing in a circle deciding whether I should be arrested or not. It was a very sad moment. (Dry laugh) Because Queens of the Stone Age would get onstage and join in with ‘Shake Yer Dix’ and were totally down with what I was doing. People forget that I was invited there by them. The band were friendly and open, but it was a tough tour because I’d go onstage and people would turn their backs in protest when I played. So I would run into the audience and say: ‘Hey you’re facing the wrong way – the stage is the other way!’ and make it into jokes. I honed my performance skills for sure! But the band were excited about what I was doing, and felt I had this new energy. I played to an audience I wouldn’t reach, even if it was a polarising reaction.”
4What are the four bonus tracks on the Japanese edition of your 2006 album ‘Impeach My Bush’?
“‘Make Me’, ‘Damage’, ‘Hanky Code’ and….’Fan Etiquette’?”
CORRECT. The iconic Joan Jett features on that album…
“We got to know each other way back when I used the sample of ‘Bad Reputation’ on ‘Fatherfucker’, and she really liked the album and we worked together really well. She was definitely someone I grew up idolising. Joan Jett and Suzi Quatro were these fantastic, straight-up no-bullshit rock’n’roll women.”
For a bonus half point, can you identify what any colour represents in the hanky code (where one communicates their sexual interests by different-hued handkerchiefs)?
“Well, wearing a brown handkerchief means you like scatological play.”
CORRECT. Among others, you could have also had: black (S&M), dark blue (anal sex), light blue (oral sex), red (fisting) or yellow (water sports). Talking of which…in the joyously NSFW video to your 2015 track ‘Rub’, you peed naked…
“That’s because I was directing all day and I had to piss so bad. It was spontaneous. It was a cast/crew of 40 female-identified people and I was shooting scenes naked and directing behind the camera, so it felt normal which was amazing. But I peed for so long, at first it was funny, then there was uncomfortable laughing and then it became annoying and there were yells of, ‘Can you stop peeing?’ But it was very empowering. To me, it’s an opus. At one point, the police came by and wanted to know what we were doing as they’d received complaints but they weren’t allowed in because we had a permit.”
5You played Yoko Ono’s Meltdown in 2013. Name three other bands on the festival line-up.
CORRECT. You also performed at Yoko’s 80th birthday party that year…
“They called and said ‘Pick your favourite Yoko Ono song to perform’, so I did ‘Yes, I’m a Witch’, and then at Meltdown I did that again and they also asked me to do [Yoko’s performance art piece] ‘Cut Piece’ and have my own solo show. At the time, I was doing my one-woman Jesus Christ Superstar [reinterpretation show Peaches Christ Superstar] but couldn’t get the rights because Andrew Lloyd Webber was putting on stadium versions of it – as if I was a threat! (Laughs) But I used the Yoko opportunity to be able to do it in the birthplace of the musical. Jesus Christ Superstar taps into my love of singing and emoting. I’d do it every day if I could.”
6Your bust was immortalised by the legendary Cynthia Plaster Caster – known for creating plaster casts of rock stars penis’ – in 2001. But who was the first woman she ever sculpted?
“Jesus! Hmmm – do I get a clue? If not, I understand! (Laughs) Pamela Des Barres?”
WRONG. It was L7’s Suzi Gardner in 2000.
“Dammit, I was going to say L7! I have it hanging on my wall and I also have an oil painting of Cynthia Plaster Caster with the moulds coming to cast me. Can you give me the point ‘cos I’m failing bad! I’m doing worse than Thurston Moore (Laughs)”
7Which Californian band covered ‘Rock Show’ on tour in 2016?
“If they’re Californian, that means it’s not Electric Six [who covered it was a B-side for the single]. Can I have a multiple choice? (Laughs)”
WRONG. It was Eels.
“Eels did it?! I had no idea. That’s weird. I recently did ‘Fuck the Pain Away’ with Dave Grohl for a Hanukkah celebration honouring Jewish musicians. I remember asking if David Lee Roth was going to be part of it, but he wasn’t! (Laughs) Amyl and the Sniffers do a very good cover of ‘Fuck the Pain Away’, and I actually met Debbie Harry through Justin Vivian Bond covering that song at a political drag lounge night in New York where she was invited along with Chrissie Hynde so they could look at them when they were singing the lyrics: ‘Suckin’ on my titties like you wanted me / Callin’ me, all the time like Blondie… Check out my Chrissie behind’. Chrissie Hynde didn’t show up so I never got to meet her, but I met Debbie Harry and we got along well and kept in touch. She’s a fantastic human.”
Any chance of a Peaches/Blondie collaboration?
“That sounds fun!”
8What character do you play in the 2010 chess-themed film Ivory Tower?
“I play the lead character, played by Tiga’s, fiancée. Oh my God – what was her name? Marge? Meredith? Talk amongst yourselves; I’m determined to get this! Marsha?
CORRECT. You starred as Marsha Thirteen.
“That was really fun and a learning-curve experience. It was the first time Tiga ever acted and also the first time Gonzales had ever ventured into something like this, and all of our characters needed to be shaped by ourselves more than what was written for us. I enjoy acting.”
9What is shown on the poster on the wall of cover of your pre-Peaches 1995 solo ‘Fancypants Hoodlum’ album?
“That was a [leopard] cub! It was in my sister’s bedroom.”
CORRECT. The record was released under your real name Merrill Nisker.
“My sister had that poster and it was so generic. I always wondered if she even cared about it. That photo is of us as kids when we were playing at bad kid and mom. That album was my first time working in a real studio and it was an experiment but a bit lonely. Still, it was exciting as it was the first time I’d written a whole album.”
10What Number did you reach on NME’s Cool List in 2003?
“Really?! (Laughs) That was a total guess!”
The verdict: 6.5/10
Peaches has just shared a new track ‘Pussy Mask’. Watch the video to and read an interview with her about it here