Table scraps.. Dragonette and the conundrum of cool

OK, I get it. I’m lousy at regularly updating this blog. And even worse at consistently providing ongoing “series” (Remember “This one time I..”). But this time it will be different, I (sort of) promise.

As you may know, I do a lot of interviews with a lot of different people for the stories that I write. And quite often, due to space constraints, word limits or a piece’s thematic arch, terribly interesting bits of info are left out from the final product. And, also missing from that end product, are all the “hazards” of the trade. The strange, awkward, unexpected moments where a story source asks me to send pool-side, nude photos along with a link to the final story. (Yes, that really happened.)

“Table scraps..” will share those stories. Think of it like a DVD extra. Or surprise morning sex. Enjoy!

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In mid-October, I was fortunate enough, thanks to the fabulous people at High Rise PR, to interview Martina Sorbara and Dan Kurtz, the king and queen of electro-pop outfit Dragonette, for EDGE just before they were set to headline a wicked evening of debauchery at the now-closed Sonotheque.

Sorbara and Kurtz getting their fix.

First, it was to only be a simple 20-minute phone interview with Sorbara, just a fun little question-and-answer thing to preview the show and continue my dream of interviewing as many of the names responsible for the tunes constantly streaming through my iPod. I’ve loved Dragonette since I first heard a remix of their seminal jam “I Get Around” via a friend’s mix CD in early 2007, when the band was just beginning to take wing.

Now, they’ve released a second album, Fixin to Thrill, which is equally stellar. And, at least in my book, they are worthy of some major cred for their danceable, remix-ready pop gems. I was psyched for the interview, had done extensive research, listened to every track they’d ever released and thought my prepared questions would create a fool-proof golden interview. It would grace the RSS feeds of indie music blogs the world over and add ammo to my quest to one day write for Paste, Rolling Stone or [insert noteworthy music publication of the future here].

But alas, I knew from Sorbara’s sparse response to my first question that those things remained far away. Yes, she was sweet, kind and apologetic for her head cold… But she wasn’t giving me much content of note worth the quote during an afternoon break before her Calgary show that night.

The complete Dragonette crew.

Fortunately enough, I was able to chat a few days later with Kurtz, while he and the band sat in their room in Portland’s Jupiter Hotel (room 131 of this crazy tricked-out “boutique hotel” if you’re ever in town and want to soak up some of the pop brilliance). And this guy came ready to spout off, as we spoke for a half hour, twice as long as the 15 minutes I’d asked for.

Just after confiding that his wife had tossed the piece of “processed cheese” from her knitted hamburger (made of merino wool) in his face, Kurtz provided this answer to my question of what musicians he’d like to collaborate with. His answer was surprisingly frank, slightly bitter, but incredibly refreshing in a world of recycled agency-fed “talking points” and marketing plan-inspired drudgery.

Me: Who would you like to work with on in the future, remixes, collaborations or otherwise?

Kurtz: “I don’t know … I think I’d like us to work in another genre of music with somebody who can really teach us something new. I know that sounds really vague and whatever … But for example, I’d love to learn how to write a great country song. To work with Dolly Parton or Willy Nelson, that’d be great and entirely outside of our element, not that I even like country music.

Me: You were quick to add that caveat! Honestly, that’s surprising to me, you all don’t strike me as fans of the ‘twang, per se. Though the banjo on “Gone Too Far” off the new record is certainly moving in that direction.

Kurtz: Well, it’s Tina who brings that. She’s the fountain of country music in our scene. It would be more of an intellectual exercise than anything. As Dragonette, we’ve existed so far outside of … If I could tell you the number of times the achingly cool music group du jour have been offended by the question “Would you like to remix Dragonette?” It’s just always seemed like we had to fight really hard to get respect in this “town.” I think it’s a bit outside the realm of possibility to work with the “achingly hip” people, so we’ll maybe just go to some old-timers to write stuff, people who truly know how to make music.

And that’s a zing against you daily special bands out there. Next, I asked Kurtz, given the band’s recent exposure on shows like CSI and The Hills, what television shows or films he foresaw his tunes playing during. And again, he had some interesting words about the industry’s hip types.

Me: What television shows or sorts of films would you like to see Dragonette tunes featured in?

Kurtz: I suppose I’d go with the shows I like to watch. I’d like to see my own song pop up on a show like Weeds, Mad Men or Breaking Bad, or one of the big fuck-off British TV shows like the Jeremy Clarkson car show. That’s top-tier. If we moved off of TV and into movies, I’d pay money to have a song in a Wes Anderson movie. We do, perhaps, really like his movies, but then again we’re probably not hip enough for that. The last time we saw him, he was with some very hip people. He was sitting with Clive Owen at some club while we were in town. Oh well, you can always dream!

And here’s hoping they don’t stop dreaming anytime soon. And please, someone, tell them they’re still “cool” – Kurtz seems on the verge of a borderline inferiority complex. Meanwhile, enjoy the download below, a sexy remix of one of my favorite tracks off Fixin To Thrill.

Download: Dragonette ‘Easy’ (Buffetlibre remix) (mp3)

And I’m back…

Greetings!

I have emerged from a long cocoon-like hiatus via my final semester of university classes with this butterfly of a posting. Since we last talked, I officially am authorized by the state of Wisconsin to be a journalist and mass communicator, so with summer on the horizon, I felt it was my duty to renew my dedication to this blog’s banter.

My other new distinction is that of college-educated waiter, allowing for more free time to post to this page. A lot of things have gone down in the past few months since I last published content, so rest assured that: a) I have a lot on my mind, and b) I warned you. If you’re not ready for honest, satirical, dark and zany commentary on the world around us, I’d probably skip past this page. If you’re ready, however, let’s party.

During my time away, I couldn’t help but notice that there are a lot of people out there somehow finding this page. March 2008 brought nearly 800 readers here, despite new content, and the months that have followed have shown similar growth. Though it is slightly depressing to realize that more people read this blog when I don’t write anything new on it, I will simply ignore the fact and chalk it up to the google bots of the interwebs simply getting better at indexing noteworthy quips on current events. Or maybe it was all just coincidence.

At any rate, I thought that I would share the top ten search engine terms that y’all have used to find me in the past three months. Rest assured that this blog will remain dedicated to these terms and issues, as the readers have clearly spoken. (See, the web does support democratic ideals!) Here is what America wants to see:

    1. Dolly Parton
    2. Heidi Klum

    3. Feist: The Reminder

    4. Jessica Ellen Stasinowsky

    5. Valerie Parashumti

    6. Heidi Klum + Victoria’s Secret

    7. Lawrence King

    8. Miss Puerto Rico

    9. Couples kissing

    10. Victoria’s Secret models

On that note:

Dolly Parton reading

Dolly Parton can read — and pursue lawsuits with boogeymen like Howard Stern, too!

Heidi Klum shopping for produce

Mama Klum shopping for produce with baby Seals — I wonder how she feels about the Lifetime takeover of ProRun?

Leslie Feist’s recent performance on the Colbert Report

And I couldn’t help but include this photo, from the crowning moment of my life to this point:

Me with Nick Verreos!

Yes, that is me standing with Nick Verreos, of ProRun fame, circa mid-April. Rumor has it that Uncle Nick may be coming back for a future all-stars edition of the show (shame to OK! Magazine for claiming that Santino Rice won PR S2.. how could anyone forget fabo Chloe Dao’s victory?)… Anyhoo, contact me privately for any goss that may or may not have been discussed.

So, stay tuned for more washed-up musician/actresses, long-legged supermodels, indie musicians featured in Apple ads, raging lesbians, cases for queer activism, beauty queens, reality TV stars and much, much more. Happy summer!

Let’s give thanks

Thanksgiving has always been a strange holiday to me. The entire concept of the holiday seems to be centered on the overeating of not-really-that-tasty-in-the-first-place bird, and that’s about it. Sure, sure, it’s a nice time to relax with family and catch up with friends while taking a few days away from the daily grind, but why turkeys? Why cranberry sauce? But above all, why the hell was Dolly Parton pulled out from under her bridge to perform for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

Put the turkey back in, it’s NOT DONE YET.

Won’t somebody please think of the millions of children watching this parade and waiting innocently for a giant Shrek balloon to come bouncing across their television screen? I mean, I loved ‘9 to 5’ just as much as any budding ‘mo back in the day but… Gurl looked terrifying. And where her Chia pets always so.. well-watered?

I arrived in Lake Geneva from Madison on Wednesday evening, and after checking in with the folks, met a dude from Myspace for coffee, followed by a movie — ‘Hitman.’ The film was fairly pedestrian all around and probably not worth the $8, though I enjoyed the Mila Jovovich-esque slutty Russian character. Driving home that night, snow flurries steadily fell and it was quite a beautiful night in combination with the nearly full moon.

The next day was family time, and I spent much of it feigning interest in football. I think that will always be something that I just don’t “get.” As for the dude, we met again on Friday and made out in his mother’s basement for a few hours while listening to Christmas music on the radio. Oh, the joys of feeling seventeen all over again. The highlight of the evening had to have been when said bachelor informed me that his mother wasn’t all that comfortable with her son dating men, so “if [I] could say as little as possible when meeting her, that would be great.” Because, ya know, my voice emits a low frequency of gay waves that only mothers and some breeds of dog can detect. As it turned out, I chatted Mama up quite a bit before leaving.. Joe 1, Socially constructed homophobia 0.

Fast forward to Saturday evening and I was back in Madison, drinking pinot grigio out of single-serve, Hi-C-esque boxes with a klan of my favorite lesbians before hitting up Genna’s and Shamrock. The adult juicebox, at last.. thank you, Target. It was a perfect way to bring the weekend to a close.