Born out of New York’s “anti-folk” scene, The Moldy Peaches are currently out on their first headlining tour. Yesterday The Lens had the opportunity to speak via telephone with Adam Green of the band. Interview by Dan Haugen.
The Lens: What is anti-folk?
Adam Green: Anti-folk started in the early ’80s. The West Village was a real establishment at that time. There was this cheesy folk music that was being played there. Kind of adult contemporary style. There was also this whole acoustic punk scene emerging then, too, and they wouldn’t let them play at those clubs, so they started their own scene called anti-folk. It was more political… Nowadays it’s kind of evolved… It’s not necessarily acoustic punk anymore… But the lyrics are still really important.
Lens: On the album, it seems like there are two really contrasting elements. Part of it seems like you were going for shock value, but other parts are about really familiar things, like watching cartoons and riding bikes. Is contrast something that you set out to do on the CD?
Green: We didn’t really conceive the album in totality before we recorded it. It’s kind of a collection of seven years worth of stuff. We just went one song at a time.
Lens: The album aside then, how do you see those two elements relating in the band?
Green: Everyone has a little bit of all that in them, to some extent. We’re just not afraid to write songs that include all the different aspects
of our personalities. It’s kind of weird, you know. You can see somebody get up on stage and sing all these really serious songs, and then they’ll get off stage and be really funny. Their songs aren’t consistent with their personality. It’s not so much that we try to write songs that are shocking or funny, as much as we don’t try to not write about that stuff either. I think most people, when they write songs, try not to write about anything funny or anything shocking, if they’re serious songwriters. I think that’s the difference. But we’re serious songwriters. It’s not like it’s a Saturday Night Live skit or anything.
Lens: I read something on you guys this last week that implied that you prophesized Sept. 11 on “NYC’s Like A Graveyard.” Another piece I read talked about how inappropriate the song is now. What do you think about the attention that song has received?
Green: They know we didn’t write it about that. The album came out on Sept. 11th. It was released that day, so, obviously, the song was recorded before that day. The song isn’t about that.
We were asked to take it off the album. We chose to keep it on the album. We don’t really play it live anymore just because it’s not fun to play anymore. First of all, the people who see us play it live don’t know that we didn’t just write it. For us, it used to be the most fun song to play. We’d always end our set with it. It was just this ultimate closing song. But now, there’s certain lines in it that are just too right on. There’s a line in it that says all the yuppies are getting buried. There’s a line that says all the tombstones are skyscraping. So we just don’t play it anymore. People ask for it and I’m just like, yo, it’s just not fun anymore. So sorry.
Lens: I’ve heard you have different costumes every tour.
Green: Yeah. Just all the time. Whenever someone gets something they want to wear, we just change. Sometimes we wear the old stuff again. I haven’t worn Robin Hood in a while.
Lens: How many different costumes do you have now?
Green: Like, six or seven. My most recent one I’ve been wearing, it’s like… what Elvis and Gram Parsons used to wear. That weird, sparkly rhinestone suit, with the cape. I think Britney Spears just wore one. [Green’s bandmate] Kimya’s aunt made that one for me. She’s been making costumes for us the past couple months. She can sew… Kimya’s been wearing a new poodle skirt. And you know that’s her real hair. That’s not a wig. Everyone thinks it’s a wig. She has a real afro…
They’re not really costumes. They’re more like stage outfits. Whatever you want to call them. But actually we’ve worn the stuff offstage, so I don’t know. Like when I first made my Robin Hood suit, I didn’t make it to wear on stage. I just made it to wear around. After a while it just became something I wore onstage. You know? Kimya, when she first started wearing the rabbit ears, she just used to wear them all the time. She was just always the girl with the rabbit ears. Then all of a sudden, these photographers came and they caught us in the moment where I was wearing the Robin Hood costume a lot and she was wearing the rabbit ears a lot. All of a sudden everyone was like: They wear costumes. You know what I mean? Now at this point, I don’t really wear this Robin Hood stuff offstage because it’s too weird.
The Moldy Peaches play Thursday at the 7th St. Entry. 8 p.m. 21+.