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www.suicidegirls.com, the internets favourite naked girls with tattoos eroticia site, has published an interview with Martyn.

http://suicidegirls.com/words/Martyn+Jacques+of+The+Tiger+Lillies/

MARTYN JACQUES OF THE TIGER LILLIES BY FRACTAL SUICIDE

Meet

Martyn Jacques, a white-faced depraved individual that plays the

accordion, sings about smashing babies' heads, and on occasion takes

photos of fucking inflatable sheep. His band, The Tiger Lillies, has

shocked and offended audiences for almost 15 years, and he is now

playing a Broadway rendition of Heinrich Hoffman's Shockheaded Peter, a

19th century collection of children's tales designed to scare youngens

into submission. His angelic voice sings songs of perverse delusions,

or at least, we hope are merely delusions...


 Check out The Tiger Lillies in their run of Shockheaded Peter.
(please note that the Tiger Lillies are no longer appearing in the New York version of Shockheaded Peter as of 19 May 2005)


Fractal Suicide: How do you feel that the circus/punk genres have influenced your breed of music/songs?

Martyn Jacques:

That's a new one, "circus punk", never heard that expression. I've been

influenced over the last 15 years, I'm very inspired by the circus. We

did the album Circus Songs, which is all about the history of

traveling, and gypsies. It's romantic. Punk is something that I grew up

in. I'm 45 now, and as a young man punks weren't really heroes, but

certainly the attitude of punk influenced me - the alienation of punk

rather than the cliche. Punk's not very challenging, it's like terrible

copies of Sex Pistols' tapes. The spirit of anarchy, the alienation was

the influential soul. "Circus Punk" is not really a conscious thing,

but both are appropriate.

FS:

What about the recent commercialization of the macabre? Tim Burton of

The Lemony Snickett books and movie are bringing the genre closer to

the surface of pop culture. Groups like the Dresden Dolls have recently

gained huge followings, do you feel that The Tiger Lillies have

contributed to this?

MJ:

Lemony played my accordion! He was in that band The Magnetic Fields,

they played in London and the producer called me and asked to borrow

it.

 My primary influence is the Three Penny Opera,

gypsies, circus music. It's funny cause we're becoming aware, we played

in Australia in a spiral tent a little while back. We walked in, and

Adrian, my drummer, looked at me and said 'Martyn, why are they all

dressed like us?" The audience was wearing old hats and funny suits.

It's almost fashionable now.

 Burlesque is another big

word at the moment. We played in Boston, we were invited by the Dresden

Dolls to play with them. I felt like Johnny Cash walking into a pop

festival, there were all these 15 year old kids with bowler hats and

white face makeup. I think a lot of this was influenced by Marilyn

Manson, with the whole development of the goth thing.

 We played with the Dresden Dolls in front of about 1000 young

people. We're usually in front of an older crowd. We never got invited

to the music festivals, we've always been considered an art band. The

crowds are usually about 35-45 years old.

 Credibility

is very important to me. I don't want to go on stage feeling like a

whore, walking on stage for the money. I want honor in the artistry.

 I don't really feel The Tiger Lillies have contributed to this.

Marilyn Manson definitely has, but The Tiger Lillies are an accident.

We're not famous, we have no illusions of grandeur. Marilyn Manson is

an accessible form of music. The Tiger Lillies are not for mass

consumption. The public really has to have some kind of specialist

knowledge to find us. We're never going to make it into the mainstream

world, unless we had a novelty hit. So no, I don't really think we've

influenced it at all.

FS: The Tiger Lillies have been around more than a decade. Do you think that Shockheaded Peter has expanded your popularity?

MJ: Shockheaded Peter maybe has had some influence, but it's really very hard to gauge.

 FS:

The Tiger Lillies fan base consists of names such as Matt Groening,

cartoonists Edward Gorey and Jhonen Vasquez, and director Terry

Gilliam, just to name a few. You released a tribute album to Edward

Gorey, the Grammy nominated Gorey End. What was the collaboration with

Gorey on that?

MJ: One

day I was on the phone with my manager, and we were talking for about a

half an hour or so, and towards the end of the conversation she

mentioned that I had gotten a letter from an Edward Gorey. It was

saying that he was a very big fan, and that "Banging in the Nails" was

his favorite song. I was very excited, and wrote a letter back. Gorey

sent back a box of unpublished work. I went through it and turned it

into songs, with the intent of a theatrical collaboration.

 I didn't really change much from what he sent me, and set it to

music. We agreed to meet, I was going to fly out to him and meet for

dinner and spend the weekend. I practiced all the songs and learned

them by heart, and just prior to leaving, Edward died.

 It was a bit unfortunate, the project never took off the ground.

Terry Gilliam was to be the director, it was going to be his first

theatrical endeavor, but it all kinda fell apart. The Gorey Estate was

a bit pissed off because of the adaptation.

 It was a

bit frustrating, but we made the album anyway. We worked with The

Kronos Quartet on it, and lost a bit of money recording. It was very

amusing and absurd to have been nominated for a Grammy.

 FS:

Edward Gorey had referred to you as having the "voice of an angel".

Despite your voice being so distinct and a hallmark of the group, did

you experience any difficulty in forming a group since it is so

individually styled?

MJ:

I had no difficulty forming the group but I had much difficulty in

becoming successful with the individuality. The music business is very

much about musical categories which can be marketed and sold, not about

originality, no matter how beautiful or unique or artistically valid

the music is.

FS: The

Tiger Lillies have a bit of a cult following. Do you think that new

comers seeing Shockheaded Peter would be shocked or appalled at your

other recordings?

MJ:

It's definitely a mixture. There are people who see SHP who are normal

and respectable people and they would probably choked, but generally

they attract an alternative who appreciate my other work .

FS:

Songs like "Banging in the Nails" or "Why Am I Alone?" could be

considered incredibly offensive by the Broadway patron who is not sure

what to expect. Do you think that people attending SHP really know what

to expect when they take their seats?

MJ:

When we came and played in NY in Halloween last year, all the sponsors

and producers of the show came to see us . It certainly gives me a

mischievous delight singing song like "Hamster up the Rectum" in these

situations . I do get a subversive delight of shocking my audiences and

we always seems to lose few when we perform.

FS:

Shockheaded Peter received incredible critical acclaim after its

opening night in NYC. After its run is over, do you plan on returning

to The Tiger Lillies' Circus or playing smaller venues again, or do you

think you will find another theater run to become involved with?

MJ:

We're starting a new theatre production in the summer, Hans Christian

Anderson the Little Match Girl, which we will do with an an Paris based

theatre director called Dan Jemmet.

FS:

Do you find more allowance for outlandish behavior or spontaneity on

stage due to your creative involvement in the show's development?

MJ:

I've always been the master of my own outlandish behavior and have

never really controlled or followed any direction from others . For me,

the songs of SHP are just one chapter in my career though obviously

it's the chapter which has attracted much more attention than some of

the others.

FS: Did your run with The Tiger Lillies Circus prep you for work in theater? What was your involvement with the Circus?

MJ:

The Circus and SHP started at the same time, so obviously my

performance style continued to developed in tandem between the two.

Basically the Circus involves the TL performing a collection of songs,

some on their own and some with a variety of circus performers.

FS:

You've said before that living on top of a brothel in England

influenced your lyrics. Do you actively seek out the depravity of

humanity, or do you think it just comes naturally?

MJ:

I do actually seek out depravity. I'm much more interested in writing

about it than for example the beauty of the country side. As I said

before, I do take delight in challenging my audience.

FS:

Your music conveys images of a Sweeney Todd-esque London - bring out

yer dead, buckets of shit and piss flung from the windows onto the

street, not really of modern times. If you could, what time period

would you want to live in, while doing what you do?

MJ:

I'm very happy living in the 21 Century. I think it's interesting to

think and write music and lyrics referring to 19th/early 20th

centuries, yet give them a slant which resonates for the 21st Century .

 We're part of the time we live in. In the 80s, everyone had

shaved heads and black bodystockings, and probably 10 years from now,

we'll all look terribly dated.

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