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~ The Tiger Lillies Online Q&A Session ~

A Q&A with the band and the Tiger Lillies forum members.

http://www.tigerlilliesforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=123

Well, the members of the Tiger Lillies forum had a few burning questions to ask the band, and here are the answers they demanded.


Wellington:
*waves hello*

My question: To the Adrians, how challenging is it to keep up with Martyn during the live shows? And to Martyn, do you ever deliberately change a song on the spur of the moment while you're performing, just to keep the Adrians on their toes?


Martyn:
I?d never do that. I?m a very nice person.

Huge:
It's a great challenge and is one of the aspects that keeps me enjoying it so much. I love improvising but not in a traditional jazz way. (I visited a jazz jam night, only once where I sat in and was faced by a wall of folded arms and serious faces when I took a solo that did not involve the drums. I also played with some slick cover bands that played "correctly " but I always woke up bored the morning of the gigs.)

Stout:
To play with Martyn takes a keen ear, because most of the time we both have to be ready to play a song in a completely different way each time. When we walk out on stage we always try and play and perform in a spontaneous way, we very rarely plan what songs we are going to play and we have only a vague idea of what the audience will be like once we start. Martyn can pick any song to play at any time in a concert; he may change the tempo, the key or what instrument he plays the song on.  Martyn himself does not know how a song will come out, it is more like channelling a spirit than singing sometimes.

What insider info can you tell us about your new show 'The 7 Deadly Sins' which opens in April, and which deadly sin would each of you say you're most guilty of?

Martyn:
Well, the idea for this show came to me 2 years ago in Vienna. We were rehearsing there for a new show for the whole of July, during the most unbelievable heat wave. So one day I got so hot that I had to enter the closest building in sight. It happened to be the Akademie der bildenden K?nste, aka Academy of Fine arts, and there I saw Hieronymous Bosch?s triptych ?The Last Judgment?, which inspired me to write songs about the 7 Deadly Sins.
I?m most guilty of anger.

Huge:
Oh dear... The short answer is simply to write SHIT and EATING...
(Ed: I?m hoping by this he?s implying that one should not shit where you eat, not that the show is shit?)

Stout:
Guilty of all of them probably, plus a few of the new ones devised by the Vatican recently (except the obscene wealth one, unfortunately). Pride is inevitable if you perform, and that?s the worst of all apparently.



Danger Kitty:
Hello!
My question may be boring but it's the one I want to ask:  what artists do the Tiger Lillies enjoy? (Or other musicians/artists in general?)


Martyn:
Edith Piaf (like the film too), Marlene Dietrich, Billie Holiday, Jacques Brel, Brecht and Weil?s ThreePenny Opera, Amalia Rodriguez,  Edward Gorey, Picasso, Jean Genet, Agatha Christie,  Sir Conan Doyle, George Bataille, Charles Laughton, Peter Loirre in ?M?, the Marx Brothers? mostly dead people. I guess Britney might become a favourite pretty soon. From the ones still with us I like Tom Waits, some of Nick Cave?s work, Kiki and Herb, Marc Almond, Leningrad, Anthony and the Johnsons Max Raabe, David Lynch, the Quay Brothers?

Huge:
Not a boring question but a dull answer from me. I don't buy or download or carry music to listen to.
I rely on finding interesting music on my travels, maybe hearing stuff by chance or being recommended something old or new. I cannot even give a name or band right now as anything interesting I bring home just gets buried the next time I return. I like anything that moves me in some way.

Stout:
Here are a few I like?.
Jake Thackray, Bob Dylan, Lambchop, Tom Waits,  Lee Hazlewood, The Fall, Morphine, Charlie Mingus, Captain Beefheart, Zappa, Spencer P Jones, Bill Viola, Kirchner, Otto Dix, CoBrA, Bacon, El Grecco, Paul Klee, Max Beckman... Many more obviously.



Karen Garcia:
Firstly, thank you to Tiger Lillies for keeping outrageousness alive in this blah-politically-correct world. Thank you for inspiring me in my art and making me want to be more radical.

1. Are you coming back to New York soon? I saw you in Brooklyn in Dec (the silly lady waiting in the freezing cold outside the stage door) & I'm coming to see you In London April 7, but that's so expensive!

2. This one's for Martyn: Is there a connection between your line "Shall I mourn your decline?" in "DECLINE" and Ian Dury's line "Shall I mourn your decline with some Thunderbird wine and a black handkerchief" from "Sweet Gene Vincent". I loved Ian Dury, way back when. I've wondered about this for a while.

Thanks for listening. Big kisses. See you on opening night in London.
Karen xx


Martyn:
Probably coming to New York in the Fall of 2008. Nothing we can do about flight costs, sorry. At least it probably wont be as cold.  I love the slow intro of that song very much, but unless it?s on a subconscious level, no there is no connection.

Huge:
Thank you- see you then- inside the building.

Stout:
We usually play in New York once a year, probably in October/November.



Death Train:
Are you bringing out another T-shirt that could be worn, without being arrested? ? If not, what would you like to see on your next T-shirt? (ed.)

Martyn:
The Dresden Dolls.

Stout:
I think the skull from the new c.d. would be good on a shirt.



Fr??d Bandini:
Can you tell me about the experience on the film PLUNKETT AND MACLANE? People like Terry Gilliam appreciate your music, have you other plans for films?  What soundtracks would you consider making?

Stout:
Plunkett & Maclane was a very brief experience. We turned up at a large stately home very early in the morning, had a costume fitting and then waited around for most of the day while the shot was set up. We performed the song ?Whore? a few times, the shot was done from different angles and we were out in the early evening. Films are pretty boring to be in unless you are the star I think. We spent much of the day sitting around with the extras reading the paper and having cups of tea.

We would like to do a soundtrack, but the director would have to give us complete control of the music and most of them have spent do much time putting the film together that they don?t want to give up such an important part to someone else. We hope that one day a director will give us a chance to write a whole soundtrack. We were originally going to do half of the soundtrack to Plunkett but they decided to use just Craig Armstrong as has done lots of film scores before and they probably felt it was too much of a risk to let us loose on their film.

Martyn:
Any soundtrack that Id get money for Id be happy to do, but if I had an offer from Steven Spielberg I think I might prioritise it. Unfortunately ?or not- we cannot make any plans for films, film people must make plans for us.

The voice of Martyn really became "gargantuan" on the last recordings. Very impressing in live and really much darker. Darker than usual, I think. Fed up to be a criminal castrato?

Martyn:
Gargantuan huh? Deary me! Well, thanks for that Frederic, you made my day J I mean let?s face it would YOU like being called a castrato?

I saw on their Myspace page that the influences of the band is Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf... So do you understand French? (I know Martyn know the word "salope"... he he) and a song in French would be possible?

Martyn:
I like French music, food and wine.  I also have a flat in Paris but everyday intercourse with the local shop owners became so difficult that I?m not going there as much as Id like. So chances for a song? very slim.

Also, do you need a Graphic Designer for your next DVD?  

Martyn:
Gulp :-] I think you know our graphic designer situation but I do like your work very much and I also hope you?ll make it to London in April so we meet again. Our guest list awaits.



Naughty Miss:

With almost 20 years behind you as a band, what do you think the future holds? Since touring is your ?bread and butter,? so to speak, do you see yourself travelling and playing into your later years? Can we hope to see our favourite musicians clamouring onstage, walkers in tow, playing ?Banging in the Nails,? with lovely curmudgeonly zest? (I at least beg you to visit Los Angeles one more time!)

Martyn:
Your referring to my later years as something in the near future puts L.A low in my list of ?things to do?.  You?ve definitely banged on some nails. I fully intend to do a 100th birthday tour (in 65 years from now).

Huge:
You must be able to see into the future as I hope to be playing in the Lillies for many more years.

Stout:
I don?t see any reason that we can?t keep playing for another 20 years. Hopefully the audience will still be willing to watch a bunch of pensioners playing filthy songs. We will probably all be deaf and slightly blind, but this could be an advantage. The type of music we make does not involve too much jumping around and if blues singers can keep playing into their 80?s I don?t see why we can?t. In fact, as we get older we can probably get away with a lot more while being treated as institutions and national treasures, like Nick Cave or Tom Waits are now.

Lastly, this question is for Mr. Jacques ?

Would you ever consider writing songs based around the novel Lolita? I would love to hear your take on this controversial novel, which still seems to shock people today. It?s been rather misunderstood and misrepresented again and again. I often shudder when I hear the name ?Lolita? attached to various pop stars. It would be nice to have an artist who is more than capable, set Nabokov?s dark humour to music. (I can?t help but think of Clare Quilty every time I hear ?Bad!?) I wish I had great, big, heaping bags of money to commission something like this, but, unfortunately, I don?t. Just thought I?d throw it out there? I bet they?d love it in Russia!


Martyn:
I like Lolita, it is an interesting idea. So, I?m looking forward to you wining the lottery and embarking on the project.



Aunty Mabel:
To Mr S.  Exactly what the hell did you do to your toe?

Stout:
Nothing, God did it to me. He made me a foot freak.



Splicer of Bacon:
How do you feel that your music has changed over the 20-year existence of the band?

Martyn:
Really good, I think Id be pretty bored if it hadn?t.

Huge:
I think we got better at playing it and I am pleased that Martyn still writes amazing songs.
A dark sense of humor crept in over the years and there is much more theatrical stuff in the live shows. May be a good idea for me to listen to all the cd's in one go, which I never did, even when we only had two!

Stout:
Years 1-5 Quiet, romantic, thoughtful, sensitive
Years 5-10 Getting louder?! Demented punk polka, vulgar
Years 10-15 Theatre, prop comedy, getting quieter, getting sicker,
Years 15-20 sick, very quiet, cabaret, voice getting deeper, plus all of the above
Years 20-25 imprisoned, reviled, TV show Saturday nights BBC1



Tasmanian Devil:
Which band/singer in this week's Top 40 would you most like to work with?  Are there any modern groups or bands that you enjoy listening to? Any that might shock/surprise your fans?

Martyn:
I don?t know who is in this week?s Top 40. I could google it, but somehow I don?t feel like it. That answer your question?

Huge:
First I have to look on the net to see who is in the top 40. (Short pause as I check. I suspect we are not in there.) Mmmmmm. Maybe a bad week ( 9/3/2008) but I quite liked one of Goldfrapp's cd's but not sure anything could be gained by mixing styles.

Stout:
That nice Mr Gary Glitter would be good to work with, I hear the kids love him.



Lillie:
Are any of you religious in any way or have any spiritual leanings?

Martyn:
I do, but my girlfriend doesn?t like it, so I?m not allowed to talk. Sorry.

Huge:
First I have to look on the net to see what religions are out there. (Very long pause)  Must be a bad week for religion too.

Which of you can drive and do you?  (If Martyn can, can he let us know when he does so we can steer clear!)

Stout:
Both Adrian?s can drive, Martyn has a boat licence. But no parrot.

Martyn:
I do have a licence to drive a boat. If you were a nice person I might offer to take you for a cruise. But?

Huge:
I am a drummer and therefore uphold the tradition of keeping an old banger on the road. I have probably driven the band nearly 200,000 miles around Europe during the 90's.  It is also generally a true fact that I never once blew my horn.

Which of you does DIY?

Martyn:
I do!

Stout:
All of us can knock up a charming spice rack in a crisis. I think Mr. Huge?s would be the most solid and well made, mine would probably be a bit wonky and Martyn?s would probably be a bit rough and unfinished and most of the spice jars wouldn?t fit.

How many o-levels and a-levels etc have you got between you?

Stout:
11 Plus for Adrian Huge.  Stout and Jaques are both university dropouts. We are not academics.

Martyn:
I had enough to get into university but this is as much as I can recall. Sorry, it wasn?t that long ago, but somehow it?s all blurred tonight.

Huge:
I have a small number of O levels and C S E's but since I failed the entrance exam to the university of life I cannot actually remember how many right now.

Are your parents proud of you? Have they ever been to a live show? And has the show been toned down because of them? (Thinks of Martyn?s ?raped my mother? song)

Martyn:
My dad has seen Shockheaded Peter and liked it. But I think it might be pushing it a bit to say they?re proud of me.

Huge:
My dad has seen Shockheaded Peter and liked it. But I think it might be pushing it a bit to say they?re proud of me.  My father always worried about me after quitting the high street bank he made me work in when I was 17. To shut him up I drove 80 miles from home to Dover to get him and his dog, returned home to drop his dog, drove him to Piccadilly, fed him, got him to watch the show, got him a beer, drove to my home for his dog, drove him to his home and drove back to my home.  The results; he stopped worrying and is proud.  I drove 300 miles with a show in the middle and paid for petrol, food, beer, parking and his ticket to the show but luckily it was Shockheaded Peter.

Stout:
Both my parents attend concerts and my father played ?Aunty Mabel? at his company retirement party. They even drag their friends along to shows, but I don?t know how they feel about that. They seem to respect the fact that the band gets paid for what it does, if a little puzzled. We certainly don?t tone down concerts if any family members are present. Martyn?s mother has never attended a concert though, and I don?t think she will be attending any soon.



Dragonnade:
What do you feel about people downloading your music?

Martyn:
I don?t know them people, so I don?t feel much about them.

Huge:
Good question. No real answer. I am pleased if people want to download it and it may get our music to new audiences. I don't think my split of the lost money would be very much as I don't think so many people download it and if millions of people "stole" it I would be rich already and then why should I care?  After a gig last year, a fan said he had been downloading our music for years then handed us 50 Euros.

Stout:
It?s not a big problem. It is inevitable, so we have to treat it as form of publicity and enthusiasm for the music. Its is not something that any artist can feel entirely happy about but at least it means our music is heard by a wider audience. We played in Mexico City last year and the 1200 people in the audience would not have been there if people had not been downloading songs.

Have you ever replied to toilet graffiti (i.e. I am 2 inches wide 9 inches long! Are you a ferret?) and if so, what did you write?

Martyn:
In my adolescent gay phase. I think the graffiti said ?COCK FUN?? and I wrote ?YES? and a time.

Huge:
I do enjoy reading the graffiti in many countries. Like most people I only think of the reply much later or I am depressed by the less witty, hateful comments.



Nothin?:
I have a question for Martyn:  If you need to attract the attention of a specific Adrian, do you have a way of differentiating between the two, or do you just yell 'Adrian!' and then dismiss the one you don't require?

Martyn:
The first condition on the Tiger Lillies Contract is that I have both the Adrians? 100% attention 24/7. So, I?ve never been in the situation you?re describing.



Twisted Angel:
Humans and inflatable sheep aside, what else have you copulated with?

Stout:
Why do think we have ever copulated with humans?

Martyn:
Real sheep, flies, dolphins and giraffes. I also think you should know, that I find it very conservative and predictable of you to assume that humans are of interest to me. Goodbye.

Huge:
That's on a "want to know " basis and you don't want to know.

Have any of you stripped off whilst performing?

Martyn:
No full frontal yet. Just willy snapshots. BUT are you coming to the London run??

Huge:
We have dressed as women and worn various other costumes but I don't remember ever being naked on stage. Maybe that's why there is a large "male chicken" strapped to my drums.



Victoria:
I have sometimes seen Martyn described, in reviews, as "our generation's Oscar Wilde" - and thinking of Wilde's sharp wit, honesty and attention to 'art for art's sake' I can see the similarities.  I am wondering how Martyn feels about this comparison?

Thanks,
Vicki


Martyn:
Dear Vicki,
I?d like to thank you for your participation in this Q & A. People like you are the ones that keep me going as an artist and a human being.  If you?ve kept any of these reviews please do send them to me. Please! Please do!  I?m glad that they exist, that at least you?ve read them and that you also agree with them. I?m just really happy right now.
Thank you.
Love,
Martyn



Oddbod:

1. Who's your favourite Spice Girl?

Martyn:
The one who would take Ophelia?s part in the 7 Deadly Sins and make me rich. If anybody knows them, please do ask.

Huge:
Posh but don't ever repeat that and I never said it.

Stout:
Scary Spice.

2. Which politician would you most wish to see drowning in a pool of molten rabbit droppings?

Martyn:
Uhhh. Sorry this is taking me too much time?

Stout:
How big is the pool? I would need a lot of rabbits and possibly a volcano or hot spring.

Huge:
Re-arrange T and Mrs.

3. Describe your favourite pair of trousers.

Martyn:
The pair that could make me look slim again.

Huge:
Ohhhh I have had many. Some were of their time like loud checked pairs or Austrian leiderhosen. Another was an air of broad green and black striped, enormously baggy jeans-type things. Right now I suppose it's the trousers from a 1960's bright blue, shiny suit that was made for a man of my height but maybe 3 of me wide. It is quite interesting to have 2 people inside one pair of trousers and I do have photos.

Stout:
Vivian Westwood 2 tone trousers, which I bought in Milan. Red check on the front, grey check on the back.

4. What is the meaning of life?

Martyn:
Well, it sounds like you need to check our latest song ?Know What It Means? on our myspace page. That? s www.myspace.com/tigerlilliesuk . Go on people! We need the hits!

Huge:
I believe it was a film by Monty Python. Yes. No.



Tickled Pink:
Hello dearest band,

What's the last concert or show you've been to that has really left a strong impact on you, whether it was good or bad? ...be so kind, I?d love to hear the answers from all three of you.


Martyn:
Hello Tickled Pink, I?m afraid you?ve touched a raw nerve.  The thing is, when I go to a concert ?that is not mine- I eventually meet the same crossroads:
If the concert is shit, well its shit.  If the concert is good, well I?m jealous.
I only enjoy my concerts and I strongly believe that?s what everybody should feel like

Huge:
I seem to have a nose for "bad? and avoid them mostly but only because we spend most nights in a concert or show place. I did, however, go to a dance show at last year's Edinburgh festival which was so shockingly bad and dull and uninspired and nothing more than people moving pointlessly around a stage to fill a length of time. Later I was relieved to overhear a very distinguished looking man with a very posh voice announce to his attentive, important friends and family that it was " shit ". I forget the name of the show.  I found myself with a free ticket to a 7 hour show called The Seven Rivers of ******(I forget) by Robert Lepage and did not want it to finish.  I also went to see Gary Glitter a long time ago and he was fantastic.

Stout:
There are plenty of bad concerts that stick out; most of the best memories have a strong element of horror in them, that it usually what makes them memorable. When we played in St Petersburg last year we had a catalogue of disasters before and during the show. We arrived at what we thought would be a nice professional venue to find a beach bar next to a lake, it then started to rain as the people arrived and many have to be outside because there wasn?t room for everyone under the awning. We had trouble sound checking as the water-skiers were making so much noise. The piano was rubbish and out of tune. Then the generator powering the PA started to fail, and we had to wait until nearly midnight before we could start while it was being repaired. We were told that we could be asked to stop mid-show as it could blow up if it got too hot! As we where finally playing, the audience were jumping up and down so much, and the floor was bouncing like a trampoline, that the PA speakers were in danger of toppling over and crushing people, so they had to be held in place by large Russian technicians as we played. The atmosphere was so moist, what with the rain and the lake that the glue holding my bass together came unstuck and I had to wrap Gaffer tape around it to make it playable. The generator nearly blew up, we had to stop playing while another one was substituted and we didn?t finish until nearly 4 am. Despite all that I really enjoyed the concert.

You have developed very distinctive aesthetics as a band. How much effort do you put into that part of your expression? Where do you get the ideas from? Is it hard to find the clothes you like?

Martyn:
Too much effort is generally not a good idea. Ideas come from all sorts of different places, people you meet, things you remember, things you should but don?t want to forget. A great idea doesn?t necessarily bring a great song. A commission might bring a great song. The aesthetics of the band are pretty much based on the way we are in our every day life (I know that this might sound a bit scary, but there you go) As far as the clothes go, I never have problems finding clothes that I like, I am a big second hand fan. Unfortunately, I more and more often have problems finding clothes that fit me.

Huge:
I just try to be myself and perhaps the aesthetic is me as defined by my life as a full time Tiger Lillie. I like vintage cloths because they usually have more style and last longer than modern stuff. I don't want to perform in casual, everyday clothes either. It's great fun looking through second hand or vintage clothes shops just to see what is there.

Stout:
If you end up travelling around the world for years with little money you tend to buy cheap suits and also we come across amazing hat shops that literally don?t exist in the UK anymore. To fill the time when we are away on tour we always looked for second hand and vintage clothes shops. We found a shop in Tel Aviv that had original hats in it from the 1950?s, they were covered in dust and some of the straw hats would crumble into dust as we picked them up. The owner was almost blind and it looked like no one had bought anything for 30 years.

At the end, I hope you continue being like a good gipsy wife and keep squeezing out one baby a year, we are looking forward to every new little bugger!
Thank you, Tickled Pink. Good on ya.

Hugs to all,
Maya, Croatia




Banjo:
I?d like to know what shampoo and conditioner Martyn uses on his plaited long luxuriant locks?

Martyn:
Hello Banjo.
Goodbye Banjo.



Shockheaded Jen:
Hey guys,
I?m sneaking in a question or two at the end ?
If the Tiger Lillies hadn?t worked out the way it has, what would you be doing now instead?  Would you enjoy it?


Martyn:
I tried the male escort thing in my youth, but I was too avant-garde for it.
Then I moved on to drug dealing, but I kept it all for myself.  As a dishwasher, no luck either I?m afraid, asked for a raise on day 2 (after breaking what I later realised was one glass too many) and got the sack.  Also tried a market stall in Soho, but somehow it went bankrupt (I was still doing the drug dealing on the side)

Then I tried the Tiger Lillies, which almost works up until this day.  If it hadn?t, I guess, I would have moved back to Slough, got my parents? money, done my MAs and PHDs , in veterinary science and now I?d be a happy man.

Huge:
I have no idea what I would be doing now. I did many office or sales jobs before the band and only know I hated all of them so I only know it would not be one of those jobs I would be doing now.
I imagine I would be struggling to be a musician at night with a day job or stolen someone's great idea and invented something the world could not do without.

Stout:
Maybe cooking of some sort, my father was a chief and I cook when I am not on tour. I did have an idea of opening a pie shop called ?PI? and selling different sorts of pasties and empanadas. Probably its better I steer clear of the kitchen though as I am a bit accident prone! I would also liked to have gone to art school, it was my early intention before music came along so maybe if I had I would be a painter or graphic artist of some sort by now.

Having toured with each other for many years, what would you say each others worst personality trait was?  (no fighting, please) Equally, what do you admire most in each other?

Martyn:
Having toured with each other for so many years, do you really think I can risk answering this question? I think the Adrians are lovely. I love them. Till death (or success) do us part.

Huge:
I sometimes (like now ) think of myself as the diplomat of the band and happily can tell you  for the last 10 years we have had our own hotel rooms and therefore don't suffer from each other's worst traits... I admire that each of us can still arrive from where ever and play several hundred concerts a year...

Stout:
I admire the dedication of Martyn and Adrian, and their ability to take rough treatment and still enjoy playing together after nearly 20 years. Hell, just being with each other that long is incredible. Adrian always kept his sense of humor and Martyn still is trying to push himself and the band musically while keeping the whole thing going.

As far a worst traits, let he who is without sin cast the first stone! We all get tired and we all get pissed off at some point while touring, you have to be able to not take things too personally and realise that things change and get better and worse, people go through phases of being up and down on tours, let them get on with it and things will improve.
Neither Adrian or I wanted to share a room with Martyn back the early days as he would practice the accordion or ukulele ALL DAY in his room and, you have to get away from it sometime. Adrian?s jokes can be a little annoying if you have heard them before. We actually had to ban him from telling us any after a few years, now he looks for fresh victims while on the road. BEWARE!!!!!!

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