You may already know Liz Phair, but odds are you aren’t familiar with our interviewer, George Meyer. Besides being a big Liz Phair fan, George is a creative consultant on The Simpsons, which, as Rocco knows, is the best TV show of all time. On top of that he also used to write for “Late Night” with David Letterman, and he subscribes to Big Brother.
I saw the show on Thursday here in L.A. [March 17 at the Palace] and I thought it was terrific. You seem to be having more fun on stage.
I am having more fun on stage. Truth be told, I still wouldn’t get up there if I didn’t have to. What you may be seeing is just relief and pleasure that I’m doing okay. We have so many technical difficulties. We’re sort of a sloppy, but well meaning band.
Is that what’s going through your mind during a show — “Don’t screw up?”
Constantly, constantly. It’s like a mantra. It’s like wondering will my voice hit whatever pitch?
Are you going to buy a tourbus?
(Laughs) No, but I’m going to rent one this summer.
Are you? What’ll you have painted on the side?
(Singing) “Come on world, there’s a song that we’re singin'”… ah, let’s see, I’ll probably let the dust accumulate, and fans can write on it. That happened to our last van. There were little messages scrawled on the side.
Do you realize how many guys have a mad crush on you?
(Laughs) I don’t even think about it. I think this is called the “healthy celebrity attitude”. I spent a year worrying and feeling vulnerable and feeling like all eyes were pinned on me. But then I got above it, because I wasn’t going to be able to do my next album if I didn’t. I just sort of transcended my self-centeredness.
Well, that’s great. But then, moving on from that, how could a guy win your heart?
Well, it would be really difficult because I have a serious boyfriend with whom I live. So that’d be really tough. First of all, I’d have to, like, fall out of love. And then, let’s see… I always like people who are well read, have a lot of attitude, who treat women naturally with respect. What else… They have to be somewhat sportif. They have to be active and have fun… A good sense of humor…
Geez, that’s a lot of things.
I like height. Tall people.
Height. Now you’ve ruled out almost all of my friends.
But not for me. I’m still in there… How did you handle high school? Were you a good student?
I was a really excellent student ’til the end of junior year. At which point I had one of those epiphanies where I could not for the life of me remember why I was achieving. I remember being sort of attacked by my class in geometry, because I was doing well on the quizzes and it was a curve. I had a crush on this guy, and he was turning around and giving me these evil glances. He really, truly, didn’t like me. I honestly hadn’t been trying that hard, and I felt like, “what the fuck?” So I just 180’d and started ditching class all the time. I barely passed my second semester. Then I started getting into it again. High school was fun in a lot of ways though.
My friend Lorenzo says that student leaders of today are the student leaders of tomorrow.
You say “fuck” a lot. Do you think anyone’s going to try to censor you or put labels on your records?
Oh sure. They’ve already done it. K-mart is just a bitch, to get them to sell my record.
But who goes to K-mart to buy records?
I bet a lot of people do. I mean I don’t, obviously, but…
It just seems like a strange place to buy records.
Yeah, while you’re picking up your dog leash…
Something we’re all thinking about out here is that Congress may censor violence on TV. And I think that’s really a weak argument. I think that you could take all the violence of TV, and it’s not gonna do anything.
I think that’s true. I think the violence is arising from economic and racial reasons, not pop culture. But then again, I think everything contributes or detracts. I’m a big proponent of “live as you think you should”, and set examples that way.
OK, because this is for a skateboard magazine, I have to ask you, what kind of skateboard do you ride?
If I were on a board of any kind, I would be snowboarding. I did have a skateboard — I stole it from my boyfriend when I was in Oberlin. Shit. Name me the big names, and I’ll tell you which one it was.
Blind? World Industries? Girl? 101?
All those names are of skateboards?
It wasn’t any of those. It had a big Misfits sticker on the back. I would sit on it because there were only a couple of chairs in my room. For a while I put my paint palette on it and my friend and I would like shoot it back and forth as we were painting.
Here’s a question I always ask everyone I meet. What’s the weirdest thing you ever found in your food?
Oh my god. United Airlines. I ordered lasagna. This was back in my meat-eating days about three years ago. I was chomping away thinking “this is pretty good”, when wham-o! I hit this obviously man-made material. It was like some rubber valve or something.
So I tried to bite a little harder, thinking it’s some strange vegetable or something. Then I realized there weren’t any vegetables in this. So I’m like what the hell is this thing? And I sort of mulled it around in my tongue, and I reached up… and pulled it out, AND… It was like a CENTRAL ARTERY! It was one of those pivitol points in a cow’s jugular or something.
Yarggh! What did you do? Did you throw it?
I was so freaked out. I didn’t even tell them about it. I just sat there. I was so shocked and so grossed out that I’d been, like, playing with this thing in my mouth…
One of the best stories that I’ve heard is of a friend who found a grease pencil, the kind you take down orders with…
Half of a grease pencil in a fish sandwich. The guy was just taking orders and dropped it in, I guess. Isn’t that sick?
That’s really funny.
Okay, let me see… When you wrote 6’1″ were you thinking about Iggy Pop’s song at all, 5’1″?
No. I don’t even know it. I’m a big fan of his, but I don’t know as much as you’d think. My whole musical knowledge comes from mixed tapes that people made me. So I know, like, a song here and there.
You remind me of him in some ways.
Really? That’s hugely flattering. ‘Cause he’s amazing.
How’s the new record going?
It’s finished. I love it. It’s a single album, but it’s sixteen songs.
Oh wow, just like your last one. Your records are a good deal.
(Laughs) Yeah, more for your money.
Uh, I thought I’d tell you a joke that my friend Andy told me: If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, what would he be doing?
Clawing frantically at the lid of his coffin!
Ho ho hooo! Gross!
So there you go. OK well, thank you very much. Continued success. I love your work.
By George Meyer
Big Brother Magazine #11, May/June 1994