Angie Reed: Fantasies of a Frustrated Secretary
Interview by Erkki Rautio / pHinnWeb
5 April 2003 -- Angie Reed is an Italian-American artist currently living in Berlin. She has played bass guitar for Stereo Total, also been in such bands as Angie Et Ses Tigres. Her new album for Chicks on Speed Records (out April 2003), The Best Of Barbara Brockhaus portrays a bored secretary, Barbara, who, according the press release, "keeps herself from drowning in the monotony of an everyday office life, with spicy hot fantasies depicted from slide projections of her drawings and music". There are also many colourful side characters, such as Lars Langenscheid, a lecherous boss, Habibi, little Johnny, the Cosmo Ho, the Psychic Dick, the Jungle Gigolo and finally the Mother of Buddha who appears because Barbara, "called for her help unconsciously, with her elaborate fantasies". With the album Angie was ably assisted by Patrick Catani and Bomb 20 of The Puppetmastaz and also the notorious Canada-to-Berlin rap-masta Chilly Gonzales.
Angie has done her Barbara Brockhaus show live, accompanied by a slide show graphics created by her; touring among with such as acts as fellow co-Berliners Peaches, Chilly Gonzales, and also Finland's own Aavikko. She performs here in Finland in April 2003, doing gigs in Jyväskylä's Jyrock festival and also pHinn's hometown Tampere. In occasion of the record and her visit to Finland, pHinnWeb talked with Angie via e-mail, who answered "the best I could considering my feeble state of mind during the present time"... Don't worry, Angie, you're doing just fine, and best of luck to you and Barbara!
- So what's now happening in the life of Angie Reed, any news?
May the news ooze! Spring is happening. I'm coming to your beautiful country! Working on new things... My record and CD will soon be out!
- First a question about your musical and your own background: how did you start making music in the beginning, for example?
Well, quite vividly I remember going nuts for Elvis the first time I heard him. Roy Orbison. All rockin' roll -- that started at the age of four. I had the usual painful piano lessons growing up. There was new wave, rap and punk -- I was turned on by it all -- I must have been about ten then. At eighteen I chucked dad's finger killer, clobber folk guitar in the corner, for an unamplified electric one. By this time girl bands were having their say. Babes In Toyland, etc. I sang. I did a lot of mirror posing and hair-dying. Meanwhile I played a mean tambourine and enjoyed everything from jazz to country to psychedelia (oh, well...), garage and soul, rockabilly, skatepunk, hip hop... Then, as you know from my bio, with Stereo Total, I picked up the bass.
- How did you end up in Berlin in the beginning, and how can you describe the current scene there?
One moment I'm here visiting a boyfriend and the next (two years later), I'm laying my hat down. The fruity opportunities aroused my sense of smell! That was eight years ago! The current scene I describe as happening. There's Cobra Killer, Puppetmastaz, Gonzales, Taylor Savvy, Mokey, Stereo Total, Candie Hank, Jamie Liddell, the Chicks of course, Kevin Blechdom, Boy From Brazil, Jeans Team, Hanayo, Neoangin, Mignon, Electrocute and many more. If I type any more, I'm going to drop!
- How would you describe your style of music?
Pretty entertaining. I like it.
- Are there any role models or influential artists for you?
Role models? Ow! As influential artists: Dolly Parton, Adriano Celentano, Ramones, Link Wray, Divine, Warhol, Fellini... Elvis, Dead Kennedys, Pussy Galore, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Ike & Tina Turner, Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, Cheech and Chong, Stooges, Brezel Göring, Peaches: those off the the top of my head... even Peggy Bundy.
- Yes, I had a crush on Peggy Bundy too! And any current acts which would particularly impress you, or you feel are on the same wavelength with you?
On the same wavelength? Humourwise: with Kevin Blechdom... however, our nuances differ. Mr. Quentron is a hot performer. Peaches is a very charismatic performer. Francoise Cactus' sunny side.
- What about your live performances, and any interesting anecdotes about them? What have been the best and worst places to play, for example?
With a nebulous memory like mine, I'm left to generalize... big cities beat the small towns to play in, with a solo show like mine. Audience seems to be more receptive.
- How was your experience as a bass player with Stereo Total? Any good stories from that period?
Actually very good, with some ups and downs. Good stories? As you can imagine, those two are quite some caliber... so, stories there are... yes!
- You have toured also with Finland's own Aavikko; how have those gigs been?
A ball. I love them. And, I did all the talking.
- I can imagine that, with us quiet Finns... Well, how did you get to know Chicks on Speed, and how has it been to deal with the Chix?
Melissa I met through Peaches... and it has been always very pleasant dealing with them.
One would think The Best of Barbara Brockhaus as a concept album of sorts... like The Who's Tommy and all those 60s/70s-type "rock opera" things even? But perhaps with the added themes of modern alienation and urban frustration from a female (feminist?) point of view...?
A little along those lines.
- How was that album born, and how was it to work with Patric Catani and Gonzales there?
It's Patric Catani and Bomb 20 and Gonzales. Working with them was a real delight. Well, the album was born flirting with a gag, which turned out a little more serious than expected. I had the show, the lyrics and the beats. With these I first knocked on Patric's door, for the right savoir faire, where we recorded the whole shebam -- vocals included! It was done before we knew it and I chose to keep things as simple and raw as possible (for my first solo project... experiment, how it it works... do people find it as good as I do?). Then I galloped over to Bomb 20 and 'Habibi' is born, followed by 'Jungle Gigolo'. Gonzo is a real musical animal! There couldn't have been anyone better to rap that fat route around the jungle. He's the song!
- You're also a visual artist and have created the visual artwork presented as an accompanying slideshow for Barbara Brockhaus performances; what's your actual background in visual arts?
I drew and drew and drew as I grew. Artschools...
- Your own Top Ten for the moment/all-time?
I'm pooped of listing. Do you know how much effort the naming up above cost me? That is work. Weekend mode has already kicked in. Please, forgive me as I skip this one.
- That's OK, Angie, I don't want to spoil your weekend and come off as some slavemaster, but you know us boys do love those lists... So, your own future plans now?
Going to the hair dresser's, tours and travels, writing new shows with alter egos, new songs. A little sun, friends and fun, videos in thongs. Romancing the phone.
- Your favourite question they never ask in interviews?
Would you join us on a culinary world tour and host the show?
[Update 17 April, 2003] So, now you've been to Finland. How was that for you?
Well, the tour was ok. I liked being in Finland; problem is the looong distances we had to travel and I never got to sleep. I just drank vodka to stay on my toes and not care about being so exhausted. Unfortunately you didn't get to see the show that I usually do, the secretary one with the rhymes and the slides. Maybe next time around!
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