Published Aug 01, 2002Neko Case is a Chicago-based country lass, Corn Sister, New Pornographer and all-around swell gal. Her third album, Blacklisted, will be released on August 20 on Bloodshot/Mint.
Los Lobos and the Latin Playboys, Tony Millionaire's Sock Monkey comic book (pee has actually come out while laughing), beautiful Mary Margaret O'Hara songs, My Morning Jacket, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Lynda Barry's Freddy Stories (very sad), odd paintings of wildlife, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, lightning bugs, old theatres, Les Rita Mitsouko, birds, the way things look from airplanes and tenor guitars.
Mind-altering work of art:
Giant grain elevators, wood or concrete. They look like they were erected by a long-gone dynasty of wheat pharaohs. The Alberta pool ones were always my favourite. They make me feel like I'm in an Edward Hopper painting. Creepy.
Most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
Getting kicked off the Grand Ole Opry before actually getting to play there. Sadly, it's the one I'd most like to forget. It was my own fault though. The most inspirational was Bumbershoot in Seattle last September. I'd been seeing bands play the Mural state since I was a young teenager, so it was a big deal to me. It was a full moon on a beautiful night, lots of happy people, family and friends. I guess it's kind of the Grand Ole Opry if you are from the Northwest, so I'm happy about that. As far as shows I've seen, I can't pick. There are too many. The best show I've seen in a great long while was the Sadies at the Pic Pub in Vancouver. They blew me away. I'm sure I sound biased, by I don't care. They are the best live band in North America. Canada should be very proud of them.
What has been your career high and low?
Low: Trying to justify the occupation of "musician" to customs officials, American and Canadian.
High: Being self-employed. Working with clever and talented crazy people. There is no end to the amusement.
What should everyone shut up about?
Pine nuts. They taste like ass.
I would drop everything to play a benefit for:
Baby goats, the cutest of the animal kingdom. I dare you to contest me on this one.
What trait do you like and dislike most about yourself?
Like: I'm a good listener.
Dislike: Occasional Frances Farmer-style outbursts. Sometimes inappropriately featureless and confrontational.
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
If you are not funny, I will not sleep with you, nor can you play in my band. Same goes if you don't like to practice, music or otherwise.
When I think of Canada I think:
Please rescue me from my rabid, bloodthirsty President who will surely eat of my flesh and drink of my blood.
What is your vital daily ritual?
If I'm not on tour (which is almost never), I wake up late and lay there for a while. Then I sit on the end of the bed in my pyjamas starting into space, wondering what it is I'm forgetting. If I'm on tour, I do the same thing in my street clothes in the van.
How do you spoil yourself?
By actually going to my own house. From time to time I buy a guitar. That feels pretty good too.
What was your most memorable day job?
I guess it was my first job, because it was my most hated. I was 16 and I worked in a supermarket in Tacoma. It was supposed to be one of those things where you do a lot of different jobs, like bagging groceries or stocking shelves, but the manager was always on me that I was too "odd" looking, too "pale and white." He kept saying "don't put on so much of that white make-up," but I couldn't make him believe me that I wasn't even wearing make-up. He made me clean the meat room every day. He had to keep the bleachy little goblin out of site. It was beyond vile, scraping rottting meat out of a band saw with my ghosty, translucent little goblin hands. I haven't bought meat from a supermarket since. I quit shortly thereafter to embark on a career of quitting many other equally dehumanising jobs.
If I wasn't playing music I would be:
Cuddling baby goats.
What is your greatest fear?
Swallowing my tongue.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
To displace the oxygen in the lungs of those who yell "Freebird!"
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
David Hidalgo, but I mean that in the most respectful way. I think he's married, so don't tell him, cause if I ever meet him I won't be able to look the guy in the face, not to mention his wife might want to beat me up. I'm sorry your husband is so foxy, lady, please stop punching me.
Music and sex: Is there a difference? Why?
Yes, music is much sexier.
Strangest brush with celebrity:
I worked on the set of Dancer In the Dark as a set decorator. We were filming at the Walla Walla State Prison in Washington. It was 900 degrees outside and we had to make it look like winter, so I sprayed fake snow all over the ground, and then we decorated a giant xmas tree. At lunchtime we went to these beautiful gauzy looking tents for delicious catered food. There, at one of the tables was Catherine Deneuve. She was the foxiest lady I'd ever seen, and I was in prison with her. Wow! All she ate was strawberries, lots of them. I spent the rest of the day following her around and picking up her lipstick-stained cigarette butts (for continuity, not for selling on the internet). I was in a greasy tank top and shorts and she, in a 60s foxy Eastern European-looking winter outfit with babushka. I was her lowly, grimy footman and she was my toasty-gloved mistress. I loved it. What a strange day. Not to mention the film crew were entirely Northern European and insisted on being dressed head to foot in new wave leather, despite the heat. Go figure.
Second place goes to the time Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band came to our show, gave us baklava, then showed us to the turnpike entrance. He got out of his care and waved a loving goodbye. He's far and away the nicest rock star I've ever met. Hasn't aged a bit.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Levon Helm. Home-made borscht.
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
My mom likes me just the way I am, but I'm sure if she had her way, I would be weeding her fields and laughing at her old man jokes.