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"Can we, as a country, all agree

xmag.com : June 2003: Rock Star Gods

The Makers are:

a.) dreamy punk rockers.
b.) lame poseurs.
c.) style surfers who put on a great show.
d.) your favorite band.
e.) all of the above?

How many times have I heard that the Makers suck? How many times have I said that? Many times. How many times have I been told I'm a spoiled fuckin' brat who will never be satisfied? Many times more. What's my fuckin' problem? At least one of the Makers is drop-dead gorgeous, at least one song on every album is super stripperific and there's always pretty people to look at at their shows... What's my fuckin' problem?

Bar boy at the strip club, on hearing I was interviewing them, summed it up thusly. "Those guys are like cartoons of themselves!! They're always doing the Makers Cartoon. One time the lead singer was all freakin out, climbing the amplifiers, swinging the mic around, doing his thing--strutting, dancing, when he looked out into the audience and for literally HALF A SECOND registered that there were only four people left, was like duuuude, then went right back into his shtick."
It's true. Something about them is formulaic. But punk rock IS formulaic. Something about them lacks soul... but who needs soul in their punk rock'n'roll? Something about them is CONTRIVED. SO FUCKIN' WHAT? But... something about them just doesn't quite... rock. They're like a cartoon diorama band. Their songs are technically great--"Are you on the
inside or the outside of your) PANTS" is an instant strip club classic. Yet something in the delivery is too mechanical. But MAN I would still like to make out with the lead singer. He looks like Prince!! Moves like him too. And anything that is in any way Prince is so purrrrr.
So I had my chance last month and I blew it. The Makers will never make out with me because, as I learned during the interview, it is NOT COOL to impugn their veracity, vitality, virility. Very very uncool. And here I go doing it again. But let me tell you what he was wearing--[bikini briefs]--a gorgeous velvet blazer (by Grannie Takes a Trip) embroidered with orange cacti and purple tigers and tiny green stars and other Lucky Charms that was rumored to have been Jimi Hendrix's. He bought it for $17 at a thrift store of course. I would love to see my pink leather jacket on top of that blazer on his floor but it'll never happen. Not now. Not after this.
 
VIVA: You all have such fabulous outfits! What town do you think has the most fabulous outfits in the United States? Where do you do most of your shopping?
 
Makers: Thrift stores. Wisconsin's got great ones. Denver.
 
VIVA: What were you guys wearing back in 1991 when you started? Did you kinda do the Ramones-Buzzcocks-Who thing, like most 15-year garage punk veterans?
 
Makers: We wore the same thing. If anything we had more of a uniform then, more mod--jackets and stuff. And we got a lot of shit for it back in the grunge era in Spokane. Everyone was in like t-shirts, cut-offs... then we would play and we'd get bottles thrown at us and fights would break out...
 
VIVA: Like Quadrophenia?
 
Makers: ...yeah...we were wearing suits... we were guys who actually had hairdos. That was what people focused on the most. Our music aside, people would just check us to see what we were wearing and our hair and then they would decide whether or not they liked us.
 
VIVA: When did you move to Seattle?
 
Makers: Six years ago.
VIVA: Six years?! You were intent to be in Spokane for six years? Wow. I've been like a sorta fan for about six years. And then three years ago, something gelled. When Rock Star God came out in 1999 you were a new band--very dynamic. Was it easier then, after so many years together?
 
Makers: Of course it gets easier cuz we know each other so well. It's like family... you don't
have to call your brothers and sisters every week and you're still in love, you know? Same with us. If we disbanded and got back together in ten years, we'd still be able to, you know, rock the house.
 
VIVA: Do you see yourselves as lifers? Or is it a year to year if?
 
Makers: Well I'm sure we've all contemplated like, you know, giving it up...
 
VIVA: Med school?
 
Makers: Well, maybe not that, but, you know, Hair Academy... but the bottom line is we'd all be doing it in one form or another; right now we're onstage, but if we weren't onstage, we'd still be out there, making music and getting together.
 
VIVA: Well, it's amazing that you've been doing this for thirteen years. Garage rock bands can only remain interesting for two years tops, and you've managed to reinvent yourselves enough to still keep it fresh. Like what are the White Stripes gonna do? They're already adding bloated orchestrations to their stuff. Thirteen years! And you just like three years ago snagged me. I always thought the Makers were kinda histrionic, kinda cliché almost... but then Rock Star God came out and now I strip to you guys all the time! [noticeable distress and murderous aggression at the table] I mean.... maybe it's a Portland thing, but the Makers were always very ambitious, very cohesive, and that just wasn't ok. There's this mentality in the Northwest where ambition is NOT OK and you guys were too like "Fame!" Like when I saw you open for Mudhoney and...
 
Makers: We never opened for Mudhoney.
 
VIVA: OK. Well, Guitar Wolf opened for Mudhoney but it was kinda a lackluster show and two years later it just completely caught fire and THAT IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT! There's a lot of
resistance to you in Portland cuz you represent this kinda White Stripes [murderous aggression increases dramatically] ....uh.... fundamentalism.... uh... but you're much better than that! But there's still this chip on the shoulder.
 
Makers: Maybe when we started we were kinda like that, but that was ten years ago.
 
VIVA: Exactly! You've really moved past that. I always dance to "Are you on the inside or the outside of your) PANTS," which is a total stripper anthem, and "Open Your Eyes." Anyway they're both fabulous stripper songs that the White Stripes could never write. So could you please stop this murderous aggression cuz I didn't like you the first time I saw you? You just weren't cottoning to this grunge Northwest philosophy that dictates you fall apart onstage every night.
 
Makers: When actually we were falling apart on stage every night... You're wrong. You're thinking of somebody else, because you are so wrong.
 
VIVA: Well, I'll take that into consideration, but I remain your champion in Portland...amongst all the garage bands who are like "cluck cluck cluck" because of your slickness and ambition--or what comes across as such--
 
Makers: You're just WRONG. I don't know what the fuck you're talking about.
 
VIVA: OK, fine, I'm wrong. FOR THE FIRST TIME. Next question! Are you guys single or what?
 
Makers: [One married, one attached, THREE SINGLE AND READY TO MINGLE. Including the LEAD SINGER.]
 
VIVA: What's sexy about Seattle?
 
Makers: Hard one! The Space Needle is always erect.
 
VIVA: What's the sexiest song ever?
 
Makers: The Ghostbusters' theme. T Rex "20th Century Boy." The Cramps. Freddie Mercury.
 
VIVA: What is the sexiest band ever?
 
Makers: The Makers. You'd be hard pressed to find a band sexier than the
Makers cuz if you did we'd beat them up.
VIVA: What's the sexiest thing you've ever seen onstage?
 
Makers: Poison Ivy's stage stance is the sexiest. And Jennifer from Royal Trux.
 
VIVA: Oh God yes! And she's such a car wreck, too. But that is one car you wanna be IN!
 
Makers: Yeah, you know she stinks, you know she's a lot of things you just don't want, but something about her is so sexual. It has a lot to do with the music, too. It's very very very dirty.
 
VIVA: What's the sexiest song/ band of the last two years?
 
Makers: [groaning] That's hard. ZZ Top? The View. Royal Trux. RYAN ADAMS.
 
VIVA: Ryan Adams is sexy. Why? He's a snotty asshole.
 
Makers: He's very sensitive. He's very masculine. People say that on a personal level he's very abrasive, but he puts so much into his music that you would have to be. For modern music, he sacrifices a lot more than most people. That's something we can relate to. He writes a lot of pop songs and ballads and reaches this level of understanding with the Makers that most bands can't, ya know? There's depth there that we try, with every album, to get. The sentiment is very much the same. And very sexy. He makes a denim jacket very hot.
 
VIVA: It's honesty and it's depth and that's fuckin' rare. What's sexy about the White Stripes?
 
Makers: Eew!! Nothing. I think what's sexy about them is that in a year they won't be around.
 
VIVA: What's the one record that every girl should own.... like if you went to her house and she didn't have it, you would be like, "I'm not fucking her."
 
Makers: Any album by the Faces. No Way Out by the Chocolate Watchband. The Beatles. Strawberry Alarm Clock.
 
VIVA: Would you rather go bowhunting with Ted Nugent or drink til you puke with Lemmy Kilmister?
 
Makers: I'd actually pick Ted Nugent....I'd go bowhunting for Ted Nugent.
 
VIVA: What color panties are you wearing and how long have you been wearing them?
 
Makers: [Usual rock star panoply of NONE, STRIPED BIKINI, NO COMMENT and BLACK BOXER BRIEFS.]

 

 

 

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