Monday, March 11, 2013

INTERVIEW WITH JULIET SWANGO OF THE FOXX

The Foxx: Répondez-vous s'il vous plait?
photo credit: Devan Council


Where are you?

Greenpoint, Brooklyn!

Better Fox(x): the band or The Rondelles' album?

Lila vs. The Fox... The Foxx has never achieved the level of The Fox in terms of success, though in my mind we succeeded with Lila in creating something people can enjoy. What The Fox really had going was that delightful duality between me and Oakley Munson. I believe it demonstrated the pinnacle of the final stretch of the Munson/Swango pairing perfectly; there are songs written by Swango, there are songs written by Munson, and there are songs to which each party contributed separate sections. It’s almost exactly equally distributed between the two people. The result was the highly satisfying product you can still enjoy today, standing the test of time 13 years on! By contrast, The Foxx now is just me featuring a rotating cast of players - not to in any way diminish their contributions, but I’ve never had the extended thrust again, if you will, of that magical duo that brought you The Fox. So in a way it's not a fair comparison; I do miss having that other songwriter in the band. The Foxx is the underdog, The Fox the defeating champ! Now entering the final round! Enough sports analogies?



What is the most complicated French word you know?

Respondez-vous, s'il vous plait!

We give you three free songs on the jukebox; what are you playing?

"So Long" by Abba, "Ring Ring" by Abba, "What About Livingstone" by Abba.


Best all girl band after The Foxx: The Runaways, The Go-Go's or Girlschool?

The Go-Gos were the most influential of the three on my little budding songwriting as a teenager. I bought the Beauty and the Beat CD at Hastings when I was about 15; it was I think only like the 5th album I ever purchased or something. It was at that time when you're buying lifelong stuff alongside some very questionable stuff. And that was that. Charlotte Caffey and Jane Wiedlin were really one of the most terrific pop songwriting duos ever. I still get my mind blown every time I hear it.
The album art and the production are just absolutely perfect, too. It's the perfect pop album - Beauty and the Beat is just it. I'm a Runaways lover, but they came a bit later for me, and so did Girlschool - just past that really key period. They were really playing in a league with the boys, snaking that machismo. I didn't get it until a few years after the Go-Go's, who were non-threatening and easy to get into as such a horribly awkward late-starter type. I guess the Runaways and Girlschool were a little challenging for me. I fell in love with punk hard and early (starting with Born Innocent of course, the best place to start), but they were really more metal than punk, and I was scared. Also, I've never really been influenced by their music in my writing very much. The Go-Go's writing was so sophisticated, it was big-league - I actually think they were very important, to tell you the truth. I've just always admired them and aspired to what they did. Fun fact, the guy that mastered it, Greg Kalbi, through some great stroke of luck for yours truly actually mastered the first Rondelles album. That was a pretty neat thing, to have even some tiny connection to the Go-Go's - I'll never get over that!

 

Finish this sentence: "Don't start blaming your heart, blame your______________."

"Don't start blaming your heart, blame your stupid fucking amplifier", would be the title of my memoir.

Would you prefer to share vocal duties with Debbie Harry or have Marc Bolan as your guitar player?

Marc Bolan!


Greenpoint, Albuquerque or DC?

Albuquerque for the easy lifestyle that always allowed me to do music with no intrusions. I had an upright piano, practice room, dogs, a yard, cheap rent, perfect weather, so few challenges. It's the place to live if you want to hole up and write, but if you ever want to share that expression with others, you've really got to go somewhere else. Just not DC. For the love of God, not DC.

Best part of seeing Paul Collins play at Cake Shop?

I never thought I would hear the song "Rock And Roll Girl" live - never even crossed my mind that was a possibility! I've been listening to The Beat since I was 18 or so, due to a compilation that had one of my favorite bands at that time covering that song. I tracked down the original version back then, and was instantly in love with the album, which has not faded. To see and hear that in the flesh was spectacular. 


Juliet's pics of Paul Collins @ Cake Shop, NYC February 2nd, 2013




Best advice you ever got?

The day I was moving out of my last apartment, here in Greenpoint. Our first-floor neighbors were this incredibly sweet old couple. Carmela, the wife, and I would chat, she'd give me and my roommates homemade cookies, something you really don't get living here, and I was so grateful to have them there. As I waited for a car out front with the last of my items that wouldn't fit in the moving van, I was at that peak moment of ultimate anxiety when you're going to meet the truck at the new apartment, and I was such a mess, awkwardly trying to make conversation with her but freaking out about moving, just on auto-pilot, and actually really sad that they wouldn't be my neighbors but just like a total ball of nerves, even a lot more so than usual. Carmela wanted to say something to me - she said, "You and I are kind of similar, wound up all the time. Someone told me this a long time ago, and I'll never forget it, and it helped me. Just stop it. Relax."

-----
Listen to The Foxx here:

-----
Links:

The Foxx on Facebook
The Rondelles on Wikipedia

No comments:

Post a Comment