Monday, April 30, 2012

Lisa G interview from 1996

Lisa G is on the left.
Here's another interview from the archives, and I'm hoping this hasn't already been published here.

I sat down with Lisa G., drummer, yelper and occasional guitarist with cub, at The Horseshoe Tavern here in Toronto for a little chat about her name, the Internet, and pizza toppings.

Friday, October 27, 1995

(Legend: S: Scott ... L: Lisa G. Other characters as they appear...)
S: Does the "G" mean anything or is it just for stage sake?

G: It's my middle name. It's Gertrud. It's just my last name is Nielsen and I hate it being misspelled. I've had it up to here. In school and everything it was always misspelled, driving me nuts.

S: I-e, e-i, is that what they'd screw up about it?

L: Yeah, N-I-E-L-S-E-N. But they spell it a million other ways, and it just drives me nuts, I hate spelling it.

S: Plus there's already another Lisa out there.

L: Exactly. So the G is one letter. (sarcastically) Oh, how do you spell that?

S: "Gee" I don't know.

L: Exactly.

S: What's with the revolving drummers? Do you have a Spinal Tap problem of drummers spontaneously combusting?

L: Really what the problem was is there was no problem. They had one drummer, and then they had somebody go on tour with them a couple of times -- David Carswell from The Smugglers -- and then Neko, who's a woman from Takoma, who also has a band called Meow in Vancouver.

S: I saw Neko when they were here in August.

L: Yeah. And she's actually on Betti-Cola. So it's all intertwined. So what happened was, then I joined because I would tour, and then I became the permanent drummer. And then what happened was, I have a summer job that when I joined cub, I said as long as I can keep my summer job.

S: What do you do?

L: I teach kids costume design in a theatre program. And it's eight weeks out of the summer. It's the only job I've ever liked and wanted to keep.

S: Is that your background? What did you expect to be when you grew up?

L: I wanted to be a mechanic and a baseball player, originally, and then I changed my mind.

S: A baseball player who also works on cars, or a mechanic who happens to play baseball?

L: (not quite getting the joke) Uh, no. Either or. I wanted to be *either* a mechanic or a baseball player.

S: And now you have the best of both worlds.

L: Yeah. I figured girls can do anything. That's the way I was brought up.

S: So I'm the guy who did that zine that I was handing out.

L: Perfect! I haven't even read it yet because I had such fabulous dinner companionship. I didn't need anything to read.

S: You went out with Pluto.

L: Yes. OH, HELLO! Speak of the devil.

(John, bassist/singer from Pluto walks up.)

John: Lisa G. rocks forever.

L: Aww, you rock harder.

S: Now he's not the only one that thinks that. Like I said to you Tuesday at that tiny gathering of people, there's a guy on the net who thinks that you're just to die for.

L: (sweetly) Ohhh, that's so nice.

S: And I've set my own web site up for you. So I'm wondering if cub, and you specifically, would have any message for the hundreds of people who are visiting the cub web site. Any message for the internauts, the net surfers. Anything you want them to know specifically, as opposed to your other hordes of fans?

L: (whistles) Oooh. Hm. I wish I could be on the Internet. I mean I wish I could be there on a regular basis, because I find that there's a lot of either strong dislike or strong like for cub, and I'd like to address all the dislikes, just for fun. Because that actually ... I mean I love hearing positive things but my favorite thing is to be able to hear negative things and to read a bad review or whatever, because that's what I like... to address. And I think that's important. I dunno, I'd like to say... A lot of people are saying that we can't play, and lately that's been kind of what's been bothering me lately. Because I think we can play. Maybe we play a little simplistic. Maybe it's not as full-sounding as people are used to cuz we don't have a million instruments going at the same time. But I think it's ... I dunno, just because it's women, I think people are always busy saying "they can't play."

S: Yeah, when I first saw you on Muchmusic, I thought... Like, my sister was into you before I ever was. And I just got Betti-cola in the summer from her and then I loved it. It's weird for me listening to a complex orchestrated band like Rush, which is what I listened to all the time, going to you guys, which is something, hey, I can play on my guitar. And I get a kick out of it because it's good. I got your split-CD with the Potatomen, and I think the playing is great on that.

L: I'm pretty proud of that. That was done in Lafayette with a friend of ours, .. who is actually in the Potatomen. We had to do it all in one day. We didn't get started until about three p-m in the afternoon. Okay, we went late into the night but not too too bad, and we had lots of Pepsi and lots of pizza, and it was just a comfortable, fun time.

S: It sounded great.

L: We actually recorded four songs. And we each had written four songs and then we did a cover.

S: Which one was the cover?

L: Runaway. Joan Jett. That's on the CD. Then if you get the seven-inch, it's got a song called "Green Eyes" on it.

S: I saw that in the set list. Did you get to it last time, cuz I didn't recognize it.

L: I think we always play it. I can't remember exactly. I would assume that we're playing it tonight.

S: Well you kind of veered away from the set list last time. You're to blame for that!

L: Yeah, yeah. I'm to blame?

S: Somebody requested "Surfer Girl" on Tuesday. And then you said `I'm not lookin' at the set list anymore!'

L: (laughing) Yeah, but at the same time, we want to play things that people want to hear. What the hell, eh?

S: So speaking of you had a lot of pizza and pepsi and stuff, I read somewhere that you enjoy feta cheese and artichoke hearts.

L: That's right! Hard to get when you're on tour.

S: It sounds bizarre.

L: Oh really, you've never had that?

S: No, I usually just go for really simple stuff. But artichoke hearts on pizza? How'd you get into that?

L: I don't know, really. Maybe there's more gourmet pizza around Vancouver, I'm not sure. But that would always be what I would order.

S: I imagine that's one of the things you miss about Vancouver. What else do you miss about Vancouver?

L: (whiney voice) I miss my friends! I don't know, I don't miss a lot, because I like to travel, and I like to be in different situations, and I like to experience different things. But the only thing that I would be missing at home is my friends. And maybe my own apartment. And a little bit of private time.

S: Where do you guys stay on tour?

L: Friends' houses, sometimes the venues put us up in a hotel or a band house. And then there's the really desperate times when we need maybe a hotel.

S: Cuz I can't imagine, like a show on Tuesday where a dozen people showed up...you're not making enough money to stay in hotels all the time.

L: No, we try as much as possible to do it free or do it cheaply. But sometimes you just need a hotel room, either because you don't want to bother somebody, and put them out because you're lying on their floor and they're getting up at eight o'clock in the morning. Or you just need space for yourself, y'know, that you can take a shower and ... I dunno, get a good night's sleep, cuz it's hard to get a good night's sleep on a floor sometimes. But it's good. That's also a good way to solidify friendships.

S: So you're good friends with everybody in the band?

L: Yeah. That's actually the only way I would ever recommend anybody do it. Because there seems to be a lot of stories I hear about where they don't even like each other.

S: Well I was reading... a bad example .. I was reading about Roxette, this week, how they're not friends anymore.

L: Who?

S: Roxette, "You've got the look, da da da da..."

L: Yeah.

S: They're not friends any more. They're still going to write together and work together and make records together, but they're not friends any more. That seems kind of weird.

L: Yeah, I wouldn't want to make music with enemies ever. I would only do it with people that I like, for sure. And people that you're comfortable enough with to bring your ideas to. And that of course takes time sometimes but, I don't know, it works.

S: Now, did you get to tour at all with the Muffs on that tour, or were you out on your summer job at that time?

L: I was doing the summer job. So I actually played with the Muffs only one time in Hell's Gate. And that was fun. And I would've liked to have got to know them. But the priorities were with the kids.

S: We interviewed Kim when they were in Toronto last time.

L: Oh, really? Ohhh .. I like her. Strong songwriter.

S: She was nice, really nice. She had a nasty cold. I see Ronnie's on the tour now. Are he and Lisa the item of the day now?

L: I would say they are definitely the item of the day.

S: They seem to be joined at the hip.

L: Well, you know, they are about the cutest thing that I know right now.

S: He's so tall and she's so tiny, it's so cute.

L: Being on tour with them is really easy. Because they get along and it's fun and you joke around and it's nice to hang around with people that like each other.

S: How did you hook up with Pansy Divison?

L: Gosh, that was probably done through a booking agent in Vancouver.

S: So you guys don't get to pick the bands who you go out with?

L: Sometimes we do. But this one sounded like something I wanted to be definitely a part of. When the show started in Vancouver, I was pretty proud watching them play. I really respect what they're doing. I think it's important to get out there and to show that there isn't all homosexual males aren't Judy Garland lovers or whatever.

S: They were lots of fun.

L: Yeah, they're really good show people, really nice people. I think that's what's important.

S: What's your favorite flavour of lip balm?

L: Oh, gosh, it'd probably have to be something like raspberry or strawberry or...

S: I think I asked most of my questions.

L: Oh really? Okay. That's easy! What was your name again?

S: I'm Scott.

L: Okay. Cuz I forget ALL the time. Scott Scott Scott Scott.

(Freaky bassist from Real Mackenzies walks by, all sweaty. Lisa and Freaky bassist used to date, apparently.)

L (to Mackenzie): That was SO excellent, you totally made me smile.

M: You changed your opinion of the Mackenzies? I TOLD you they were nice guys!

L: I'm so proud of you. You put on a really good show!

M: The feeling is mutual. I'm so proud of you when I see YOU play tonight. (yelling) I used to date her! Really I did, really I did, I did. A long time ago.

L: You look great. Oh, oh..

M: Oh man! You! You look fuckin'! Oh maaan! (to some guy in chain mail) What is your name?!

Guy: Mike.

M: Mike.

Guy: I'll see you guys on Tuesday.

M: Mike, wow.

L: Is that really chain mail?

M: Mike, wow, do you play bass, Mike.

Guy: No, I don't play.......

M: (snaps fingers) Shit. We need a bass player and you got....

Guy: Your guitar player's a bass player, what's he doing on bass?

M: I'm playing bass. Well, our bass player, it's not really a bestiality charge, it's a sheep importation thing...

(things get kind of weird)

M: (notices tape player) Oh! Oh! Jeeezus christ!

S: (pointing to box of things around Lisa's neck) Are those ear plugs or incense cones?

L: Earplugs!

S: Good fan.

L: Yeah, I think everyone should wear them.

S: I wear them. I don't go to shows without them.

L: Y'know, toilet paper does work. (demonstrates lifting ear)

S: My girlfriend's out there trying to wedge Kleenex in her ear.

L: It's the lifting and inserting. I just wish everyone would put them in before. I feel terrible.

S: Cuz you've got people like Sting and Pete Townshend who go deaf.

L: That's the problem. I don't wanna be deaf. It's pretty loud on stage sometimes, too. But I've tried to drum with earplugs and it's...I'm too slow.

S: Is it louder on stage or off stage? I've never been actually on stage playing music.

L: Sometimes it's less loud, right, cuz you only get the monitor sound. But then the problem is is feedback, and that's about the worst thing that can happen, ever.

(brief discussion on hearing and feedback)

L: Okay is that it?

S: That's it. Thank you so much.

L: Okay I'm gonna go to the bathroom, I hafta PEEEE like a racehorse.

S: Me too.

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