Michael you are a doll for playing along with my wacky doodle questions. I have a better idea of the driving force behind the passion in the music MEN projects off stage. MEN is tapping in to uncharted waters ,tackling gender issues while making you dance your ass off at the same. I was lucky enough to get a chance to dig into the surface of MEN and had the privelege of throwing some questions at Michael. What he threw back I was more then pleased with. What a babe! MEN will be playing a show Friday March 25t at Rickshaw Stop San Francisco, California, US - 7:00 PM
Q & A with Michael from MEN:
Accidental Bear: How did you all get together to become this power trio?
Michael: We all kind of know each other through mutual friends in NYC. We’re all part of one big gay family.
AB: I live in San Francisco where we are very gender bender friendly.Does your music cater to a certain scene?
Michael: I guess our music appeals mostly to the queer scene, because we’re talking about queer issues in most of our songs – and because we identify as queer ourselves. But we like to think that people of all kinds can get down to our music, if they like shredding guitars and sick dance beats!
AB: Shredding guitars and sick dance beats… YES PLEASE!
AB: Would you consider MEN an underground band? Music is so hard to identify these days with everything being mashed up?
Michael: Hmm. What is underground anymore? I think it used to mean something out of the mainstream that was unknown to the masses and hard to find. So yea – I guess that’s us…just try googling MEN! it’s not that easy to find us really. but also I think even within the gay scene we could be considered “underground”. We once got cancelled from playing DC PRIDE because they thought their audience was too mainstream to appreciate us.
AB: I love the “look” of your photos for promos and videos? Are they well thought out in a long drawn out process or accidentally brilliant?
Michael: They’re pretty well thought out, by JD mostly. In fact, I’m not a very visual person. I rely more on my other senses.
AB: Sports Bar or strip club?
Michael: Sports Bar. I like beer and pretzels. .. besides, I’d rather watch a team of hot basketball players than any strippers.
AB: MEN seems to have some amazing politics oozing from their songs? Are there any main issues that you all focus on?
Michael: It all comes back to our own struggle as queer people in the world. We talk a lot about gender, our bodies, money, war, the politics of relationships even. There’s a lot to swallow. But that’s why we do it with dance music. Makes it easier to contemplate the depressing world we live in.
AB: Who would you love to share the stage with?
Michael: I would love to share the stage with my heroes: Michael Jackson and Kurt Cobain…but they’re dead. it’s weird to realize your heroes were drug addicts, but aren’t we all? Ok, but if I had to choose someone living I’d say Mary J Blige. I just love her passion so much, I get chills!
AB: Who would you most like to have a sassy 70′s sunset walk on the beach with holding pinkys? ( you Michael and guess on the rest lol)
Michael: My friend A.L. Steiner and I recently got obsessed with a vintage porn called “Juice” … it’s the first thing that came to mind when i read this question, So yeah – probably one of those guys in that film. 70s porn is way hotter than it is now, don’t you think?
You want me to guess who my band mates would take a sassy 70s walk with?!
Hmm JD with Nancy Wilson (guitarist from Heart) and Tami with Stevie Nicks
AB: The worlds being demolished be natural disasters lately but I see more news about Lindsay Lohan? Can you explain, Im confused.
Michael: I think the Lindsay Lohan’s of the world do more damage actually. Natural disaster is the Earth’s way of putting itself back together.
AB: There is so much debate over the use of word Fag. Use it, don’t use it? I claim it and use it because I’m always goofing around and feel like it’s powerful . What do think of the usage of words like “fag” or even “gay”. Like, ” Thats so gay!”
Michael: I definitely think people can reclaim derogative words and flip them. I think that’s what it’s all about, and I think it’s a positive and powerful thing. At the same time, personally, I don’t really use the word Fag too much. i just don’t like the way it sounds.
AB: Your thought on gay for pay actors?
Michael: I see it a few ways. 1. Do whatever you want. 2. Do whatever you like to make money. 3. Don’t believe it when your porno says “Straight guys caught on tape” they’re probably as gay as you are!
AB: Are the songs on new album a collaboration effort or written by one of you? My FAVORITE song is ” Credit Card Babies” , especially the version on youtube of you all sitting in the van in parking lot. I was running this morning blurting out loud ” …..borrow someones cock…….. I’m gonna fuck my friends , I’m gonna fuck my…”. Is there a song you could claim to be your favorite? Or favorite to perform?
Michael: The songs are a collective effort. There were a lot of people involved in the writing of this record besides myself – JD Samson, Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Emily Roysdon. The songs were made in different ways. Credit Card Babies started with an idea from JD – she wanted to write a song about the struggles gay people face in having children. She and I had already been working on a dance track, so we merged the idea with the song and we all brainstormed the lyrics.
AB: I get a vegan vibe from MEN? Is my crystal ball right or wrong?
Michael: Your crystal ball is as accurate as the fortune teller in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure – as in completely wrong! We’re all major carnivores.
AB: Ha Ha you are a good sport. Are you flirting with me?
AB: If you had to erase any state in the US for whatever reason what would it be?
Michael: Oh that’s tough. I really love the US, and it’s so great to be able to travel around the country so many times. And I appreciate all of the states regardless of their reputation. But if I had to choose one I’d say Alaska – in hopes that Sarah Palin gets erased with it and the government starts to explore options beyond tapping for oil.
AB: So, you are playing at the Rickshaw Stop on Friday. What would happen if you had a pair of undies thrown at you from an adoring fan? (me)
Michael: I’d hang them from my mic stand and do a little Steven Tyler impersonation.
AB: Sweeeeet! I’ll be sure to wear my leopard print thong.
AB: What does the future hold for MEN?
Michael: JD and I are renting a house in the country this summer to write a new record! we are very excited to work on new material. We’ll also be playing Coachella in April and Lovebox festival in London, along with more touring! We love playing live, we just can’t stop…ever.
AB: If you could pick one color that represented MEN what would it be?
Michael: Lavender. And if I had to pick a scent it would probably be lavender too. We’re all lesbian hippies at heart – myself included.
AB: How did I know this was going to be the answer. I’m actually a lesbian hippy at heart, but many people don’t know that.
AB: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say hershey Squirt?
AB: And a question for my Bear readers. When someone refers to a gay Bear ( as in human) what comes to mind? Facial Hair or smooth? Hot or not? Chubby chasers?
Michael: I think of hairy and chubby guys. Um, have you seen our video for “Off Our Backs” ?? HOT!
AB: Love that video. Sweat, hairy forearms and backs = utopia and love (lust)
AB: Any musical guilty pleasures? I’ll tell you mine first to make you feel better, Kelly Clarkson. Now you.
Michael: Miley Cyrus “Party in the USA” is a band favorite. JD and I are also celebrating our coming out this year – as Phish fans!
AB: In the gay community lately there is a much larger trans presence. Do you feel as if the world is becoming more accepting of transgendered folks? What steps need to be made? I see trans phobia within the gay community itself and that’s really sad.
Michael: I think the gender movement is the next frontier. We need to stop seeing each other as Male or Female and instead just see people for themselves. I really don’t think people fit so easily into either category – and yes, i think the world is catching on. My perspective is obviously skewed – i live in a queer bubble, but i think queer people set the trends for lots of things – style, music, art, what neighborhoods to live in, etc… and the rest of the world usually follows. it just takes time. There’s in-fighting within any movement too, but it’s that conflict that pushes us to work harder at understanding the issues. Personally, I belong to a very accepting queer community where there is no transphobia.
Michael you are a total sweet heart for taking the time out of your insane tour schedule to please the masses with your thoughtful answer and insight. Give the other 2 big bear hugs from me. See you Friday at the Rickshaw.