“A Couple of Guys Ran Out After the Exploding Penis” – Peaches on her Rock Opera ‘Peaches Does Herself’
Justin Bieber did it, One Direction did it, Katy Perry’s made me cry, so it only made sense that the next artist to put a movie out there about their life would be… Peaches?!
Except the Peaches movie—as you might expect—is a little different. Peaches Does Herself is a sort-of autobiographical rock opera of Peaches’ life, soundtracked by her music, filmed on stage in Berlin. Screened at festivals around the world, the movie has finally made it to New York, where I watched it on my computer, at my desk, living the ultimate NSFW dream.
Peaches was, of course, fairly forthcoming with her answers when I talked to her about the film, so if you’re of nervous disposition, go read Women’s Wear Daily.
Noisey: Peaches, you’re in New York for a week-long run of screenings of Peaches Does Herself, how is it being received?
Peaches: There’s been an incredible reception actually, we’ve had great reviews from unexpected mainstream people, people are really enjoying it theatrically. It’s been great.
And you’ve been garnering comparisons with the Rocky Horror Picture Show?
Well there should be one of those every generation. It does borrow from the stage show idea, and it’s kinda low budget, but it works. We realized it could work without looking like a weird high school performance. It was always the plan to document the show but not necessarily to turn it into a feature. Actually I’m sure when filmmakers hear about it they’re probably really angry at me for not spending so much more money: think about all the technology I could have used to make this film…
But the movie is pretty much exactly what you saw on stage?
Yeah, all of it was filmed live apart from a couple of hours when I called people in to film close-ups.
Yes because they are certain close up shots which are fairly essential to capture…
Yeah like watching the insertion of the matchsticks into the nipples, that’s fairly essential.
Well yes, that’s one of them. The critics and your fans maybe knew what to expect, but have you seen people at the shows who didn’t quite know how to take it?
I’ve included a lot of forward future gender ideas and a lot of dumbed down dick pussy visual jokes, there are levels of humor as well as comments on real things, but there’s also an element of gore in the show that I’m quite proud of. The show is quite sweet in a lot of ways, so I really liked the gore, but it actually didn’t go far enough in the first round of the stage show. In the second round we had this dildo company that made the dildos and the breasts and the exploding penis, and eventually the exploding breasts, but for the first round it was only the exploding penis.
There were always one or two guys who ran out of the theater after the exploding penis. They were fine until that point, but just could not see that. I wish they had seen the exploding breasts too so it wouldn’t feel like it was just the men. That’s my biggest groan.
The costumes in the show are just incredible. Did you have a lot of say over that?
Yes definitely, John Renaud was involved and he’s made costumes for me for a long time. Vaughan Alexander is the one that just came up to me at a show in New York and said, “I will make costumes for you,” and he made me incredible costumes. John made that purple costume in the show, but I knew the color I wanted, I knew I wanted it leather, I knew what shape.
You look like a superhero in that number. And the cast of the show are great, where did you find them?
That’s just them. Everyone is just playing themselves. Sandy Kane (New York’s original Naked Cowgirl), is not really directable. I knew if I asked her to sing my songs she would probably remember about three lyrics, so for “AA XXX” she was rapping. She’s never rapped before, but there she is on stage rapping and making way dirtier stuff than I could ever. I would never even go there…
And then there’s (transsexual porn star) Dannii Daniels who plays your lover…
Dannii and I met right before I went into show production. We met and she said, “Oh I lost my virginity in the back of a van in Florida listening to your music.” It was like, “Wow that’s the missing voice, that’s the new standard of beauty that I want in my shows.” I’m just so lucky that Dannii was game for it.
So is this or is this not an autobiographical film?
You know, people always talk about me saying, “She’s so macho, is that a guy, does she have a dick in her pants, why are her armpits so hairy?” And I always think, what does that even have to do with anything? But then I thought, I’m just going to honor all these things instead of avoiding them and use them as part of the mythology.
For a second I thought, here’s my chance, I’m gonna show people I’m more than just “dick pussy,” and then I thought, no wait, I’m going to be exactly that. I’ve built up all that, so I just went for it. People find it much more sweet and emotional than they thought they would. It’s not like talking heads going “Oh Peaches is such a great performer because she’s uninhibited,” like all those other talking head band movies. I also didn’t want to make a jukebox musical—when you take an artist’s body of work and turn it into a musical that has nothing to do with that artist or anything they stand for.
Like Mamma Mia?
Well I’m not entirely sure what ABBA stood for, but I always use the example of We Will Rock You. Freddie Mercury could have had this incredible story using his music and instead you have this story about, “Oh, the world is losing its music and we must find the hidden guitar and I am Galileo and I am Figaro…” That’s not what Freddie Mercury was about or what he stood for. I didn’t want to do that. Some people might say, “What an egomaniac,” but people might somehow now have a better idea of who I am.
Did people not know already?
I performed at Slutwalk a couple of years ago and there were three performers. The first went on and she was obviously a woman, but still kind of androgynous and she was doing this Loverboy rap music—a mixture between LL Cool J, G Love, and Special Sauce. I’m in the audience and everyone around me is going, “Oh that’s Peaches. Then this next performer comes on, my friend Mad Kate, total opposite, her make up is insane, she’s always topless, doing performance arty dancing on stage, and again people are yelling “Peaches!” at the stage. So there are plenty of people who think they know who I am, but now I guess they will have a more coherent picture.
And what’s next for the actual Peaches?
I was meant to spend this last year working on a new album, but then this film took over and I really went for it. Now I’ll finally be starting work on a new record. It will take time, but I’m looking forward to it.
Georgie’s favorite part was when Peaches sings “Fuck the Pain Away” on a motorbike with exploded boobs. Check out Georgie’s radio show, Pop Goes the Future on EVR every Friday and speak to her about exploding tits on Twitter - @Georgieokell.