STARFUCKER: MY UNCLE IS LIZA MINELLI
(from Jupiter available now from Badman)
Starfucker’s pop could get your head banging or your heart swooning, depending on where you stand in the room. The debut album Starfucker emerged from Josh Hodges feeling tempestuous about his life, and now he has a band of cross-dressing boys singing in harmony to spread the energy around. It’s fun to say ‘starfucker.’ This interview by Daiana Feuer.
Have you ever almost gotten a new butthole or other injury from tubing on a river?
Josh Hodges (vocals/guitar): Actually, everything’s in shape, but we got tickets for not having vests. We got $200 tickets! If you’re in an inner tube you don’t need a vest, but if you’re in a boat-type of raft, you have to wear one. The rafts we had were basically inner tubes with a little plastic bottom. Last time I was in L.A. I got a fucking jaywalking ticket and I forgot about it and now it’s like $500. It was on Sunset Boulevard—middle of the night. I was walking across the street to get a taco. There was no one on the street and the cop came out of nowhere. I’m like, ‘Damn, I am a grown-ass man. I can cross the street by my damn self!’
What’s that L.A. song ‘Holly’ about?
Josh Hodges: It’s about being addicted to ideas of success, being 80 years old and looking young and trying to make it. Being delusional, putting all your eggs in one basket. There’s just kind of a sad situation in Los Angeles that people get caught up in. They want to maintain a young spirit so they keep going for things they wanted when they were 20-something years old.
When was the first time you wore a dress?
Josh Hodges: Years ago. My mom was a fag hag. I spent my 21st birthday at a cross-dresser bar. My uncle is Liza Minnelli. Shawn really likes wearing dresses too. I feel like it shouldn’t matter. If you like dresses, wear a dress. We got all these crazy clothes in Reno once—Grandma’s gambling jumpsuit, which I wore at the Smell last time in L.A. before changing into my girl dress. I have this ’50s tight outfit—something Barbara Bush would wear. That’s my favorite thing.
I find it surprising how loud you guys are live compared to the smoothness of the album.
Josh Hodges: The CD I did on my own in my little room with my little self. Now with the band, everyone has a lot of flavor that adds in. It sounds different, doesn’t it? Keil—the new drummer—he is such a good drummer but it’s a really different style. I definitely wonder what it sounds like to people. I want the live show to be more energetic and louder than the album simply because there’s more energy going into creating the sound between us, and that way everyone’s magic reinvents the songs. For a long time we played house shows and had a huge speaker and PA and it was so fucking loud. I like to make it more intense.
Are you motivated by success?
Josh Hodges: I definitely wasn’t expecting anything like the success we’ve already got at all. It was something to do for fun—to the point of picking a stupid name. It was for fun. Now there’s a chance that we can pay rent from it sometimes. It changes the relationship with the music, but it’s exciting because what I like most is to play music and record music, and having more time for it is a dream come true. Even if it ended, I would still feel good about it. We are doing more than I thought to do. We’re going to Europe, Brazil. Getting to travel and play music, it’s a dream. I’m really excited for the new album. I am going to take my time with it. I usually do stuff on my own but I am going to do stuff with Keil. Keil is really good with computers and writing beats, doing remixes. I am picky and like to control everything. It’s hard to work with different people. I’ve done it before but I mostly do it alone then run it by others. I think it’s got to be all about just creating and making a song good. If what they add makes it better, that’s great. Finding a drummer is really hard because most wanna play spazzy rather than trying to find what makes it good and right for the song. A lot of times that might be something light or minimal. I am really lucky to have the guys I have.
How do you harness your creativity?
Josh Hodges: There’s definitely times that it just comes, but for me it’s best if I just do it and keep doing it and record. Even if I am in a bad mood I say, ‘This is shit,’ but come back and then I’m like, ‘Oh, this is actually cool.’ Coffee helps. Green tea. Usually I will drink tea all day long. And maté, that stuff is real good. I like alternating between coffee, maté, green and black tea, and powdered green tea. We went to Japan last year and it’s cheap there. The powder, you just stir it in and supposedly it’s really good for you because you’re consuming the actual leaves rather than just the water.
What are some useful lessons you apply to your present?
Josh Hodges: One, wait and chill—watch it and don’t react yet. Two, I am trying to be present more often than I used to be. It’s easy to drift off to fantasies of the future and past, and it’s nice when you can be present in the moment. Three, I think about death a lot, so I try to enjoy the present. It’s unavoidable to die and it can happen at any moment. Sometimes I can get paranoid and freak out and I imagine myself on my deathbed, but usually I want to enjoy the moment I am in.
What was your last nightmare?
Josh Hodges: The last nightmare I had was when I was moving back from New York to Portland and my whole life was all crazy and I broke up with my girlfriend and didn’t know what I was doing. I was living in some weird town. I had a dream I was youngish, maybe 40, dying from some disease and I was on my deathbed and full of regret and my friends were all like, ‘You’re a great musician; you’ve traveled all over!’ and I was like, ‘No, it’s shit.’ I still have that existential fear at night. Usually, during the day I can get distracted enough not to think about it. But yeah, it’s pretty intense.
At least you don’t wake up from a nightmare thinking there’s a stranger sitting on your bed and you’re holding his balls in your hand.
Josh Hodges: That makes me feel better. I will remember that.
STARFUCKER WITH DEELAY CEELAY AND STRENGTH ON TUES., OCT. 6, AT THE ECHO, 1822 SUNSET BLVD., ECHO PARK. 8 PM / $10 / ALL AGES. ATTHEECHO.COM. STARFUCKER’S JUPITER IS OUT NOW ON BADMAN. VISIT STARFUCKER AT MYSPACE.COM/STARFUCKERSS.