Frankly, when I listen to music, I just want to be entertained. I don’t need to be bludgeoned over the head with deep philosophical meanderings about the meaning of life by musicians who’ve proclaimed themselves experts on philosophy after reading one Sartre book. When Joey Ramone uttered the phrase, “I want to be sedated”, nobody asked him to discuss the struggles in his life that led him to write that iconic song. We took it at face value and bobbed our heads along to a wonderful melody.
Colleen Green creates music that’s funny, poignant and infectiously catchy. After releasing a number of great EP’s, her first album, “Sock It To Me” is one of the best albums of the year and can rightfully sit next to any of those old Ramones records.
My decision to ask her about the in-depth workings of her songwriting style, wasn’t one of my brightest. Ask Colleen why she uses a drum machine and she’ll tell you that she doesn’t know how to play the drums. Pick at a recent breakup and she’ll get a sad-face and shut you down. A brief look at her Twitter and Facebook user-names tells you that Colleen is all about fun and you’re welcome to join the party. I hope that you (and she) read this interview with an understanding of the comic effect of attempting to ask serious questions to a musician that really just wants to have fun. No disrespect intended. It’s just all I know…
Todd: I did an interview with Plateaus, where they discussed touring and playing with you as your backing band. Can you talk about that experience and how you felt about it compared to shows you’ve done with just you and a drum machine?
Colleen: Well, that wasn’t the first time I have played with other musicians. It was like the 20th time. It was fine, but it was done mostly out of convenience. For the next tour I go on, my band will be made up of people that I already know are chill, fun, and down-to-earth.
Todd: And on the new album? Solo, full-band or are you employing those robots that they use to play music at Chuck E Cheese?
Todd: Do you prefer playing solo or with a band?
Colleen: I like it both ways, but the true nature of CG is a solo act. Playing with a band is just for fun.
Todd: Singing, writing, playing guitar, making your own t-shirts, creating your own comic strip… Holy guacamole, you’re annoyingly talented! What part of the artistic process brings you the most enjoyment?
Colleen: I like it when a song is finalized. Recorded and totally finished.
Todd: In one of your interviews, you said that you do most of your writing, while touring. Is that still the case?
Colleen: I do absolutely no writing while on tour.
Todd: I think everyone assumes that all of your songs are autobiographical. Truth or fiction?
Colleen: Inspired by true events, make up your own ending.
Todd: I swear, every interview I read as I prepared for this interview was obsessed with your “lo-fi” sound! Let’s skip that and ask what bands were you listening to when you were “growing up”?
Colleen: Yeah, how lazy, right? Over the years growing up I loved The “Annie” Original Cast Recording, TLC, Boyz II Men, Sublime, Blink 182, Reel Big Fish, Rx Bandits, Goldfinger, and a lot of local Boston bands like The Explosion, Drexel, and The Lot Six.
Todd: You played shows at SXSW again this year. What’s the best/worst part of playing there?
Colleen: Best part is getting to see buds from all over the country that you don’t always get to see and eating good food and smoking weed. Worst part is the heat and the throngs of fucktards.
Todd: Shame on me, I only discovered Burger Records in the past few months, but you’re playing a Burger showcase in Dallas in March. What’s the story with them? Why do they seem to have a knack for associating with so many cool artists/bands?
Colleen: It’s not that they associate with cool bands. It’s that they tell everyone that the bands they’ve put out are cool and kids are extremely impressionable. Well, they also do associate with cool bands and that’s probably because they’re really super nice and smoke tons of weed.
Todd: I love Sock It To Me! Did you play everything on the album?
Colleen: Aww well thank you! I played almost everything on the album. Danny Rowland from Seapony helped me program some of the drums and he played lead guitar on “Heavy Shit” and “Time in the World”.
Todd: Can you talk a little bit about your writing style? Do you generally start with a vocal melody, a guitar melody or a lyric when you’re writing a song?
Colleen: I usually have stuff floating around in my head and I’ll think about it and try to play it and think about it some more and keep trying to play it until it turns into something. Sometimes what’s floating around in my head is a phrase of lyric, sometimes it’s a guitar riff, sometimes it’s a bass line.
Todd: What’s something that you wish people knew about you? I feel like the interviews I’ve read with you are only scratching the surface. Is there something all of us are missing?
Colleen: Some people are meant to know you well, and some people are meant to only know you a little. And I am fine with that.