Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Nov 26th 2009 12:30PM by Shelley White
"I'm breaking down the rock cliches and breaking down the fashion cliches, breaking down the stereotypical sexual cliches," Peaches tells Spinner. "I'm breaking down what you're used to seeing a woman onstage doing -- and for that matter, used to anyone onstage doing."
In the near-decade since she released her first album, 'The Teaches Of Peaches,' Toronto-born Merrill Nisker has carved a path of iconoclastic outrageousness and left a trail of highly successful female artists in her wake.
She's no doubt sick of people citing the many Peaches-esque singles that have littered the radio in the last few years, but who can resist? There's Avril Lavigne's 'I Don't Have To Try' (sounds just like 'I'm the Kinda Bitch'), Fergie's naughty 'Fergalicious' rap, Gwen Stefani's 'Hollaback Girl,' and raunchy rap newcomers like Uffie and Amanda Blank. All these echoes of her work are not lost on Peaches.
"I think it's flattering for sure. I had this idea I thought was missing for women in music, just to be direct," she says, "and I was right. So it's cool."
"What I found really interesting was that Avril Lavigne, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Pink, in the early 2000s they were very, very popular and they were all kids. And every time they made that transitional album from girl to woman they cited Peaches as an influence, which was really cool. It was good to know they could use my power to continue on in whatever way they wanted."
And there is, of course, the most recent uber-famous baby peach, Lady Gaga, who seems to have taken 'The Teaches of Peaches' to heart. Gaga emulates her style, from innuendo-filled rap sections to gender-bending, glamorous-weird, ugly-beautiful stage concoctions. Peaches seems to hedge when the 'Poker Face' singer comes up.
"She's said things that I said five years ago about opening up about sexuality -- and people are still shocked by it -- which means it's necessary to keep talking about it," says Peaches. "She's reaching a younger audience, like 12-year-olds, so it's cool that they're hearing about things that are weird and seeing things that are weird."
Then Peaches leans in and stage-whispers, "I just wish the music was better."
But Lady Gaga's young, isn't she still growing?
"Yeah, but she's a songwriter," says Peaches. "She should do better than that. Especially because she's got so much attention and money."
Peaches herself has grown over the years as a songwriter and producer. Her latest album, 'I Feel Cream,' contains a lot more singing and emotional content than previous records. But it's not devoid of Peaches' signature hard beats and nasty lyrics -- just check opening track 'Serpentine'. There's no doubt that one of Peaches' lasting legacies will be her 2000 single 'F--- The Pain Away,' a song that she says will be with her forever.
"I meet people in middle-America on days off who have no clue who I am. I'll be canoeing somewhere and they'll know that song," she says. "Once a girl was having a sweet sixteen at a club we were playing. We were there and she came to visit and I said, 'Do you know Peaches?' She said 'No'. I said, 'F--- the Pain Away' and she was like..." -- Peaches breaks into song -- "'Sucking on my t-----s like you wanted me...' And I said to her, 'That's me' and she was like, 'Ooooh!' Everybody knows that song, but it's never been on the radio and it's never been on TV, which is awesome. And that was before MySpace and Facebook and all that."
It seems like women still can't catch a break in the music industry. Madonna, one of the most successful artists of the past three decades, gets slagged for being old, and pretty much has to look perfect and sculpted and forever-youthful. If women, especially older women, are going to make it in music, they've got to maintain.
"You know who dispels that myth? Patti Smith," counters Peaches. "She spits on her own face and leaves the gob there on purpose."
It's clear Peaches shares something with Patti Smith -- both are highly influential artists that, for the most part, are appreciated outside of the mainstream and live on the sidelines of superstardom. Is that the inevitable fate of all real pioneers?
"I don't know," says Peaches. "Let's hope not."