A Little Older and a Little More MindFUL

Mindless self indulgence and morningwood would seem to be a natural pairing… So I guess it makes sense that the lead singers (and mainman and woman) of Mindless Self...

Mindless self indulgence and morningwood would seem to be a natural pairing… So I guess it makes sense that the lead singers (and mainman and woman) of Mindless Self Indulgence (Jimmy Urine) and Morningwood (Chantal Claret) are an actual pair… or, couple… married, in fact.  And this Spring each will be on the road, celebrating a union… and a few reunions.  I recently had the privilege of chatting with Jimmy Urine (who is far more intellectual than you would ever expect of a man donning the name) in one of Mindless Self Indulgence’s first post-hiatus interviews… and likely the only one to take place (via phone) from the offices of a university English department…

Mindless Self Indulgence have spent the better part of the last decade and a half putting out what they once described as “Industrial Jungle Pussy Punk” and putting on legendarily notorious live shows that… well, would coincide with such a characterization.  However, their last studio album, If, dropped in 2008, and the last time they took their live show on the road was 2009.  Morningwood, the slightly less traditionally “offensive” of the two acts, have more of a dance punk thing going.  Their last album, Diamonds & Studs, dropped in 2009 and went on to produce several theme songs to VH1 “reality” shows, but the band’s been largely silent since then.

This March Mindless Self Indulgence and Morningwood are hitting the road for one of the year’s most raucous tours, including a March 7 stop at the Trocadero.  While it’s a comeback for MSI, it’s, unfortunately, a comeback and farewell for Morningwood, who are calling it quits after their string of East Coast dates as the support act for the tour: “[Chantal] has a whole new project coming out in late summer/early fall.”  Jimmy explains the first portion of the tour (that which includes Morningwood) as “A celebratory ending to Morningwood” and “Family fun for the East Coast leg.”

Jimmy explains the hiatus of sorts from MSI as being not so much an intentional disbanding, but something that happened after “Touring and doing records non-stop for, really, like 12 years,” saying simply “People wanted to have babies and do other things…”  The reason for the reuniting Jimmy cites as “A billion Twitter and Facebook messages asking ‘When are you gonna tour again?’”  In terms of how music in general has changed since the last time MSI was on the scene, he says “Shit’s kind of caught up with us.”  He reflects on the DVD the band released last year on Tighter, a re-release of their ultra-rare debut, Tight, documenting the band’s earliest performances in ’98 and ’99, saying “We look like we’re from the future.  The world’s kind of caught up with the way we think.”

“We kind of came up with how we sound in 1996… Jackass wasn’t even out on fucking MTV yet,” says Jimmy.  He tells me of MSI’s clichéd responses by DJs, along the lines of “We love Mindless, but you’re 10 years ahead of your time,” or “We can’t play that on the radio.”  “We didn’t set out to revolutionize music like Nirvana or some shit… But we always felt like we were prophets… No one sounded anything like us… We were just like ‘This shit sucks, don’t do this, dress up, and get crazy.’”  And Jimmy seems to think this has had an impact on music in general: “People are starting to accept ‘girls are playing guitars, these guys are in pink, these guys are talking about fucked up shit.’”  As far as the future of MSI, Jimmy tells me “We want to do more touring this year” and “We want to do a Mindless record, although that might not come out until 2013.”

…And the Philthy stop on the MSI/Morningwood tour is especially meaningful for Jimmy and Chantal.  “The Troc was the first night we officially hooked up,” Jimmy tells me, recalling “We met on the tour for You’ll Rebel to Anything [when] she was the opening act.”  He also has some particularly vivid memories of the Troc: “We usually play the Troc. The thing I always remember about the Troc. Is that the fuckin’ stage is a million miles high… It’s almost easier to just jump off the balcony because it’s only like five feet above the audience… which my guitarist does every time because it looks fucking rad.”


Band Interviews

During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.