Articles - Interviews - "We Have a lot of Masks, and a lot of Attitude – Les Georges Leningrad!"

Whilst I was visiting the great city of Montreal I was passed along a disc of this strange art punk group called – Les Georges Leningrad. This band, made up of two boys and two girls, crafts inspired and obtrusively Slits-esque punk with a modern twist. And they are increasingly becoming a bigger phenomenon after tours with Erase Errata, the Numbers and the Locust. I had a chance to chat with these Alice in Wonderland rock stars after their first show in NYC in April, 2003.
 
BG – So, who plays what instrument in the band?
 
PO – We can name our names, but we play everything.
 
MI – Yeah, my name is Mingo.
 
PO – My name is Pony!
 
TU – My name is Tundra!
 
LO – My name is Lou from India and I am playing the drums, I sing a little bit, and I am playing the beatbox.
 
BG – And is this your first US tour?
 
TU – Yes it is.
 
LO – And we are really happy because people here are so kind. Because in Quebec, people say that Americans are bad people.
 
TU – It’s the media who says that!
 
LO – No, no, it’s true. We were in Baltimore, and Washington, and things, and people are so, so, so fucking nice.
 
PO – But bacteria was not part of the party. Bacteria…SARS… We didn’t get any syndrome at all.
 
TU – It actually made me paranoid… I wondered, “Hmmm… Why are they so nice?” It made me paranoid.
 
BG – Yeah, just last week my friend bought an An Albtross t-shirt and left it in the club (in NYC) by accident. We went back to the show and it was still there!
 
PO – Still a small city…
 
BG – Maybe people thought it smelled bad, or something….
 
TU – Ah, yeah, “Bad Smell.”

BG – Any trouble getting over the boarder?
 
PO – No, because we have a pink drum…
 
MI – Yeah, we have a pink drum.
 
LO – First of all, it was a woman (inspector)…
 
PO – She fell in love.
 
LO – We are more comfortable with womens. Because we like womens, ya know? Even womens like womens, in the band, ya know? So we… (Lou starts dancing and making the love juice motions)…
 
PO – So there were very funky costumes.
 
BG – You didn’t have to pay a tax?
 
LO – No.
 
TU – She didn’t check anything. She did not even ask us if we have food…nothing…Just, “Have a great trip in America.”
 
LO – But check for the Murphy’s Law, because when we go back…
 
PO – And check for the monkey law too…
 
BG – So you guya think America’s okay, huh?
 
ALL – YEAH!
 
TU – Because, I will take Lou of Bombay’s word, that in America there’s the worst and best, because there’s so much country and so many people. You guys have the best things and the worst things.
 
PO – There’s the “P,” and there’s the “T,” and there’s the “Lou,” and there’s the “P,” and there’s no “W.”
 
LO – You guys shit the best things ever and the worst things ever, and we like that.
 
TU – It’s interesting.
 
LO – We are that!
 
MI – This is like a magnet.
 
PO – This is like a pearl on shit, umm…screen…
 
TU – It’s like life, you know? It’s not good, it’s interesting.
 
MI – It feels like home.
 
BG – How do you guys feel about the war with Iraq?
 
PO – We don’t talk about it. We don’t care.
 
MI – I don’t have a position.
 
TU – We don’t talk about politics.
 
PO – We are not John Lennon, we are Les Georges Leningrad.
 
BG – Oooooookay, moving on, so what does Montreal think of Les Georges Leningrad?
 
TU – Oh…are friends are wacko…
 
LO – They think we are really a bad taste…situation.
 
TU – Don’t listen to him! We’re not that bad…
 
LO – We are the gross.
 
TU – We are the graveyard of that city.
 
LO – We are the pudding in North America.
 
TU – We are kind of like vampires in the nighttime.
 
PO – The bats!
 
TU – They just want to hang around and have a good breakfast.
 
PO – Bats…but every color of bats…
 
MI – They like us very much.
 
PO – Yeah, we are so lovely.
 
TU – They respect us at least…
 
PO – Kelly Osbourne would like it (Noting my Kelly Osbourne cap).
 
BG – Don’t be knocking my girl, Kelly… Alright, so do you guys tour Canada a lot?
 
ALL – No.
 
LO – Maybe…
 
TU – But not now…
 
MI – Cause we are young and we are dust.
 
TU – Dusty?
 
LO – Dusty and young…and cab drivers are so…….careful with that axe, Eugene…
 
BG – Word. So how’d you hook up with Erase Errata for this tour?
 
TU – They came to play in Montreal and we got along so good….
 
MI – Yeah, it is like a love story.
 
TU – They are kids, like us.
 
PO – Lovely moustache girls…
 
MI – This is like the love boat.
 
TU – We are like kids playing in the yard.
 
LO – We are like kids. And those girls are like kids. And kids together are like…a big, big…
 
PO – Retarded sideshow…showcase…
 
BG – The Errata girls treating you all right on the tour?
 
TU – Oh yeah… They treat us with smiles.
 
LO – I’m fucking surprised everything is so easy… People are so kind, everywhere we crash, and people are so artistic and imaginative, and… We were in Providence (RI) with that guy…a fireman, and I was sleeping at his little place and he said, “Oh, you want condoms?” No, no, no…
 
TU – For fucking with your girlfriend…
 
LO - …but I saw his library…all the books, Shakespeare, Sartre…I was like, “Woah.”
 
TU – He was an arty firefighter.
 
LO – An intelligent firefighter…
 
BG – Did the fireman have to get called into work the nextday?
 
LO – No, no cause he was drunk….and really cozy…
 
TU – He didn’t answer the phone in the morning.
 
LO – He was a little scary with the leatherjacket, but after he was like a little kid.
 
TU – Like us. We hang around with kids. All of our notion is based on pleasure. When there is no more pleasure there is no more Les Georges Leningrad. It’s the law.
 
BG – That’s what Johnny Rotten said about the Sex Pistols once.
 
TU – Yay? Aww…Johnny knows what he’s talking about.
 
PO – But we are not saving a queen.
 
TU – I’m the queen. You’ll have to save me.
 
PO – No! I’ll punch you! Because  I am the queen! We are the twin towers! Go on a tour of the twin tours! (giggles)
 
BG – So! You guys have one record out now. One full-length album, right?
 
TU – Yay. A big LP. Red.
 
LO – It’s called – Deux Hotdogs Moutarde Chou.
 
TU – Which means – Two Hotdogs, Mustard and cabbage.
 
MI – Coleslaw.
 
TU – No, cabbage.
 
LO – Coleslaw.
 
PO – It’s like an erotic plastic toy.
 
LO – It’s not good for the ears, but it’s really creative. It’s just that we don’t have any money or stuff…
 
TU – Scratch kitchen. Les Georges Leningrad is like a scratch kitchen.
 
BG – So did you put the record out yourselves, or did you get a record label?
 
TU – We are gonna have a label for the next one, but this one we did ourselves because we wanted to do it ourselves.
 
PO – It’s the Coco Cognac label.
 
TU – It’s independent. It’s also made in Tawian, by the way.
 
LO – But we’ll be on something that you didn’t think about…
 
PO – But it is very mysterious, you will not know anything about it.
 
BG – A secret!?
 
PO – Yay, no scoop, no scoop.

BG – Okay, so how did you guys form as a band?
 
TU – Woah…Lou from Bombay could, maybe, answer that…
 
LO – You know those houses? You know those places?
 
TU – Haunted places.
 
LO – We met in those places… Those really scary places…it’s fucking true…
 
PO – There was a weegie board included…
 
LO – It was called…it was called…it was called…SAVAGE!…SAVAGE!
 
TU – Yeah, we got together in this haunted house and we scared each other without knowing that we were there and we said we have to do something together, so…
 
BG – Kinda like Scooby Doo.
 
LO – I started with Mingo, and we were getting naked all the time, and then the girls came…
 
PO – Afterwards there were the girls playing under the tables.
 
LO – We were always getting drunk and naked…
 
TU – In the haunted house… And then me and Mingo started to be naked in the haunted house playing together… So we meet each other like that.
 
LO – Yeah, we were playing in that house, like…Stooges kind of things, then the girls came, and then the girls sang…under the table… Then we said that’s our girls; that’s our people.
 
TU – And that’s where Les Georges Leningrad comes from.
 
PO – It came out on a Christmas party and after that everything was done.
 
LO – Yeah! Cause Christmas is really important to us.
 
TU – We like holiday. Presents…yeeeeeah…
 
BG – And what does the band’s name mean?
 
PO – Les Georges Leningrad.
 
LO – I’ll take the mic for that. It’s one name and it’s one city. It can be a lot of names and a lot of cities. It can be Les Paul Alexandria, or Les Marcel New York.
 
PO – Or Les Georges Bagdad.
 
LO – Because we have this name…we have this guy and we have this city. Investigation, you know? We are searching for something. But we have a name and a city, and the game goes on…
 
PO – Or Lily de Paris.
 
MI – Or the Roger Baltimore.
 
LO – We saw that Roger Baltimore and it was scary.
 
PO – It is all about the petro-chemical rock and the nuclear power stations.
 
TU – Yes, we are pioneers of the petro-chemical rock, by the way. If you don’t ask the question I’ll tell you the answer.
 
LO – But it is an image too concrete, not in the socks, but too concrete…the creation, you know?
 
BG – Yeeeaaahhh…no… Okay, moving on… So Les Lily de Paris mixes performance art with the punk music. Do you prefer one over the other?
 
TU – One does not go without the other.
 
PO – Yeah, eating chicken nuggets…or laughing with the everyday apocalypse…
 
LO – Yeah, remember that – laugh with the everyday apocalypse, and you’ll stay a kid, like us.
 
PO – Being a taxi-driver in a very strange city; it’s all about that. Or being a pirate in a haunted house…or looking for treasure in the…the…what is this? (Pointing at the ground)
 
LO – The sewer! Pirate sewers! Sewer Pirates! With rats and things…
 
BG – Hmm…but how do you keep  your live shows new and fresh? Do you come up with new costumes?
 
LO – All the time.
 
PO – All the time. Anywhere.
 
BG – Well, I’m sure that mask Mingo wore on stage tonight took some time to make…
 
TU – We have a lot of masks, and a lot of attitude.
 
LO – Everything is changing all the time…we don’t even know what’s going on each night…
 
BG – Les Buddist’s Leningrad!
 
TU – It’s like you, when you decide each morning, “Should I put on my red underwear, or my black underwear…”
 
LO – Am I a marine, am I ugly, well, I’m so ugly all the time, but…All kid stuff, you know? Canada! Paris! Policeman!
 
TU – Taxi Driver! Carpenter!
 
BG – What do you think about the music of today? Do you think it’s getting better with bands, such as yourselves, popping up?
 
TU – It’s not better, the world is changing…it’s just…
 
LO – It’s so better.
 
TU – It’s changing through the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s….it’s always going to have good things and bad things…
 
LO – But I think it’s better all the time. I see bands every time…getting better.
 
PO – Until we die we will always be doing better.
 
LO – And so original…I see a lot of bands…so pure…
 
BG – Okay, so what about the Canadian punk scene? Better?
 
PO – We don’t care about the Canadian scene.
 
TU – Nah, it’s a world scene.
 
BG – Well I, for one, am getting ready for the Canadian Invasion.
 
LO – Noooo!
 
MI – No Canadian Invasion…
 
LO – Canadians are like beavers…
 
PO – I like watching TV and that’s all…
 
LO – We love Canadian animals, but not Canadian bands…
 
PO – Canadian animals are pretty good though…the badger, the raccoon….
 
TU – The wolverine!
 
LO – Deer…
 
PO – Polar Bears…
 
MI – The moose.
 
PO – Canadian animals are so wonderful…the wild life is really Canadian.
 
TU – I got a great fur coat with Canadian animals. I love to eat it and wear it.
 
BG – Oh no…
 
TU – Yeah, we are on top of the food chain.
 
BG – I’m not going to go there… So…how old were you when you wanted to start a band?
 
PO – 85!
 
TU – 64!
 
LO – 3…yeah…I was 3…
 
BG – Have any of you been in other bands that has release some records?
 
MI – No, no… but I used to be with Erase Errata, but they put me out…
 
BG – Not enough money for the sex change, right?
 
MI – Yeah…
 
BG – Okay, anything else to add?
 
LO – We are kids and we like sissy things.
 
MI – I’m going to go have a drink cause I am an alcoholic.

Interview and photos by Joe Domino. This interview was featured in an issue of Maximum Rock N Roll

 
 
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