Sometimes we get to stretch the “mostly” in Mostly Minnestoa Music to celebrate some folks who have gone to warmer climates – such as the Lemon Drop Gang. They are back to music after a hiatus and are sounding great. We appreciate their uplifting answers to our five questions on the day of release for Sweetie Pie!
I love less-than-happy tale with an upbeat tempo so love Sweetie Pie. But between Sweetie Pie and The Party’s Over what are you trying to tell us about 2023?
The songs will mean different things to different listeners, however I do think they are both “end of innocence” type of songs. Both indicate the end of an era, whether a personal relationship, feeling about life, or socio-political various stages and changes and endings, yet beginnings. And also middle fingers to the world. The Party’s Over is a somewhat apocalyptic post-pandemic flip out. There is a realization of change and loss, and humor about the suckiness of life, but with a hopeful edge that more fun could still be had.
Not knowing the answer to the first question before I ask the second, I can read into Sweetie Pie a feminist message. Is that just me, or is the music helping to lift a message that women can be more than the sweetie pie?
Agreed that women can definitely be more than a sweetie pie, but the song also turns that phrase on it’s edge and sends it back at the “middle school-type” boys, also known as hipster doofuses, and presses for those boys to take a look inward. It reminisces about the inequality of young girls at middle school lunch, while the boys get to be disgusting messy insensitive jerks, and the girls who have already passed them by do not want their attention anyway. It’s an allegory for the messed up gender roles that annoy so many women and young girls to this day. We are expected to endure, not express ourselves truly (and this is also a shout out to the LGBTQ community to get out there and sass off and be yourself and tell the boring dudes who think they know and run everything that they DON’T). It’s kind of a “You Don’t Own Me” send up. I’m going to do what I want and you don’t get to have anything to say about that. Just watch and enjoy.
Please tell us about your Minnesota connection.
Johnny and I met at the Turf Club in St. Paul, Minnesota, where we both played in bands and generally just tried to stay up as late as possible and have as much fun and free drinks as we could consume in the Clown Lounge (the speakeasy basement bar of the Turf Club). It was barrels of fun! Johnny played in the Magnolias and Magnatone and I played in a crazy almost vaudevillian garage-art band called Beangirl. Eventually Beangirl made friends with Jonathan Richman (one of our idols) and we got to play a bunch of shows as a supporting band for his act, which really sent me over the moon. Now it’s come full circle on this single where we have Tommy Larkins, who plays drums for Jonathan, playing drums on these tracks. We all live in Tucson, Arizona, where the weather is much more fun and you can rock all you want! It’s a lot like the Twin Cities was back when we were running wild and playing all the time, where everyone is in 20 bands and we all play together. It’s a cool music community.
And how do you think that Minnesota connection seeps into your music today?
We always loved the creative woodshedding music scene in the Twin Cities and it showed me how to open up and take risks and have fun (well I already knew how to have fun!). But I learned that it’s important to do things that you think you might be bad at, because you could end up doing something really unique and crazy and expressive, and that is how you can end up helping people – by being your own special weird self, my dear sweetie pies. Also, our single was mastered by our dear buddy, Jacques Wait, who lives in Minneapolis and is a former bandmate of Johnny’s. We all love how he made the sound of the single burn hard and fuzz out in your face!
How does it feel to be back on the stage after four years? And any chance you’ll be heading up north?
It feels GREAT! I used to get depressed if I didn’t play live on stage for like a month, and now after four years I am ready to EXPLODE!!! I love performing live because I love interacting with a rock and roll audience and band members. It is a life force and makes you feel like you are a wild exotic painting that has come alive to wreak havoc. I would love to come back and play up in the Twin Cities and flip out on the old stomping grounds. Bring it!!