Popshifter: Cale’s performances during this period (late 1970s – early 1980s) sometimes became pretty shambolic, such as the one in this version of “Heartbreak Hotel.” Can you elaborate by giving me anecdotes about some of his actions during this time? (I find some of his stunts to be hilarious; I think he meant them to be hilarious, personally.)
Deerfrance: John had been married to Betsey Johnson and she made his wardrobe and mine. John fancied doctor scrubs and hard hats. She once made him a bee suit. He had a fondness for pharmaceuticals (as did we all back then) and his green scrubs made him look the part. John would take the mic cord and strangle himself, if need be, to get the audience to respond. There was nothing he wouldn’t do to make the performance unforgettable, or to raise the consciousness of the crowd. It is impossible to explain most of this, as I am finding out writing this to you. America was pre-computer, cops were clueless, and we were lawless. Rock & roll was a lot more fun back then.
Popshifter: What ended your involvement with John Cale’s band?
Deerfrance: John and I were very close. At some point I met Kevin Ayers, after a show at the Bottom Line in the Village. He looked like Brian Jones and spoke like Richard Burton. He whisked me away and away I stayed for awhile. John couldn’t stand me being with Ayers. Unbeknownst to me, he and Ayers had a history with girlfriends, so this new thing was the last straw. Things happened that I will not go into, but it was the beginning of the end.
Popshifter: What have you been doing over the last few years, musically or otherwise?
Deerfrance: After I left John I went to Paris. I had recorded with Modern Guy when John produced them in NY. I stayed with Guillaume then was asked to record with Ramuntcho Matta, which I did. When I returned to New York, I started the band Blue Picts with Dee Pop of the Bush Tetras and Felice Rosser who is now in Faith (you should truly check her out). After that I started Floor Kiss with Dee who became my husband. We were named the number three album of the year by the New York Times in 1986.
I’ve recorded with lots of bands since then: Extra Virgin Mary and most recently Joodah, which has Richard Lloyd, Marc Ribot, etc. playing on it. I’m playing next on a bill with Gary Lucas, Gods and Monsters, and Tommy Ramone and Dee Pop’s new band in May at Otto’s, I think.
Popshifter: Your song with Extra Virgin Mary, “Mu-Mu-Mukasey” is pretty fantastic. Can you give me some background information on what inspired this particular song and performance?
Deerfrance: [Michael] Mukasey was our Attorney General who took over after we got rid of Alberto Gonzales. He was a judge from NY and I was horrified how quickly he assumed the position and did Bush’s bidding in denying law and constitution. It was a very dark and shameful time in America and Mukasey gave them the keys to continue, to our amazement and horror. The song covers the arrest of Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, the missing e-mails from the administration, especially Rove who was at the helm of the deceit. Our President blatantly said that they did not have to divulge any information that they didn’t want to, and okayed wiretapping, torture, rendition, the war, etc. Mukasey said, “I’m cool with that”; he couldn’t even admit to the fact that waterboarding is torture! They didn’t hold ONE investigation.
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