King Of Pain


By Noah Michelson

The video is like Glamor Shots minus the glamor meets Jackass, with some fruit and a vacuum cleaner thrown in for good measure. What exactly is going on there?
The backyard wrestling footage comes from a close friend of mine named Freddy Rupert. He and some of his friends were some of the first people to do it and film it and post it on the Internet. At one point he had the most famous backyard wrestling website. It was a bunch of suburban kids who were emulating WWF-style wresting, but they didn't really know how to do the moves, and because they were kids they'd do stuff way over the top. I think a couple of kids got killed doing it -- they'd jump off their roofs and break their necks and shit like that. It's only really peculiar if you know him, because he's one of the sweetest, brightest people you'd ever meet, but he's also really interested in kind of an insane physicality. The other stuff is just an attempt to juxtapose our discomfort with beauty in ourselves. We all tried to look as cute as possible, but we feel really stupid doing it.

One of my friends was very taken by the Clark Kent-esque glasses you're sporting in the video.
Somebody described those to me as my lesbian cat glasses. But yeah, being uncomfortable with aspects of glamor and prettiness and then juxtaposing that with Freddy, who is naturally glamorous and pretty just walking down the street along with his natural inclinations to just be a fucking nutball.

Speaking of being uncomfortable, or maybe not, how do you feel about your status as a gay sex object?
Oh! I was kind of unaware of it.

It's there.
Well, it's nice. I feel silly about it. I'm bi -- I'm not gay -- and I think that tweaks some gay people. That aspect is a little complicated for me, I guess.

Complicated how?
It's not so bad now, but when I was growing up and coming into being bi -- the queer community now is a little cooler about it -- the "straight gay people" were pretty shitty to bi and trans people, which were kind of the people I was running around with. It's not really that way now, but there are still some lingering complications from that. Actually answering your question, it's flattering, but I just feel silly about it.

What is it about Xiu Xiu that's earned the band such a dedicated queer following? Your unashamed visibility? The content?
I can only speculate, but I would hope that it's because we're really open about what you just said. I don't even really consider Xiu Xiu a queer band. I consider Xiu Xiu a band that tries to talk about things -- real things -- that happen in an unashamed way, even if shame is part of it. If one is a person, then one's sexuality and one's sex life and one's gender dysphoria -- if that's what's going on with them and is part of one's life -- is what gets discussed. Even with a lot of "queer bands," it's just that they are queer, but they're not necessarily talking about life -- the life of a person of whom being queer is a part. We're not necessarily trying to expound on the queer aspects of our lives, we're just trying to talk about lives in which there are aspects of being queer.