Meet Heloise & the Savoir Faire


By Shana Naomi Krochmal

You were on the road crew for Peaches. What was that like?
I was the driver-merchandise girl, basically. It was a big tour for her because she was opening for these male rock bands, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead and Queens of the Stone Age. The scene was kind of macho, and she was really interested in challenging that audience. It was inspiring for me how people were into it. Even though I never did anything as one-woman show as that, it kicked my ass into gear to perform out again. She's just so fearless. She's very small, and feisty, and some of those shows -- she'd wear strap-on dildos, and it was kind of extreme. And some guys were like, "What the fuck does she think she's doing?" Sometimes people would boo. The joke was that I was the biggest, so I was the bodyguard. I was the macho one. It took years off my life.

At your show in downtown Los Angeles, a guy in the audience stood up and yelled, "This isn't West Hollywood!" I couldn't figure out if he was an asshole or really into how queer your stage show is.
Sometimes it gets really extreme -- there's definitely nudity in these shows, both Sara and Joe. We're kind of going crazy and just give as much energy as possible. Whatever people think about that -- they can say whatever they want, we don't care. We haven't had too many hecklers, though.

I'm not even sure he was heckling. Maybe he just liked how Joe kept yelling "bukkake!" apropos of nothing. Let's talk about the other gay influences on your band.
When I worked in the West Village waiting tables, I fell in love with every gay man I worked with. It was a hard lesson for me to learn, especially because a lot were semi-closeted. I wrote this song about it called "Hot Chicks and Flaming Dudes, What's It Gonna Take To Get You in the Mood?" I always felt like, particularly with the gay male audience, there's so much more of a "yeahhh!" They get it and are so encouraging of the antics. Plus Joe is my best friend, and he's obviously gay. I let him direct what the stage thing is going to be like. It's just fun. we're trying to say, be whatever the hell you want to be. Express yourself, get naked, wear crazy costumes, whatever.

Is there a song on the album you think has a particularly queer side to it?
"Members Only" is pretty gay. My dream is to have lots of ladies and men wearing tuxedo and thongs dancing to that -- like Chippendales. It's actually a shout out to Divine, who's an icon of mine. I'm always looking in the mirror like, Oh my God, I look exactly like Divine! The scariest-slash-most fun ever on screen.

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