10 Qs: Jinkx Monsoon Says the End of His Reign Is "Bittersweet"
By Stacy Lambe
Has there been a more successful winner of RuPaul's Drag Race? After getting crowned America's Next Drag Superstar, Jinkx Monsoon quickly parlayed his win into the successful cabaret act, The Vaudevillians, in addition to starring in Seattle productions of Hairspray and Hedwig and the Angry Inch while proving himself to be an entertainer both on and off the small screen. Now, as Monsoon's reign draws to a close, the performer is already plotting his next move. On Tuesday, Monsoon's his first full-length record, The Inevitable Album, debuts on iTunes giving fans new music to chew on.
Out: What inspired your new song "The Bacon Shake"?
Jinkx Monsoon: We met Fred Schneider after a performance of The Vaudevillians, and Major Scales [aka Richard Andriessen] and I just couldn't help but gush to him about how big of fans we were. Well, he must have taken a liking to us, because only a few days later, he contacted us about writing a song for our album.
We told him the vibe of the album and what we could use more of: upbeat, lively tracks. Well, Fred definitely delivered just that. He wrote the song based on the idea of Jinkx having once been prim and proper; but after her first wild party, she quickly turned into a "lady hurricane" who's ready to shake her goods for every boy at the bar. This worked very nicely for us.
What was it like to work with Fred Schneider of The B-52's?
It was one of the most enjoyable experiences ever. Fred is one of the funniest people I've ever met. The B-52's is one of the bands that Major Scales and I bonded over when we first started working together. Fred came to the studio with lyrics, then on the spot worked out a melody and song structure with Major. It was awesome to watch Major compose a song with one of his heroes. They worked together like old friends and the song turned out brilliant.
Do you have a favorite The B-52's song?
I have so many! But one that I can always say is in my top three is "Your Own Private Idaho." There's nothing not to like about that song.
Should fans of The Vaudevillians expect more of that esthetic on the new album?
There are definitely elements of our vaudeville flair in the tracks on the album, but it also has much more of a contemporary sound than what you'd hear from The Vaudevillians. I think it bridges some genres together. Each song has a unique feel and inspiration. Some sound like dirty jazz, some sound more doo-wop, there's a true Broadway diva track, and even a dark and sultry tango track. But they all work together to tell the story of the album.
Will your Vaudevillians partner Richard Andriessen appear on the album?
Richard Andriessen not only wrote half of the songs on the album, but he was also the head music director. He also sings back up on a couple of tracks, and he joins me for a duet on the classic standard "Witchcraft." He's got a lovely, lounge-y bari-tenor singing voice.
What do you hope fans get out of The Inevitable Album?
What so many people tell me after seeing one of my live shows is that they had no idea what they were in for. Fans are always telling me that, even though they got a glimpse of my passion for singing on RuPaul's Drag Race, they couldn't have guessed just how much I put into my live singing performances. So what we wanted to do is try to capture the feeling of a live performance throughout the album. We tried to achieve this by using real instruments, and recording countless takes until we got the perfect one, so we could avoid relying on auto-tune or "Frankenstein" editing. I wanted this album to resemble the albums of my favorite singers from yesteryear, where you can hear the passion and the performance in their vocals because they haven't been over-processed to hell!
Are you sad that your reign as America's Next Drag Superstar is coming to a close?
It's bittersweet. So many opportunities opened up for me this year, and I've been able to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time. RuPaul's Drag Race made that possible. Mother Ru lifted me up and give me the chance to do the work I've always wanted to, and I'm extremely proud of the results. But I know all the girls who are currently in the running to win season 6, and they're all lovely, talented, sweet and genuine people. I'm excited to see what comes with the crowning of a new superstar, and I'm confident that I'm leaving the legacy I want to be remembered by.
Do you have a favorite queen from the current season?
Well, my favorite is my sister and best friend Ben DeLaCreme. We've not only worked together for years but we're part of one another's "chosen family" in Seattle. I couldn't be more proud of her for the amazing work she did on the show, as well as her conviction and dedication to her art form. She was a class act the whole way.
Let's play a game of Fuck, Marry, Kill with RuPaul, Michelle Visage and Santino Rice.
Michelle is gonna kill me for saying this, (we just spent two weeks on your together so she knows I love her) but I would have to say kill Michelle, marry RuPaul, and fuck Santino, cuz I kinda go for his whole Rasputin vibe. Ha ha.
What's your spirit animal?