Published April 1992, The Aquarian Weekly
The state of New Jersey has produced its share of interesting musicians who've actually made it to the big time in the past, Bruce, Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Dramarama, The Red House, PM Dawn, Looking Glass, Mr. Reality, the Royal Teens ("Short Shorts"), The Four Seasons, Lesley Gore, The Angels ("My Boyfriend's Back"), Nancy Sinatra, Eddie Rabbitt, the list is an endless "who's who" in rock music past and present.
None of these artists have caused as much controversy, however, as Jersey's newest export, The Nymphs. The band's self-titled debut on DGC records, and the first single from that album, "Sad & Damned," are creating a major stir on the alternative music scene.
Lead singer Inger Lorre, who grew up in the Matawan area of the Garden State, seems to be creating even more of a stir in the press and, apparently, in the stomachs of members of the press.
I spoke to Inger on the phone one morning recently, and we addressed several issues that have caused the controversy, as well as a strange mass aversion to white rice.
Congratulations on the album.
"Thanks, Let me go get my beer. (returns) "Sad & Damned" is kind of negative and Geffen didn't want it to be our first single because it's so down, but I'm glad people seem to like our sound."
How long has the band been together?
"Five years, I don't know why it's taken us so long to get our shit together. (Laughs and takes a long slug of brew.) We've been around for a really long time, we're just fucked up people, very screwed up and very lazy, we're assholes, that's us. (Laughs again.)"
Can you describe your music for the uninitiated?
"The album is really straight ahead, there's no bullshit no love songs either, I'm so glad to say, not one."
"I hate love, it just doesn't work. My fiance died last February from a heroin overdose and I've just been very pessimistic. He was in the Sea Hags. I'm just like, I could kill him for leaving me here, I'm so angry and so fucking close to exploding and self destructing it's terrible."
Are you using that anger constructively?
"I'm channeling my feelings and anger into my songs, sort of a catharsis, it seems to be helping, but It's really, really hard right now. My next album will be sort of a 'Tonight's The Night II.' (Alluding to Neil Young's 1975 dark diatribe against the horrors of heroin use.)"
You talk to friends about it right? You try to exorcise it?
"My friends here (New Jersey) worry, but in LA, where I spend most of my time, I have like, two close friends. The rest are hangers-on who just don't care. I tell them I'm depressed and they ask me, 'How can you be depressed, you've got a band, you've got an album, you're touring.' But that doesn't matter to me so much, it's all superficial. There's nothing in my soul there's a hole there it sucks.
What can I really do? I can make music, try to make people feel better or entertain them for the length of an album, or for the three minutes the single is on the radio but what do I do after that?
At least I'm trying, my music is emotions and feelings, real feelings. People like Michael Bolton or Bryan Adams, they should be shot. They're out there corrupting the world with the most heinous stuff, just to make money, they don't care. The worst thing though, is people like Chesney Hawks, 20-year-olds making music only for the money. His single, 'Am The One And Only,' have you ever heard that song? It's completely calculated.
Or, say, Mariah Carey, why doesn't she just take her voice, lock herself up in a room and break glasses all day. It's all an exercise in voice lessons, there's no real emotions or feelings behind what she does, it's extremely calculated."
There are some interesting stories going around about you, are they true?
"Sure. What stories?"
Something to the effect that you peed on your A&R man's desk at your record company. There's also the very interesting story of the video shoot for "Sad & Damned" that involves live maggots.
"All true. The maggots came from a clean environment, people just get really sick thinking about having something alive in their mouths, you know. I'll do anything on a bet. There was a shot during the filming where I was at a table at a little tea party. There was a purse, this little white purse. I was supposed to open it up and there would be maggots in it. The director thought it would be cool for me to open my mouth and there would be maggots squirming around in there too.
Director Tim Pope worked with us on the video primarily because he heard what I did to my A&R guy's desk and he thought that was pretty funny. He said that if I was really punk rock I'd put the maggots in my mouth for the shoot.
How could I not do it then. A dare, I had to, I'd look like a total pussy if I didn't. Being a chick in music, it's like 20 times harder, you just do the stupid things people ask you to do to prove yourself. Anyway, it's a cool video.
I do some strange things, but at least its not like, 'Hi, I've got tits, I've got an ass, you should love me.' I'm totally straight with my music, no bullshit involved.
As for peeing on the desk totally true. The guy was just a peon and an asshole, it was something I had to do. I've done a lot of very fucked up shit, but I always, in my mind, have a good reason for doing it. I do what comes to mind right off the bat, while most people stop and think for a second or two before acting. I'm very direct.
If I could've taken a dump on his desk without getting stage fright, that's what I would've done because he really deserved it. It was hard enough taking a piss.
I got up on the desk and I was like, 'oh,oh,' nothing would come out. He started walking towards me. I looked up at him, while I was crouching there. He didn't know I was gonna piss, I had on a big T-shirt and crotchless fishnet stockings, he didn't have a clue. I looked at him coming at me and in my best exorcist voice said, 'Get away from me!' Then I just let go.
You could've shoved a grapefruit in his mouth, his jaw dropped open that much. He's afraid of me, really scared now. He thinks I'm completely crazy, and he's right. He doesn't know what I'll do. He did stop fucking with me and the band though. (Chuckles.)"
What prompted you to do that anyway? What had he done to you and the band?
"He had us on salary for, like, two years. Now the album's out and we owe DGC tons of money that we wouldn't have owed them if the album had been recorded when we wanted to record it. Also, the album release was delayed and delayed, and it was really getting to me and the guys in the band. We were tired of being treated like shit. Frustration levels were rising and then, on top of all that, they tried to get me to fire the band and go solo. It all just got to me. I had to express my anger in a very visible way to get my point across."
How are things between you and the company now?
"Well, we don't get treated like shit now, especially because the album is doing fairly well, and, strangely enough, that particular A&R guy steers clear of me. I don't know if they gave him a new desk. (Laughs.)"
Has the fact that you're from New Jersey inspired your music?
"Fuck yea, once you live in Jersey you never leave. I mean, Bon Jovi came back right? You can't leave, especially if you grew up around the Sayreville-Matawan area. It's just really decadent. Or it was anyway. Where I went to primary school, all the kids were rich and really boring. Then I went to middle school in Matawan and here were heads, freaks and punks, flannel shirts, T-shirts and leather.
I showed up in all these nice new clothes, with diamonds and shit that my parents would make me wear, but I kind of integrated, I threw away all that stuff and started wearing flannel shirts or leather, it was so much cooler than what I was used to, everything else was just so stale and boring. I loved that hint of decadence and it really comes across in what I'm trying to say musically."
What groups, what music, really inspired you?
"The Pistols, Genocide, especially Genocide Bobby Ebbs influenced my whole life. I mean, I was like 15 years old and writing to some guy in jail who turned out to be Bobby. I probably would've gone on to art school if it wasn't for Bobby. I was his girlfriend for, like, four years."
What music do you listen to now?
"Now? Nirvana, Hole, Blur, Prong, L7, Swervedriver, I used to love Souxsie and the Banshees, but they're sort of like a greatest hits show now, almost a Vegas-type act, it's sad."
Will you be playing New Jersey soon?
"God, I hope so! We're playing the West Coast now, maybe we'll fly east and do a one-time, surprise show. A WHTG-sponsored free show at, like, the Trade Winds or Paramount Theatre or something. I love free shows, the best fans, the loyal fans, come out for those."
What, besides A&R people, about the music industry today really bugs you?
"I hate the jiffy-pop mentality displayed towards the artists. What will the masses buy? There's also a desire to pigeonhole everything. If it doesn't fit a slot, they don't want it. What if they'd tried to pigeonhole the Beatles in the early '60s? There was nothing else like them. If today's record company executives ran stuff back then, we'd still be listening to, say, Fabian, Bobby Vee, and whatever else was a tried and true 'hit.'
They're all (record executives), so uncool. There are cooler people working in gas stations."
-- AL MUZER