Originally published in Arthur No. 1 (October 2002)
Thus Sprach Peatzches
Live from a Berlin beergarden: it’s the crotchtastic techno-dynamo Peaches, on the phone with the intrepid Ian Svenonius.
She rescues rock ‘n’ roll from its doldrums and self referential morass; she lassoes in the lost tribes and constructs for them a common language. She builds an Ark for escape from the downpour of vengeful judgment on a rock world damned for its irrelevance—but unlike Noah, she doesn’t discriminate against homosexuals. She straddles paradox with legs stretched across the sea of contradiction; legs which emanate from the crotch emblazoned totemistically on her breakthrough underground hit punk rock disco album Teaches of Peaches. She is the ferocious rockin’ techno dynamo Peaches.
For those poor souls living under a rock, Peaches has led the way for the most exciting underground Rock N Roll trend going; the feminist hip-hop/techno/ Punk Rock melange which has captured the imagination of artists everywhere. Her album, pulsing at better discos everywhere, was composed and played entirely by her with the help of a Roland MC 505 Groovebox which she calls her ‘MC5.’
Peaches originates from Canada, a country stuck halfway between US commercial vulgarity and old world conservatism. While providing refuge for expatriate artists Rick James and Funkadelic during Vietnam, Toronto was too comfortable to spawn the insatiable rock n roll animals which haunted the desolate southern shores of Michigan. Why and how then was Peaches chosen to be the innovating vessel for ‘electro-clash,’ the marriage of forms which is being hailed as a rock n roll revolution?
Stan Lee theorizes: “Perhaps, in a freakish confluence of college radio signals, the music of the Stooges and DJ Assault were combined in a piece of crystalline mist which floated from Detroit across the frozen waste of Lake Erie. Maybe this bit of matter entered Peaches’ brain through her earhole and transformed her into the inspired, Frankenstein synthesis of the two encapsulated artists who would meld the primal urge of rock ’n’ roll with the new technology of software and itty bitty circuitry…”
Whatever the case, Peaches would soon boast autonomy through the fusion and mastery of these formerly opposed forms, but like a hybrid mutant, she would be stronger than either. Peaches wouldn’t work in the derivative manner of the usual rocker but neither would she be condemned to the computer coldness which would dog so many of her electro-enabled peers. Live, with her dynamism and assuredness, she came to resemble a young Tom Jones.
Peaches makes her home in Berlin. Appropriately, the city is a symbol for liberation and conquest. It stood for western decadence within Stalinist sparta; for metropolitan menshevism against Hitler’s bucolic Bavaria, for Spartacists and Dadaists in the midst of Prussian autocratic militancy. The gateway either to western decadence or to Slavic exoticism. The Berlinese tradition of resistance and conflict is woven within Peaches’ music but is now aimed against the repression and hypocrite morality of her bourgeois nemesis.
Rock and Techno. America and Europe. East and West. Past and Future. Peaches straddles these worlds and contradictions with ease and grace; a template for artistry, even a candidate for cloning; but woe/whoa to the scientist who attempts a scraping, for Peaches is a wildcat dynamo live, like perhaps nothing you’ve seen. I talked to Peaches from a biergarten in Berlin as she enjoyed a summer Wheat Beer with a bit of lemon. She sat with her proteges Electrocute enjoying a brief vacation from her fairy tale life of constant touring and festival performances.
I was concerned that she wasn’t capitalizing on her pioneer status within the “electro” movement which she’s done so much to instigate into being…With her killer debut Teaches already two years old, the attention deficit will forget their debt to her….remarkably, she doesn’t care.Continue reading