Sex, Drugs, and a Little Bit of Magic
An interview with one of Chicago's sexiest bands.
My ten-year friendship with Mary Beth began back in film school, when we were each making "weird movies about sex." We've been in each other's films and photos, we've partied, and we've even gone to a sex museum together. But this time around we're talking about her band, The Baby Magic.
The Baby Magic is one of those awesome bands whose genre can't really be pinpointed. Do yourself a favor and pull open their bandcamp account so you can listen to them while you read this interview. Their music is full of energy and emotion, bouncing back and forth between silly and serious. Mary Beth is the lead singer and main song writer, clutching her tits and thrusting her crotch at every show, with true sexual rock n' roll energy. Find them on Facebook, and hope they come play a show in your home town. Thank you to Mary Beth for taking time to conduct this interview, and thank you to Tara White for supplying the awesome photo.
Mary Beth, you've been in a couple different bands. How long has The Baby Magic been around?
Our first official show as The Baby Magic took place in August 2008. The Baby Magic felt to me (at first) like a comeback from the band that preceded it, Firecrotch. Firecrotch was essentially a name change from our first band, The Fucks. We had to change it since our very first venue would not print our name.
How would you describe your music, and more importantly, how would you describe your shows?
Lately our music is ROCK / SLUG / GARAGE / DANCE / PUNK / POP. A little new wave, with a little no wave. Thatís always a hard question. Iím not even sure if thatís right.
Our shows are very high energy. They are intense, dramatic and entertaining (I hope). Thereís always going to be some dancing and some sweet-ass banter.
Some of your songs seem silly and dorky ("There's a rat, in my house. I don't know, it might be a mouse.") But other songs touch on darker topics, such as sexual assault. How do you find that balance between being absurd and being serious?
Most of all the songs I sing are based on something serious, or at least a serious feeling. Having a rat in my house gives me a certain panic and the song was based off of a true event.
As for when I play my solo project, Baggy Time, I let very few edits in. Thereís just raw mind-jumpiness. Itís a lot of fun to be serious about not being serious, so Iím kind of serious about that sort of thing.
You seem driven by your sexual energy, both on stage and off. How do people react to that?
What I find is people enjoy it and are much like that themselves. Some people need a verbal sexual outlet and Iím certainly one of those people. It doesnít gauge how much you like sex, it just gauges how much you enjoy talking about it. I donít overdo it as much as I used to, which is probably how I was when we last saw each other. I definitely dialed it down a lot, at least in front of perfect strangers. Being full-time inappropriate was a huge turn-off for some, so now Iím just part-time inappropriate.
When Iím on stage, Iím not really sure. Iím really bad at eye contact so I barely ever look at the audience. I probably could have got laid a bit more if I was better at eye contact.
Has your family ever seen any of your films or seen any of your shows? Do they know what a freaky cool pervert you are?
My mom and dad always hated ďpoo-pooĒ and ďpee-peeĒ jokes, so I knew I had a lot to hide from them. My family is in New York and Iím in Chicago, so that keeps a safe distance. Even with the internet, my parents donít really take the time to do searches, so lucky me. They donít ask too many questions and I donít offer much info about my shows. The thought of them reacting to something sexual Iím doing on stage scares me far too much.
My brother has listened to all of my music and even produced my solo project, Baggy Time. My sister is aware that Iím just different than her. We donít really discuss music together. I know she supports anything I do that makes me happy but Iím pretty damn sure that my music is not her cup of tea.
What about relationships? Is it difficult to maintain a healthy relationship when you're singing about sex all the time?
Iím currently in a long term relationship and it doesn't bother her when I sing about sex on stage. I asked her this question recently and she said itís very empowering.
When Iím at home singing songs about sex on acoustic guitar (about being a whore or something fun like that), she usually gives me an icky face and shakes her head ďno.Ē But itís not a problem, sheís well aware of who sheís dating.
What are your plans for the future? Both for yourself, as well as The Baby Magic?
We are recording an album in February and hope to have it out in the spring. It will be on vinyl, which is a huge deal for us. So, we've been working extremely hard on that. By working hard I mean drinking, smoking pot and playing a lot. If all goes well, weíll go on tour this summer. We just want to keep on playing for as long as possible. You know, like 'til death.
For me personally, I plan on maintaining my hopes for staying in the entertainment arts and expanding my role in it. Writing comics, trying to be a game show host or an actor. The trying, but never really trying too hard is the fun part of my dreaming. I also plan on (and I hope youíre sitting down for this) having fun with my girlfriend, friends and family.
To say hello to Mary Beth, or anyone else in her band, email to firstname.lastname@example.org.