Georgie Girl and her Poussez Posse : interview
Like a punky burlesque, the band are a female version of Adam’s show- full of the sex, style and subversion that is key to Adam and ultimately the late Malcolm Mclaren’s vision of punk.
After touring for Adam in the last year they are ready to record with Georgina’s voice sounding really strong and the band sounding hot and will record their debut album in the autumn.
Singer Georgina Baillie first came to the public consciousness in the fallout from Sashagate, when her then boyfriend Russell Brand and fellow celeb Jonathan Ross caused tabloid mania by being rude on the radio to her grandfather Andrew Sachs.
The fallout managed to engulf the pair of them and Georgina in one of those very British and very pointless newspaper scandals that burned everyone.
It’s something that she is understandably still unhappy about, stating, ”Ëit would be more interesting not to talk about that”Â¦’ when we don’t even ask about it, having little interest in the world of tabloids.
It took the intervention of Adam Ant a few months after the affair to get her life back into order, with the singer helping her repair relationship with her grandfather and getting her back on her feet again as an admirer of what she had to offer artistically and not, as some have lazily suggested, as her lover.
The pair of them have continued to work together and with her band now ready to record, Georgina talked to LTW about her career, her upcoming album and her working relationship with Adam.
Your band has taken an interesting route so far.
”ËA lot people say that you have to pay your dues by playing dives and small venues and carrying your own equipment and stuff like that and whilst I really have a lot of respect for people that do that year in and year out I am doing it another way.
I know that I am so lucky that I have not had to do that and I get to do these supports in front of thousands of people. Me and the girls have played 50/60 gigs now with Adam. I think that it is a different way of paying your dues, because when there is people in the audience who have already decided they don’t like you before you even open your mouth that’s hard, you know. I really have felt a couple of times that when we go on stage they have been quite hostile but when we go off we have made friends with them which is another way of paying your dues in my opinion.’
Just before you met Adam you were trying to get into music.
”ËI was in another project called Maria Maria in 2009. It was all very manufactured. It was written by a songwriter who had a few hits in the nineties. At the time it was a fun thing to do. He would give me a CD with songs on to improve my voice and then, to cut a long story short, I met Adam. He just encouraged me and we started writing together.’
When Adam entered the story everything changed. He got involved creatively but conversely this freed Georgina up to be creative as well.
”ËBefore I was doing music I used to write tons of poetry. Now I write out lyrics and I bring them to Adam and we then demo the songs. Adam is very old school when he writes. He likes to use a Dictaphone and just keep it simple like that. He plays the guitar and we record it. We go to the studio and demo it and then give it to the girls in the band to learn the song and they ad their parts, like guitarist Hazel adds all her own solos. This is how we started but it then turned into me singing in Adam’s band as well”Â¦’
What are your lyrics and poems about?
The first one Adam and I wrote together was Rubber Medusa, which was about Russell, Adam came up with the title which is a quote from the Jubilee film, the person does look like a rubber medusa so I see why he said it. There is one called Teacher about Adam because he’s the teacher in a way. It’s a simple lyric with a short military drum beat and a simple basic riff which makes an impact. The chorus is just drums and vocal- we get lots of compliments for that one. Then I have sillier ones like When Was The Last Time You Had Sex which I wrote by mistake when we all had flue in the rehearsal room and someone asked it as a question and we made it into a song. It worked the first few times we played it live but then it became a bit too much. We also do some covers like from seventies punk band Penetration, Alice Cooper and one of Adam’s songs.
Does that cause confusion in your head playing two distinct roles on the same stage?
”ËNo! When I go onstage with Adam that’s a different character that I am playing. Before all this started I was an actress, so I was already used to playing different characters and changing clothes all night long, so for me changing characters makes sense.
I think Georgie Girl and Poussez Posse is like me with my girls and when I come on stage for the first time in the evening with Adam I am still in that character and then as I change my outfits during the Adam performance the character changes to a slightly more sexier burlesque type but there is nothing sleazy or horrible about it, at least not any more! (laughs).’
Adam has a long history of working with strong women. In the punk era he would share the stage with the iconic Jordan. Have you looked at what they did together.
”ËI watched a lot of videos of Jordan. She was just fearless! Adam told me stories of getting spat at in the street for looking like that and how the Slits got stabbed- to me that’s really paying your dues.
The worst ever I had was that I got a plastic cup thrown at my head once by a particularly charming young lady. Nowadays I have got quite a thick skin but when I started I didn’t have as much confidence and I felt like I didn’t deserve that place on the stage but now I think I have really put the time and effort in and earned it.
I have had compliments, like people saying I’ve added to the whole thing musically with Adam like with the harmonies I do on Goody Two Shoes. I have heard some recordings and I have to say that I was pretty happy with the work that I do. I respect Adam because I am actually up there a third of the time that he is and he keeps it going all night. I have to stop myself from watching him all the time! I learn so much from him, like how to communicate with the audience without making it tacky. I love the way Adam only gives the audience only a little bit. Sometimes he hardly talks atall but he still gets them involved and makes them feel part of it whereas I only recently got brave enough to take the mic off the stand!’
What are your songs about?
”ËThe first one that Adam and I wrote was about an ex of mine- guess who! Which is not on the album, which is called Gun In Your Pocket. Adam actually wrote that before he met me at the Zodiac Mindwarp gig in April 2010. That night he told me I have a song about you and your granddad, and I was ”Ëoh my god! that’s amazing’.
So we had a chat and we didn’t speak for a while, it was really surreal because I had no idea he was going to be there. I was there, because my ex boyfriend played drums at the gig. He was from Brazil so he didn’t know who Adam was, because later when I said how could you not tell me that Adam Ant was going to jump on stage with you he was said, I’m sorry I don’t know who he is!’
And that’s how it started and then I didn’t see Adam for 4/5 months and then I bumped into him around where we both live and we were talking and then the writing started happening.’
What kind of music do you like?
”ËI grew up listening to bands like the Bangles, Garbage as well, female fronted bands but I also like some of the stuff that Adam is into like Trex and I like Guns n Roses. I like the past but not really music that is in the charts at the moment which is very dry really”Â¦
I watch other female performers of course, I really like Wendy James– I love her- I get all fan girl with her and I also like and I will get a lot of stick for this but I like Sam Fox. I think she is a really good performer and into her fitness as well. I saw her perform once and I met her- she is a really good girl but my all time favourite female singer is Shirley Manson. Her voice is really cool. She can sing really low as well, and I love her Scottish accent.’
Is it difficult for women to get taken seriously in music.
”ËThere’s been a couple of times when we are touring when a soundman will say something like, isn’t it sweet girls turning up with guitars! My bass player Charis made a comment that she could not hear herself about guitar player in her monitor and the guy said I never heard anyone say that before and when I said that my monitor sounds tinny, he was like nobody has ever said that before and did nothing. Sometimes I feel like that they think that can order us about because we’re girls.’
Is there a pressure for women to be more sexy?
”ËMmm, with what I do, it’s about the characters. I think you have to do it, you are on show and in character and you have to do a performance. For someone like me, from an acting background, you have to be that way in your head. The girls on stage with me- none of them look like prostitutes which I think is very refreshing today. I think the pencil skirts and fifties look is still rocking. I don’t think they need to show so much flesh because the character speaks for itself.
For me there is a time and a place for sexy and that’s at the end of the Adam show when it’s all hot and sweaty and I’m down to my lingerie. That’s the time and the place for that sort of thing but I think when you are presenting a load of new music to people don’t distract them. Let them just listen to it. All of the girls in my band can play and they dress really well and they are talented.
Primarily it’s that they can play really well and be creative and good at what they do that’s why they are in the band. They don’t have to have perfectly symmetrically faces. I wanted girls that looked good in a pencil skirt and scrub up well! I think it’s a very different thing when you are bombarded with images of girls who look like hookers with a rapper that comes on at end of song.
The music charts are very formulaic, eventually people will get bored of that. I think if you play someone a song enough times they will buy it. That’s why the dribs and drabs of songs I find myself singing stick in my head. People buy it because they are told what to listen to but I have hope for humanity and the good music will come through and I would like people to enjoy what I’m doing”Â¦’
Do you and Adam still want to get to number one? Does that sort of thing still matter any more?
”ËOf course! We are interested in world domination (laughs) but Adam stresses the importance of playing live. I don’t use samples in a track and Adam doesn’t do that either which is refreshing unlike a lot of rock bands I know, for me even a little bit of cheating is not right. I met with a certain person who told me secrets about massive bands and how they cheat. The biggest gig with Adam was Hyde Park, there were 70 000 people and we were not cheating!’
When I started I didn’t want to make mistake. I was scared but Adam was inspiring, even if he made a mistake he would make it work because he is such a great performer.’
You have done all your gigs with Adam so far, could you support other people?
”ËI think we could at the moment but I have no desire to because we have lots of support slots with Adam”Â¦’
Is there a danger of getting overshadowed by him?
‘For me, it’s an interesting way to start. I enjoy doing it this way. Eventually Adam wants us to play nice places in London on our own, small theatres etc. I got quite a lot coming up with Adam for the rest of the year. Adam is not my manager, he is more like my mentor.’
Like Malcolm McLaren was to him?
”ËHe does quote Malcolm a lot. If I can’t sort it out with the girIs I speak to him and he always helps me out. He told me about the whole way of dressing and showmanship and how it works really well together.’
Do you help him as well?
”Ë(laughs)..if he asked my opinion I would give it! He doesn’t need my help! But if something needs to be said, I would say it but it never really does. I feel bit of a prick telling an icon what to do but Adam knows I’m there if he needs to talk because he’s my friend as well.
The reaction to what you do has been interesting.
”ËEver since I was first mentioned in the press and in the tabloids, I learned very quickly not to look at the internet forums! I googled myself once and didn’t recover for a week (laughs) so I won’t be doing that again. Adam’s opinion is the most important to me and if he tells me that my performance is substandard then I will work on it. if somebody has got some kind of ulterior motive maybe they are attracted to Adam or they think that I am more than professional with him which is not the case, then they probably could be quite hostile towards me.’
The Internet is a hive of bitching towards anyone these days, it’s pretty easy to remain anonymous and take pot shots at people”Â¦
”ËObviously everyone is brave when they are typing stuff into their iPhone or behind their computer and they can say what they want with no name on it. I’ve never had anyone come up and be rude to face. I’m my own biggest critic and I have come off stage in tears a couple of times because I thought I was so awful. I’m just a perfectionist. I’ve had to learn a lot as I go, I didn’t even have a band till a couple of years ago.’
Learning from the master has been swift but Georgina is very much her own woman and recent shows have seen the band sounding really good and ready to deliver that album and step up from behind the Antman.