Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
If everyone thought like Girlyman, we could all live together in the fanciful cartoon world they’re basking in on the cover of their fourth album.
For this outing, last year’s “Everything’s Easy,” the folk-pop, gender-bending trio – now, with a drummer, a foursome – continue their mining of lyrical introspection and musical experimentation, even dabbling in Tin Pan Alley sound.
Before their Feb. 12 Ann Arbor gig, Girlyman vocalist and guitarist Nate Borofsky spoke with Between The Lines from his home in Atlanta about the fake self-bio he wrote, adding a fourth member to the mix and why the band’s van needs to be properly parked (or else).
The cover art for “Everything’s Easy” has a “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” vibe with the whole humans-living-in-an-animated-world motif. What inspired it?
A theme of the title track is just a belief I have – that we create our own reality, we create our own lives, and making the life that we want is often easier than we think. We were trying to put ourselves in this world – and this life – that we’ve created. When I was younger, I never thought I could be doing exactly what I wanted to do in life and make a living at it (laughs).
Back when you were selling bones on the side of the street?
(Laughs) I had such a hard time writing a bio of myself (for my solo Web site) that was concise. I just thought it would be funnier to make up one. It just came to me a lot more easily than one that was actually comprised of facts.
So you were living in your own reality then, too?
Yeah, I created that reality, for sure.
Did you really have a dream about Derek Jeter at bat with St. Peter, like the title track claims?
I didn’t actually have that dream. But I like the mixture of Christianity and baseball. I’m not even all that into baseball – or Christianity, for that matter.
What’s it like being on the road with your bandmates, Ty Greenstein and Doris Muramatsu?
They’re my best friends, so it feels like what we would be doing regardless. Even if we weren’t in a band driving around we would be just hanging out at each other’s houses, which is often what we do when we’re home.
But on the road you’re constantly with them. Does that get difficult?
It depends on how long the tour is (laughs). It’s generally wonderful. We all lived together in one apartment in Brooklyn for six or seven years. Now we live in Atlanta, and we live in separate houses. At this point, I’m thrilled just to be doing it. When we’re in the van we tend to laugh a lot; for whatever reason, we amuse each other. Sometimes we get very vulgar, because that’s something we don’t allow ourselves to do on stage (laughs).
What’s the band like now with JJ Jones, the new drummer?
We’ve been a trio for so long that sometimes I forget and still say we’re a trio (laughs). It’s wonderful having her at the shows; it feels natural with her both on stage and in the van, in the hotel room, backstage. She feels like one of us.
How was it working with Margaret Cho, who directed your “Young James Dean” video, on tracks for her upcoming album?
She was living down here (in Atlanta) filming the show that she’s been on, “Drop Dead Diva,” and she was looking for local bands and songwriters to collaborate with. We were like, “Uh, sure!” (laughs).
She sent us these lyrics about a male stripper giving her an unwanted lap dance, and so we tried to give it a Phil Spector “Be My Baby” sound. We met together and played it and it worked out really, really wonderfully. So we kind of hit it off. At our CD release party here in Atlanta she was our secret opening act – by far the most vulgar opening act we’ve ever had.
You and your bandmates list your likes and dislikes on your Web site. What’s something about you that wasn’t included that’s embarrassing to admit?
I’m incredibly anal retentive about parking the van that we drive. We have a huge Dodge Sprinter that’s 21-feet long, 10-feet high, and sometimes when people park it and it’s not quite right in the lines, I re-park it – even if there aren’t other cars in the parking lot at the hotel. It’s a strange OCD thing that I have where I get very anal – and I’ll often incur the wrath of my bandmates as a result.
Bathing is on the list as a “like.” It seems to be a problem for you. Do you have a bathtub you can fit into?
No, I don’t. My dream is to have one of those big bathtubs that will actually hold me – and I’m not that big. But, still, I can’t stay submerged without it starting to drain through the emergency drain.
How big are you?
I’m like 5-foot-9, and I’m not that heavy set. But it still seems like those are made for small children. Whenever we stay in hotels that have one of those fancy rooms with the whirlpool baths, I use them – just because I can.
7:30 p.m. Feb. 12
316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor