We here at Paper are longtime fans of ex-Toilet Böys frontman, DJ extraordinaire and living legend Miss Guy. While holding down steady DJing gigs, Guy recently released a new track with Debbie Harry called "God Save New York" and is preparing to release a deluge of new singles in the next few months. We were lucky enough to catch up with Guy over the phone and talk to him about getting lesbian vibes from Rihanna, taking outfit inspiration from Cher, and the great Robin Thicke versus Justin Timblerlake debate. We're also excited to premiere his new song "Tonight." Listen to "Tonight Above" and read our interview below.
There's been some great beach weather this summer. Do you have a favorite beach look?
Miss Guy: I have some swimming trunks and flip-flops from Marc Jacobs that I like. I used to wear more over-the-top stuff to the beach but I don't any more. I used to wear Speedos but I go to a beach in Jersey and I learned fast that it's easier to wear trunks. It's a great beach but there are a lot of people that just don't get it. And the Speedo may be a bit much, especially with my long hair and everything! It's easier to blend in -- but I still really don't. One of my next [music] videos is going to be on the beach. That was fun, I did it in heels and a Speedo and makeup and the whole bit.
Were you getting stares?
Oh yeah! Like I said, I would be getting stares anyway because I don't look like the average Joe on the Jersey beach.
Tell us about your new track with Debbie Harry, "God Save New York."
It was first song I wrote after my band The Toilet Böys broke up and it was originally an ode to New York and the people I loved in it. The lyrics were about Debbie Harry and Joey Ramone and Lou Reed and the New York Dolls and stuff like that. I ended up changing the lyrics to make it less specific -- I wrote it so long ago that the meaning now is different. Actually, I think it works better now because New York as a party town is in a state of emergency, to say the least. There's still a lot of fun things happening and cool places to go, and good DJs and fun parties, but DJing on the Lower East Side on the weekend is pretty disturbing. Weekend crowds haven't always been the best crowds but now it's the worst. But the song is still about New York -- I still think it's the greatest city in the world and I love it. I'm happy to be here.
Why do you think nightlife has changed for the worse?
It's changed for the worse because it's become impossible for young, creative types to come work here and keep the scene thriving -- whether it be music, art, performance. I feel like the downtown scene has sort of been killed off by frat boys and frat girls. I don't know if that's really who they are, but I feel like it's become a frat party. I don't like all the 7-Elevens that are popping up everywhere. One day I was going to this restaurant that I used to love called Zen Palate and it wasn't there any more. It was a TGI Fridays, and that was really upsetting to see. Not a plus for New York. It's become almost like a strip mall.
Are there any redeeming qualities left about New York?
Yes, the flip side of that is that there a lot of amazing people coming to the New York area but they're maybe not actually living in Manhattan. I still love the mix of people and cultures and I love walking around the streets of New York. I still get inspired. That feeling I have when I first moved here is still in me, and that's what makes me feel that this is the city I belong in.
What new bands are you listening to right now?
Some of the newer artists that I love -- and I know they're not so new anymore -- include Beth Ditto and The Gossip. I love this band Hustle Club, and a singer/DJ Prince Terrence -- he's keeping a fun scene alive in New York. I saw Peaches DJ a couple weeks ago and I'm a huge fan. She was DJing but she also performed. I love it when DJs are performance-driven. I think that's the next thing in DJing, because everybody's a DJ these days and the next obvious thing to do is turn it into performance.
You know, when I started it wasn't so difficult to stand out: there were either hard rock DJs DJing straight rock venues or club DJs playing dance music. There was nobody mixing it up. So by mixing them it was easy to get a lot of work, and to travel, and to get a lot of recognition. Plus, the way I look, nobody was really doing a "look" when they DJed.
You've met a lot of legendary people -- is there anyone you've met who you think will be a big star?
I have to say, I've met a lot of really talented musicians but I haven't met anyone who's going to be the next David Bowie or Debbie Harry. I don't understand why Beth Ditto isn't a huge star. She's got a good career and is doing really well, but in this country, I don't get why she's not a megastar. But you can also have really lucrative careers elsewhere without having one in the US -- the Scissor Sisters are a perfect example. They do really well, but they're not household names.
Probably because none of those people look they way traditional pop stars are 'supposed' to look.
I think that's the case with a lot people who've been around for a long time. Boy George, for example -- we were in London a few weeks ago and he and I were discussing that. Artists that have outrageous images or dress outlandishly sometimes get crucified as being a novelty act. He's one of the greatest pop writers and pop singers in history and he's really overlooked as one of the greats. A lot of it has to do with the fact that he's gay and he's still dressing outrageously. It's weird that someone who's won awards and had hits and was really a phenomenon -- he defined a part of a decade! -- I don't understand how someone like that can be overlooked for someone like Katy Perry or Ke$ha. No disrespect to them, but they have these careers that are really going on much longer than they should. There have always been bubblegum artists, but their careers were very short-lived. It's weird that nowadays someone that's no different than David Cassidy was in the '70s has a really long career. Maybe people are more business-minded now.
Justin Timberlake versus Robin Thicke: Whose music do you like better and who would you rather sleep with?
I don't know what Robin Thicke looks like, but I do have his single "Blurred Lines," of course. It's one of those songs that I'm forced to play, but thankfully I like it a lot. But now I'm curious, so I'm going to Google him when I get off the phone. But I will say, Justin Timblerlake is one of my favorite pop stars and I think he's a good actor -- like I need to say any of this, everyone already knows that -- and he as a solo artist is one of my favorites. So yeah, I would sleep with him. Why not? I wouldn't go out of my way to, but I think he's a good-looking guy and I would probably do it just to say that I did it.
But Justin Timberlake is so vanilla lately! And Robin Thicke is sort of hot in a sleazy way -- look him up.
Justin Timberlake may be the nice boy of pop, and he doesn't seem to want to do the bad boy thing, which I'm sure he could do. But I'm sure he's doing things as we speak that we would consider outrageous -- more outrageous than Courtney Love. A lot of times pop stars put out a couple of records and go through a bad boy or bad girl phase. It's sort of predictable and really boring, to be frank. I feel like Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber are stating to go into their
"bad boy" and "bad girl" phase. I kind of like that Justin Timberlake isn't promoting that with his public image. And in private he's probably a dirty boy.
You recently wrote a blog post about how much you love Cher. What's your favorite Cher look?
I actually have ripped off a couple of Cher looks for The Toilet Böys. A lot of the necklines for my Toilet Böys costumes were directly from a photo of Cher circa '75 in one of those gorgeous Bob Mackie outfits. My favorite is the classic 1974 Cher, original nose and teeth, long black hair, long square fingernails and the Bob Mackie dress. One day I will own a Bob Mackie. Hopefully it'll be custom made for me.
In that same post, you defend and celebrate Cher's use of auto-tune and link it to Rihanna, but do you think artists use it too much now?
All artists use it -- it's a cheaper and faster way than doing a lot of takes, and I liked it when the use of auto-tune first became a stylized, but now it's boring. I like Rihanna and I like a lot of her music, but sometimes she sounds like a robot. I like to hear a flaw in a singer's voice, like Sade, who's one of my favorite singers. A lot of times [Sade's] voice would crack and I think it's cool! It sounds human and there's emotion in that. But who knows what Rihanna will do next? She's very cute and she's got some great songs, she could change her tune. Do you think she's a dyke?
I saw Rihanna perform once, and I never really did until I saw her perform -- but I got a dyke vibe from her. I saw her perform live and she was doing that dyke dance and I thought, "Hm, I could see her being a dyke."