Sunday, January 3, 2010

Q&A: Poppy Robbie. The Dictator of Pop!

Poppy Robbie is just plain cool. And it's about time all you grubby little worms get turned on to the great tunes he makes. And believe the propaganda, folks, this is one Dictator that's all about fun. And great music. And more. That is, unless you're an insurgent- then look out! All hail the Dictator of Pop!

Q: Let's catch everyone up with you. Describe in your own words who you are, what you do, and what makes you want to wake up in the morning.

PR: Well, first off thanks for inviting me to do this! Your Q&A's are so much more entertaining and thought-provoking than those silly ones everyone passes along to each other over the internet. How many times are we required to answer the same old questions about our tah-tah's and nyeah-nyeah's anyway? I mean, I don't even have tah-tah's or nyeah-nyeah's, but that's sort of the point, you know? Nevertheless, my name is Poppy Robbie, I'm a proud resident of Earth (Southeast Texas, to be exact), I write music and ever so often record or perform it, make questionable art, and the hope of one day owning a fully-functional jetpack makes me wake up in the morning.

Q: What sort of guitar gear do you use and why?

PR: I've got a couple guitars, but mainly I use my Gretsch Streamliner hollowbody and electrify it into loudness with a small tweed Fender Blues Jr. The reason I use those is because that's what the snake in my dream told me to do.

Q: what inspires you to write songs?

PR: I've always loved the idea that no matter how many songs have been written, most of them the exact same or in a similar way, people still do it all in hopes of perfecting the art a bit more. The idea of attempting to come up with new and clever lyrics when there have been an infinate number of songs in existance saying the same basic thing is endearing to me. Everyone who writes is wanting to just get their own unique perspective heard. Until the end of time, people will be out there continuing to write songs that have already been written a million times fold, either intentionally or not - most of the time completely nieve to the fact that those songs exist and may have already relayed the exact same feeling and emotion. That's beautiful. All sorts of things inspire me to write, though. Everything from relationships to picking up the mail to seeing a band play can get the wheels rolling upstairs...

Q: What made you want to play music and sing to begin with?

PR: Listening to 45's on my mom's stereo as a child and digging through boxes of them on the floor was one of the earliest memories I have of being actively interested in music. Around that time I began recording myself singing on a small cassette stereo for fun. By the time I had reached Jr. High, like so many others, my love for music evolved into an active interest and hobby to write songs and play guitar myself.

Q: What are you currently working on creatively, both musical and non-musical?

PR: I'm continuously writing, but those folks out there closest to me all know that I've been threatening to release new stuff since I starting playing solo shows way back in 2003. The truth of the matter is I'm very lax about it and figure in the current climate of the music-releasing world, with the internet and strange shifting of the role and lack of importance of record companies, that I'm in no hurry to rush anything in particular out to be swallowed up into the vast void of the digital abyss. That's a sort of defeatist attitude, I guess, but I know my music-listening audience is a small handful of close friends and folks who either know me from my past efforts or have been following me through recent years via online and those folks should all be used to my indecisiveness by now and understand that I've got my head up my ass when it comes to that stuff haha. NON-musically though, I've been doing paintings continuously for the last few years, mostly small pieces I've been flogging-off here and there via eBay. Back in February I did a project I called "28 in Paint" where I decided that I was going to paint one painting a day for the entire month of February (of course I pick the shortest month out of the year to do this). It was fun to try and I was happy with the results. Right now I usually do three or so paintings a month, as I find time. This all started out as a random whim but has now turned into an active enjoyable interest of mine. I'm about to begin work with a couple new projects to get my art out and about and spread the word. I've been happy and thankful for the response I've been getting from it all.

Q: are you into books? If so, what are some of your personal favourites?

PR: Comics count too, right? If so, I'm a monthly avid reader of anything Ninja Turtles or Green Lantern and I've been enjoying Kick-Ass and the comic adaptations of The Stand as well. My two favorite graphic novels are probably Kingdom Come and Watchmen. As far as standard novels and the like, lately I've been enjoying the work of David Sedaris, having just recently finished his 'When You Are Engulfed in Flames'. One of my all-time favorites books is 'Walden' by Henry Thoreau.

Q: What are some other bands and artists you enjoy listening to? Including those embarrassing guilty pleasures?

PR: My top five are probably The Beatles, Tom Petty, Wreckless Eric, Elvis Costello and Paul Westerberg. Lately I've been listening to a lot of George Harrison, Violent Femmes, and enjoying Regina Spektor's new album. Guilty pleasures? Haha, most of those around me would probably argue that pretty much everything I listen to should be an embarrassing guilty pleasure. That list is too long...

Q: do you enjoy any sports? Watching or participating?

PR: I've always been into skateboarding and love the 80's skateboard culture centered around The Bones Brigade and Powell Peralta. I hear Stacy Peralta is supposed to be producing a Dogtown-style documentary about the Bones Brigade, hopefully that's true. Recently I got one of those Powell reissue decks, the Mike Vallely elephant one, and fixed it up as ugly and bright as I would have had I bought it in the 80's. I still have my old Mcgill skull and snake deck from when I was a kid. I'm pretty sure I wanted that one only because it's the model Christian Slater had in Gleaming the Cube. But yeah, I don't get to ride much anymore but when I find time it's always fun.

Q: What's the music scene like in your area?

PR: Southeast Texas has always had a very independent and varied music scene. Almost every band that springs up seems to truely have their own sound and there's a good spirit of bands wanting to help each other and the local scene itself out, it seems. A lot of people tend to move out of the area after finishing school in favor of Austin, Denton or elsewhere, but there's always new groups popping-up that are interesting and bring new life to the scene, along with new sets of music fans eager to take the keys to the car, so to speak. The only downfall I think this area has is its inability to maintain venues for long periods of time. Each time a good venue has sprung up it's always shortlived.

Q: What's next for you and what can the world expect from the Dictator of Pop?

PR: Capitol Records is going to call any minute now and you can expect a box set of all these ridiculous songs I've been hording inside my head.

Random topic round.

Topics: jeans. tshirts. jorts. swim trunks. bikinis. speedos.

PR: Jeans and tshirts are a-ok! I'm not sure what a jort is, but it sounds like an energy drink. Bikinis are a go, speedos are a no!

Topics: adult beverages. soda pop. juice boxes. hot cocoa. coffee.

PR: adult beverages < soda pop. juice boxes < juice pouches. Cold weather is my favorite time to drink hot cocoa and coffee.

Topics: cereal. grits. toaster strudel. pop tarts. protein shakes.

PR: Cereal > grits, toaster strudels or pop tarts. Protein shakes are ridiculous.

Topics: texas. cowboys. country music. rockabilly music. honky tonks.

PR: Texas is grand. Cowboys are terrible drivers. Country music is okay before the mid-ninties. Rockabilly music isn't as cool as it's fashion. Honky tonks are where you can boot, scoot and boogie.

Topics: electric bulls. oil and gasoline. james dean. michael jackson.

PR: electric bulls are just as bad as electric bills. oil and gasoline are overrated. james dean and michael jackson are no longer with us.

Topics: elvis presley. buddy holly, britney spears. warped tour.

PR: I've honestly never "gotten" Aaron Presley. My opinion is that there's only one Elvis that matters and one King of Rock n' Roll and he's neither one of those. I'm a big Buddy Holly fan (the real King of Rock n' Roll?), as well as Ritchie Valens. I would've been very interested in hearing what sort of music those two guys would have been making during the 60's had their death not occured. Britney Spears is about due for a comeback. I've only been to one Warped Tour, it was in Houston, 1998 and I got to see The Specials and Swingin' Utters. It was pretty fun aside from the extremely long hot dog line...

Topics: fast food. sit down restaurants. whataburger. tex mex.

PR: I eat way too much fast food. I like to stand up in sit down restaurants. Whataburger are Wal-Mart are the only things open in my town past 9pm. Tex mex is great!

Topics: PCs. macs. ipods. zunes. cds. dvds. vhs. mp3s. cassettes.

PR: PCs and Macs just need to have sex and get it over with. I used to be against Ipods, zunes and all those things but then finally got one as a gift and absolutely love it. Cds and dvds look identical. I was okay with VHS. MP3s are better than M16s. Ahh, cassettes - You can't make a mix-tape on a cdr, kids.

Topics: rubiks snake. rubiks cube. nerf guns. atari. pac man. galaga.

PR: What the hell is a rubiks snake?! That's terrible, take something I love (Rubiks Cube) and something I hate (snakes) and put them together. What's the world coming to. I want an arsenal of nerf guns so bad it's killing me. Atari < NES. Pac Man > Galaga.

Thanks again, Christy! Anyone interested in following my silliness can find me over at: