We’re big gossip fans. We also like the band. So when we heard Gossip front woman Beth Ditto was set to do a solo show at New York City’s XL Nightclub, we were more than a little anxious to get her to answer a few of our questions. For instance, what exactly got into the crooner on St. Patrick’s Day when she was arrested for wailing Obama’s name in the streets of Portland? Answer: White wine! We got those juicy details and more when we sat down for a chat with the Drag Race judge’s panel alum and all around interesting gal. Read all about it and check out the show at XL Nightclub, this Saturday April 13th!
NewNowNext: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, we’re big fans at NewNowNext.
Beth Ditto: Thank you for having me!
NNN: We’re also big drag queen fans and huge RuPaul’s Drag Race fans. You’ve been a judge on the show, want to tell us about how that came about?
BD: They asked and I said yes! I was so honored! My friends and I are huge fans of RuPaul! I found it really hard to be a judge, everyone was so amazing and it’s really hard to choose. It was difficult, to be honest, when it came to my negative feelings, so I kept it positive.
NNN: RuPaul was the first drag queen a lot of us ever really saw, especially those of us from small towns. Were you a fan as a kid growing up in Arkansas? Did you watch his VH1 show? Remember when Robyn was on in like 1998!?!
BD: As a kid, I was obsessed, and still am, with John Waters. So I would have to say Divine was the first drag queen I became familiar with! But RuPaul in a pop culture context was mind-blowing! I didn’t miss it! That is, if our cable didn’t get disconnected!!! Ha!
NNN: You must have encountered a Beth Ditto drag queen at least once or twice. How did it feel? Like winning a Grammy, Kids Choice Award, and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame all at once?
BD: People used to ask me in interviews, what would make me feel like I’d actually made it. My answer was always the same: When there was a drag queen version of me, I’ll know I’ve arrived! It’s a goal I have achieved! It’s the sweetest thing!!!! Fans post photos on Facebook, and I swear some of them have the look down better than I do!
NNN: You’re a big Madonna fan, if you did drag would you be a Madonna queen or some other traditionally impersonated diva?
BD: I looooooove Madonna! But ! I think I’d be someone else. I’d probably try my best to look like Poly Styrene from X-Ray Spex! Her style was unbelievable! So ahead of her time. Maybe Roseanne? For Christmas on year, my best friend Jeri hand made the infamous chicken and egg shirt that had a recurring role on the show! It’s one of my prized possessions!
NNN: Last drag queen question, promise. Who’s your favorite queen from Drag Race?
BD: No. 1???? RuPaul of course!!! I love JuJu! I just do! Sharon Needles! There are so many!
NNN: Alive or dead, which pop songstress would you most like to get into the sack?
BD: I can’t say there is really one I’d like to bone! But David Bowie always comes to mind! Creative and elegant. Someone who seems both out of this world and down to Earth. He’s the woman for me.
NNN: You’ll be performing some newer stuff April 13, a lot of it practically custom made to dance your ass off to at the club. But Gossip’s earlier stuff was much more all-ages at the VFW than all-shirtless at XL. Want to talk a little about the evolution of your sound?
BD: We started out when I was 18. 14 years have gone by. I like to answer that question by admitting that back then we couldn’t really play our instruments. We’re still learning. Every single record is a growth spurt and a lesson we’ve learned. A lot of the lesson is about being comfortable in our own skin and trusting ourselves. The energy is the same, but it would be so dull to be making the same records we did 14 years ago.
NNN: Because we’re incapable of making our own minds and are in the market for some new tunes, what are you listening to these days?
BD: Haha! honestly? Alabama Shakes! But for the most part i’m deep into Nirvana again. I can’t stop listening to the Unplugged album! So beautiful!
NNN: Your fame ante totally went up after your mugshot hit the internet on St. Patrick’s Day. Props to you for going “hard-ass” where other celebrities often go for “doe-eyed innocence” or “batshit.” What’s your favorite celebrity mugshot?
BD: Hahahahaha! Wow! I didn’t know this! Ummmm, I really like Frank Sinatra’s! People could spend a lifetime trying to take a headshot like that and it’s never gonna happen!
NNN: We’d love to hear your side of the story! What’s the scoop? Was it just one of those days? Because, if so, we feel you girl.
BD: Oh,man! Totally one of those days! Too much white wine and not enough food! Happy hour to the maxx!!! That’s kind of the scoop! Mix that in with a loud mouth radical dyke and you have one fat lady screaming the president’s name over and over again! You had to be there?? I guess?
NNN: Well, thanks for your time! We’re looking forward to seeing you at XL. Care to tell the world anything else while you’ve got their attention?
BD: I’m doing a vote to see what cover song people would like to hear at XL Nightclub on Gossip’s Facebook page, so if anyone wants in on that!!! Look it up and holler at your girl!!! Thank you for such awesome questions! See you in NYC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!