Unconventional, outrageous and determined to invigorate the state of rock n roll, L.A. rocker, filmmaker and wild child Roxy Saint envisions a radical reworking of rock gods and performance art. Forgoing the normal CD format, her debut DVD, "Underground Personality Tapes," weaves gritty digital video vignettes among gut-busting, hip-grinding punk-fueled rock songs for a twisted trip through Tinseltown’s surreal underbelly. Roxy was kind enough to spend some time riffing on a host of topics we threw at her and here’s what she had to say.
Maximum Ink: What’s the biggest myth about being a female rocker?
Roxy: That you can’t be a female rocker. It’s such a male dominated industry.
MI: How about your most bizarre celebrity encounter:
Roxy: Someone came out of the blue, kissed me and it was Madonna! It was really crowded, where the gay clubs are. I was just walking around with some friends, there was music and people were dancing. I just walked through where the stairway was and it was her and she just walked off.
MI: Favorite Visual Artist of the last century.
Roxy: I like Cindy Sherman. I do a lot of self-portraits myself but with video. I think Cindy’s work is really good and she’s opened the door for a lot of female artists.
MI: Cindy takes her self-image and manipulates it similar to some of the videos on your DVD where you’re not always the same person.
Roxy: I try to do that. I’m schizophrenic anyway so I want to prove a point that you can’t label me. When I wear leather pants I’m rock n roll, when I wear the Mohawk I’m punk, when I wear a wedding dress I’m goth. I like trying to prove I can’t be labeled.
MI: Speaking of things to wear, do you have a favorite fashion trend from the last 25 years?
Roxy: I’m not really into fashion, I’m really anti-designer. I wear garbage bags a lot because people can’t steal them from me on the road. So I just wear trash bags. Sometimes I paint different things on them. That’s been my thing for awhile. I just go out on stage with a trash bag on, if it’s cold I’ll wear leather pants on underneath. In concert I’ll wear a blond wig with the garbage bag. By the end of the show I take off the bag and the wig and I’m somebody else.
MI: Are you very different onstage from offstage?
Roxy: I definitely become someone else on stage. Performing live is one of my favorite things about music. My band’s really good and it makes a difference live. People get the DVD and love it but then they see us live and they’re like, "wow, my god!" I’m really a master of my craft as far as performing live. I really enjoy someone like Mick Jagger or Tina Turner who can hold onto an audience.
MI: Five Absolute Top Rock Bands Ever.
Roxy: Doors, Stones, Queen. I like the Clash and the Sex Pistols, but I think that the Doors… because I see them playing bigger audiences and controlling the audience. I really appreciate that right now. Jim Morrison could jump off a stage and have thousands of people doing a line dance behind him. That’s amazing to me that he could touch the audience and take them somewhere.
MI: When you meet people who can do that, you understand what charisma is all about.
Roxy: Definitely. Perry Farrell and Axle Rose did it and Hendrix of course. I haven’t really seen anyone else do it, especially these days.
MI: Most unappreciated artist living today.
Roxy: Me! Probably Perry Farrell because he went on to do different things. He DJ’d, he had a rock band, he did underground films. He did a lot of things and I think people forget that about him.
MI: Most over-rated Sex Symbols of the past fifty years and if you name Madonna we won’t hold that kiss against you.
Roxy: Fabio, probably, Pamela Anderson, Mother Teresa… no, I’m just kidding.
MI: Coming from a celebrity-soaked town like L.A., are you jaded about that whole image machine?
Roxy: Definitely. I signed a record deal real young and showed up in a straight jacket. They took me out of the straight jacket and put me in other clothes. I was so young so I didn’t really understand, but it’s funny how if you don’t fit the part they’ll make you fit the part, they’re so in charge of everything. I just don’t believe that’s real. I just feel like I’m a product of my own identity, which is why I’m real. I’ve stripped myself of everything, like car, bank accounts, all those things. I went to England with just my guitar, no money. Especially in rock n roll you’re either a drunk, a drug addict or crazy, or a slut. I’m kind of disgusted by that. There’s nothing you can do about it, but it’s interesting to me how they view women these days. I never thought I’d be saying this, I’m not a feminist or anything, but it’s interesting to me lately, how the press, or whoever, really has a go at girls. If it were a guy that got drunk and loud, it wouldn’t matter, but if it’s a girl it’s totally different.
MI: It seems tough growing up female, in America particular. Generally people like boxes, and labels. Early on women are painted into a corner and especially these days, where we pay so much homage to youth.
Roxy: We have to have a picture of everything. It’s because of TV, if we were genderless, everyone would get their chance. I didn’t realize until recently how much it is like that. One of my songs says, "I’m a cheat, I’m a liar, I’m a creep." Basically because everything is labeled, I was already labeling myself something bad so they would leave me alone.
For a peek inside Roxy’s rock revolution check out www.roxyroxy.com