Photo by Jeanne RiceSave Ferris front woman Monique Powell is summery and breezy and hard to keep up with, especially now that she has sparkly silver roller skates. The last time we talked with her, she was into scary clowns, men who look like gay heroin addicts and her pug named Lou. These days, she's into making her own clothes, fondue and the OC Fair, where she's playing July 19. We caught up with her on Father's Day to talk about arts, crafts and that guy talking in the background.
OC Weekly:I hear someone in the background. Do you have a new boyfriend?
Monique Powell: I do.
What's he all about?
He's a pianist. He's really well-known in the jazz field. They say he's the next Beck.
Who's hipper: You or your boyfriend?
Oh, he's much hipper than I am. And you know what else? He wears flip-flops, and they have rainbows on the side. Those old OP flip-flops.
See, that's acceptable, but so many man sandals aren't.
Birkenstocks are out.
So are Tevas.
I knew it was love when he and I shared an equal hatred for Birkenstocks.
A lot of bonding can go on over that. I've heard them referred to as Mandals. For Jesus only!
Or for German tourists.
So what's your look these days? I haven't seen you in awhile.
Lately I've been wearing mostly stuff I make for my clothing company.
I didn't know you have a clothing company!
Yeah, I have one, and I'm starting a second one. I have a couture line called M Squared, and I sell it out of one store on Cahuenga called Blessed. I make, like, 12 pieces every couple of seasons. I've been really inconsistent with it.
Do you sew it yourself?
Wow. I didn't know you were so crafty!
The thing is there was a time I couldn't stand what was in the stores and nothing I saw was anything I would ever wear onstage. I just started reconstructing clothes and deconstructing and reconstructing again and making my own stuff. M Squared is "glam rock sport." That's the motto.
Are there any particular things you like to do in the summer, such as make sun tea or wear different shades of nail polish?
I'm really not a nail polish person. I cut my nails so short that it hurts.
Just because I like to practice guitar. Also because I have this thing with seeing the white. I don't like seeing the white on my nails.
Okay, that's a little neurotic.
Yeah, it is. You know what I love to do during the summer? I love to go to Venice Beach, and I love to roller skate on the boardwalk.
Do you ever fall down?
I do. I fell on my ass last time. I'm not good with curbs yet, so I totally fell on my ass the last time I went—but I have the best roller skates. I put silver glitter all over them! And this year, my birthday is going to be at this total '70s ghetto rink in LA, and we're renting the whole roller rink, and there's a bar, and we're going to have fondue.
It's a roller-skating fondue party! Are you going to come?
I'll come to the fondue party.
Well, maybe. So I hear rumors that you are possibly going to have a radio show on KROQ. Any comments?
I guess I'm supposed to say no comment. But if I were to have one—hypothetically—it would be a local and new music show, and I would have musicians on there, and I would interview them, and I would probably go under an assumed name
Any idea what that name would be?
I'm thinking August, just because that's a great month, and that's the name of my second clothing line, and that's the month that I was born.
Just one name? Just August?
I was thinking of kind of funky-ing it up a bit. Maybe putting two Ts at the end of it or a silent P in there or a silent H.
Or a J. You could be the Scandinavian August. Okay, so bandwise, what's going on? Same members?
We got rid of two of our horn players—that was a long time ago. We're finishing putting together what probably, I think, is gonna be our best album.
What's the stuff like? You were saying it's like the early Save Ferris stuff?
Yeah, but there's very little if any horns involved.
Do you still consider yourself ska?
No, we haven't considered ourselves that for four years now.
Then what do you call yourselves? Pop?
I actually don't know. I would say pop punk, but I kinda cringe because when I say pop punk—
People think of Blink-182?
Maybe they think of Blink-182, but maybe they think of punk bands, and we're not a punk band at all. The new stuff isn't as girly as the first album was, but it's not as hard as some of the songs on the last album were. We're mainly sticking to a really poppy catchy song base, which is honestly what we've always been best at.
Are you excited about playing at the fair?
I am because I'm trying to make it a great show and throw in some fun production stuff.
Costume changes, fun banter.
What's your favorite part of the fair?
The Whipper—isn't it called the Whipper?
Do you like all the cute farm animals?
I love animals. I go to animal rescues, and I hang out with shelter dogs. You just have to take a one-day course, and they teach you a lot about the personality of dogs and how to tell if they're going to fight with another dog or if they're in pain or sick or whatever.
So, Monique, how does someone know if you're about to fight them?
You know, that's a good question. I've been written up twice—I don't even remember what publication it was—
The police blotter?
No, like two LA publications where the same journalist happened to be at the two different places where I got in fights with two girls.
You got in fights with girls?
Like physical fights?
Yeah! And I won both times. It would have been totally humiliating if I hadn't.
Wow, I never knew about your sparring side.
Oh, my God. I'm tough.
Do you condone hair-pulling?
I'm not the hair-pulling type.
Did you know these girls?
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No, I didn't know them. Some girl was picking up on my boyfriend one time, and another time a girl just picked a fight with me because she was short and I was in her way or something.
What a bitch.
Oh, yeah. I let her have it. They actually threw her out and let me stay.
Save Ferris performs at the Orange County Fair, 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-FAIR; www.ocfair.com. July 19, 8:30 p.m. $10. All ages.