FROM THE EARLY, gross-out cult films like Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble to the later, more mainstream escapades—like Hairspray and Cry-Baby—esoteric music has always been central to the John Waters cinematic experience. So it should come as no surprise that the director/actor/writer/photographer has branched out yet again as the musical curator of bizarre holiday-song collections. Hot on the heels of last year’s irreverent A John Waters Christmas, New Line Records is releasing A Date with John Waters just in time for Valentine’s Day; a love-song compilation crammed with raucous rock ‘n’ soul, crazy novelty tracks, beloved Waters’ film alumni, and more. Here, the iconoclast talks to BUST about records, rowdy behavior, and, of course, romance.
The Valentine’s album is amazing! Are all the songs from your private collection?
These were all in my private collection, pretty much. Actually, Tonight You Belong to Me [by Patience & Prudence] was the very first record I ever had, and I stole it. I was with my mother. She turned her back in the drugstore, and I just put it up my coat. I was about eight.
I have to tell you, my favorite song on the album is All I Can Do Is Cry [by Ike & Tina Turner]. When she starts screaming, I just wanna throw myself on the floor.
Ah, yes. Me too. I love that record. She goes so insane. Tina was such an influence on Divine and me. She and Ike would play at a place in Baltimore, and they would come in a beat-up green mini school bus, and she had a little bit of a mustache and an old mink coat and Spring-O-Lators [heels] and processed hair, and Ike looked so much like a pimp, and they were so great together. We were obsessed with her.
Do you have a favorite song of all time?
I’ve put them all in my movies. If you cut through the soundtracks from the beginnings of my movies, they’ve always been my favorite songs. They’re usually rockabilly, country novelty, and really down-and-dirty rhythm and blues. Plus, I love rap. I just got Snoop’s new [record]. I’m also for K-Fed. Who I really wanna date now is Kevin Federline. I hope he gets the kids.
There’s hardly anything ever written about your love life…
Oh, I know.
Do you try to keep it that way? Are you seeing anyone now?
Let’s say this: I “see” some people and they’re friends, and they’re regulars, and they’re very great friends. Maybe they’re…I don’t know…friends with benefits?
Know that term?
Absolutely. Do you believe in true love forever?
No…well, yes. My parents have been married for over 60 years, and they love one another very much. But I think it’s not the kind of love they make movies about It’s a different kind of love than the passion you’re talking about in a Douglas Sirk movie. So, do I believe in true love? Yes, but I think real love is caring about people and growing old and all that kind of thing. [Do I believe in] an insane love like when you first meet somebody and you’re incredibly turned on and wildly in love for a hundred years? No! I don’t think that happens, but it turns into something else that’s probably a lot less taxing.
Is that kind of love something you’re looking for?
I don’t think I’m looking for it, no. I have a really good life as a single man, but I’ve certainly been involved with three major people in my life. I’m friends with all of them now. Though there were times when I wasn’t. I’ve had my heart broken, like everybody.
Since your album is called A Date with John Waters, I was wondering what your ideal date would be like.
That’s complicated, because I have lots of different types. They’d be funny, they’d be smart, they would’ve been arrested once in their life, and they would not want to go to a movie premiere with me. If someone says they’ve never seen my movies, it’s like saying “I love you,” to me. I always thought a glamorous date would be robbing a 7-Eleven with somebody. But not in real life! I wouldn’t do that, but I love the idea of doing it and then running and then, like, having a couple of drinks and counting the money and having sex. That would be a fun night.
That would be the best.
Well, I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day. Play All I Can Do Is Cry, and act it out alone in your bedroom!
By Emily Rems
This article originally appeared in the Feb/March 2007 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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