We Chatted With Colleen Green, the Ultimate DIY Punk Rocker

by Tess Duncan

If you like punk, weed, and lo-fi rock ‘n’ roll then you’ll probably love Colleen Green. If you don’t like all of those things, you’ll probably still love Colleen Green. It’s hard not to like a musician who makes catchy 50’s/60’s doo-wop-ish garage rock completely by herself. She writes and records her own music, plays all of her instruments, books her own tours, hand-paints her t-shirts, draws comics, and makes zines, all while keeping a posi attitude about everything. Her music is honest and sincere, and Green reveals its impressively humble and positive message in the following interview. Just a year since her Descendents-inspired full-length debut Milo Goes to Compton, Green is back with another infectious treat, Sock It to Me.

You just got back from SXSW. How was it? What was your favorite showcase/show to play? 

OH MY GOD, it was amazing. It was the most fun I have had in a very, very long time. I loved it. It was perfect. My favorite performance was at the Blackberry House because absolutely no one that I knew was there. It RULED. But the FUNNEST, RADDEST, most POSI show I played overall was Burgermania II. Best fucking night of my life, man. 

What was the best band you saw there? 

White Fang.

Is “You’re So Cool” a reference to True Romance? Are you a fan of Tarantino? (Based on your awesome blog it seems like you’re into movies.) 

It could totally be a reference to True Romance if you wanted it to be! I’m more of a Christian Slater fan than Tarantino, but he cool and all. And it is a good movie. I just happen to really like that ending monologue. It makes my head spin. 

Colleen’s newly-released music video for “Taxi Driver”

I’m really digging your new album. One thing I love about your music is that it seems like you’re totally doing it for yourself. You play all of your own instruments, record everything yourself, book your own shows, and your lyrics are pretty confessional of your own anxieties and inner thoughts (“Heavy Shit,” “Every Boy Wants A Normal Girl,” “Taxi Driver”). Does making music help you deal with those kind of problems? 

Well, now that I’m an adult I have been trying to be more honest with myself and others. And that is something that I think has brought a bit of peace to my life. I understand that it is necessary for me to face my fears in order to become fully actualized. It is a very scary idea, but when I put something into a song that I normally would be too shy to discuss IRL, I feel good. I think that is a step in the right direction. I just want people to know that it’s okay to be honest and that nothing is weird as long as it’s sincere. I’m still kinda sad and lonely though, so I guess it doesn’t help that much.

The phrase Sock It To Me gained popularity in the ’60s. Did you watch Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In? Or did you borrow the phrase from somewhere else? (Aretha Franklin, Mitch Ryder, etc) 

I did not watch that show! Since I just spouted off all this bulltick about honesty, I guess I should tell you that it is primarily a reference to a book called Ten Boys and Father Too, in which the main character wears a shirt with the phrase printed on it. But it is also conveniently a reference to “Respect” and the ’60s and all that other stuff. It’s something you hear. I just think it’s super cool.

Speaking of the ‘60s, I get kind of a ‘60s girl group vibe from you. While I know of a lot of pop-punk and ska-punk bands that have influenced you, are there any girl groups that have influenced you or that you enjoy? 

Not any one in particular, but when I was growing up Oldies 103.3 (WODS) was the only thing my mom EVER had on in the car. Also I loved the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. The first music I ever really knew and loved was all from the ’50s and ’60s. Like, now, I have a Supremes double LP but it’s not that good. The Best of the Ronettes is pretty okay. They always just have like one great song, you know? I always loovoovovovovovovvveeed “Love is Strange” by Mickey and Sylvia, thanks to Dirty Dancing. I guess my mom really liked that movie or something. I don’t blame her. It is a good movie.

I know you love Blink 182. What’s your favorite song(s)? 

Aww man. I can’t pick. I really love everything on Cheshire Cat, Dude Ranch, and Enema of the State. I dunno. I’m really into “Carousel.” “M&Ms.” of course. “Strings.” “Sometimes.” “Cacapony.” “Pathetic.” “Voyeur.” “Enthused.” “I’m Sorry.” “Waggy.” “Dysentery Gary.” “Dumpweed.” “DUMPWEED”! I’m gonna go with that. I’m way into that song. What a great album opener! All of their album openers are really great, though.

I interviewed you once before about your comics and series “Real Shit Daily.” Have you drawn anything new lately?

Oh hell yeah! Hardly Art just put out a zine of all my comics, which has two that haven’t really been seen before. And I am still hand-painting all of my t-shirts. I plan to hand-paint every single one for my upcoming tour. 

You’re about to go on a big-ass tour. Which show are you most stoked to play? 

I don’t know who-all we’re playing with yet, but I am pretty stoked to play in Philadelphia on 4/20.

Be sure to catch Colleen on tour at one of the dates listed below and ask her about her zine of comics released through Hardly Art Records! She just might have a copy on hand for ya. If you can’t make it to any of those shows, you can order Sock It to Me through Hardly Art right here.

04.04.13 – San Diego, CA – The Void ^
04.05.13 – Tucson, AZ – Topaz ^
04.06.13 – El Paso, TX – The Lovesprout
04.08.13 – McAllen, TX – Simon Sez
04.09.13 – Austin, TX – Hotel Vegas %
04.11.13 – Oxford, MS – Lamar Lounge
04.12.13 – Murray, KY – Terrapin Station
04.13.13 – Nashville, TN – The Stone Fox #
04.15.13 – Atlanta, GA – 529
04.16.13 – Columbia, SC – Jessica Olver’s House
04.18.13 – Harrisonburg, VA – My Mansion
04.19.13 – Washington, DC – Judy’s
04.20.13 – Philadelphia, PA – Jr’s
04.21.13 – Brooklyn, NY – Death By Audio
04.25.13 – Boston, MA – Radio
04.27.13 – Ottawa, ON – Pressed
04.28.13 – Toronto, ON – The Shop at Parts and Labour
04.30.13 – Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups
05.01.13 – Lexington, KY – Al’s Sidecar
05.02.13 – Bloomington, IN – Bishop $
05.04.13 – Milwaukee, WI – Hotel Foster $
05.06.13 – Minneapolis, MN – Memory Lanes
05.13.13 – Seattle, WA – Heartland !
05.15.13 – Portland, OR – Crayon Coffin ! 

^ – with Widowspeak
% – with Cheap Curls
# – with Natural Child, Nightmare Boyzzz
! – with White Fang
$ – with JAILL

 Photos by Eric Penna via Hardly Art

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