Hellbent for Pleather
A thousand lashes with Mistress Stephanie.
By Audra Schroeder,
4:56PM, Wed. Feb. 7, 2007
When I saw Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat for the first time last summer at the Chain Drive, it was one of those right place, right time moments. The Mistress, with her jet-black bob and bustier, was Louise Brooks with Norma Desmond’s sense of dark comedy. She ignored, berated, and sung in perfect harmony with Her Melodic Cat, stage left with a guitar, baring ass cheek and wearing a half-interested sneer as their cabaret punk was thrown out with Weimar vitriol. I desperately wanted them to play a cover of the Doors' "Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)," which is actually a cover of a Kurt Weill song, which is appropriate, as some of the set was in German. And this was at a gay leather bar.
In anticipation of their Valentine’s Day show at Hole in the Wall, Schadenfreude presents a very special interview with the patent-leather duo, the Sonny & Cher of the Eastern Bloc, offering a little insight into their “relationship” and training habits.
Schadenfreude: For those of us looking for ideas, what are your top five songs for getting in the mood or, perhaps, into submission?
Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat: “Don't You Want Me Baby?” by the Human League, “What Do I Get?” by the Buzzcocks, “I Have Confidence” from The Sound of Music, “Licking Stick-Licking Stick” by James Brown, our "safe word" which cannot be revealed at this time.
Schadenfreude: Where did you two meet?
MS&HMC: At the bottom of a very large and unattractive pile of naked bodies.
Schadenfreude: What do you do when you're not performing?
MS&HMC: Take tongue baths, look in the mirror, fight, make up, look in the mirror.
Schadenfreude: Your MySpace lists Mistress and Cat as diva and diva wannabe, respectively. When I think of divas, I think Beyoncé or anyone on the VH1 Divas concert. What defines a diva?
MS&HMC: A diva is a woman who desperately needs to be the center of attention but fortunately is already, through absolutely no fault of her own whatsoever.
Schadenfreude: Are there any who have inspired you?
MS&HMC: Maria Callas, Marlene Dietrich, Madonna. Basically anyone with a first name starting with an M who sings and could kick your ass.
Schadenfreude: What is it about Germany in the Twenties and Thirties that intrigues you?
MS&HMC: The impending doom. And the outfits.
Schadenfreude: What's the "collaborative" process for Mistress and Cat when writing songs?
MS&HMC: I'm glad you put "collaborative" in quotes, because the Unabridged Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Dictionary defines collaborative as: "Produced through a process of two parties alternately ignoring one another, fighting, drinking, spilling drinks, laughing, crying, and yawning." Other than that, your guess is as good as ours.
Schadenfreude: I think of your music as Sado-vaudevillian punk. How would you describe it to the untrained ear?
MS&HMC: Stay, stay boy. DOWN. Good boy. Listen, LISTEN. No! Good boy! STAY.
Schadenfreude: It's Mistress Stephanie's birthday on Valentine's Day. What's an appropriate gift?
MS&HMC: The gift that keeps on giving: Alcohol! Oh, yes, and money. And blood. Fresh blood.