My Parents Know More Than You - What Does Famous Mean?
Press shot for hot recording artists Me and Daddy
I don't know what fame is anymore. I blame my parents. They have been intensely supportive of everything I’ve ever done, always, but when I say "intensely," I mean intensely. My mother comes from a very classy and very religious family in Iran, and my dad is a "good ol' country boy" from a very Christian small town in Georgia, and his best childhood friend was, like, a goat or something. So, they're already confusing as a pair, but recently I realized that my parents' skewed view of the world had surpassed a healthy level of intensity. I know they support what I do. I love it. But it can sometimes be too much, with my dad popping up at SXSW trying to do merch for my band TEARIST, with some artist badge he swindled from a bum or God knows where else. Or them talking to the movie screen at a theater when I'm in a film or to their television when they catch me on TV—as though they were speaking to me. It just never seemed to be an issue, until now.
I knew I had a problem on my hands when I took a trip home to Texas, and they literally rushed me out of the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, my mom saying, "I think they all recognize you." I’m 93 percent sure no one recognized me. They might've recognized that I was wearing a t-shirt with no pants, high heels, and a trench coat, and possibly that my parents applauded as a I descended the escalator from the terminal with my dad screaming, "I think they saw you on Conan!" (I accompanied my friends Das Racist when they appeared on the show last November. I played a cymbal with a screwdriver.) It was at this moment it had, finally, occurred to me: My parents believe I am a celebrity. Full-blown. Bona fide. Famous.
It was around this time they began parading me around the local mall, and my dad started wearing sunglasses indoors. On my last visit, he took me to a bank in a grocery store (yes, the bank is in the grocery store; he loves it.), claiming, "Everyone wants to meet you." Then, the same thing at his favorite Starbucks. People were congratulating me on my "Rolling Stone thing" and asking about our last European tour. Little did I know, he had been "accidentally" leaving press clippings he had printed out from the library about my band at his favorite hotspots and had "misplaced" copies of LA Weekly featuring a cover story on my band all over town. Realizing their behavior had moved way passed proud-parents stuff and into some Twilight Zone-style alternate universe understanding of fame, I was curious as to what my parents had to say about the people considered (in the traditional sense) "famous." I was left with no choice. Clearly, they had some opinions, and perhaps hearing them would provide a better understanding of my own fame. The results blew my mind. Caution: Heavy accents ahead.
My mom gave me that Insane Clown Posse chain for my birthday. She didn't know what it was, and when she gave it to me I pointed and said, "That's amazing."
On Adele: "I like a woman that says, 'You had me from the get go' or 'You had from the start.' I could never get the words. Yeah. She's easy goin’. That's what I like about her. She has a good attitude." [Earlier in the week he had made the same comment about why he liked koala bears.]
On Taylor Swift at the Grammys: "I try not to remember that part. I don't think she's talented. I could train a rat, a monkey, or a rat to sing like that… No offense to Taylor Swift, but that's what they did a hundred years ago to put you to sleep. An' that’s the same kind of music she does, because somebody told her it was good. An' all these young kids supportin' her cuz she's the same age as they are. 100 percent. They wanna pretend they're her. She's so fake. Why does she think she can be so famous. Those little kids wanna be like her for some reason, but I don't. Imma change the channel when she comes on."
On Paris Hilton: "Paris Hilton got famous by havin sex. An' lettin somebody take a picture of her. And she's still famous cuz they have money an' if you have money errybody's always talkin’ bout cha. Basically, I really don't think about her too much."
On Kim Kardashian: "That family got famous cuz of OJ Simpson. Only in America can people be famous without talent. [This is when I informed him of her sex tape.] Well, she was tryna copy Paris Hilton. That wasn't no accident. That was planned. Whatchu think. 'Course that was planned. Just like that thing with MIA. That was planned." [Whoa! What?!]
On MIA (specifically her "controversial" Super Bowl middle-finger moment): "Her publicist probly told her to do that probly. That was no accident. To try to get that bad girl image. That was planned. Just like that same thing… which one of ’em came, the, uh, Latanya Jackson thing when her top came off. That was probably planned too. These people want attention. They'll do anything to get it. They do anything to get people to write about ’em. [I then told him about MIA's "Bad Girls" song and video.] OH! I didn't know that. I. DID. NOT. KNOW. THAT. So that. OK. Then that makes sense. It all comes together. Makes too much sense." [Since the Super Bowl, he has been referring to his middle finger as "the MIA."]
Note: The whole thing was a bit hard to understand, because his mouth could not quit those onion fries, which more often than not, needed more ranch.
My mom, actually, whispered most of her answers to me when my dad was not around, because she didn't want to be rude. (Cute.)
On Lana Del Rey: "Who is dees Donna Felgay? She did a Saturday Night Live where she had many voices. You see dees? She maybe wants to sound like Cat Pover [Cat Power] or Fiona Appel [Fiona Apple], but she cannot be Fiona. She vent out of control, but if she stuck to von voice it could be great, but she didn't do it. It vas like faces of Adam and Eve." [I think she meant Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but "vhatevair."]
On American Idol, X Factor, The Voice: "When I'm watching the something like this or somebody singing he [my dad] almost block my vay, block, you know, da tv a little bit. Or he open up some cabinet, pretend picking up some stuff, making noise, and den, finally, say, 'What you think you think they're better than your daughter? None of them are good. They don't have voice.' It's just like he's upset. He doesn't like any of them. Sometimes, like, maybe like to like make it natural he says, 'Oh dis is good.' Specially if it's a guy, he comment 'is good.' But if it's a girl… [We both laugh.] Normally, when somebody is singing, like, when I wanna watch some band coming to Jimmy Kimmel, he say 'VAT U WATCHING?! It's all junky bands. They're not that good like your daughter.' Like I'm not allowed to listen to some music from some singer? Not like an old-timey singer—like new-comers, bands. He alvays make noise, say, 'Vhy you have to watch all that stuff. They are not that good.'"
On Lady Gaga: "The one that makes me mad: Gaga. Gaga been surrounded by a bunch of designers. I read in newspaper—they ask her who design, who help her with everyting, and the answer was [in a mocking voice] ‘Oh, Lady Gaga has a lot of friends that they help her.’ [No!] I svear to GOD! She has a lot of ‘FRIENDS! ‘ …that they ‘help her with her idea.’ Promise to God. Dey, also, wrote about her sexuality… But yes, she has a bunch of ‘friends,’ not designers—‘friends.’ Dats vhat bothers me. It's going kinda of out of control. Cuz den you focus on the clothes an then the voice… is not dat good. you don't listen to the song. She is like a puppet—like Ahmadinejad. [What?!] He is the puppet. It's not the real man—out of Khamenei. So, in other word Khamenei is behind da curtain, but he is main thing. Ahmadinejad is a puppet. So designer, in this story about the Gaga, designer they are Khamenei, Gaga is Ahmadinejad.
So, basically, I don't know what I am. But fuck, if I'm famous to these two, and to the ladies at the Wells Fargo in that grocery store and at that one Starbucks by my parents' house in Dallas… You know what? I think…
Yeah. I'm fucking famous, you guys.
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