The Wet Spots - Some Like It wet
Author: Darryn King
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
So how did you and John meet in the first place-
Well, John was a singer-songwriter and I did spoken word – monologues and poetry and stuff like that. So we were both performing solo around Vancouver, and we were double-booked to perform at the same poetry-music night. Our friend who booked the night later told us that he knew he’d never get the two of us in the same room unless he booked us both. And so he did and kinda set us up – we didn’t really know it at the time.
What ended up happening was John played his guitar alongside me while I read my lesbian love poetry. And then he did his set, and I thought his lyrics were excellent – his songs were kinda smoky, Tom Waitsy, Lou Reed kinda stuff – I asked him if he wanted to collaborate with me on writing some songs.
And we…sorta hooked up and we didn’t really write any songs for about a year… We were spending a lot more time having sex than we were trying to write.
Was there a moment when you realised that The Wet Spots could reach a wide audience-
It was when we were invited to play at comedy clubs instead of the burlesque shows. We went and played in front an audience that were not at all our sort of underground, downtown crowd. And it was funny to them. That’s what made us realise that we had potential beyond our…community. So that was a turning point for us.
What do you think it is about the combination of sex and music that is inherently funny-
I think that the humour in our act comes from the fact that we’re quite sincere about everything that we say. We’re not trying to be crass or shocking. We’re just trying to put an old-fashioned, vaudevillian twist on very new-fashioned sexual morals. So what’s funny is hearing somebody say, really directly in a song, things we tend to only think in our heads or discuss in private.
We often ask the artists in our magazine about the strangest venues or shows they’ve played, but you must be in a league of your own when it comes to that. Can you tell us about one of your stranger gigs-
Sure! Well… [laughs] it’s hard to know where to even start. We played an orgy in Washington DC last year at a private house – just down the street from Colin Powell’s house. So we were playing an orgy in this mansion and we set up in the living room right next to the hot tub and people were all sort of naked and spanking each other while we were playing.
We went into the dressing room after we finished the show – our dressing room was the master bedroom of the house – and there were four or five people peeing on one guy in the bathtub. [laughs]
He was enjoying it, I’m pretty sure it was consensual.
Is it distracting to play to that sort of crowd- To maintain your persona-
I think the thing that we do in those situations is do what you do with any audience, and relate to them. If someone’s having an orgasm, or someone’s being spanked, you just sort of have to stay on your feet and relate to what’s happening.
You played in Africa a couple of years ago, and they must have a much different sexual climate over there… Did you have to change your routine when you were playing to those crowds-
Well that’s a really good question. I think we felt that audiences were in some ways more conservative than we are used to here, so we found that some of the jokes or questions we asked were really beyond the pale and we had no idea that our jokes would be received that way… You know, I asked a woman how long it took her to have an orgasm – and [to them] that was a really shocking question… And I was shocked that the audience was shocked. [laughs] It was a real learning experience.
But they were okay with the song Do You Take It (Up The Ass), so there you go.
In many ways The Wet Spots is broadening the discussion on sex, and doing it in a space where it would never normally take place…
Yeah, you know it’s surprising how often people come to me after the show and say, “Thank you for singing that song about spanking, I’d always wanted to spank my wife, but I wasn’t sure how she’d react to that, but after your show she kept singing the song, then we started talking about it…and now I spank her all the time!” And, you know, stuff like that happens with some regularity – people come up and say, “Thank you for talking about gross sex”, or whatever, “because it’s something that we do”… They just feel normalised and accepted, and that really blows us away. To us, we’re just singing funny songs that amuse us. We’re advocates, obviously, but we’re entertainers first and foremost, and when we find out that someone’s had a life-changing experience at our show, that just feels like a gift. It’s totally not what I got in this for but it’s a wonderful thing that it happens.
Finally, I hear there’s a little bit of audience interaction involved- What can we expect-
It’s an interactive show. There’s also a little bit of consensual spanking involved. It’s mostly singalongs… with a little bit of spanking.
WHO: The Wet Spots
WHAT: Play the Sydney Opera House for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
WHEN: Wednesday 27 to Friday 29 February