Thalia Zedek’s new album Liars and Prayers, released in April on Thrill Jockey, was the latest instalment in a career that exploded out of the East Coast punk scene in the early ‘80s. The former frontwoman with New York’s Live Skull and Boston indie-rockers Come has now earned the status of ‘cult heroine’, ATP organisers take note…

by Tourdates staff writer, first published in LondonTourdates #035, 14th November 2008

What are the five albums that have most influenced you?

Radio Ethiopia by The Patti Smith Group, Desire by Bob Dylan, Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones, Junkyard by The Birthday Party, Velvet Underground’s third album.

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?

It is a toss up between Einsturzen Neubaten at the Channel – in the late 80s – and The Dog Faced Hermans at the Middle East – late 90s I think. In both cases I had this weird feeling of almost deja vu, like I was so in tune and on the wavelength of the bands that I knew what they were going to play or sing before it happened, and I felt a very strong and direct, almost telepathic communication going on between the musicians and the audience.

If you could have been a musician in any era when would it be?

I think starting to play music in the punk era was perfect for me because of the lack of emphasis on virtuosity, and more of an emphasis on communication with an audience of peers.

What’s the best gig you have ever performed?

I find that question pretty impossible to answer. Does ‘best’ mean played the best technically, had the best time, or the audience was the best? Hopefully the best gig ever will be our next one.

Is there any particular venue you would like to play?

I’ve always wanted to play the All Tomorrows Parties festival in England. It just seems like a really fun festival with really great music and a really cool audience.

What books have you read and films have you seen recently?

Books would be The Sound Of Our Town by Brett Milano, which is a history of Boston rock and roll, and the most recent film was Persepolis which I thought was brilliant.

CD, vinyl or MP3?

Vinyl sounds best to me.

John or Paul?

Paul, though to tell you the truth I always preferred The Rolling Stones to the Beatles.

East Coast or West Coast?

East Coast, but maybe that’s just because I’m used to it. Any coast is fine with me but I like to be near an ocean.

Dylan or Elvis?

Dylan, no need to say more on that!