We last met Merrill Garbus on a beach in Barcelona as she played Primavera Sound and featured on our front cover the following month. Almost exactly two years on, here she is to answer our Getting To Know You questionnaire in an attempt to prove that recording artists are people too
The best piece of advice you’ve been given
“Go to sleep, Merrill!”
Your favourite word
I don’t like when people pee on the seat.
If you could only eat one food forever, it would be…
WHOA, one? Rice would probably be a good idea, or a good potato.
The worst job you’ve had
Stocking groceries, shelving and re-shelving them. Every time someone bought something you’d have to bring the can or jar to the front. It’s definitely got some Sisyphus to it and after a few days of it, you’re quoting Waiting For Godot.
The film you can quote the most of
A tie, between A Chorus Line and Newsies.
Favourite place in the world
Unfair question! Too many and I’m lucky to have seen a whole lot.
Your style icon
The one song you wished you’d written
‘Stranger in Moscow’ by Michael Jackson.
The most famous person you’ve met
The thing you’d rescue from a burning building
Anyone or anything living! Everything else is just stuff.
The worst date you’ve been on
I didn’t ever really date enough to have a worst one.
Your guilty pleasure
Junky celebrity mags. Eek.
The worst birthday or Christmas present you’ve received
Slipping on my tailbone when I turned 35 this year… ouch.
The characteristic you most like about yourself
Your hidden talent
I can do a good Elvis lip-curl.
Your favourite item of clothing
Your biggest disappointment
One time my parents took me and my sister to Los Angeles. The day after we were meant to leave there was a taping of my favourite TV show, Roundhouse, which no one remembers, but it had dancing and skits and was full of cool kids in plaid shirts and Timberland boots (it was 1995). I asked my parents if we could change our flight to see the show and they were like, “YOU ARE HIGH!” And I probably was, on teenage hormones.
The celebrity that pisses you off most even though you’ve never met them
Who knows who a celebrity really is
Your biggest fear
The best book in the world
What?! Ulysses. And I’m saying that never having actually finished it. But you can’t ask a person that. In the world? I have not read the Bible or the Koran or the Talmud or anything by David Foster Wallace and I haven’t even finished a Gertrude Stein book. Best book in MY world? Probably The BFG by Roald Dahl. I also love Zadie Smith.
What is success to you?
Living in integrity: my life reflecting my values, my passions, my honest desires, my truths.
What talent do you wish you had?
I wish I could pick up languages faster. I want to talk to everyone!
How do you want to die?
I don’t really want to die. Old age, in my rocking chair, surrounded by people I love.
What is the most overrated thing in the world?
What would you change about your physical appearance?
What’s your biggest turn-off?
When people are disrespectful to others. I see it happen all the time, people treating me well and attending to my every need and then being rude to people around them who can’t do anything for them, or who don’t have some kind of bullshit status. People are all equal, everywhere, and anyone who doesn’t act that way is living a big ol’ lie.
What would you tell your 15-year-old self?
Don’t worry about missing the Roundhouse taping, someday you’ll be on TV.
Your best piece of advice for others
I’m an older sister so I tend towards giving advice but I really don’t know shit. Be true to yourself!