White Lung's Mish Way The Exclaim! Questionnaire
Published May 03, 2016Whether it's writing about sex, music, body image or politics (for outlets as varied as The Guardian, Dazed & Confused, Salon and Vice) or acting (she'll make her debut next year in Amber Tamblyn's Paint It Black) Mish Way makes sure that she gets heard, and that's before you even get to the ripping punk tunes offered up by White Lung, the L.A.-via-Vancouver band she fronts with guitarist Kenneth William, drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou and new bassist Lindsey Troy.
While they prepare to tour in support of their fourth full-length album, Paradise (out May 6 on Domino), it's easy to imagine Way in her Los Angeles element. In her — and in the fresh, bracing, catchy while still aggressive sound of White Lung — is the embodiment of both celebrity culture and its voyeurs. Even as she's increasingly the centre of attention, Mish Way is always watching, fascinated by our petty obsessions and keen to chronicle them in various ways.
What are you up to?
I have been busy writing and doing on-camera hosting for [Vice channel] Broadly. Writing always, and keeping busy before tour starts. Also, my husband and I just got a new house. It's this old, California mini-mansion that needs some interior style updating, but I live for that kind of chore. (The old lady who lived there before was a big fan of wallpaper.) But it has a cool layout and a huge pool. I always wanted a pool. The house is in a neighbourhood where peacocks are kind of like squirrels — they are everywhere. We have one that hangs out on the roof and squawks at anyone who comes by.
What are your current fixations?
I am obsessed with this trucker country singer named Dick Curless. Old country, always. Trailer Park Records makes these compilations called, "Twisted Tales of the Vinyl Wastelands," and I have really been into those. I've also been listening to a lot of Brainbox, Rory Gallagher and revisiting Guns and Roses. When I need ambiance and focus, I listen to Tropic of Cancer and DIN.
Why do you live where you do?
I live in Los Angeles. The most dirty, disgustingly gorgeous place on earth. I fit in here with the trash.
Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art:
"MY YEAR WITH ANNE" by Jim Goad. Have you ever read that story? Everyone should read this story.
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
Fleetwood Mac at the Forum last year. I took my friend Caz and we got high and sobbed and hugged. Christine McVie was back in the band, so it was like this big, warm, hippy-dippy reunion of black lace and old hits. Lindsey Buckingham was the only member who never left the stage once for the entire, almost three-hour set. His voice has not changed since those early albums. He deserves credit for that.
What have been your career highs and lows?
This is too hard to answer.
What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
I don't remember. Probably something too true from a German fan.
What should everyone shut up about?
What traits do you most like and most dislike about yourself?
I like my speaking voice. I like that I am naturally domestic and maternal. I hate everything else. No one hates me more than I do.
What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Breakfast: a Bloody Mary, then going shopping for plants with my husband, relaxing by the pool all day and cooking dinner together.
What advice should you have taken, but did not?
"Those pants look really tight. You should probably change before they bust open in front of that guy you like."
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
I have kicked bandmates out of White Lung. It's just like dumping a boyfriend: it's not fun anymore and the sex sucks, so this is over.
What do you think of when you think of Canada?
What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money?
Madonna, Bedtime Stories.
What was your most memorable day job?
I worked at a dry cleaning place when I was a teenager. I loved it. My boss was a chain-smoking British woman who introduced me to Judge Judy. She used to rig this mirror in the corner of the shop, so that when Judge Judy came on TV every weekday at 4 p.m., we could watch the show uninterrupted by the dinging of the motion alarm (which let us know if customers were at the shop). From our chairs in front of the TV, we could check the mirror and see if someone was actually there before getting up and missing Judge Judy for a false alarm. I could have worked there for the rest of my life.
How do you spoil yourself?
Food and expensive makeup.
If I wasn't playing music I would be…
A relationship and marriage counsellor or sex therapist. I would still like to do that one day. I have been looking into what kind of schooling I would need to complete. I think I could be good at it. I also really like listening to people's relationships problems. A lot. I do not find it taxing. I like it.
What do you fear most?
Anyone in my family dying.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
What's a celebrity?
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Judge Judy, Martha Stewart and Joan Rivers (RIP). Martha would have her team arrange the decor and food. We would drink. A lot. Joan would call her driver, and we'd take a limo to some tall building and maybe throw a few televisions off a roof just because we can.
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
Dinah Washington, "If I Never Get to Heaven"