Before co-creating Milkshake eight years ago, Lisa Mathews was the lead singer of a band that Gen Xers rocked out to, Love Riot. Now she performs for the SpongeBob SquarePants set. The band has released three CDs and has a brand new interactive DVD called Screen Play.
What book or film most changed your life?
A little-seen 1982 Australian film called Starstruck. I wanted to be actress Jo Kennedy. I was shocked when I ordered the movie online years later and there was Jo in a tutu 10 times puffier than the one I wear on stage! Here I thought finding the tutu at vintage store Dreamland a few years ago was what created my Milkshake look, but it may actually have been this movie in some subconscious way!
Who is your favorite Baltimorean, living or dead?
Mikel Gehl, my partner in Milkshake. He loves Baltimore and tells me enlightening stories about growing up in the city. Mikel's affection for Baltimore has rubbed off on me, despite my transient heart.
What is the best advice you ever got?
"Save your money." But I haven't done a good job heeding it, since my "live life to the fullest" and "enjoy this moment" axioms seem to get in the way.
When were you most tempted to leave Baltimore?
When I went to Italy with my family a few years ago. People had a wonderful belief that although work is important, it shouldn't be allowed to interfere with the joy of living.
What's the difference between playing music for kids and playing music for grown-ups?
Kids are a more demanding audience. You have to keep their interest and, in a way, be one of them. "Fun" is the operative word here, not "cool." We dance and play with them. We're self-deprecating and approachable. We dress up and use props. We make a happy mess.
What's the biggest flaw with a lot of kids' music?
Bad production, trite lyrics, and uninteresting music packaged in cartoony primary colors. Songs about farts.
Do you ever miss playing to a drunk crowd at 1 a.m.?
Yes. I miss the sexuality that filled the air. I miss losing myself in the music. I miss being able to curse into a microphone.
What do your own kids think about momma, the kid-rock queen?
I was musing out loud that I'd have to stop doing Milkshake when I'm 50 and do something else with my life. My 8-year-old Jesse went crazy. She shouted, "Mommy! You can't! You can't stop doing Milkshake! It's great!" I have to say, it made me feel good.