Music

A conversation with Colleen Green

By June 25, 2019 No Comments

Colleen Green
Photo courtesy of Colleen Green

 

By Margaret Welsh
margaret@pittsburghcurrent.com

 

In 2015, Colleen Green laid bare her soul with “I Want To Grow Up.” That record recalled the deceptively simple, almost frustratingly relatable songwriting of “Exile in Guyville”-era Liz Phair, but also held true to Green’s punk roots: her plain-spoken narratives are Ramones-esque and the record title itself was a wink to fellow Californians, the Descendants. Green, who comes to the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls on June 28, is planning to record a new record in July. “I’m getting tired of strumming so much and have been writing songs with more lead guitar,” she told the Current via email. “’I Want To Grow Up’ was very lyrically draining for me so a lot of my new songs are more instrumental.”

 

You just released a track-by-track cover of Blink-182’s Dude Ranch on Burger Records. How did that project come about, and can you tell me about your relationship to that record and what you learned from delving into it?

I just had some time to kill several years ago and just decided I would do it. I started the project in 2012 and came really close to completing it, but lost all the files when my computer crashed. After that, I was so depressed and discouraged that it took me a few years to start it up again, but I was determined. 

The original record played a big role in my development as a musician and as a person. I was obsessed with Blink-182 for years after first seeing the video for “Dammit” on MTV. They were a band that [my friends and I] loved and we wanted to be like them. 

Through covering the record I learned that a lot of it was way harder to play than I realized, even at 70 bpm. I’m sure Blink-182 has been dismissed as a shitty pop punk band, even by themselves, but each member is incredibly talented and they had amazing chemistry as a unit. 

 

I’m thinking of different conversations I’ve had with other woman about your music. One of my friends felt a deep connection with “TV,” another listened to “Deeper than Love” on repeat after a bad break-up. I often sing “Whatever I Want” in my head when I’m feeling trapped by life. Is it odd to have other people (especially strangers) relate so heavily to your personal thoughts and experiences? 

It doesn’t feel odd to me. I’m compelled to put my all into lyrics when I think that people will be able to relate to them. Those have always been my personal favorite type of lyrics. I also acknowledge that I’m no enigma. I’m just a normal person from a normal place living in a time when many of us share thoughts, ideas and experiences. 

 

Do you ever regret putting yourself out there in your lyrics?

Yes

 

I assume you’ll be playing older stuff on this tour, what is it like to revisit those songs years after writing them? Do you connect to your past self, or does it feel like playing someone else’s song?

I am playing older stuff and I find myself becoming somewhat embarrassed by some of it. This is stuff I wrote 10 years ago, and I do feel like I was a different person then, going through a lot and just trying to get my shit sorted. Now I’m in my mid-30s and feel like I do have my shit sorted and I’m chilling pretty hard at this point. But I’m still proud of anything I’ve ever created and I’ll never be ashamed of writing a song that people liked. 

 

COLLEEN GREEN with DRESSY BESSY, POTTY MOUTH. 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 28. The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $12-15. www.mrsmalls.com

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