FEB 1999




Toying with Elijah

What do you get when you cross a gay icon [CHER] with a southern rock legend [Gregg Allman]? A bizarre progeny named Elijah Blue.  This month, the family legacy continues with the debut of Elijah's band Deadsy: Commencement [Sire]  '80's fashion designer and club impressario Michael Schmidt catches up with the toy boy for 12 Questions and gets the truth about playing dress-ups in CHER's closet.

Michael:  The record sounds great.  It's a lot more synthesizer-based than I anticipated given your background playing the guitar.

Elijah:  Major synth.  Very Gary Numan, very Rush.  We're trying to get more into Rush and Geddy Lee's kind of vibe.  But all those high strings are really Numan-centric.  It's pretty straightforward synth pop.

M:  Where does the name come from?

E:  Deadsy comes from a David Anderson cartoon that I saw in 1995 about a little dead kid.  Really twisted and strange.

M:  This record is so dark.  I think people will note how distinct it is from the pop-music world you grew up in.

E:  But then they might think that this is probably the direct result of this kid's upbringing.  I mean, I remember the first concert I ever went to was KISS because my mom was dating Gene Simmons  back then.  He used to change my diapers.  I was watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show at, like, four!  The record may sound dark, but I think we're more of a "daytime" rock band.  Everything's really colorful.  I look at the whole thing in a real Warhol sense.  I don't look at it as goth and gloom.

M:  As the child of two rock legends, do you feel the need to distinguish yourself musically?

E:  I heard my parent's music, of course, but I think my mom influenced me more just by the way she guided my life and the experiences that she provided.  Her music hasn't really had an influence but just, like, life type stuff.

M:  You live with her in Malibu?

E:  I'm in the 'bu right now, but I'm gonna get an apartment in town.  The other guys are spread out around L.A., Hollywood, the Palisades.

M:  Has she given you any advise?

E:  Not really.  I mean, I'm doing a whole different thing than she's doing.  She's a star.  I'm trying to just, you know have a rock band.  I'm trying to write my own story.

M:  Are you in touch with your dad?

E:  Not really.  He's cool but I don't know....I don't know when I'm going to be willing to start putting work into that.  I'll kind of have to make the move.  That's a whole other Pandora's box.

M:  You went to Hyde prep school in Maine.  How was it being a rock'n'roll freak at a prep high school?

E:  It was good because I fought the system at first but then I realized that the way to do it would be to really delve into it and get all the best J. Crew clothes and totally play the part which is like an act of art itself.  It was fun.  It's a totally different world.  I saw how decadent it really is with people running into the woods and screwing and stuff.  There was s Sodom and Gomorrah aspect to all those schools because there's such a serious, prestigious front to academia.  But that goes with any kind of aristocratic or bourgeois society. There's always that veil of prestige in front of the decadence.  It's the best.

M:  How did Deadsy evolve?

E:  We just put all these elements of medical stuff with all the prep blazers and crests.  We have our own crest. We're heavy into the Urantia, which is the space-time bible.  There's all these Qabbalistic overtones.  We're on some '80's future-fuckin'-find-the-universe-inside-oneself kind of mission.  I mean, the whole look of the band is kind of half Astro Earle, half prep school, 'cause that's what my early programming was.  Even from hanging out with you way back, I've had those kinds of visual cues from and early age.  This is just what feels the most natural.

M:  Ever dress up in your mother's clothing?

E:  Yeah dude, totally!   When I was a kid  I would always go into my mom's make-up.  I was always having Bob Mackie make me crazy costumes.  I remember when my mom played Vegas and they would do the song with the shoe [a 15-foot high-heeled shoe which CHER would use to make her entrance by sliding down]!  My mom has promised me that shoe--I wanna bring it on tour.  I remember when my mom would dress me up as Bojangles in Capezios and shit.  Tank tops with rhinestones on 'em.  I always used to dress up in her clothes and play with her make-up and have it all KISS-like and stuff.  Every dancer's outfit my mom had in all the different numbers I had to have a miniature outfit made--a duplicate to fit my four-year-old body.  It's been like that from the get-go.  I'm just following the natural life-destiny plan.

M:  You were surrounded by gay men and women growing up, right?

E:  I had tons of gay babysitters and stuff and all the transvestites from the show.  I'm very unbiased and that means that I'll just go through life that much more a healthy person.  That's what that all has done for me.

M:  Such a nice boy.

E:  What, no Chastity questions?