Asian Adjacent and The Business of Cho by Grant-Lee Phillips

Few people have the supernatural powers of persuasion of Margaret Cho. After collaborating on music for Cho Dependent, she got me to strum the very exotic and scatological “Shit-Tar” in her music video Eat Shit & Die while three dancing turds did high kicks about the stage. This summer I found myself in a small cage dressed in leather, on a sushi table wearing an octopus and finally with Margaret, reenacting scenes from Miss Saigon on a dolly. That’s just one day in the life with Margaret.

As a professional, I had certain concerns before I went in. I asked if my hair would be ironed. Margaret assured me that it would and we were good to go! I never had it done before but this was going to be a big video production with dancers and smoke and catering. They’d definitely have a flat iron on set. This obsession began months earlier when Margaret casually mentioned wanting to make a video for Asian Adjacent and that I could be the Ryuichi Sakamoto character, like in Madonna’s Rain video. That guy’s got amazing hair. Damn him! This was going to require some incredible acting on my part to summon that kind of whale bone straightness. A wig was never an option for a Method guy like me.

The other thing you realize when you make a music video is how you really feel about a song. You’re going to lip-sync to it a few thousand times before you’re allowed to take off whatever harness you’re hanging from and they give you food. It helps to love the song. I LOVE Asian Adjacent. The fact that it was inspired by Margaret’s mistaken assumption that I was of some Asian ethnicity ( I’m actually Creek ) makes it all the more genius and flattering. It’s a seductive recording that could hold it’s own on any dance floor. Margaret delivered an incredible vocal to begin with. It’s was a dream to write with her and a delight to produce the track. Carmen Rizzo also brought it up to a whole other level, with his beats and exotic textures. Enter Tani Ikeda who directed the video. Tani found in Asian Adjacent equal portions of beauty, absurdity and bite. She even cut out my fat parts! If you’re going to spend a day in cage you couldn’t find funnier, harder working people to share it with.

Adjacently yours,
Grant-Lee Phillips

Margaret Cho – Asian Adjacent – featuring Grant Lee Phillips from Margaret Cho on Vimeo.

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“Asian Adjacent” is from Margaret’s Grammy-nominated comedy music album, “Cho Dependent.”
Get the song on iTunes here.
Get it on CD or Vinyl with automatic download of the whole album, from Margaret!

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