With the release of “Drugs in My Body” in 2007, Thieves Like Us became one of the few Berlin expat acts to impact outside of Kiez City.
The trio alternated between Paris and Berlin, eventually splitting, leaving only Andy Grier with a new backing group and a load of ethereal electropop to record. They’ll be woodshedding their next album on Exberliner’s very own stage at Torstraßen Festival on Saturday, June 13, along with Cavern of Anti-Matter, Glockabelle & Klaus Johann Grobe.
You were born into a military family.
That’s right. Being born into a military family – especially if your parents have been in the war or something – you’re asking questions, like, “What’s war?”
What is war?
‘Cause you live on this base, basically everybody’s father has PTSD. I mean, in the Cold War you’re taught to be scared of either Russian invasion or just a nuclear attack. It’s just strange to be in this atmosphere, you know? Everybody’s, like, killed a man. All your neighbours have killed people. I was born the year Vietnam ended. I think my father’s always been sort of an upset guy since then.
Does he ever talk with you about this?
Nah. He’ll drink some and he has a few stories that he likes to repeat, like about how he was flying helicopters. He was there two years. I mean, if you’ve killed someone, I think you kind of have to believe in the cause you’re fighting for, so he’s very patriotic. We don’t talk about it. I have completely different political views than him, but I sort of respect him too much to push him on that. I think it’s strange that my brother still went in anyway.
Did he enlist after September 11?
No, he was in before. I don’t know. I was always kind of a softy, I guess. I didn’t really like contact sports. I was in front of the TV most of the time.
You wanted to go into comedy.
Yeah, I watched too much TV. I think I used to think a lot of the shows were funny, 1990s shows even, like Late Night with Conan O’Brien, where I had an internship. Uh, I think a lot of them aren’t so funny anymore. I don’t know if you’ve gone back and tried to watch 1980s comedies, a lot them were…
Horrible. So, that didn’t work out. I wasn’t too good on stage – stage fright and things like that. How many comedians can there be? Everybody’s always cracking jokes.
And it was annoying. So I guess it would be like if you were hanging out with musicians, if they were always carrying their instruments around, like “Listen to this! Listen to this!”
Is there a moment when you knew it wasn’t going to happen?
I think it was when I was interning. I had to do the phones sometimes at NBC, at this Late Night with Conan O’Brien office, and just being around the producers who aren’t comedians – they’re higher up. I mean, just dealing with Hollywood people and agents and stuff. And it was just so grotesque.
What would they do?
They were booking celebrities and dealing with celebrities – I saw the whole celebrity thing.
As if the closer a person is to a celebrity, the more important he or she is as a human being.
Yeah, and these are just the agents, not even the artists themselves. But I guess it could be like that in music. Anyways, I just found that was grotesque. And desperate comedians looking for validation – I found that kinda grotesque, too.
TORSTRASSEN FESTIVAL: THIEVES LIKE US Sat, Jun 13, 22:00 | Kaffee Burger, Torstr. 58/60, Mitte, U-Bhf Rosa- Luxemburg-Platz