Miami party people will remember Larry Tee for his Monday-night Back Door Bamby gigs and ultra-cool Plastik Fantastik nights at the now-defunct Pawn Shop. But he’s best known for creating electroclash and co-writing RuPaul’s ‘80s hit Supermodel (You Better Work). Catch Larry all over town performing tracks from his new CD Club Badd.
You hung around with R.E.M. in Athens, Ga., during the Rock Lobster era. How did you get into electronic music?
I was in a band that produced the B-52s’ first record – that was my first introduction into music – so I always loved dance music that was crazy. At the time, most of it was rock stuff with the exception of early electronic music like Kraftwerk. And when I was DJing in Atlanta, I started right at the beginning of the New Wave era, with New Order’s Blue Monday, and there was so much good electronic music at the time, and it’s inspired me ever since.
What led you to create the electroclash sound?
I have this real need – it’s sort of the Andy Warhol complex – I wanna have the latest, greatest, coolest, newest whatever. That totally drives me. Weirdly enough, as a musical inspiration, Andy Warhol is my guide, because it was always about, when he could have made a million dollars just off of making prints, he took movies of people and slowed them down so he could f*** with time, too. That’s what I like to do. To me, what’s interesting now is what’s happening on the Internet. So instead of finding a pretty-voiced female singer from Austria to sing a song about taking me higher, I’ve found Jeffree Star, with 38 million visits to his MySpace, and Perez Hilton, with nine million visits per day to his blog. I figure electronic music could use a little shot of glamour and outrage.
Everybody’s tired of electroclash, with the “VIP room with my special friends doing
Cocaine” – that’s passe. Those franchises are gone for electroclash. I never tried to exploit electroclash – it was just something I loved.
Will we hear Supermodel during WMC week?
I don’t play Supermodel, ever. You will never hear Supermodel in my set, because that’s the essence of me. Do I hang out in a clown suit around my house? Probably not, no. I’m not a club kid.
What’s the concept behind Club Badd?
French disco with a little rock ‘n’ roll attitude and a head-banger aesthetic. You can see it in everything I’ve done – there’s this definite strain that makes you go, “Of cour-r-se!” It’s that, “OK, boys, give me a show.” I’ve never really been the guy to just go along with the status quo.
How long have you been coming to Miami for WMC?
Wow. Well, since before I got clean, and I’ve been clean for 11 years. I vaguely remember coming to the Winter Music Conference before that, and trying to figure out what it was all about, which was confusing to say the least. I thought it was just a party back then. And now I realize it’s just a party.
What’s your favorite thing about the conference?
I always leave with some nugget where I just go, “Wowwww!” And that kind of sums up what I want most from my life and my career, that moment where I go, “Oh my God!”