The Teenagers are three French dudes from Paris that sing “I fucked my American cunt,” in this popular single, “Homecoming.” Some American girls find the word cunt rude, but for the hundreds of skinny jean wearing girls that fill The Teenagers’ shows, they’ll ignore the word and wait for a French invasion.
Penetrating America are The Teenagers, kicking off their first American tour and cutting the challenges that most bands face in the beginning of their careers. “We didn’t have to go through the shitty van and touring the entire country phase. Thanks, MySpace!” says Michael Szpiner, 26, who used to be a graphic designer before doing the pop star thing.
All the Internet hype The Teenagers generate would be sickening for any other band, but The Teenagers deserve the hype.
“Everyone is shocked by the word cunt. It’s not like fuck or shit”
Format: A lot of bands come from humble beginnings, but The Teenagers came up a little different, right?
Michael Szpiner: We didn’t have to go through the shitty van and touring the entire country phase. Thanks, MySpace! The main challenge was to get live, so we rehearsed again and again. And to go from demos to professional songs.
Format: This is your first North American tour. Have you experienced any disgruntled boarder patrol workers?
Michael: Not yet. Maybe from Vancouver to Seattle – we didn’t have money for the work permit at the airport.
Format: In the past 12 months, a lot of musicians and artist are coming from France to North America. Why the sudden interest?
Michael: New sounds, it’s really original.
Format: It seems like everyone knows everyone from Paris.
Michael: Yeah, the entire Ed Banger crew is really tight and they always hangout together. Paris is really small so everyone knows each other.
Format: The Teenagers released their new album on MySpace before releasing it to stores. How is this beneficial for you?
Michael: It’s a good way to see people’s reactions and if they like it I hope they buy it. And people who didn’t know about it can now discover it.
Format: The Teenagers remix other band’s songs. How does this process happen?
Michael: If we like the song it’s easy to do. We rearrange the vocals and then start building an electronic buffer around it.
Format: A lot of people in bands have to be conscious of their fashion sense, are you?
Michael: No. I just dress normally – nothing neon with plastic.
Format: “Homecoming” is a really dirty song. What has the reaction to this song been?
Michael: People really liked it. Some people told us it’s the new version of Grease. No one was really shocked by it. It’s satiric. The American girl is not really stupid, but light. Everyone is shocked by the word cunt. It’s not like fuck or shit, it’s the c-word. It’s funny, because they’re singing ‘I fucked my American cunt.’
Format: You made a song called “Scarlett Johansson.” Why a song about her?
Michael: Look at her. She’s hot. We just took parts of her biography and wrote lyrics. She’s a hottie.
Format: How do foreign girls react to your French accents?
Michael: Well we don’t sound like typical French people all the time. We don’t try to play on our French accents.
Format: There are a lot of myths about Paris: everyone drinks wine, eats cheese and has sex. What’s the truth?
Michael: That’s pretty much the truth! No, but really, people think we have stripped shirts and baguettes, but people actually do like baguettes, it’s a good bread. It’s not as fancy as America. The worst is when they say we don’t wash. And all the guys don’t have mustaches! Oh and, they say we’re mean.
Format: Have you had frog legs?
Michael: They’re good.
Format: What do they taste like?
Michael: Chicken or veal.
Format: People remix The Teenagers’ songs, what are your impressions?
Michael: In the beginning there were a lot of remixes of ‘Homecoming,’ but now we’re more picky. We know what it feels like to remix stuff and be rejected. You just have to move on.
Format: What did you do before doing The Teenagers full-time?
Michael: I was working in visual communications and graphic design.
Format: Graphic designer! Pegged it – now you’re making music they’re listening to. You design your own covers?
Michael: For everything we did to date, yeah.
Format: You’re going on a long tour, how do you find the energy to play daily?
Michael: We’ll see, I dunno how we’ll manage to do this. We did it in England.
Format: Any video plans?
Michael: Yeah, we’re making one in New York while we’re on tour so that will be another busy day. Plus we’re doing a video diary for our website.