Friday Nite Spotlight: Girl Talk - Feed the Animals

Feed The Animals

It was a summer night in Seattle and I was spinning a live radio show from a dark, airplane-hanger-like club called Neumo’s. There were hundreds of people in the room. The Capitol Hill Block Party was raging through the streets and I think the Neumo’s doormen let way too many people in by accident. Then they tried to make up for that by bolting the doors and letting no one else in. Suddenly, I felt trapped and claustrophobic. What the hell is going on here?

There was a line around the block to get into the club because Girl Talk was about to perform. It’s a rare thing for a lone DJ to cause such a commotion. I had heard some tracks from Girl Talk, but I didn’t really understand them.

This Pittsburgh DJ takes recent and legendary hits, rather he takes small bits of hits and weaves them together into new songs. As the tracks play you sit there asking yourself “Was that just The Cure?” “Is that Afrika Bambaata?” “Oh this is Sexy Boy by Air”.

On recordings there is really not anything like it. But the stage show that night was even more shocking. As I said, the club was way too full, and when GT hit the beats the whole place started to rock. Literally. It was incredibly loud. So loud I could feel each beat in my chest.

It was actually frightening. The huge bouncer guys looked confused and worried. Then Greg (that’s his real name, Greg Gillis, in his off-time he’s a biochemical engineer) started to pull people up onto the stage. Then more people. And more. Until the platform was literally dripping with bodies. The heat increased. More sweating. More dancing. It really felt out of control. Here’s a vid from that night.

Maybe that’s the best way to describe the new Girl Talk album, Feed The Animals -- it’s out of control. Mixing old and new... hip hop is layered over rock. Pop bumps over electronica. Twisted Sister is hanging out with Aphex Twin. Cat Stevens rides along with George Clinton. Missy Elliott, Pete Townshend, Pink, Prodigy, Roy Orbison, The Band, Queen.... The list goes on. And with the finesse of the greatest of composers, somehow he makes it work.

Join Michele Myers for Nite Life -- Every Friday Night at 9pm. Fridays at midnight she does this album spotlight, playing 3 songs and telling a story about the record. She also produces KEXP Documentaries -- short radio features on musical subjects. Recent series include: Punk Evolution, Masters of Turntablism, Portraits of Post-Punk, The Heart of Soul, Music Revolutionaries and Death, Drugs and Rock n Roll.

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6 Comments

  1. Posted January 21, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    gregg gillis is no longer a biomedical engineer. he resigned sometime in ’07

  2. Posted January 21, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    nice review. ‘Feed the Animals’ was my #2 pick for ’08--I love it!

  3. calvin
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    my advice to anyone going to see gt live, be ready to strip clothes off- and never, never wear expensive glasses. gt is amazing, the most energy i’ve ever seen in one room.

  4. Posted January 23, 2009 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    What amazes me is - he’s got all that stuff pre-programmed on his laptop, right? So is he just dancing and stripping basically and spitting on the mic to hype the crowd? Or is he actually changing the music around?

    Anyone have any ideas?

  5. Carolyn
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I discovered Girl Talk last summer. Let me tell you...I luv it!! Its array of variety warped into each other..I am bowing down to the dude at HMV that reccomended it to me..

    Carolyn - Toronto

  6. JT
    Posted May 12, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    FYI: Girl Talk is doing a private concert with Canon Powershot in NYC on 5/28/09. Tickets can only be won by entering a Spin magazine contest:

    http://spin.com/gallery/submit-your-best-concert-photo-win-tickets-see-girl-talk-nyc

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