Q&A: Russell Brand Speaks ‘Greek,’ Dirty Lyrics & More
The freaky star of Get Him To the Greek talks about his musical inspirations, Katy Perry, and rock's "winky walk."
In the upcoming, Get Him To The Greek, salacious British comedian Russell Brand reprises his Forgetting Sarah Marshall role as rocker Aldous Snow. This time around, though, the Aldous Snow experience isn’t limited to the silver screen. Out June 1, the soundtrack to the film is credited to Snow’s band Infant Sorrow and features 15 songs written by the likes of the Libertines’ Carl Barat and Jarvis Cocker and sung by the star.
We spoke with Brand about Aldous Snow’s rock star inspirations, dirty lyrics, and whether or not his fictional alter ego would get along with his fiancée, Katy Perry.
Aldous Snow exudes an instantly recognizable rock star charisma. Who were some of the frontmen that you were studying when you created the character?
Mick Jagger. Noel Gallagher. There’s a little bit of Robert Plant in there – some Jim Morrison as well.
There’s something about the walk. It’s a very particular rock’n’roll strut.
What you’re referring to is the winky walk. There is some sexuality to the perambulation that’s undeniable. All the great rock stars lead with their manhood. Noel Gallagher doesn’t have that quite as much, but what I took from him is that he don’t care about nothing. He’s a friend of mine, actually. I asked him how come he’s got that attitude and he said as long he’s got his guitar he knows that people will be willing to pay ten quid to come see him. That means he doesn’t have to put up with the bullshit. I tried to give Aldous some of that same attitude.
How would Aldous Snow feel about Katy Perry?
He’d be into her. There’s very little that Aldous wouldn’t be into. I mean that in a quite literal sense.
Which younger bands do you think have some of the classic rock star vibe?
I can’t think of any. Can you? Bands are more preppy nowadays. That’s why I think of Aldous Snow as a man out of time. He would’ve fit in better in the ’60s or ’70s. Rock stars didn’t have to care back then. Early rock’n’roll was about hedonism and escape. Now it’s all about being conscientious. Bono from U2 is a statesman; Chris Martin does yoga. Do you think Zeppelin or Guns N’ Roses had any interest in that? We could use a little bit more of their attitude.
Let’s talk about the album. People like Jarvis Cocker and Carl Barat from the Libertines wrote songs for you to record. Was it intimidating to have them writing for you?
Jarvis and Carl were in England while I was recording in Los Angeles, so I never had to sing in front of them. But in general I was very nervous to sing. I’m very shy about it. I’m most comfortable doing comedy. I’ve gotten used to singing, though. In the end, I got over it once I realized there was no need to be embarrassed. I was doing exactly what Aldous Snow is supposed to be doing.
A lot of the songs on the album are sorta smutty — stuff like “Furry Walls” and “The Clap.” In a way they reminded me of classic rock like Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” where the –
Sorry, what’s lewd about “Walk This Way?” It’s about being confident, isn’t it?
The first couple lines are, “Backstroke lover always hidin’ ‘neath the covers / Till I talked to your daddy / He said you ain’t seen nothin’ till you’re down on a muffin / Then you’re sure to be changing your ways.”
So it’s about buggery and eating vaginas. Thank you for explaining it to me. As you can see, I’m an innocent soul. I think everything’s innocent. I had no idea about that one. Now I’m beginning to question everything. I can’t even imagine what other songs I like are actually dirty — aside from my own, which are extremely vulgar.
Aside from Aldous Snow, has your comedy been influenced by any musicians?
Morrissey. The lingering touch of the frosty fingers of Steven Patrick are in every word that I utter. The Flight of the Conchords, too. The songs they write are such good songs that you almost realize later on that they’re a little bit silly. Jack Black and Kyle Gass from Tenacious D were also important for me. But hold on a moment. What were we talking about? What am I supposed to be promoting?
You tell me.
Ah, yes. The album. Infant Sorrow’s Get Him to the Greek. The single is “Just Say Yes.” Jarvis Cocker wrote it. Have a look at the video, which I directed. It has genuine porn stars in it. So you’ll enjoy it.