Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

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Q&A With Grey DeLisle

By Dale Henry Geist

The Roughhousers earned our Song of the Week honors (see yesterday’s Roundup) with “Princess Mike,” an endearing tribute to a fabulous non-binary hero. Grey DeLisle, best known as a voice actor (credits include (The Simpsons, Scooby-Doo, Cuphead, and many, many more), put together the band as an outlet for her musical talents (which, as you can hear for yourself, are fully legit.)

We had questions. DeLisle had answers. (Via email.)

Official video. For a differently delightful experience, see the animated lyric video below.

I’ll start with the obvious question: who is Princess Mike?

Ha! Everyone wants them to be REAL but Princess Mike is a mostly fictional character inspired by my uncle Mark Villegas who used to let me and all of my cousins dress him up! I just thought it was important to represent fun, non-binary characters in kids’ media without the subject being “heavy” or putting too much focus on it. Ultimately I hope to live in a world where gender is an afterthought. 

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That video is fabulous. Tell us about it – what’s the location? Who’s the Elvis-y dude?

Isn’t that space INCREDIBLE??? These super hip young women in Hollywood decorated their apartment with these phenomenal vintage textiles and colors and rent it out to photographers and film crews by the hour! I just chose the frilliest, most princessy thing I could find!!! The “Elvisy” dude is the phenomenally talented singer, guitar player and producer Eddie Clendening! He originated the role of Elvis on Broadway in The Million Dollar Quartet and has been writing and performing in his own bands since he was 13! I friended him on Facebook during the lockdown and we just sorta clicked…..or….I guess we “right -clicked”???

What made you decide to write and record “Princess Mike” – and to do it in a classic 60’s pop-country style?

I’ve always had a penchant for old-timey music! My grandmother, Eva Flores, raised me and she used to sing with the Latin bandleader Tito Puente so I’ve always been surrounded by music. One of the first songs I ever learned was Keely Smith’s “I Wish You Love” and I’ve always felt that the 60s were such a golden age musically! I love anything produced by Billy Sherrill or Phil Spector and I’m all about giant hair and rhinestones! The bigger and shinier….the BETTER!

You’re well known to be an ally. Is there something in your story that makes you especially empathetic to queer folks?

Well I’ve been doing professional theater since I was 6 years old so I guess queer folks were always part of my life and I never thought twice about it. As I got older, I realized what a luxury it was to grow up in that kind of inclusive bubble. I’m a single mother to 3 children…all of whom fall on different parts of the gender and sexual identity spectrum… so I strive every day to not only be an ally but an ADVOCATE for LGBTQIA+ rights. 

What are you working on these days?

These days I’m doing cartoon voices all day (The Simpsons, Scooby-Doo, Cuphead etc.) and writing and recording new music at night! The Roughhousers are putting out brand new content from our forthcoming album PRINCESS MIKE every 2 weeks until our official record release on October 7th! I’m also releasing an album of covers called Borrowed which will debut July 15th on Regional Records. After almost 2 years in my bathrobe…I’m ready to tease my hair again! Bring on the sparkly jumpsuits!!!!! 

This version is all about Princess Mike.