20 Questions: Ike Reilly

[27 April 2008]

By Karen Zarker

PopMatters Managing Editor

Ike Reilly, who has headed up his band The Ike Reilly Assassination for the past several years, is back in stores now with a collection of b-sides and unreleased tracks under his own name entitled Poison the Hit Parade.  In 2007, PopMatters called Reilly “the best songwriter in America” and his album We Belong to the Staggering Evening was dubbed “straight-up killer. Hilarious, unsettling, raw… but mostly just rocking… Not just a best-of-year record, but maybe an all-timer.”

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
I’m not sure if it was the movie or the book… I was reading The Norman Fell Story while watching Just Friends. Just Friends is a romantic comedy starring this fat guy that loses quite a bit of weight. I believe his dramatic transformation may have touched me.

2. The fictional character most like you?
Blanche Dubois or Joe Buck.  I’m like a scorned woman and a male prostitute.

3. The greatest album, ever?
Cat Stevens’ Tea for The Tillerman or Catch Bull at Four, although not for a specific reason.  At any given time, any album could be “the best.”  There are just too many good records to comment on. 

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Search.  I have no interest in science fiction. 

5. Your ideal brain food?
Codfish and rickshaw beans.  Oh, for my brain: any art that deals with the conflict between man and machine.

6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
I once walked all the way to the state line to see about raising money for public awareness of public policy procedures that were not being followed and could ultimately cause cancer if left unchecked. After the walk, the girls from the Lake County Haven and I felt really wonderful, we went to a spa and drank nice wine. 

7. You want to be remembered for…?
Giving back to the world community, especially down the stretch.  I’m not comfortable discussing my volunteer work, but it is more than considerable, bordering on saintly.

8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
Matt Foley, Woody Allen, Fatty Arbuckle and Eli Whitney.

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
Three’s Company.

10. Your hidden talents…?
Songwriting. I have lots of people working on keeping that talent hidden.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
Say ‘yes’ quickly when someone tries to buy you dinner or a drink or a gambling device. Don’t sleep much, but if you have to, find a place where you can really let it all hang out.

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
I bought a slot machine that takes quarters and returns nickels. It’s called the Screaming Injun. I bought it but I didn’t name it.  I do love the term “firewater”, however.

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or…?
I feel best in burlap and when I mean best I mean better than any other human on earth.  I could leap to the clouds in my burlap kilt.

14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
I eat there a couple of times a week and I have generously let most of my guests buy me dinner. It makes them feel better about themselves. My guest would be Three’s Company actress Joyce DeWitt or Amanda Bynes (Big Fat Liar). You know, attractive women with suitable means.

15. Time travel: where, when and why?
I would travel back to Saturday night at Bennigan’s. Some slick hipster clipped a $20 from me. I left it on the bar and went to play Golden Tee. I’d like to go back and catch him doing it and give’m a donkey punch.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
I’m a huge advocate of prescription medication. I recently took too much Oxycodone and had an incredible fit of the sweats! I was a dinner guest of my sister’s and we were dining at the Ritz in Chicago. She asked the waiter to get me a face towel. I sweat so much that now my sister calls me “Puddles”.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or…?
Vodka and Vodka. Routinely ordered as the V & V.

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
On the side of the map. The country part where the city ends and the strip mall slams into the polo grounds.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
“Here, hold this a minute and keep your eye on that woodpecker up in that maple tree. Don’t move till I come back or until that feathered friend quiets down.” 

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
Mostly my abs and core… some buttocks work.

Ike Reilly (center) and bandmates: Tommy O'Donnell, Ed Tinley, Dave Cottini, Phil Karnatz

Ike Reilly (center) and bandmates: Tommy O’Donnell, Ed Tinley, Dave Cottini, Phil Karnatz

Karen Zarker, Managing Editor at PopMatters, works with a talented array of writers throughout the magazine. She manages the PopMatters Books Series, and also holds many behind-the-scenes operational responsibilities. She can be reached at zarker(at)popmatters.com.


Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/ike-reilly/