The time on the road also helped MEN progress, she said. “[Playing a lot live] helps us to change the songs, feel what works or what doesn’t.”
The touring has also brought JD back to her roots. After doing bigger bus tours with Le Tigre and even working with pop star Aguilera, being in the van keeps her grounded.
“It’s different and it’s all the same,” she said. “It’s just the three of us driving in the rain. It’s really humbling and nice for me to go back to this. I totally started to miss this way of touring, being in control of your own s–t. It’s fun and I’m glad I get a chance to do that again.”
Though JD has been busy with MEN, the Aguilera collaboration was an exciting opportunity for her and the rest of Le Tigre to do some work together again, thanks to JD’s girlfriend and former Zero 7 singer, Sia, who had been working with Aguilera in L.A. when she mentioned Le Tigre.
“Sia worked with Christina before we did, she just reminded her that Le Tigre existed and [Aguilera] was like ‘I love them…that’s perfect, that’s exactly what I want,’” JD said. “I have to thank Sia for that.”
Aguilera’s album Light & Darkness also features collaborations with Goldfrapp and Ladytron and is due out in September. While many fans were excited by the prospect of Le Tigre playing together again, the band does not have plans for recording a new album in the near future.
“We haven’t really talked about [a new album],” JD said. “We are working on the live DVD, which compiles a bunch of shows from our last tour. We’ve been working really hard getting that edited.”
MEN songs may not delve into political issues the way Le Tigre did but she said that doesn’t mean they are apathetic.
“You’re inherently identified by your politics as a person, and as an artist it’s going to come out if you want it to or not,” she said. “We aren’t extra forceful with our politics, it’s just there. Because we are who were are and what we feel and what we think is important.”
In spite her celebrity, JD and MEN still haven’t gained full acceptance within the wider gay community. When MEN was asked to play a Pride event in Washington D.C. a few months ago, the band quickly accepted.
After the money and travel plans were worked out, they got an awkward phone call from the event’s organizers. “The next day we got a call, they were like ‘Sorry for the miscommunication, we think that the people coming to the event are too mainstream,’” JD said. “We felt upset for a lot of reasons, so we decided we wanted to make that public.”
JD took to her Twitter page and (briefly) explained the debacle. “[People were] writing us and backing us up, like ‘Come to this instead, we’re gonna take care of you.’ It’s really nice to remember that kind of community is out there.”
Like many of us, JD was skeptical of Twitter at first, but quickly realized it was a good way to stay in touch with her friends and fans while on the road — and also a way to crack jokes. “My sense of humor is pretty dry and one liner style,” JD said. “It kind of translates well [on Twitter].”
One thing followers of JD’s tweets sometimes see is an exchange between her and her girlfriend Sia, who talk and see each other as much as possible when they are on the road.
“It’s hard, but this is how we met each other,” JD said of their relationship. “It hasn’t been like seeing each other all the time then we were apart [a lot]. This is how we know each other, being away and being really happy to see each other when we can. Of course it’s hard, but like anybody who travels for work, you just kind of have to accept that it’s your life.”
When possible, JD said the two coordinate shows and events in the same cities, and make time to travel together. “We always go to really weird places together, and it’s really fun to be able to travel. Last summer, we were in Australia for a month.”
For now, JD says she is excited about the U.S. leg of the MEN tour, which will pass through 13 cities over the next month. Aside from the band’s favorite road game, “Songs we know,” which involves the radio and an extensive list of — you guessed it — songs they know, the band is also stoked on some new music.
JD encourages everyone to go see Peaches and said her live show is amazing. MEN is “in love” with the new Gossip record — aptly titled Music for Men along with The Presets, San Francisco band Hey Willpower and a few of Gravy Train!!!’s side projects, including Hunx and his Punx.
And if you are ready for some hot, queer summer dancing — check out MEN’s MySpace page for their tour dates.