Maggie Estep is a writer/performer living in New York. She moved there at 17 and after a succession of menial jobs, found she could earn a living reciting poetry, sometimes solo, sometimes with musical accompaniment.
As a poet, she has toured with Lollapalooza, opening (with her former band I Love Everybody) for Courtney Love’s Hole. She featured prominently on MTV’s 1993 ‘Poetry Unplugged’ special and its subsequent ‘Spoken Wurd’ tour. Her mini-tirades made perfect, pithy inter-programme soundbites in the manner of Dennis Leary.
Her first CD, ‘No More Mr Nice Girl’, was released on the record label of Nuyorican Cafe, the NY venue where she made her name in poetry slams – game-show-like readings where audience popularity determines the victor.
She followed this in 1997 with her second CD, ‘Love Is A Dog From Hell’. Maggie’s first novel, ‘Diary Of An Emotional Idiot’ was also published in 1997 and followed by ‘Soft Maniacs’ (1999), ‘Love Dance Of The Mechanical Animals’ (2003) and ‘Gargantuan’ (2004).
Q. Tell us all about your background, both personal and musical.
A. I’m 5 foot 4, 115 pounds, with brown hair and I am American but look vaguely Spanish. I wear mostly dark clothing and drink a lot of coffee and smoke a lot of cigarettes. I frequently go horseback riding in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, USA and enjoy terrorizing people on Rollerblades by galloping up to them on my horse. I have made two CDs of sorta spoken word type stuff and published one novel.
Q. How did you come to meet Alan Wilder?
A. Producer Guy, a.k.a. Steve Lyon, produced my second record and played some of it for Alan. I guess he thought I had an appropriately dark and twisted mind and voice, so he called me up.
Q. What did you think of the tracks he asked you to put lyrics to (and the end results)?
A. I really like them. They are groovy. And I was particularly glad to get a chance to write a song about my friend Carla (‘Luscious Apparatus’) because she’d gotten all steamed up that, on my own CD, I’d written a song about my friend Jenny but not one about her. So it all worked out really beautifully.
Q. How did you actually work together on the Recoil project?
A. First, Alan sent me rough mixes of the tracks. I sat around in my silk bathrobe smoking a lot and thinking about the songs and then came up with lyrics. Then they flew me over to Alan and Hep’s very sublime digs out in the wilds of the UK where I lounged on a big bed shaped like a car and by day went to a nearby studio with them to record stuff.
Q. What was he like to work with?
A. A terrible tyrant. An impetuous and difficult genius. A big scary monster. Actually, really easy…..just let me do my thing and gave a couple of helpful suggestions of things to try. It was painless.
Q. What will be your overriding memory of working with Alan?
A. His huge dentist’s chair. The one he and Hep strapped me into that night.
Q. Can you tell us an interesting anecdote or story about Alan, professional or not?
A. I would think that him and his wife strapping me into a dental chair and then making me listen to nursery rhymes would be enough. I mean, if it were true.
Q. Have you got a photo of Carla?
A. Actually no, I can’t find one. But she’s really tiny. Like under 5 feet and about 90 pounds with long black hair and a face that looks sort of wolfish, with bright green eyes. She’s cute in an oddball demented sort of way. But don’t tell her I said that.
Note : Estep suffered a heart attack on February 10th, 2014 and sadly died from complications two days later. She was 50.