High jinks, fish net stockings and sweet transvestites from Transsexual, Transylvania will be the themes of Plaza Classic Film Festival’s screening of cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Local musical maven Hope Riot is opening for the film on Saturday, Aug. 6, new band in tow. She will also be joined on stage by local songstresses Emily Davis and Nicole Velarde, who will sing back up vocals.
Fresh off the heels of a tour in support of debut album “Lacuna,” Riot’s been working on material for a new record, which she hopes to begin recording later this year.
The recent additions of drummer Tomas Tinajero, bassist Aldo Portillo and guitarist Cody Davis have helped Riot come into her own as a singer/songwriter. The group also contributed to the soundtrack for the film “Lotus,” which will be showcased as part of the festival’s Local Flavor segment on August 13.
Riot recently spoke to us about her new album, the writing process and why she’s a fan of “Rocky Horror.”
Tell me about the album you’re working on.
Molotov’s producer is going to let me use their studio in Mexico City and produce our next record. Their producer, Milo Froideval is the one you could say discovered me. I met him through Justin (Leah, Sonic Ranch sound engineer). I’d written a song with my cousin and sent it to Milo like, “Look what I did this weekend!” and he was like, “I will record your first record.” But because of some Ranch politics, Tony Rancich (Sonic Ranch owner) got David Garza to record “Lacuna.” So this next record is, like, the one. Me and Milo are finally going to do it. I’m still writing right now. I want to go in October, but I have some pretty bad writer’s block.
Will the record be a lot different than “Lacuna”?
I’ve finally learned how to write a happy song. After putting out “Lacuna,” I feel so much more confident, and I know who I am now. I’m not trying to prove anything anymore, and I can relax and not be so serious. I literally said, “I’m going to write a crappy pop song today.” It’s one of the best songs on the record because I wasn’t being self-conscious about it – I was able to let that go.
Was that a tough transition?
[Music] is such a visceral art form … there’s no ambiguity in it. It’s a hard balance between “I’m going to open up and express myself,” and, “I don’t want anyone mad at me afterward.”
How did you get to be the opener for the Rocky Horror Picture Show?
Eric Pearson (president of the El Paso Community Foundation, the film festival’s founder) put (program director) Doug Pullen in touch with me. He said he’d been following my career for a while and that I could open any day I wanted. I jumped at “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
So you’re fond of the movie?
You can judge a person’s character by what movie they know Tim Curry from; I know him from “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
What does that say about you?
(Laughs.) That I got a letterman’s jacket for being in theater in high school. It’s every freak’s anthem. If you’re a freak, growing up, you liked David Bowie and Rocky Horror Picture Show. They helped pave the way for us to be who the f**k we want to be. So this is a big honor for me.
Are you guys going to do the Time Warp?
I’m going to teach the guys how to do the dance and I’m going to make them dress in drag.
If you had to choose, which character would you be?
Frank N. Furter! But I don’t know how to dress like a dude who’s dressed as a woman. That’s a real mind f**k for you!