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Trixie Mattel on growing up, going ’60s, and getting Midwest rich

Trixie Mattel

Trixie Mattel Courtesy Image

Can you already hear that laugh?

Trixie Mattel: Grown Up

Pantages Theatre
$44

On Sunday, #SkinnyLegend Trixie Mattel’s Grown Up tour comes to Pantages. It’s her biggest production yet -- an explosion of ‘60s and ‘70s nostalgia with a full band, video interludes, comedy, and a rumored five costume changes in the first song alone. 

We caught up with the newly minted sort-of adult last month -- the very day she announced her new album Barbara -- to talk sugary ’60s pop, getting mainstream famous, and the joys of driving through the Midwest in the middle of winter.

(Also: Orville Peck.)

City Pages: Trixie, hi! How are you today?

Trixie Mattel: I’m so good. I’m so good! I just got to talk to somebody from Milwaukee, and now I’m talking to you. It’s like, I don’t want to be in that area of the country in January, but I spiritually am there with you.

CP: Well unfortunately we’re on the phone because you are going to be here, in February. 

TM: Oh my god. You know, my first boyfriend was from Minneapolis, and on the soundtrack to my documentary Moving Parts there’s a song called “Hello Goodbye Hello.” It’s sort of the hero track and it goes: “And if you get the time/The number is still mine/Baby, share a dime on the line/There in Minnesota time.” Because he was from Minneapolis. I used to drive five and a half hours from Milwaukee for some dick. If that’s not gay rights, I don’t know what is. 

CP: You called this tour Grown Up, and I have to ask if you think you actually… are?

TM: That’s actually something we talk about in the show, like, are you? Am I? Like yes, I’m 30, I’m a homeowner with a career. Yup, I’m grown up. But in so many ways -- especially being a drag queen -- I’m like, ‘I dress like a little girl for a living. Am I really grown up?’ In straight culture, my counterparts, they measure their milestones in life in a totally different way than gay people do. Like, I bought a house this year. That made me feel grown up -- until I decorated. My living room, the pink color is called “Baby Girl.” Which isn’t a big deal except my carpet is “Child Molester Beige.” 

CP: Here’s something I think is a sure sign that you’re at least a little grown up: When you Google “Trixie Mattel,” the first suggested searches are, “Is Trixie Mattel rich?” and “How much is Trixie Mattel worth?”

TM: People are obsessed with it! I mean I’ve gotta say: I’m not poor, but like, I’m not RuPaul. People really think I’m rich! I will say this: If you Google “Trixie Mattel net worth,” it’s not way off. I’m like, that’s creepy. But I do think it’s funny people think I’m so rich. And that’s maybe why I’m held to such a crazy standard, like why I get canceled every two minutes.

CP: So you get recognized and stuff now?

TM: There was a guy at my house the other night -- and I have a picture of myself on the wall -- and he’s like, “Oh, that’s Trixie Mattel.” I was like, “Yeah. Uh, yeah.” He didn’t know drag! And he didn’t know me! But he knew Trixie Mattel. I don’t know what came over me, like I was Anthony Hopkins, I was like, “That’s my character.” Like I’m an actor, like a real actor. I go, “That’s my character, I own that character.” And he goes “How do you own Trixie Mattel? Does she know?” I’m like… “No, yeah, she knows.” 

But yeah, people think I’m rich. Although, that’s the thing. Five years ago, if I needed a costume? “Oh, yeah, I’ll give you a deal.” Now? Bitch! Nobody gives me a deal. I mean, people give me shit -- I get free makeup -- but anybody I collaborate with, they think this is a cash grab. I’m not rich! I’m not rich. You think I’d be writing all my own music and doing all my own jokes and putting on my own makeup if I was fucking rich? 

CP: No. No, I sure don’t. 

TM: I mean, I’m Midwest rich. I could have a mansion in Wisconsin, which means I have a foot locker in L.A. 

CP: Okay so like, on this tour, what exactly should people expect? You do a lot of stuff!

TM: I know, and this tour is the biggest thing I’ve ever done. It’s all brand-new jokes, there’s like, 30 wigs and costumes. There’s a full band. There’s visuals, like a real concert, and there’s videos -- these videos are so high-quality -- for when I change into my costumes. It’s the most I’ve ever done, the most I’ve spent, the most preparation I’ve done. I’m just really trying to fucking do it. 

And it starts the week my new album comes out. My new sound is this sugary ’60s pop-rock music. I just can’t wait to put on a wig and do all this music… it’s more like ’60s AM radio day at the beach. And then the second half is early ‘70s acoustic guitar around the campfire at the beach.

CP: So wholesome!

TM: Well I moved to California four years ago, and this sort of perpetual summer really influenced my look -- I got really into the Brady Bunch and really into collecting dolls from around the ‘60s. And the Trixie look in the last few years has gotten a lot less country and a lot more mod, you know, Twiggy. It’s fun -- it’s sexier, in a way, but also I think it’s better for comedy.

CP: And speaking of new new stuff -- there’s another season of your show with Katya coming, right?

TM: We’re going into season five, can you believe it? And look, I don’t like to beat a dead horse: The second people stop watching it we’re quitting. But the audience has only grown. I will say we have turned a corner where now we’re like, “Have we talked about this?” “Yeah, we have.” The doctor? Yes. Education? Yes. Fitness? Yes. Getting older? Yes. So we’ve definitely gotten a little more nuanced with some of our topics. But as everybody knows: There’s an episode about shopping where we literally talk about shitting our pants. So don’t take the title of the episode, as, like… it doesn’t mean anything.

CP: Okay so this last question is mostly just for me: Are you real friends with Orville Peck?

TM: I’m real friends with Orville Peck! He just was at my house on New Year’s Eve. We are real friends. We’ve played music festivals together, we’ve traveled together, we’ve played the same city at the same time, overlapping. Every time he’s in L.A. he comes up the street and we hang out. And when he’s in town -- he loves drag queens -- and so usually he and I will go to drag shows together with whoever he’s with, usually, like, his partner or his band members. I love his band members. And his band members love the gay bars -- Orville and I take them out to the gay bars. We’ve always wanted to make music together, we just haven’t had a chance.

CP: I sincerely hope you get to do that.

TM: I know. I wonder if he’ll like this new record, because it’s not country. Although he did tell me “Yellow Cloud” is his favorite song of mine. Before he was a yeehaw bitch, he was a Blink-182, Good Charlotte bitch. That’s the kind of kid he was, and so was I.

Trixie Mattel
Pantages Theater
Sunday, February 16
710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007
8 p.m. $44