Fill in the Blanks with Amy Millan of Stars

By Michael Alan Goldberg
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Canadian indie-pop combo Stars—fueled by catchy, sophisticated melodies and the alluring vocal interplay between singers Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan—come back to town behind their absolutely phenomenal forthcoming LP, The Five Ghosts. Stars will play the new album straight through in its entirety, then finish up with a whole batch of songs voted onto the set list by fans. We caught up with Millan over the phone from her home in Montreal, where she was lamenting her beloved Canadiens’ playoffs loss to the Flyers (don’t worry, she still loves Philly)—to play a little “Fill in the Blanks”:

The last time I was in Philadelphia I ... ”Bought jewelry. There’s really great bling in Philly. One time I got a rhinestone tie and I wore it onstage.”

My favorite thing about Philadelphia is ... “The people. I love people-watching in Philly. I think Philly is a lot cooler than New York. It’s got more swagger. And there’s so many great suit shops and shoe stores in Philly. There’s some definite fly style going on down there.”

People who have never seen us play live before can expect ... ”Some hilarious banter. And no, we don’t practice the banter. I’ve been on tour with people who say the exact same thing every night and it makes me want to kill myself.”

Our live show is not a success unless ... “[Multi-instrumentalist] Chris Seligman gets drunk!”

The one thing that must be provided for us backstage is ... "Tequila.”

The strangest thing someone has shouted at me while I was performing was ... “‘Evan’s sister is hot!’ Evan Cranley, the bass player—his sister. But it wasn’t in our hometown, so I don’t know how they knew Evan’s sister. She’s not involved in the band or music at all. I thought that was very strange. But she is hot!”

The strangest thing I’ve seen from the stage while performing was ... ”Someone fainting. I think they were overwhelmed by the beauty of Torquil’s dimples, and they couldn’t contain themselves.”

The best thing about being in a band is ... ”You get paid in alcohol.”

The worst thing about being in a band is ... ”Goatees. There’s a lot of goatees in a lot of bars. I don’t mind the mustache or the beard, but there’s something about the goatee that creeps me out.”

The thing I’ll remember most about making The Five Ghosts is ... ”Evan getting bit by the dog in the studio, a Rottweiler. It was weird because he’s a dog lover. He’s obviously not a dog whisperer, though.”

The biggest misconception about our band is ... ”That Torq is gay. He’s not! I guess it’s because he’s very dramatic, and he’s got his love of Morrissey, and Morrissey is gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

The one goal we had for our career at the beginning was ... ”Make it really big in England. That didn’t work out so well! I think Torq really wanted to do the England thing, and now it’s really all about North America.”

The artist we most dislike being compared to is ... ”I don’t know, really, and I’m too Canadian to diss anybody!”

The artist we really don’t mind being compared to is ... ”The Pogues.”

The first musician I saw live or on TV who inspired me to do this for a living was ... ”Cyndi Lauper. She was my first concert that I ever went to. It was pretty amazing, except my mom made me leave before the encore, which was “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” She wanted to beat the crowd, so I missed out.”

The dumbest thing a journalist has ever asked me is ... “‘How did your band start?’ I got that one the other day. I’m like, ‘We’ve been a band for nine years, I’m not answering that question. Go look on Wikipedia.”

Ten years from now we hope to be ... ”Playin’ Philly!”

Thurs., June 3

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