Jinkx Monsoon Is Bringing Back ’90s Ska, and She’s Ready for That ‘All Stars’ Winners Season
Since she snatched the crown on Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Jinkx Monsoon has been flowing through stage performances and album releases like … well, like water off a ducks back. We recently sat down with the Seattle-based queen during her promotion for the spectacular new Jinkx Monsoon album, The Ginger Snapped.
We spoke to one of our favorite queens about the new sound of this Jinkx Monsoon album, plus the long list of amazing collaborations that made it happen.
All Stars 3 is of course on the minds of all drag lovers right now, and Jinkx Monsoon is no different. We also spoke with her about who she’s rooting for this season. And speaking of All Stars, we asked a question we all want answered: Would Jinkx Monsoon be up for an All Stars “The Winners Return” season?
HORNET: The Ginger Snapped is an amazing collection of songs. It’s not just a different sound but an evolved sound for you. How would you describe it?
JINKX MONSOON: I went to work on the album knowing I wanted to do a ’90s garage band throwback sound.
One of my favorite CDs when I was younger was No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom. That type of music was called ska back then — when Gwen Stefani was “ska” — but I had never heard ska music before. I loved it so much. It was rock, but it was adding horns and strings and all of these other live instruments to make it sound like where rock and swing music meet.
I was dead-set on bringing that sound into the new album, and luckily my music partner Major Scales got exactly where I was coming from. We wrote all of the songs to be conducive to this nostalgic ’90s ska sound.
Having Fred Schneider of The B-52’s duet with you on the track “She Evil” was a real coup!
Fred has been a very good friend to us from the first time we ever appeared in New York. He came to see one of our cabaret shows, and right after the show he said he wanted to write a song for us, which was on The Inevitable Album.
He has been a very good friend to us, and every once in a while we will get to go to lunch and catch up. He is always super supportive of the work we are doing, but always super eager to write us songs and appear on our albums.
I think The B-52’s Time Capsule album was the first CD that I bought as a teenager that wasn’t Bette Midler. [Laughs]
“I Just Wanna Make Love to You” is another absolutely captivating track on the album.
Thank you! That is all Major Scales’ direction. I think that was the first song that we walked in to play. He had this idea to play this dirty techno-pop version of this classic blues song.
From Lady Rizzo to Amanda Palmer, you have true musical geniuses joining you on the album. Is there anyone out there who would be an absolute dream to get in the studio?
Amanda Palmer has been an absolute dream to work with, and has been a musical idol for me for most of my life. I’d gotten to meet her random times throughout my life, and it’s always surreal meeting — and now working with — such a rock legend.
The ultimate diva in my mind and the biggest influence since birth would be Bette Midler. If we were to do a duet, I would be able to die happy at whatever age that’d be. I have also always been a fan of Regina Spektor; she would be amazing.
Another dream collaborator would be Daphne Guinness. Her music sounds as if Marlene Dietrich had a cabaret lounge on Mars. She’s definitely pretty fascinating.
Do you think you would take another walk into the workroom if VH1 were to do an All Stars Winners Circle season?
You know, I wrestle with this question all the time. I decided recently that I would. It was when I was watching All Stars 2 that I thought it would be so nerve-wracking to go back into that high-stakes pressure cooker environment again. But the second they were all in the room together I just saw a whole bunch of my friends hanging out, and I got jealous. I feel similar about All Stars 3.
Obviously you are team Ben DeLeCreme, your Seattle sister for RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 correct?
I am of course rooting for my sister BenDeLaCreme, who has not only been one of my best friends since before Drag Race but was actually a mentor to me.
I did drag in Portland for years as a teenager, then I moved to Seattle. After I graduated college in Seattle I was trying to take everything I learned in art school and apply it to being a drag persona. I had to start all over again in Seattle, because no one in Seattle gave a shit about my drag career in Portland. As a drag queen you have to start over in whatever city you are in or move to.
Ben was a huge supporter of mine, cast me in a lot of her produced shows and helped me get my sea legs. We continue to be best friends post-Drag Race, and I know just how brilliant and capable she is. I have a feeling there is no way she’s not going to do awesome.
If I had to choose a second place contestant I was rooting for it would have to be Trixie Mattel, who has become a really good friend to me throughout the years. We spend our summers together in Provincetown. She’s really down-to-earth, extremely funny and she knows where she’s going. She’s a true professional.