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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Perez Hilton: The All Shook Down Interview

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 12:30 PM

click to enlarge MICHAEL TUCKER
  • Michael Tucker
Celebrity gossip is an obsession for Mario Lavandeira, a.k.a. controversial blogging maven Perez Hilton, but it pales in comparison to his passion for music. In town for tonight's Perez Hilton Presents concert at the Fillmore, which will feature four acts he's hand-picked, Hilton spoke to All Shook Down about his two great loves as well as his penchant for pissing people off.

You seem to enjoy the gossip, but is music your real love?

Oh, it's more than a love! I love a lot of things, but I'm passionate about music, so I'm thrilled that I'm doing so much in it right now. I've got the tour, my record label -- which I launched this summer -- and my first artist Sliimy has just released his debut album in America. He has a very visceral reaction on people when you listen to the music or watch the videos. He just makes you happy. I smile and listen to it and when I watch the videos, there's something special about him. It's definitely gonna take work, though. His album will be a bit of a challenge in America but I am a believer that good music can be successful and get out there. And I'm not afraid of a challenge.

That's evident from how you've handled the personal and professional challenges that have come your way -- especially this year with your conflicts with the ex-Miss California and Will.I.Am. You must have to be a really strong person to deal with all of that.

It's not that I'm being strong, it's not caring what people say. It's the ability to detach myself from the character of Perez Hilton. Sometimes it's difficult, but people don't really know me, so it doesn't bother me.

It sure seemed to bother you when you were hit by Will.I.Am's manager and a lot of people on Twitter and your Web site said that they were happy it happened and that you deserved it.

Well, it did bother me because I went through it. And I guess

you have to go through something similar to get that kind of empathy.

I'm the first to admit it. Before I was the victim of violence I even

made fun of someone that was the victim of violence: Jesse Metcalfe, who arguably is a big douche but he shouldn't have been hit. Now I have compassion for folks who go through something similar. Violence is not the answer, even if you don't like the person.

Did the experience create a kinder, gentler Perez though?

I have felt that, but I don't think the celebrities do! I don't think it was a conscious decision; I think I've become happier over the last two years in small, subtle, but I think noticeable ways.

Do you ever get sick of the gossip?

No, I love it. I love it as much now as I did when I first started.

For all the celebrities that you piss off, so many of them seem to need you and come crawling back eventually, don't they?

I don't really care if they come crawling back or not. The thing is, I don't need nor want access to celebrity. I don't care.

For real? It seems like you got more than a little excited when Madonna made you a personalized video, for example.

But the thing is, I still make fun of her!

She gets the joke!

Exactly! I appreciate the people that get the joke. And it is all in good fun.

You've also said that you don't watch television.

No, never.

Maybe that keeps you from being too much of a fan and a little more objective?

I'm a big fan, but I don't have to be objective. That's the great thing. I'm not the New York Times, I'm Perez Hilton dot com. It's inherently subjective.

If someone only knows you for gossip and has no sense of your musical taste, is there a commonality between these artists on your tour that people could understand?

Absolutely. All of the music that I like is good [laughs]. And they

also are good instantly. I think that a good song grabs you from the

first moment you hear it. Yes, sometimes a song can "grow" on you, but

the songs that I love are the ones I love after the first listen. All

the musicians and artists that I support all have a good chorus -- you

need a good chorus! -- and melody and smart lyrics and fun songs.

For anyone that's unfamiliar with me and the world of music, I'd tell

them to go to the Web site and look at the categories on the left hand

side and jump to the "Listen to This" section. You'll see tons of great

things on there and you'll see that a lot of times, I'm way ahead of

the curve. I was talking about Lady Gaga before anybody else was, I was

talking about Katy Perry before anybody else was and so on and so on

and so on. I feel really lucky to be exposed to great music and the reason why I post it all is that I think music lovers like to share good music with other music lovers.

You now have a label in a time when people don't really buy music. How do you navigate the challenges of the current music business?

I just think you have to be better than everyone else. You have to be adamant about quality control. You can't release crap, and you have to have artists that are artists and that release albums that are all singles. Because we live in a singles market, and what happens is, after you release so many singles, you basically beat people into submission into buying the album. If you're releasing hit single after hit single after hit single, there is that function on iTunes [called] "Complete My Album" and people eventually look at buying the album as an investment and seeing that it'll be worthwhile. And artists have to be on all the time.

So you sleep when you're dead, kind of thing?

Kind of! I work really hard and all of my artists are going to work really hard, too. I didn't go to business school for this, I just do what feels right. And I'm right a lot of the time.

What can people expect from the show tonight?

They can expect to get sweaty and dance and mosh and have an amazing time. I chose all of these artists specifically for people to have a good time with uptempo music, from dance to rock to pop to glam rock to soul pop. I put a lot of money into production and surprises and trying to make it as experiential as possible so that people walk away feeling like they were at something special. I want to make people feel special for coming and thank them for making my dream a reality. I want people to have fun, be loud, and get crazy!
Perez Hilton Presents Ladyhawke, Semi Precious Weapons, Julian Perretta, and Natalie Portman's Shaved Head

tonight at the Fillmore (1805 Geary at Fillmore). Admission is $20-29.

Call 346-6000 or visit for more info.

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Tamara Palmer


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