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Five words with Los Angeles prankster Colleen Green



Colleen Green, 30, wants to feel like an adult.

On the title track of her new album, I Want to Grow Up, the Los Angeles pop-punk singer pleads for more responsibility, a lasting break from adolescent immaturity.

She's getting her wish: With an upcoming tour in Europe and treks that crisscross the States, Green seems to be escaping childlike torpor. She's scheduling shows, making tight travel budgets, hand-painting T-shirts and designing promotional flyers. These are, she says, therapeutic rituals. "I can do whatever I want," she proclaims on Grow's closing track.

Green started out with gritty, lo-fi guitar and basic beats provided by her laptop; now she invites friends to work with her and has traded in her lo-fi past for a more refined studio finish. But the polish is still grunge, still Green, and her lyrics continue to be vulnerable. She confesses fears of addiction to "bad things" and honesty in intimate relationships. A Los Angeles stoner, it turns out, can care about more than a good wake-and-bake.

We spoke with Green about the health benefits of television, being a descendant of the Descendents and not being from Los Angeles.


I'm from Massachusetts, but I was drawn to California because I wanted to be a musician. I wanted to go somewhere with more opportunities. Massachusetts is isolated, and there is not much going on there—well, not as much as L.A. obviously, where everything is going on. It's such a fun city. I love living here, but I am glad I'm not from here. I still am very East Coast in my personality and my mentality and just my affectations. People oftentimes have asked, "Where are you from? You're not from around here are you?" Fuck no, I'm not."

  • Photo by Colleen Green
  • Colleen Green


Where I am from is an extremely small town, so there's just not much to do. It is cold most of the year. My parents both worked. I feel like I was raised on TV. It's been a big part of my life since I was born. I have always liked to just sit and chill for a bit and watch the TV because, hey, it's there to keep you occupied.

Now that I am getting busier, I don't tend to watch as much of it, but I like to have it on. It makes me feel like I am doing something or like I have some kind of company, but I don't have to do anything. I don't have to spend any energy. I have an autoimmune disease called MG [myasthenia gravis] that makes me tired. It takes a lot of my energy to talk to people. With what I do, I have to be really, really social all the time. TV is a respite for me, just to have my quiet time.


You just warmed my heart. When you say that word, it just gives me a nice little feeling. I feel very connected to them—their lyrics, their whole philosophy, their music. Two of my albums have had references to the Descendents—Milo Goes to Compton and I Want to Grow Up. I've never met them but maybe one day.


Independence. For my music, first there was Milo Goes to Compton, then 4 Loko 2 Kayla, then Cujo. Those three releases were all done completely on my own. I was writing everything, recording everything, playing everything, mixing everything. But Sock it to Me was when I started easing myself into collaboration, letting people help me. I recorded it with a friend, so it wasn't me with my shitty equipment and computer. I was using real amps. For I Want to Grow Up, I worked with Jeff the Brotherhood's Jake Orrall and Diarrhea Planet's Casey Weissbuch. We just hung out in Nashville for a month together, smoked a lot of weed, enjoyed the country and tried to make my songs sound as best as possible with the resources we had.


A sense of relief. I almost feel like a phantom weight is lifted off my shoulders. It's about not being afraid to share things with other people. I was really inspired by artists who made their name being as honest as possible. You can have unique lyrics, but I have always wanted to try and be as honest as possible in my lyrics because I feel like that is something I struggle with in real life—being upfront and not feeling afraid to speak my mind. I am kind of shy. For me to be able to do it in my songs, the idea is that it will make it less scary to do it in my real life. I am not sure if it is working, but it is a first step.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Medicinal multimedia"

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