Penguin Prison's Chris Glover Lives on the Same Street as Steve Buscemi's HBO Mistress
all photos by Paul Quitoriano Penguin Prison's Chris Glover in his Washington Heights living room
Last season on Boardwalk Empire, Nucky Thompson's mistress shipped off to some vaguely defined shady lane, a cobblestone-and-clapboard stretch that apparently housed women of ill repute. That wasn't another Greenpoint set, that was Sylvan Terrace in Washington Heights, a 19th-century guidebook staple that once served as a carriageway to Manhattan's oldest house, Morris-Jumel Mansion. That's also where Chris Glover, the 29-year-old songwriter behind Girl-Talk-opening synth-pop project Penguin Prison, lives.
Glover recently gave us a tour of his home for our revived Shelter column:
Upstairs: Penguin Prison's Makeshift Home Studio
Chris Glover likes to trash things. "If I throw something away today, a year from now, I'll never remember I had it. I mean, I'm not going to throw away a guitar. But you don't need that much." Amusingly, Glover became Penguin Prison because of something he didn't trash. A while back, his friend Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost! was rummaging through Glover's stuff and discovered the Mattel-manufactured BeeGees Rhythm Machine.
The BeeGees Rhythm Machine, the vintage toy that inspired Penguin Prison's first song, "Golden Train"
They started fooling around with vintage mini-keyboard's cheesy disco-beat setting and came up with the first Penguin Prison jam, "Golden Train." Glover liked the sound and kept writing in that style.
A stuffed penguin in the studio
On the name Penguin Prison: "I was writing down all these name ideas, 100s of them, I just couldn't make a decision. One day I was like, 'I need to just choose one.' I promised that whatever it landed on, that was going to be my name, because I couldn't decide on one. I was like, 'Why did I land on that one?' I didn't like it for months. I was embarrassed about telling people."
Autoharp in Glover's home studio Guitars in Glover's studio The dogs "live at my parents house. One of them is dead though. The other is about to die," he says. "It's okay. They lived a long time." "I made this thing when I was in the fourth grade. A little guy with a mohawk in prison. I don't know why I did that." Vintage R2D2 Wind-up penguin