You Don't Have To Feel Bad For Kristeen Young Anymore
"I grew up being made fun of a lot, and I didn't have adoring parents or anything--quite the opposite--so adversity, or people saying mean things to me, is something I'm used to," she says. "I know it sounds weird, but I think I deal with it well just because I'm used to dealing with it my whole life. I've got a fighting spirit inside of me, so it doesn't upset me, it fuels me. I've seen some people crippled because they've gotten one rejection or something went wrong and that's it, they live their whole life being upset by that. And I'm not going to internalize things like that."
And then, on an October 2007 night onstage at Hammerstein Ballroom, Young--facing one of those hostile Morrissey crowds--infamously let loose the remark "Morrissey gives good head...I mean, er, cunnilingus," and was promptly fired from the tour. Young quickly posted a MySpace blog explaining that the remark was misconstrued and she meant no offense, and she's avoided commenting on it since, as clearly she doesn't want that moment to define her.
But looking back now, she admits, "the whole thing was so traumatic. Immediately after, we did a tour with Ted Leo and every night I'd get offstage and I'd just cry. I couldn't stop crying. [Leo] was so...I felt so bad that he had to deal with hearing that, but he was so kind about it. He understood that it was a traumatic thing, the public humiliation. But we pushed on and kept playing."
The duo continued touring and made another album, 2008's excellent, Visconti-helmed Music for Strippers, Hookers, and the Odd On-Looker (which featured a collaboration with Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump). Late in 2010, Young split with White-- "Jef was a really bombastic drummer, which I loved, he played very loud and intricately, but maybe in some venues it was a little overwhelming, and I think people are getting a better idea of the songs and my voice now," she says--and did solo residences in New York, Los Angeles, and in Europe.
It was a dark time, she says. "I knew people around me lost faith in me, and I could feel people slipping away. I think when things aren't happening for you, when things aren't looking good, people start to feel sorry for you. Like, 'Oh, the poor thing.' They'll write you messages, and I really hate it when you can feel the pity. I remember at some point a couple years ago, I had a rash of people coming up to me after shows saying, 'You know, I just don't understand why you can't make it....' And it made me feel horrible. I know they were just trying to be nice, but it makes you feel like a huge loser. I was upset about it in the moment, but then I got over it. I've always been able to get over things pretty quickly."