Edie Sedgwick was a Warhol darling for a year. Since her death from an overdose of downers in 1971, she has fascinated generations as a pop culture icon. It’s fitting, then, that Justin Moyer chose her moniker for his drag-pop act. As he says, “[Edie] was a person who, at best, was famous for being rich and, at worst, was famous for being famous.” In his Edie Sedgwick incarnation, Moyer, who performs primarily with the DC band Supersystem (formerly El Guapo), incants irreverent lines about Hollywood celebrities, with a backdrop of glitchy electro bleeps from his iPod as a backup band.
With the scene-centric success of Supersytem, who are signed to indie powerhouse Touch and Go Records, one has to wonder why Moyer decided to dress in drag and perform songs like “Robert Downey Jr.” (Relapse, recovery!) and “Lucy Liu” (Girl power! Fight fight!). Edie provides an outlet that Supersystem does not, says the one-man band. “Edie’s a way for me to be a more confrontational performer, to experiment more with humor and alternative ways of performing that involve more direct interaction with the audience, a more vaudeville show. Supersystem is a little different than most, but we’re still a band playing our songs. This is not that at all. It’s got video projection.”
Multi-media is a large part of Edie’s set. “The failure of a lot of live hip-hop and electroclash is that it’s boring,” he says. “So let’s have this kind of visual thing going on that directly relates to the music, to keep people interested.” The spectacular nature of her live show certainly makes it hard to do anything but get involved. But Edie’s show isn’t for shock value. The chanted, repetitive words mask a commentary that lambasts not just Hollywood stars, but the the cultural institutions they uphold. “I don’t know if everyone’s interested in my opinions about all this shit,” admits Moyer. “I don’t even know if I want people to be interested. As long as you have a reaction, even if you hate it, as long as you remember it.”
Moyer bemoans the oversaturation of the music scene today. “I’ve just played with so many bands, and I respect them for getting out and doing it, but so many are just mediocre.” This notion drives him to Edie Sedgwick. “Our lives are short,” he says. “We can never ever be bored. Let’s do something we want to be doing. Let’s do something new, otherwise what is our existence but dull drudgery? If that’s me acting like an ass or making a fool of myself on stage, then so be it.”