Gramma’s Boyfriend has a reputation.
Haley’s insane ‘80s pop punk side project – with fellow rebels Jeremy Ylvisaker, Jacob Hanson, Luke Anderson, and Mike Lewis – consistently puts on a kick-ass live show. The feisty frontwoman often appears in theatrical makeup and bizarre costumes onstage, but on Friday, she’ll jack up the camp to a whole other level at Gramma’s Boyfriend Halloween Ball.
We asked Haley about all things Halloween ahead of this spooky-cool concert.
City Pages: What made you want to host a Halloween Ball?
Haley: This will be the second year that we’ve done it. We didn’t do last year ‘cause I was on tour but the year before we did a Halloween show and really pushed the audience wearing a costume. It was just amazing. Everybody looked fantastic and I had a professional makeup artist come and make me look fucking horrible and I’m planning on doing that again this year. It was such a success and so much fun and just really good energy all around so we’ve been wanting to do that again.
CP: Gramma’s Boyfriend is already known for your outrageous outfits. How are you going to top yourself this Halloween?
H: I think of every show differently. It’s really hard to plan ahead for this band because sometimes I’ll wake up the morning of the show, and I’m like, “I don’t want to wear that.” You can’t wear something crazy if you’re not feeling it. It’s just not OK. There have definitely been shows where I’ve worn something pretty plain or pretty normal because I’m just not feeling it. That being said, I have had my sister make a lot of costumes for me in the past and that’s been amazing. I don’t know how I’m going to top my costume from two years ago, but I’m going to try. And I’m not going to tell you what it is, but it’s going to be good!
CP: What was your costume from two years ago?
H: I wore a bald cap to look like the witches from the movie The Witches when they whip their wigs off, except I had demon teeth and long, scary claws. And then my sister made this outfit – it was like a long, white polyester gown, like a weird dress from the ‘60s – and she put this red furniture piping around it so it looked like guts or entrails or something like that. It wasn’t a specific thing, but it was scary.
CP: Where does the inspiration for these outfits come from?
H: I watch a lot of scary movies. I love old horror films. This time of year is my favorite. I love everything related to Halloween. It comes pretty easily, just being a fan of it in general.
CP: What kinds of costumes do you predict you’ll see in the audience this year?
H: Ooh…I hope there will be some full-on orange body-painted Donald Trumps dressed as a baby. I’m sure there will be somebody like that. It’s hard to say. Two years ago, it was crazy, but there were a lot of Pee-wee Herman costumes. There were two people dressed as Pee-wee Herman and then there were people dressed as Pee-wee’s Playhouse characters, which is kind of crazy because they didn’t know each other or plan it; it just happened.
CP: Does Gramma’s Boyfriend have any spooky songs in its repertoire or will you add some to the setlist?
H: Some of our songs are a little spooky. We usually cover the “H-A-double-L-O” song. It’s this old children’s Halloween song from the ‘60s. We’ll make it creepy and fun – that’s what we do best.
CP: How is the Halloween experience different for you as a parent compared to when you were a child? Do you still enjoy it as much?
H: Oh, yeah. I’ve never lost the spirit of Halloween. I was devastated when I couldn’t trick-or-treat anymore. To me, it’s awesome that I get to do that again vicariously through my daughter. She loves Halloween and she loves trick-or-treating. I grew up in a smaller town and living here in the city, there are so many more houses and neighborhoods that really go all out. It heightens the experience for her and it’s totally nostalgic all over again. I love it for different reasons.
CP: What is your daughter’s taste in costumes like compared to yours?
H: She chooses a different thing each year and I don’t know where she gets the idea. This year, she’s claiming she’s going to be a wolf girl and she’s going to carry a sword. I’m just like, “That sounds great. I’m going to try to make that happen for you.”
CP: What is your favorite candy to steal from your daughter’s Halloween candy stash?
H: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Gramma’s Boyfriend Halloween Ball
With: Maple & Beech
When: 11 p.m., Fri., Oct. 27
Tickets: $10 - $12; more info here