Kelli Mayo is ready to scream, kick and rock audiences once again with her wild live performances. But it won’t be until 2022 that her band Skating Polly gets to hit the stage after going on hiatus with the rest of the world these past eleven months. This past weekend, Kelli Mayo announced new European tour dates for next year, remaining cautiously optimistic about any future plans. We recently caught up with the multi-talented musician, artist and actress to discuss the road ahead, along with her recent contribution to Viggo Mortensen’s Falling soundtrack, and to find out what is happening with her upcoming movie Ugly Pop, a documentary that spans the first chapter in the history of Skating Polly from director Henry Mortensen.
It was over a year ago that Skating Polly played their final live performance, opening the 2020 Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony with their song ‘A Little Late’. The Oklahoma trio appear as the final track on Viggo Mortensen’s Falling soundtrack, which is available now on digital, with a vinyl release coming sometime in the future. Shortly after the Sundance show, Mayo underwent throat surgery and has been recovering since, which is why the band has yet to stream a live performance, much like a lot of other bands have been doing during this down time. But a new album has been written and is waiting in the wings, and knowing Skating Polly, it’ll definitely be worth the wait.
Viggo Mortensen makes his directorial debut with Falling, which is now in theaters and On Demand. The Oscar-nominated actor also produced the soundtrack, creating new music with longtime collaborator Buckethead for this emotional and very personal drama. He recruited Ugly Pop icons Skating Polly to provide the Falling theme song with ‘A Little Late’, a track that originally appeared on the band’s 2014 release Fuzz Steilecoom. It serves as the centerpiece to this soundscape masterwork, with the Falling soundtrack arriving as one of the first great musical scores of 2021.
Paulington James Christensen III recently caught up with Kelli Mayo, one-third of Skating Polly alongside Peyton Bighorse and Kurtis Mayo, to chat about the soundtrack release, her burgeoning acting career, the announcement of new tour dates and the band’s longtime-coming documentary Ugly Pop, which was directed by Viggo’s son Henry Mortensen and spans a decade in the life of these musical maestros.
Viggo Mortensen is a noted fan of Skating Polly, and knew he wanted to use their song A Little Late for end credits before he was even done writing the Falling screenplay. The music perfectly captures both the essence and tone of Falling, and feels as though it was created specifically for the movie itself. Kelli explains how and why the song wound up serving as the Falling theme, and how surreal it is to be on an album alongside Viggo Mortensen and Buckethead.
Skating Polly was mentored by Exene Cervenka of the iconic punk band X, who has worked occasionally alongside Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse for the past ten years. Her son with Viggo Mortensen, Henry Mortensen, produced and directed the new Ugly Pop documentary that tracks the first chapter in the band’s decade spanning career, and will be released sometime in the near future on Viggo’s own production banner Perceval Pictures. The movie is completed, with plans to take it to a couple of film festivals before it gets a theatrical release.
Kelli Mayo breaks down exactly what is happening with her band at the moment and heaps praise on Viggo Mortensen, with Falling available to stream right now alongside the soundtrack.
You have big news that you just announced on Instagram.
Kelli Mayo: I know. Well, hopeful news. We just announced a European tour for 2022. It was supposed to be spring of this year. Obviously, that didn’t work out. And then all the venues were like, ‘Well, let’s just do 2022.’ And I was like, I don’t know, is that responsible to announce it? Then they were like, ‘Well, let’s just announce. And then if we have to cancel, it’ll be easier to reschedule the shows.’ So it’s like…Well, hopefully we’ll play shows in 2022.
How hard is that to coordinate a tour during this ongoing pandemic? It sounds like a nightmare. But I’m not on that side of it.
Kelli Mayo: Yeah, I don’t know either yet. Our European booking agents set it up. If it actually comes through, and if it’s safe to do that tour at that time, it’ll be a really great tour. I mean, it will be our longest European tour ever. We’ll be going to Spain for the first time. And it’s funny. I was really nervous about releasing those dates, because I was just scared. People would be like, ‘This is irresponsible.’ But instead, everyone was like, ‘Come to my town. Why isn’t my town on here?’
I’m like, where’s my town? Are you going to do the U.S. in 2022, you think?
Kelli Mayo: Well, yeah. I mean, of course. As soon as it’s safe to do so, we’re gonna go back to just touring like crazy. People keep saying do a live stream, at least for the U. S. And my voice still isn’t healed. I don’t have the green light to sing yet, so everything’s kind of influx still.
Do you think you’ll have that new record done by the time you’re touring in Europe?
Kelli Mayo: I do think we will by then. But it’s so hard to say. I’ve thought we’d have a lot more done by now than we really do, because of…Honestly, just stuff with my voice. I mean, which if I was to pick a time, you know, for all these surgeries to have happened, this would be the best time. I mean, because no one’s…The most people can do right now is recording or doing live stream shows. No one can tour right now, so it’s convenient in that way, that these two things overlapped. But at the same time, I just have kind of a weird guilt, because it’s like, ‘Oh, I wish I was doing more.’ I wish we could just get the record out, because the songs are written. The songs are there, it’s just like being told, ‘Wait, wait, wait.’ Which makes sense. My range isn’t fully back. But I’m healing well, and I’d rather just heal all the way instead of rush it, and then you have to get surgeries again.
I think it’ll be worth the wait. I hadn’t listened to some of the records for a little bit. I was listening to them the other day, knowing I was going to do this interview. I’ve seen you guys live a couple of times, and some of these songs hit so hard. After this whole incident, you’re gonna have, like, the most emotional shows I can imagine, where everybody’s just crying and it’s gonna be exciting. But crazy is what I imagine.
Kelli Mayo: Yeah, that’s kind of how I feel. I just feel like everyone’s so hungry. Hungry and eager for art and that kind of connection again. I feel like any of the shows I go to I’ll probably be crying as well. I think it will be pretty emotional. Honestly, there’s a lot of, like, emotional songs that will be on the next record. Which, I have no idea…It’s so weird how long ago some of these songs have been written, and how long they’ve been back burnered. I think our new live show and our next record will be really, really great. I’m excited.
It will win all the Grammys, right? That’s what we got to say.
Kelli Mayo: Definitely. All the Grammys. Definitely. That’s a guarantee. That’s the one thing I can guarantee. Actually.
The name of your album is ‘All the Grammys’. Now, It’s gotta be surreal to see this soundtrack with Viggo Mortensen and Buckethead, and then Skating Polly. Removed from the movie, if I saw this in a record store, and I saw those three names on it, I’m definitely buying this record.
Kelli Mayo: Yeah, it is really. Viggo told us back in 2014, when he was writing this screenplay, that he wanted to use the song. He’s like, ‘Would I be able to? I just think it would be perfect for the movie. It’s like an important part of it.’ And I was like, ‘Yes, of course. Please use our song.’ It just took a while for the actual movie to come to life. And I was always kind of wondering, like, ‘I wonder if he’s still gonna use our song?’ And then, sure enough, he did. Viggo has actually worked with Buckethead several times, making these beautiful instrumental records. And I own a lot of them on vinyl. So it was no surprise to me that the amazing, beautiful soundtrack was done by him and Buckethead.
I like this idea that Viggo Mortensen is just kind of kicking around his house, rocking out to Skating Polly. And he just goes, ‘That’s my song.’ Is that kind of how it happened? He was just, like, chilling out listening to your records and…
Kelli Mayo: Yeah, well, um, so basically…You know, Exene Cervenka produced our second record back in 2011. And she sent it to Viggo, because they used to be married. They’re still really great friends. And he put a quote on our second record, calling us little geniuses. So he’d been a fan for a while. And then we befriended him. And Exene’s son, Henry Mortensen, is one of my best friends in the world. I’ve lived with him several times in L. A. Actually, I’m really close to Henry. And anyway, I’m really close to Exene. And I’ve only met Viggo a handful of times. But every time I’ve met him, he’s just really nice and casual and fun around us. I’m still kind of starstruck. Like, I don’t wanna be annoying to Viggo, but he’s been really cool. He invited us to his cabin. He’s taken us out. We went and had Henry’s birthday breakfast at Cafe Fifties in L. A. That was really fun. I don’t know. We stayed in the same Airbnb at Sundance.
It was almost a year ago that you guys did the Sundance show. Was that the last live show you guys did?
Kelli Mayo: That was the last thing, I believe. That was the last live show we did. Yeah, yeah.
What was that experience like? That’s kind of a different venue for you guys. I did watch the video, and you do two songs. It had to be a different vibe. Not exactly what you are used to.
Kelli Mayo: No, it was really cool. It was really exciting. We were actually invited to play a full set at this, like, more of a venue-like setting at Sundance. But because of the timing of everything, with my voice again, I was basically told…I found out all this stuff about my voice right before Sundance. And my doctor was like, ‘Well, you know, you’ve been singing on it for all this time. I think it’s safe for you to do the two songs at Sundance. But then you need to, like, chill and do some serious voice rest, and then you need to get ready for surgery.’ Surgery got delayed, blah, blah, blah. It’s a long story. But yeah. So it was just the two songs at Sundance, and it was really nerve racking. Because it is just a different vibe. I didn’t know what would be appropriate to wear. And then I was like, ‘Well, I don’t really care what’s appropriate to wear. I’m probably just gonna wear Tutus.’ which I did end up doing. There were a lot of people I wanted to meet and stuff. It was a really cool vibe. We got to hang out with Lance Henriksen, because Lance was also staying at the same Airbnb. And when we got through it, it felt like I could breathe again. I was like, ‘Wow, that was actually really cool. Okay, that was safe.’
Is it a new version of the song on the soundtrack?
Kelli Mayo: No, no, it’s the original version. Viggo and a friend of his also composed an instrumental variation of it. That’s on the soundtrack, that kind of leads into our our version.
Yeah, about that…Because it’s like, the instrumental comes in before there are a couple more tracks. And then your version comes in.
Kelli Mayo: I don’t know if they recorded it together. I don’t know all the logistics of it, or if Viggo just kind of gave the musician who performed it guidance. I’m not entirely sure, but yeah.
Now you have Viggo Mortensen and Buckethead covering a Skating Polly song.
Kelli Mayo: I don’t think it was…It wasn’t Buckethead. It wasn’t Buckethead playing the variation. It was someone else.
Is there one song that you really miss doing live? That is gonna be the first song that you come out of the gate with? Or do you kind of miss all of them? Or is it that thing where you did all of them so many times that you’re like, man, I don’t miss them at all?
Kelli Mayo: Oh, I miss them all. I really miss them all. I miss screaming my head off. I haven’t screamed in so long. I have a lot of nightmares where I need to scream, like I’m in danger, and I can’t scream at all. Which, I I bet like, now, if I needed to scream, I could. But I shouldn’t scream. Right? So, I’m really missing the loud songs. I also really, really miss the pretty ones. And I miss…I think I miss it all in particular. Maybe Little Girl Blue, that song. That’s just, like, one of my favorites to play live. I don’t know. It’s emotional, and I like the way that it starts off really slow. And at first maybe, like if it’s an audience that’s not familiar with us, they’re kind of like talking and stuff. And then once it kicks in, everyone’s like, ‘Oh, shit.’ That’s a good feeling.
You’ve done acting. And you were on a CW pilot. Was it for The CW?
Kelli Mayo: No, it was for Hulu and Paramount Pictures. It was going to be on Hulu TV. It was called When The Street Lights Go On. And it was really cool. It was awesome and stuffs. But then well…
Did that experience sour you from acting? Or are you still going to pursue that? There is a girl in Falling wearing an X shirt. I was like, ‘Why isn’t that Kelli Mayo playing that role?’
Kelli Mayo: Well, I don’t know. I mean…
Not to say anything about the actress who got the role, she is great in the movie.
Kelli Mayo: No, she’s great. She’s great. No, I actually still do audition for roles. That was another thing I kinda had to take a break from with the voice rest stuff. But I actually have been auditioning again, and it’s just, you know…I mean, I’d love to act in something, but it’s kind of one of those things that I’m not really just trying out for everything. It’s very selective, the parts that I go out for. I haven’t hooked one yet, so fingers crossed. I have a really cool acting manager who also reps Kate Nash. I just found out she reps Phoebe Bridgers’ acting career. Like, she just started. So that’s really cool. I love them, Margaret Polack and Mickey Caruso. But it’s just one of those things. I haven’t got any big hits yet or anything. But I’d love to. The pilot is one of, probably, the things I’m most proud of in my life. That was a really great experience. I love all of those actors. I love the writers. I love the director. The writers actually went on to get their show finally released. Which I’m so proud of them for. Because it started as a feature. And then Hulu and Paramount were, like, ‘Make it into a TV show!’ And then they did. And then it didn’t get picked up. And then they rewrote it for Quibi. They finally got it released on Quibi with a different cast. So that’s really cool.
That’s too bad. Quibi is dead. Quibi completely disappear. It does not exist anymore, but I know someone is buying all that content. What happens to the pilot? Is there a place that fans can see it? Is it disappeared?
Kelli Mayo: I don’t think you can see it, because it’s someone else’s property. Like property of Paramount and Hulu. Yeah, no one’s ever going to see it. It also premiered at Sundance in 2017 or 2018. I can’t remember, but they brought our pilot to Sundance, and it played on a big screen. And it was a sold out theater. That was a really, really cool experience again. But, you know…it just didn’t end up getting picked up. Basically, it was a TV show also set in 1983. The same year that Stranger Things was set. And we also filmed in the exact same town that Stranger Things did. It was so funny, because when the PA told us, ‘We were there, we just filmed some other show also set in 1983, and Winona Ryder was in it. I think it’s about aliens or something else.’ Like oh, cool! I Don’t think they wanted to put on a show with a younger cast set in the same year? I mean, it was very, very different. But there were just enough elements where I think they were like, ‘Well, we don’t want to just seem like we’re trying to copy that.’
I Want to go back to the soundtrack for a second? When you have a song like this…I don’t know the origin or the history behind the song. Or how it plays into your own real life…But when you put it on the end of this movie…I mean…When I hear it now, I think of the movie. And those images. It seems like you give it away to those images, and those ideas. Is that hard for you to have the song now owned by someone else’s story? And, if somebody else comes to you for another soundtrack song, do you think, ‘Well, I’ve got to really check into what this movie is and what it is about before I say, ‘Hey, I want my music on it.’ Or would you just go, ‘Yeah, use our music.’ Even if you, perhaps, didn’t agree with the material?
Kelli Mayo: I think it would depend on who it was. It would depend on the project. I mean, we’d love to have our music used in more stuff. And I’d love to try, like, a stab at writing music for a movie instead of just, like…We have these songs that someone likes, ‘Hey, this is the perfect song for this.’ It’s kind of uncanny how well, I think the lyrics fit with the tone of Falling. I think it really, really fits with the movie. I don’t know. It kind of freaked me out, actually. Because I have this thing which…Not to sound cheesy or ridiculous…Which actually is fine if I do…But sometimes I know what a song I’m writing is about. ‘Oh, it’s about…’ With ‘A Little Late’, it was about this Grandma who was really, really close. Who passed away. And then, also, at the same time, I was really young….I was like 13 or 14. I was writing about this boyfriend who tried to kill himself. Who is a couple of years older than me. And it was kind of just about that. Both of those things. And how that was taking me for spin. But then after this movie came out, I had another experience with a really close friend. That they really reminded me of the situation in the movie. And it just felt like my song told the future a little bit. Like I didn’t realize. But actually, I was writing that song about this thing that would happen many, many years later. And then, for Viggo to just kind of drop it in on this, in his movie, where I had a very similar experience in my real life, I was like…’Oh, shit.’ So, Yeah.
I believe I saw the original video for this song. It’s the one you shot at the abandoned gas station?
Kelli Mayo: Well, that’s part of it. We’re walking around this abandoned town. I believe it was Tucumcari, New Mexico. Which just has a lot of abandoned motels and gas stations and stuff. And basically, what we did was, we would stop and film these scenic, desolate places from the route. We were living in Oklahoma at the time. So from Oklahoma to Los Angeles and Kate Nash, again…Shout out to Kate…She had told me that she wanted to be in the music video. Because she just loved the song. It moved her. And I was like, ‘Okay!’ So when we got to L.A., we’re like, ‘Okay, you wanna be in this music video?’ And so it kind of changed vibes from like this like, ‘Oh, everything’s broken and falling apart, and the variants are, like, coming together. And it’s all about love and friendship and stuff.’ Even though she’s not on the song. I love that she wanted to be in the music video.
I don’t remember her in the music video.
Kelli Mayo: She’s at the very end. She’s just singing and dancing with us. She had sunglasses on. I think she had orange hair at the time.
I guess I’ll have to go back and watch it over again. Talking about your acting career and your music…I was watching Rock and Roll High School, and I was like…If you’re ever gonna do a concert film, that’s the way to do a concert film. Because I don’t think anybody’s done that too much since then. Usually, bands today, they just put out..You know, ‘Here’s us on stage.’ Would you guys ever considered doing something like? Where it’s acting and a story, and it all ties into these big musical concert pieces.
Kelli Mayo: I mean, totally. I’d love to. I’m such a ham, and I love doing music videos. So I think that would be really, really fun. Me and Peyton actually were really obsessed with Rock and Roll High School. I haven’t seen it in so long now, but I used to do a really bad impression of Joey Ramone in that movie. And yeah, it’s the shit.
It struck me, because you’re one of those bands that seem like they have that fun side with a serious side, that would play well into something like that. And I just haven’t seen any rock bands kinda be able to fit into that mold and pull something like that off.
Kelli Mayo: The reason we haven’t done that probably is…I mean, What? You could always do it on a lower budget. But we don’t really have that. We don’t have that kind of budget behind us. Just built in. But you could do it. You could do it smaller, on a smaller scale, and something like that could be really cool. We’ve talked about all these ideas with music videos before. Like basically making and taking an album, and doing…Like Lemonade, or something. You know, where you have this whole story that plays out of music videos through the entire record. We keep even talking about doing that for ‘The Make It All Show’. Even though it came out back in 2018. Now, if I remember correctly, there’s still a part of us that’s like, ‘What if we just still tried to, like, knock out a music video for every single song on that record?’ Because we did that for ‘The Big Fit’. Every song on that record has a music video.
In terms of that idea, you bring up an interesting point. Listening to your records. I think I’ve listened to them all? And there’s no down songs on any of those records. It’s like, what do they say? All killer, no filler. Back in the day…I was just watching a video about Ugly Kid Joe… Not comparing you to Ugly Kid Joe…But they had one great song, right? And so the studio goes, ‘Let’s put out a record, give us eight more songs right now!’ And they are all rushed and kind of shit. But it seems like you guys have this ability…I guess all musicians right now have the ability to wait it out until you have a record of singles. Is that what you guys do? Wait until you know every song on this record is perfect?
Kelli Mayo: Yeah, yeah. I mean, in the past, we tried to just…We try to put out records pretty quickly. I mean, not saying we wouldn’t take the time with them. We really did want to get it right. But we also kind of had this idea, this mindset of like, you know…You’re gonna have a long career, so there’s no pressure to like anything that you don’t do on this record, you could do on the next one, type of thing. But that being said, every song…I mean, I remember writing these records. Literally every single song. We’re thinking, like, ‘Oh, and in the music video for this one…’ Like, not really sure what’s gonna be the single or what’s gonna be like the success off that record. Also, another weird thing about us is, it’s always hard for me to tell what songs of ours people really know, or what people’s favorite songs of ours is gonna be. I mean, there are some that are…Just definitely…I mean, there are some that are more well known, like, kind of across the board. I think ‘Pretective Boy’ is one of the more popular ones, and stuff. But everyone kind of has their own favorite.
I have a favorite song off the last album you guys did. I don’t think I’ve seen you guys do it live and there isn’t a video for it. ‘This Vacation’.
Kelli Mayo: This vacation. See, that was one…That’s funny, because, I really like that song. And I kind of pictured that being maybe one of the singles for the record. And basically some friends of ours at the time…A few people who are kind of like, you know…Our team. No one really dug it except me and Brad Wood and Peyton and Kurtis. Like everyone else was kind of like…’I don’t know.’
It’s one of the best song on that record. It really inspired me to write something that I’ve been working on. It added an inspiration for me. So I don’t know…
Kelli Mayo: I probably should just go with my instincts on, like, what my favorites were and stuff. But I do get kind of in my head and…Like, you know…That one was fun to write. I told Brad that I wanted it to be like Queens of the Stone Age vibes. Which I don’t know if that translates at all? But he kind of did it with this, like, two chunka chunka…And I don’t know, there are elements that I think he kind of captured that pretty well, actually. But…
The storytelling in the music is insane to me. And, like, the video you put out for ‘They’re Cheap, But I’m Free’. That song is like a little Tarantino movie. It’s so perfect and so crazy. And I love the video.
Kelli Mayo: Thank you. A lot of times, it’s just easier for me to write through a character instead of writing from my own direct experience. It’s easier for me to like, you know, go dramatic. Make the situation more dramatic, kind of write it from the perspective of a movie character. So I’ll do that. That music video was really, really fun because we were working with one of our best friends, Scott Stuckey. And we don’t really have any money to make the music video. But he had access to the studio. So as long as we could, just as long as we were willing to put in the work, we could make a music video at that studio. So I was like…Okay, I want to just do something where everything is made out of trash. So all the art…I was calling friends in Los Angeles. And like, can we just go through your junk drawers? I just want to see what’s in your junk drawer. People don’t have a junk drawer. That’s such an old thing to have. It was like, ‘Okay, fine.’ So we went to 99 Cent stores. And we just found stuff alongside the road. And we painted it all pink. And that was great. This really cool thrift store, Sunday’s Best in Echo Park. And I was like, okay, pink, pink, pink, gold, gold, gold. And then Scott was like, ‘What’s the theme of the music video?’ Trust me, just position us and have the camera in a good place. We won’t need much of a theme other than just this really intense performance. Trust me.
That song is kind of a message song. But also, you’re not hammering somebody in the face with the message. You’re letting the lyrics and the story speak for itself.
Kelli Mayo: Yeah, yeah. I mean, so in the kind of fictional story…I like to have, like, kind of three stories in my songs. I like to have a layer that’s the fictional story book version of the story, that the lyrics directly translate to. And then, I like to have my personal story that I don’t tell many people about. Or maybe I can hint that like, ‘Oh, it’s about feeling this way.’ And then I like to have the music video story. And for that one, the fictional story is kind of about, like some powerful asshole who’s cheating on his wife with prostitutes. And she’s confronting him about it. That’s kind of what the lyrics were just very literally written about. But then, in a more personal way? It was just feeling rejected. Like, cheated on. Stuff like that, you know.
Going back to your acting career. I’ve heard people put you out there for Kerri Green’s daughter for Goonies 2. Andy’s daughter. Is that something you’re actually gonna pursue if that ever becomes an actual movie? Because they’ve been trying to make a sequel for the past 35 years.
Kelli Mayo: Wow. I didn’t know they were trying to make that. People do tell me that. She must be the one. People tell me I look like her. Let me look her up right now to make sure that I’m not just being dumb.
No, I’m pretty sure that’s her.
Kelli Mayo: Yeah. You know, I don’t really know what people are actually considering me for. I’ve gotten to go out for a bunch of really cool roles. But then every now and then there’s like, my manager has…What is it called? Like Google notifications. Anyway, we got one for Catwoman one time. That really cracked me up, because it was like, the article was suggesting they want to cast Emma Stone or whoever. Like these huge names I think they should cast. And Kelli Mayo was one of them in there.
For the new Batman movie? Or the Batman TV show?
Kelli Mayo: That was just a random article. I don’t know. I mean, I thought it was very…
Wait, wait, wait…I think I may have written that…
Kelli Mayo: That’s funny. Yeah. No. So, I don’t know. I don’t know what I think. One of the cool things I got to try out for actually was Captain Fantastic. That was Viggo’s movie, and I got a call back. It was one of the first auditions I ever went out for. And basically, they wanted to go with the more experienced actress. And that they did. The cast was really great. So I mean, I can’t fault them. But I remember thinking, like, ‘Oh, how cool would it be for my first project ever to be this movie with Viggo?’
That’s why I was asking about Falling. Did you try out for that? Or was that something you didn’t want to pursue?
Kelli Mayo: I would go. Of course, I would try out for it. But that just didn’t really come up. I mean, you know…Sometimes, just things..I know that they had to use some Toronto cast. Or maybe he already had that actress in mind. I’m not really sure. I was also in a position where, it’s like they already made our song the theme of the movie. I wasn’t gonna press my luck. ‘Why don’t you cast me, you motherfucker?’ You know? I mean, I would pretty much do anything Viggo is part of. I think it can safely be said that I’d be stoked to be a part of anything.
You played Exene in a recent music video for the latest X Album. They’re making all these biopics now. I’ve heard word flutter through that X might get a biopic sometime in the future. Is that something…
Kelli Mayo: If they do, I would totally want to be in it. Gosh!
I was going to say. I would think that you would be the person for that.
Kelli Mayo: I would hope so. That would be really cool. After we made that music video, it’s funny…Because I have all the photos from that music video. And I have a lot of tickets from X shows and stuff. I have way more X memorabilia than that. Anyway, after we made that music video…We all had the best time. Then we were just, like, ‘So maybe we should just do like a low budget biopic so that this never has to end?’ Like me and Gilbert kept saying, ‘Maybe we should just do a biopic. I just think we should!’ And we were just kind of joking about it. But, man, if they ever had a biopic and I was…You know, if people wanted me to play Exene…I’d be so down. Very, very down.
I want to ask you about Henry Mortensen’s movie. When I talked to Viggo Mortensen the other day, he said that it’s finished and they’re looking for ways to get it out. I’m just wondering what your take on it is. And where do you think it is? And when will we be able to see it?
Kelli Mayo: Yeah. I don’t know. I have no idea. Really. For awhile there, it was just like …I don’t know what the latest is on it. I know Henry has a final edit. And that he submitted it to some film festivals. I mean, I’m ready for it. Put it out whenever it’s cool. It covers this…I can’t remember how many years now he’s even follow us around for. But it was a good chunk of time. And he was there for some big stuff. Like us recording The Big Fit and us on the Babes in Toyland tour, and us at Riot Fest. Both times we went to Riot Fest. I believe we’ve been three times now. He was there for the first two times. No, I don’t know. I don’t. You’d have to ask Henry what the plan is with that. I think technically, it’s also coming out on Perceval Pictures, which is what Falling just came out through. But I know they wanted to do some film festival stuff before they released it.
Have you sat down and watch it from beginning to end? Is that something that’s hard to watch for two hours?
Kelli Mayo: I have watched it. I watched a cut of it that was, like, four hours long. And that was kind of hard to watch, because it was four hours. But yeah, no. I’ve watched it. I really like it. I think he’s got some really, really great, like, just happy, beautiful moments in there. Kate Nash is in it. A lot of my heroes, a lot of my friends. Just all these kind of little memories. It’s really special. It’s got a lot of special things in there.
I talked to Henry Mortensen maybe, like a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago… Just real quick about it. He said, the one thing that stuck out in my mind was, it will really change your perception and idea about who these two people are…And I don’t know…He didn’t say anything further than that. Is that a good thing? Is that a bad thing? I don’t know?
Kelli Mayo: Definitely a bad thing. We were pretty terrible. Once you get to know us… It’s a dramatic, you know? Just no, no…I think he meant that, like, in a good way. I think it’s pretty…It’s pretty cute. And it’s a sweet, happy movie. It’s funny. Because at the time, I felt like… I don’t know…I’m pretty young in it. Still, I didn’t feel young. But I am pretty young throughout it. And I’m being a huge goober a lot of the time. Like a big ham. There’s just a lot of funny, candid moments between me and Peyton, and then Kurtis at the very, very end. It’s like, I was surprised we have another member.
The movie ends with Kurtis coming in?
Kelli Mayo: Yes.
So it’s a capsule of the first decade of Skating Polly.
Kelli Mayo: Yeah, yeah. It’s funny, because I remember calling Henry and telling him Kurtis was added to the band. He might be annoyed by this story? He’s one of my best friends, though, but me and Peyton called him. We had him on speaker, and Kurt was in the car. And I was like, ‘I have some really big news I want to share with you.’ He’s like, ‘What?’ And I was like, ‘Kurtis is going to join the band.’ He was like, ‘Well, I mean, I just made a movie about how you guys are this awesome two piece.’ It really cracked me up, because then he was like…He totally came around, got on board, and was super, super stoked to have Kurt in the band. That made this super happy ending. But it was really funny at first. He was like, ‘Oh, wow, I have to like, kind of rethink the movie a little bit now….I feel like we’ve been able to do way more since Kurt joined the bands. And Kurt pushes my creativity to another level. And we will have really, like, kind of deep, profound conversations about, like, every little detail. And he’s really good with lyrics. I mean, he’s an invaluable part of the team. And he’s definitely the third piece of Skating Polly. Even though it was started as being me and Peyton. Kurtis, is just as much of Skating Polly now.
Are you guys always singing your own lyrics? Or will you write a song for Peyton Bighorse, and then pass it to her, or vice-versa?
Kelli Mayo: I mean, for the most part, whoever’s singing, it’s their song idea. But there are exceptions to that a little bit. There’s a couple songs on this last record that, like…Just the lyrics really changed. You know? Just reformed someone’s first idea. Once we all kind of sat down and worked it out. It really changed different parts that we brought into it. So yeah.
Okay, well, I feel like I have to apologize for asking you so many questions.
Kelli Mayo: It’s all good. No, thank you. It’s really nice to talk about the band still, and stuff like that. Because it’s just been…I felt like this part of my heart is just missing, because I can’t sing. I’m still playing music. And we still do band things occasionally. You know, like, let’s get this together. And we have all these plans. But it just feels like plans right now. I’m excited for this 2022 tour.
Skating Polly will, fingers crossed, return in 2022 with a new tour and new songs. The band can currently be heard on Viggo Mortensen’s Falling soundtrack. The movie is in theaters and On Demand right now.