Portland has an interesting list of our local Rock celebrities including working members from: Modest Mouse, Sleater-Kinney, The Shins, Spoon, Pavement, The Dandy Warhols, Pink Martini,& the current PDX musical royalty- The Decemberists. My very own neighborhood is the home of provocative, powerful, plus-size punker & cover girl- Beth Ditto of the band- Gossip.
No wonder then that Ditto settled in NoPo. Mary Beth Patterson grew up in a 2-bedroom house in Arkansas, with her mother, 6 siblings & a heap full of stepfathers & relatives, at times there would be 12 people living in the tiny house. Her mother worked swing shift as a nurse in attempt to provide for them all. Ditto was left to her own devices, & she would sometimes shoot squirrels to eat. She would do well trying to survive in my back garden- Squirrel Central. Ditto claims that her childhood seems best summed up during a chance meeting with Bill Clinton, then governor of Arkansas: “I looked like some wild animal with bruises on my face & chocolate round my mouth. I asked him to sign my dollar bill & he said: ‘I think that’s illegal, little darlin’.’”
Desperate to make music, at 18 Ditto moved to Portland, Oregon & changed her name. Despite her bad ass voice, she wasn’t an overnight success. It took Gossip 4 albums to make it huge with Standing in the Way of Control in 2007. Being a punk is apparently no less demanding than being a fashionista. Ditto: “If you think fashion is snobby, go hang out with some punks. They are beyond elitist.”
She has been with the same woman- Freddie, for a decade+, though they don’t live together. Ditto: “We tried that once & it did not work. We got together when I was 19. I haven’t had any other experiences in my life... & I won’t.” But a surprising domesticity has crept in, as she recently bought herself a house in my neighborhood. I see her around, & of course I would like to make her acquaintance. Hanging out with Ditto at the many Portland Framers’ Markets would be hot. I would like to take her around to the neighborhood dive bars & music venues & we could determine who has the cheapest whiskey & best Tater Tots.
Ditto turns 30 today. Age & dress size.
2 hours ago