Peaches - Biography
Peaches is the sex-positive, gender-busting, rock and roll persona of Merrill Nisker, Canadian artist and former art and drama teacher. Nisker sang in the late 80s Toronto folk trio Mermaid Café, whose self-released cassette lists Peaches’ brother, director Craig Nisker, as the band’s contact. Nisker released the rock album Fancypants Hoodlum (1995 Accudub) under her own name in 1995 and appeared on Canadian indie band Son’s 1998 album Wolfstein (1998 Warner Canada). Nisker had also collaborated with Son’s Jason Beck in mid-‘90s Toronto bands The Shit and Feedom. Toward the end of the the 90s, Nisker and Beck moved to Berlin where Beck became known as Gonzales, “the only one-eyed Jewish rapper in Berlin,” and Nisker took on the name Peaches.
With her Roland MC-505 Groovebox (“Governments should be required to issue the MC-505 to every citizen,” Peaches told an interviewer), Peaches created the electronic beats and bass lines of the Peaches (Teenage USA) and Lovertits (Kitty-Yo) EPs, released in 2000. Also in 2000, German label Kitty-Yo released a Peaches and Gonzales collaboration, the EP Red Leather, and Peaches’ debut album The Teaches of Peaches (Kitty-Yo). Teaches’ ubiquitous dance hit “Fuck the Pain Away” brought Peaches to the attention of mass media.
Following the album’s success, labels scrambled to sign Peaches. Presumably the labels bidding on Peaches already knew something most people who had danced to “Fuck the Pain Away” in a club never would have guessed; Peaches was not only a one-woman singer, songwriter, guitarist, recording star, DJ, and producer, but she was also a thrilling stage performer with drive, stamina, and charisma to match her hero, Iggy Pop. Peaches signed with XL Recordings, who released an expanded version of The Teaches of Peaches in 2002.
The cover of 2003’s Fatherfucker (XL/Beggars Group) album, displays Peaches wearing a lumberjack’s beard. The album’s title and concepts violate taboos most people didn’t even know existed. Among the album’s tracks is the gigundo rocker “Kick It,” a duet with Iggy Pop. Peaches’ old band Feedom backs her on “Rock N’ Roll.” Antonia Simigis, writing for Playboy, asked Peaches (“the horny, hirsute queen of electroclash”) what she would do if she could be a guy for a day. “I don’t understand the question,” Peaches replied. “I am a guy.”
Peaches toured constantly after the release of Fatherfucker, taking the stage in a metal head wig as The Stranglers’ seductive, casually misogynistic “Peaches” played over the PA. Two bearded, dildo-wearing female dancers backed her during the high-adrenaline sets. Peaches recorded the anti-war, anti-Bush (and still fun) Impeach My Bush (XL/Beggars Group) in Laurel Canyon, which was released in 2006. She recruited an all-star band for live shows following Impeach My Bush, with Radio Sloan of The Need on guitar, JD Samson of Le Tigre on sampler and keytar, and Samantha Maloney of Hole, Motley Crüe, and Eagles of Death Metal on drums.
Among the numerous artists whose songs Peaches has remixed are Tone Loc, Le Tigre, Daft Punk, The B-52s, Yoko Ono, and The Flaming Lips. Peaches has also contributed to recordings by Pink and Iggy Pop.