As the "rock-star-in-residence" at the Bowery Hotel this summer, downtown swashbuckler Diego Garcia was a big draw among New York's fashionably underweight and underemployed, who swarmed to the concert series like moths to an open bar (free Belvedere!). But it wasn't just the booze that packed them in—the man is a pheromone factory, an enthraller of otherwise expressionless V magazine models, a de-icer of nymph-sicles.
After taking a three-year break to pursue solo projects, Garcia is back in the studio with his old band, Elefant, putting the finishing touches on their third album. On Tuesday night, in a "secret" reunion show at Rose Bar, Garcia will reprise his role as Sexiest Lead Singer in New York, a distinction once bestowed by New York magazine in its "50 Sexiest New Yorkers" issue.
Above, a sneak peak at the band's new video from up-and-coming director Damon Hoydysh, featuring the indie-pop confection "Lou" off the upcoming album. You can also see the full screen video here. We reached Garcia by phone to ask 15 questions. (For someone so sexy, the Ivy League-educated frontman was a pretty good sport.)
Details: Who's the coolest person in New York?
Diego Garcia: Aside from myself? Hah, no, Lou Doillon. That's who I wrote the song for. There's just something so real about that girl. I met her at Beatrice—she sat down next to me and we just started chatting and hit it off, and then a few weeks later I'm at the Bowery Hotel in that back garden there, and she was with her posse playing guitar. She handed it to me and I started working out a melody.
Details: Who's the biggest asshole in New York?
Diego Garcia: Madoff.
Details: What's the deal with Olivier Zahm?
Diego Garcia: The guy from Purple? He's a funny one right? He'll do a whole interview on how you should be suspicious of someone wearing stylish clothing when he's doing the entire interview wearing, like, snake skin boots or something. You know what it is? I'm kind of turned off by anything that's too cool or too not cool. It feels like high school when you hang around those kids. The word I associate with him aside from Purple is high school. Okay, I'm not doing anything for Purple.
Details: What's the best place to go out at night?
Diego Garcia: I'm seriously such a loser these days—you have no idea—I don't even want to get into why. But I went to the Boom Boom Room the other night, and I have to say that place kind of blew my mind. Someone was telling me that when the economy was good, people were hanging out in a basement [read: Beatrice Inn], and now that everyone's kind of broke, they're hanging out on the 18th floor of a penthouse overlooking the Hudson. I think it's fitting. Other spots: Ñ at 33 Crosby, the Bowery Hotel lobby, or if I ever need a drink, my friend Nur Khan over there at Rose Bar is the man.
Details: Favorite item of clothing?
Diego Garcia: I love that question. I'm wearing it right now. It's this Ralph Lauren tweed blazer I absolutely adore. I've had it for a while—would be heartbroken if I ever lost it.
Details: How tight are your jeans?
Diego Garcia: They're extremely tight. In fact, I have the top button unbuttoned, but I wear a belt to make up for that. It gives me terrible heartburn.
Details: Favorite store?
Diego Garcia: I went to Marc Jacobs yesterday, and I think when you walk in your realize why he's so successful. You want to buy everything. I literally wanted to leave with everything. But it's so expensive you end up buying, like, the $49 scarf.
Details: In an interview, you once said of your solo music, "It's soulful as fuck." Do you care to revise that statement?
Diego Garcia: After Elefant broke up, I worked on my own stuff, songs that were centered around the loss that I'd gone through with the love of my life. I wrote an entire record for her, on the malady of love, so it's very soulful and grown-up and dramatic.
Details: You sure?
Diego Garcia: Yeah, the solo stuff is soulful as fuck and Elefant is sort of "elegant punk."
Details: If you had to have sex with a man, who would it be?
Diego Garcia: Oh, that's easy. Pretty much any soccer player for Real Madrid. It would probably have to be Kaka. Diego Maradona is right up there, though. I think I'd have sex with him.
Details: Famous woman you've always wanted to sleep with?
Diego Garcia: Growing up, I was madly in love with Nicole Eggert. Does that count? I'm still after her.
Details: Natalie Portman or Megan Fox?
Diego Garcia: Megan Fox. No, wait—Megan Fox with Natalie Portman's brain. Natalie Portman has short arms—that's a big turnoff for me. Right there, I just lost all my short-armed fans.
Details: Favorite genre of porn?
Diego Garcia: Facebook.
Details: Weirdest place you've ever done drugs?
Diego Garcia: It was with Jesus and Kim Jong-il. But I don't remember where.
Details: When was the last time you blacked out?
Diego Garcia: I think it was basically February 2003 all the way through November 2008.