Neko Case has called her pal Kelly Hogan “the Zelig of rock ‘n’ roll.” Her name appears in the credits for albums by Mavis Staples, the Mekons, Will Oldham, Matt Pond PA, Amy Ray, Giant Sand, Archer Prewitt, Alejandro Escovedo, Drive-By Truckers, Jakob Dylan, Tortoise and many others, Case included. Hogan’s fourth album has been a long time coming, in part because she’s been busy as a crucial part of Case’s band (anyone who’s seen Case live has witnessed Hogan’s amusing banter), in part because of the nature of the project. For I Like To Keep Myself In Pain (Anti-), Hogan sent letters to her songwriter friends, many of whom she’d sung with, asking them if they would send her a song, either one written specifically for her or one that “you think I could do right by,” as she said. That process started several years ago, and results yielded songs from a veritable who’s who: Vic Chesnutt, Stephin Merritt, Andrew Bird, Jon Langford, Janet Bean, M. Ward and others. Hogan will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our recent feature on her.
Hogan: I am a nut for Noxzema. The thrill of a brand new jar … the pearly white cream with the minty tingle … the smell of menthol and eucalyptus … ahhhh, yes!
I was handed my first jar in the fall of 1973 on the night before the first day of third grade—by my rather terse step-mother who took it out of the drugstore bag and pretty much thrust it at me, saying, “Here. Use this and you won’t get pimples.” Why she was worried about an eight-year-old getting acne, I’ll never know, but I got a warm washcloth, dug my fingers down into the cool soft cream and slathered it on—and in the 40-some-odd years since, there haven’t been too many times that I haven’t used Noxzema at least once a day. My empty jars could reach to the moon and back by now.
It can be a bit stressful being a “Noxphiliac” in our modern times. I know it’s kind of an “antique toiletry,” and I get nervous when they start messing with the brand by coming out with a “new moisturizing formula” or creating splinter groups like scrubs and masques and such. No! Leave it alone! Don’t change it! It’s perfect the way it is! And, dear god, please keep making it! I’m not above hoarding it if I have to. I have six (count ‘em, six) stacked in my bathroom right now, which kind of scares my boyfriend (love me, love my Noxzema … ) but looking at that tower of navy blue jars makes me feel like Donald Trump.
Yes, I catch flack for my “habit.” It’s definitely my pre-and-post-show ritual, no matter where I am, and I’ve mentholated the air of many a dressing room and tour bus while enduring comments like “it smells like my Maw Maw in here!” but I don’t care. I’ve personally never equated Noxzema with being an “old lady” thing. Growing up, there were lots of Noxzema ads in teen magazines and sexy commercials for it on TV, but yeah I’ll admit that I can’t think of anyone else I know who uses it. It has become my signature scent, for better or worse. But it’s just so perfect! And so dang useful!
It’s the best thing to put on your sunburn (old ads used to say “reduces skin temperature on contact!”) and it makes a great natural mosquito repellent. It’s a stimulating foot massage cream and it makes itches go away (like when you’ve been working in the garden with okra or hollyhocks or other fuzzy stuff). It takes off dirt and make-up without being too greasy or too drying, you can use it as a shaving cream, and damn if it doesn’t also keep biting flies off the ears of your horses and livestock! Is there anything Noxzema can’t do? I’ve stopped just shy of spreading it on a cracker.
Video after the jump.