Teaches of Peaches – Dir: Philipp Fussenegger & Judy Landkammer

Doc Edge 2024 opened in Auckland last night. Music fans may want to check out Teaches Of Peaches.

Teaches Of Peaches purports to tell the story of one Merrill Nisker, aka Peaches, the performer with the vulva-shaped bonnet.

PeachesOf course there’s much more to Peaches than her headgear, and directors Judy Landkammer and Philipp Fusenegger do dig in to some, but, frustratingly, not all of the stories of Peaches.

This documentary was shot during Peaches’ 2022 Anniversary Tour, celebrating the release of her groundbreaking second album, The Teaches Of Peaches (2000) featuring her “hit” Fuck The Pain Away.

With full access to Peaches and her friends, the filmmakers do a great job of giving us the inside scoop on how that song came to be…love the story about the original cassette recording.

And we get plenty of other origin stories complete with archival footage, including a young Peaches-to-be singing to a kindergarten class. Yikes!

Leslie Fiest and Chilly Gonzales are on hand to tell their side of the story, which really starts once the-yet-to-be-dubbed Peaches moves to Berlin and discovers a rich, wild scene that allows her to become the artist we see now.

I’m guessing most fans will be familiar with the tale, and folks who are not fans will be bemused but not necessarily inspired.

There are hints of a bigger story to be told in the interviews with Peaches partner Black Cracker and Garbage singer Shirley Manson, but they seem glazed over in favour of “outrageous” concert footage and a stream of “F” bombs.

Its clear the Shirley Manson was impressed by Peaches, but what about the average Peaches fan (if there is such a thing)? How did hearing and seeing Peaches affect their lives? And, how did being dropped from Sony, and banned from Top Of The Pops affect Peaches? These and many more issues (cancer/gender identity/her relationship with Black Cracker) are only hinted at.

After watching Teaches For Peaches, the uninitiated could think that Merrill Nisker is something of a one-trick pony. I’m guessing there is a bigger story to tell that what is revealed here.

Marty Duda

Click here to buy tickets to see Teaches of Peaches

Click here to watch the 13th Floor interview with Peaches.