Kermit the Frog and his felt friends return to record stores this month with “The Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem and More — The 25th Anniversary Collection.” The retrospective album features favorite songs and snippets of dialogue from the television series that made household names out of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and friends, along with Muppet house band Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem. The disc also includes classic tracks such as “Rainbow Connection” and “The First Time It Happens” from the troupe’s popular films, like “The Muppet Movie” and “Muppets From Space.” We spoke with Kermit the Frog on the set of the Muppets’ latest movie.
Q: Have you got any gray hairs coming in yet?
A: No. In case you haven’t noticed, frogs don’t actually have hairs — gray,
green or otherwise. What we have are these pointed collars, and when frogs get older, we start dropping points. Kind of like the stock market. So far, I seem to be holding up pretty well. I’m as green and wet behind the ears as I’ve ever been.
Q: How do you stay young?
A: A couple of things: First, I soak in pond scum daily. Trust me, if you sat in pond scum as much as I do, you’d be as green as I am. Second, I work with a personal trainer, Miss Piggy. She really knows how to motivate me. For instance, if I don’t want to get up and run, she chases me. That’ll get you moving. And finally, I have a picture of Dorian Green in the attic. It ages instead of me.
Q: Have you tried the Zone diet?
A: No, I’m not on the Zone diet. It sounds delicious. How do you cook a Zone? I do eat light — glowworms, lightning bugs, that sort of thing. And when I go out to dinner with Miss Piggy, I’m lucky to eat anything at all.
Q: Do you eat insects or lint?
A: Insects. Fat free, although sometimes I’ll splurge and get a large order of flies. I’ve never eaten lint. Does it taste anything like Zone? However, my good friend the Great Gonzo can do wonders with lint. Give him a Laundromat and a wok and he’ll whip up a meal that will make strong men cry, old women sigh and small children beg for broccoli.
Q: “The Muppet Show” started around the same time as punk rock. Do you think you were the first rocker with green hair?
A: Once again, frogs do not have hair. You might want to talk to someone about this amphibian hair fetish of yours. But I was very involved with the very early punk scene. I remember meeting Johnny Rotten when he was known as Jack Overripe. Heck, I even used to go to the club CBGBs, which many people don’t realize was brought to you by the letters C, B and G.
Q: What do you look like in leather trousers?
A: This isn’t part of your hair fixation, is it? OK then, I’ll answer. I’ve got long spindly legs, so whenever I put on leather trousers I look like Mick Jagger with googlier eyes, no lips and no hair. Not a pretty picture, believe you me.
Q: Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
A: Yes, I have been pierced, but it wasn’t on purpose, it was kind of a fishing accident. As for tattoos, until recently I didn’t have any. But then I did a guest spot on “Animal Planet” and got tagged by Steve Irwin. It’s great for migrating, but otherwise it’s kind of a pain.
Q: What kind of rock ‘n’ roll antics do you get up to in the tour bus?
A: Oh, we’ve been pretty tame ever since Ozzy Osbourne mistook me for a bat.
Since then, I try not to stick my neck out. But, of course, when you travel with pigs and bears, things get wild. Like any band, we’ve been there, done that and can’t remember a single thing about any of it.
Q: Did any of your guests, like Elton John or Liza Minnelli, try to corrupt you?
A: Not in the least. Both Elton and Liza were wonderful and are still good friends of ours. You see, the kind of guest stars we had on “The Muppet Show” had all been in show business for years, and so they were used to working with pigs and rats and the like. If anything, we corrupted the guest stars, or at least made them consider a career change.
Q: What’s your poison?
A: You must be thinking of toads. Frogs aren’t usually poisonous. However, if you’re talking about what I like to drink to loosen up, I must admit I’m kind of partial to Grasshoppers.
Q: Is there any good graffiti in “The Muppet Show” bathroom?
A: Sure, and if you want to see it, stop by and I’ll get you the best seat in the house.
Q: Have people in the music industry suggested dumb things to you, like maybe you should sound like No Doubt?
A: Other than suggesting that we leave the music industry, those people have pretty much left us alone. Oh sure, some people thought I should start a boy band called N’ Swamp, do a Marilyn Manson sing-along Christmas video or try out for the second season of “Amphibian Idol.” But I don’t want us to sound like anyone else. And I think it’s safe to say that no one else wants to sound like us.