Sunday, October 02, 2011

Q&A: In The "Ghetto" With Brody Dalle

By: Joey Odorisio
Date: January 21st, 2009

Brody Dalle rose to prominence earlier this decade as the frontwoman for Punk rockers The Distillers. After three albums, the band dissolved and Dalle took some time away from the limelight, during which she married Queens Of The Stone Age main man Josh Homme and gave birth to their daughter. Now Dalle is back with her new project Spinnerette, combining her punk rawk roar with some sexy guitar riffs. With the lead single, "Ghetto Love," impacting Specialty radio, Dalle gave FMQB a call to discuss her new band.

I've been a fan of yours for a long time, I saw the Distillers back on the tour with No Doubt and Garbage in 2002. Let's start out by catching up our readers on what you’ve been up to since the Distillers broke up.

For the last couple of years I've demoed the Spinnerette stuff with Alain Johannes (Eleven, QOTSA), and then we made a record, because the label that we were formerly on wanted to know, "When are you gonna go back in the studio and give us something?" So they kind of forced us into the studio, and we made the record. It was me and Al and [drummer] Jack Irons (Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers), who is incredible, and of course [ex-Distillers guitarist] Tony Bevilacqua. We did it at a studio that Josh and I built, not too far from our house, and we were kind of the guinea pigs for the studio. It wasn’t quite finished. There’s a few sound problems, but other than that, it sounds pretty great and pretty rough and pretty dirty. 

So you created a studio and a baby in the last few years.

I did create a baby, not by myself of course. My daughter's birthday was actually on Saturday, she turned three. It's pretty unbelievable that three years have gone by.

Is the new studio going to be the headquarters for all musical things Homme-related?

Yeah, definitely. It’s pretty much our clubhouse and it’s like a home away from home. We made it pretty cozy. It's a really great place. We decorated it; it sounds great; it’s the perfect place for us.

I love everything I’ve heard so far from Spinnerette. Explain the difference between Spinnerette and being in the Distillers. Obviously it’s not a straight Punk Rock band, but there’s plenty of Punk Rock in there.

The difference is monumental. I've never really had a writing partner before. I would bring my songs and the guys would come and we'd just hash through it. And I kind of always really wanted to have someone I could write with, that I could bounce ideas off. So when it accidentally happened with me and Al, I was so happy, because there's a difference there. There’s two bands [with Spinnerette]; there's a recording band and a live band, so that’s obviously very different. They're kind of interchangeable; people who are in the live band could play on the record and people who are in the recording band could play live. So it's a bit of a free-for-all. More like a gypsy camp, where every one can experiment or just have a good time. It's a really relaxed kind of environment. There's not really any rules or restrictions. It's a little more casual this time.
I feel like The Distillers were pretty serious. We had a regiment and would go into this time and make a record this time and do it like this. I'm kind of free from that. Because I have a family now, it makes a little bit more difficult to do it the way we used to do it. Plus, it's such a different climate for music, and I don’t think I could do it like I did it before.

You have a different lineup on the road, right? Who's in the band that’s not in the other band, or vice versa?

The recorded band is Alain Johannes, myself, Tony Bevilacqua and Jack Irons. And, actually, Jon Theodore, who is in the Mars Volta and One Day As A Lion. He's an incredible drummer. He drummed on a song called "Cupid," on the record. So that’s the recording band. The live band is Dave Hidalgo Jr., Brian Tulao, Nicole Fiorentino, Tony and I. I'd like to add a few more people; we'll see what happens. There's a lot of layers on the record, that's why we have five people now. There's three guitar players. But there's other parts that would be great to have someone play live, we'll see what happens in the future.

I know you've played a few live shows so far, and you'll be a doing some oversea. Is there a full U.S. tour in the works?

Yes, there'll be touring. I really don’t want to tour until the record is out. I don’t want to tour unless people know what we're playing because it can be kind of an unpleasant experience for both parties. They're kind of looking at us going, "What the f--k is going on?" And then we’re kind of looking at them going, "Why aren’t you getting into it?" So we’re not going to tour until the record is out. We're doing two shows in England. And we played three shows in October just to kind of get our feet wet. That was Long Beach, L.A. and Santa Barbara. I think Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode came to our first show, which was pretty awesome.

When does the full-length come out?

It comes out at the end of February, or maybe early March.

It's coming out on Rush’s management’s label, Anthem Entertainment. How did that come to be?

Ray Danniels started Anthem because no one would sign Rush, believe it or not, in the '70s, so they started their own label. Then they got offered an incredible deal from Atlantic, so they obviously signed to them. And I knew a woman who started working for Ray Danniels and that’s how the connection happened. Actually the day before, Alan McGee and I had a discussion and kind of parted ways. The next day I called this woman, Meghan Symsyk,  and she had just started at Anthem that day, so it kind of was like fateful. I didn't really know what she was doing until I called her. So that’s how I ended up on Anthem.

And you used Topspin Media to release the EP online. David Byrne & Brian Eno and Melissa Auf der Maur have both used that company recently too.

Yeah, they have some great artists utilizing Topspin. It's great for bands too, who can’t get signed or don’t want to sign a deal, and just want it to go direct to them. And it's great for the fans, and also an alternative to iTunes. It puts the power back in the artist's hands.

And it lets you be more flexible if you’re doing something diverse or a little different.

Absolutely. You can make a song one day and the next day put it out. There’s no rules or restrictions or timelines or anything like that. It's another way of getting your music out.

Tell me about the single, "Ghetto Love."

It's just about being overwhelmed by humanity, and trying to find common grounds, and trying to keep it positive. The one thing that I didn't really have so much of before, or care about, or feel that I didn’t even want it, was love. So it maybe it sound kind of cheesy but I have a family now and that’s pretty much the most important thing.

How did you end up working with Liam Lynch on the video for "Ghetto Love?" I've been a fan of him since he was playing with sock puppets on MTV’s Sifl & Olly.

The first time I met Liam was on the No Doubt tour. He was out there helping Sophie Mueller, the video director who did everything in the ‘90s. She was filming their live DVD and Liam interviewed me and asked me, "What’s the weirdest dream that you’ve ever had?" It just happened that the night before I'd had the weirdest dream I'd ever had: kissing Saddam Hussein on the beach. Really, really weird, bizarre dream. That was the first time I met him. Then we saw each other around, and he started doing Eagles Of Death Metal stuff. He filmed the Eagles in the studio. He made a really funny video with Josh beating up a banana and there’s a cartoon rabbit who keeps getting into all the wiring… you have to see it. So Liam did that, and he did the [QOTSA] "Burn The Witch" video. So he's a part of our family.