Written and edited by: Angélica Albuquerque
“God, I hated that band... No, I didn’t hate it, it was just my first band.” – Brody Dalle about Sourpuss
Sourpuss was formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1993 by the best friends Bree Pucilowski (aka Brody Dalle – guitar and lead vocal) and Sarah Barber (guitar).
Soon after, Cobina Crawford (bass) and Suzie Brown (drums) were recruited, as once Brody Dalle told: “When I was 14, my best girlfriend and I went to the same Catholic girls' school, and my two other best friends met this other girl at an all-ages shows [‘I think it was the Meanies']. They asked each other what they played and it went from there. When we started it was at the height of ‘women in music’ in the '90s. I don't really remember if we got a lot of support or not. I'm sure we got a lot of shit. We were four girls and I was the youngest. At that point we couldn't play very well.”
Talking about the technical parts, Brody said that all four learned to play together, which was pretty cool, although it was also a mess: “It was a girl band, punk rock girl band. You know a bunch of 14 year olds trying to play really fast and we didn’t really know how to.”
They practiced at the Rock 'n' Roll High School, a music school in Melbourne, founded by Stephanie Bourke. Brody recalled the experience: “We started rehearsing at this place called Rock ’n’ Roll High School, which is run by these psychotic feminists in Melbourne — I mean psychotic feminists, like Nazi sows, out of their fucking minds,” she remembers. “It’s a rock & roll girls’ school, designed to help young women learn how to set everything up and plug shit in, which is great. It was a cool setup — American bands like Sonic Youth and Babes in Toyland would come in and donate instruments and money to the cause, and they’d watch us play.”
But the consequences for frequenting the place were not so good: “I hated playing under this banner of a girls’ school,” she says, “because it did more damage than it ever helped us. We weren’t taken seriously at all, and I resented it so much that I just didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.”
In 1995, year that they released a split EP with Janelle 7, they had the chance to play at Australia's Annual Somersault Festival, in Sydney, and it was there that Brody met and fell in love with Tim Armstrong (Rancid/Transplants), who later became her husband (now, ex husband. Brody married Joshua Homme, Queens of the Stone Age's leader).
Sourpuss release in 1996 an another EP (with Sheridan - whose second name is unknown - in place of Brown on drums), but the famous internal problems began to emerge, until they reached an intolerable point, as Brody reported: “Everybody wanted to be the queen bee and nobody wanted to step back, so there was this constant bitchy struggle to be up front and be number one. I just wanted to play and write songs, I wanted to be a really good writer like some of my influences. After awhile it was our demise.”
And the explanations didn't stop there: “Sourpuss became a power struggle. With certain people in this band it was more like me babysitting and the band babysitting a certain member. I was fucking sick of it. We're not parents, we're a band. Grow up. Figure it out. That's how it was with one person. With the other people it was the age difference and the experience.”
Then, at age 18 in 1997, Brody moved to the United States (Los Angeles) with Tim, putting an end to the Sourpuss' life and starting a new musical career with The Distillers.