By: David Swan
Date: March 3rd, 2010
Headed back ‘home’ to play with her latest musical project Spinnerette, Australia’s leading lady of punk rock, Brody Dalle, took a moment out from parenting to chat with FasterLouder about the tour, her marriages to Josh Homme and Tim Armstrong and where to find a decent Blue Heaven milkshake in Melbourne.
First of all, where are you and what time is it?
I’m sitting on a couch at our studio, which is called Pink Duck, and I’m about to do a Spinnerette practice and it’s 6.20 in the evening.
What are you up at the moment or does your daughter take up all of your time?
Yeah, I mean I was at gymnastics today with her and there’s about 40,000 kids, everything’s painted really bright colours and I was like holy shit. She’s getting really good at it. It’s good for her self-esteem. I went for a swim today, I talked to my manager and I saw my husband [ Josh Homme ] on his new motorcycle. We went to this place called Chilli John’s, which has really great chilli. And now I’m talking to you. But yeah my days are mostly my daughter, but now we’re on tour next week, it’s all practice.
Who’s in Spinnerette at the moment?
Davey Hidalgo Jr., Brian Tulao, Tony Bevilacqua and a friend of ours Zach Dawes who plays with Mini Mansions, who we’re bringing with us and they’ll be opening our show.
Do you see Spinnerette as a solo thing?
I’m not really sure. If it was a solo project I think I’d be doing more, like playing all the instruments, drums and bass and doing a lot more.
Could you if you wanted to?
Yeah, definitely, if I wanted to [laughs]. I fuck around with my Garageband a lot on my computer and record some stuff, and that’d be more of my solo project. This is more of a musical matrimony between [Them Crooked Vultures’ ‘other’ guitarist] Alan Johannes and me and then there’s twinkles of Tony Bevilacqua in there. I guess playing live, I feel like I’m in The Pretenders, I have a backup band… it’s rad.
Do you have loads of unreleased stuff that you could one day release?
I have a lot of music. I have tons that didn’t make it on the last record and I have years of years of stuff from before I got pregnant. And then all there’s all the stuff from now, I’m about to start recording again with Al’. I wanna make two records this year, I wanna make a punk rock record with Joey Castillo, who was in Queens of the Stoneage and is in Eagles of Death Metal. So I’m doing that and another Spinnerette record. Josh will be on tour this year and then I’ll hopefully be on tour next year.
I guess that means you alternate on who does the parenting?
Yeah. It’s not fair on Camille for us to both be gone. It’s awful, I don’t think we could take that. We used to take her on tour but she’s started school, so it’s not fair on her to drag her around the world with us. She wouldn’t be able to spell till she’s thirteen. Although she was like ‘Mum, I wanna come on the bus with you!’, so it’s tough. We might end up caving.
Now, how Aussie are you?
Of course I’m Australian! I don’t sound like an Australian any more, and when I come home I’m really shocked at everyone’s disposition and the way they talk and their behaviour. It’s definitely a breath of fresh air to come home. I used to come home once a year and I’m trying to do that again. I haven’t been home in a couple of years, since the Queens played. I couldn’t come with Them Crooked Vultures because Camille had school.
When was the last time you had Vegemite?
I haven’t had Vegemite in ages, but one thing I’m really craving is a Blue Heaven milkshake, you can’t get them here. Where do you get them in Melbourne now? I used to get them at the Black Cat but now it’s changed, it used to be this really cool 60’s diner place in Brunswick but I think it’s totally different now. And I miss Nutri-Grain, Freddo Frogs… stuff like that. I can’t wait to come home, I’m really excited, I feel like an Australian but I just don’t live there. In a few years I’ll have lived as long here as I did there, so that’s weird to think about.
Do you have Australian citizenship still?
Are you kidding? I’ll never give that up! They won’t let me have a dual citizenship which is bullshit, they want me to give up my Australian citizenship but I won’t do it. My husband wants to get an Australian passport and my daughter automatically has one. What if this fuckin’ country goes to shit, you know, and we wanna get out of here?
There’s plenty of room here, a lot of desert…
[Laughs] Yeah there’s tons of space, I remember.
What was your childhood like?
We grew up in Fitzroy, right off Scotchman St, in Bell St. We were feral kids, I used to run away a lot and Mum would constantly be calling the cops to come and find me. I was only like four years old. I would always go to this one park I wasn’t allowed to go to, and we’d be watching Star Wars in the back of someone’s house and we couldn’t ever hear the door. I got older and started going to shows. I got beat up in the city by these street girls in Bon Jovi t-shirts, they broke my arm. I always got up to a wild shit. Then I started a band called Sourpuss and we started getting a following and opening for international bands. I was like sixteen. I feel like I’ve lived ten lifetimes.
What about me about your first marriage [to Rancid’s Tim Armstrong], did you marry too young?
Yeah dude, I was like eighteen. I look at eighteen year olds now and I’m like ‘you should be wearing diapers’, they’re still too young. Shit I’m probably offending you, how old are you?
20. Still a baby I guess.
Can you imagine getting married, to a woman who’s fourteen years older than you?
Well, as long as she cooked, cleaned and made me sandwiches…
No way dude!!! She’d have your ass chained to a bed. I was just too young. I don’t recommend anyone getting married at eighteen, there’s just so much room to grow before you start making commitments to people.
Let’s fast forward to your current marriage, how’d you meet Josh?
The first time I met Josh I was seventeen and he was twenty-two. It was on the Lollapalooza tour and I loved Kyuss, and I saw him and knew the band had broke up so we just started talking about it and we took a picture together. I was such a little fan. We didn’t see each other again for seven years.
Did he remember you?
Are you kidding me? He told people we made out. It was really cute, he was telling Mark Lanegan that he made out with me, of course he didn’t though. He told me he’d always had a crush on me… it was meant to be.
Who rocks harder, you or Josh?
Definitely my husband. Are you kidding me? That was totally unfair. I’m a better dancer than he is, though.
What was The Distillers like for you, was that a good time in your life?
Yeah man, I ran the band like a total fascist, I was totally anal about everything but I guess it was good coz we got really far. When we hit Coral Fang, we went into the mountains for six weeks and drank bottles and bottles of vodka and beer, and ate all this bacon. We were on a major label so we had our own chef. Guys were peeing in the pool, it was awesome. It was totally spoiled brat shit, living the dream. It was a fucking awesome way to grow up.
Will your daughter follow in your footsteps?
I don’t know. She’s really funny, she’s so dramatic. She has her own character, this vampire, she goes “I’m your son, my name is Acqua, I’m a vampire and I’m here to suck your blood” and then she starts biting your arm. She’s like a total comedian, she’s hilarious.
Bring her up on stage!
Something creative’s coming her way, but we’ll see.
Spinnerette will be playing, without Acqua the Vampire, at the following dates:March 4th – The Zoo, Brisbane
March 5th – The Factory, Sydney
March 7th – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
March 9th – The Amplifier, Perth