Sunday, October 02, 2011

Rock 'n' roll Mama Brody Dalle Spins Some Searing Tunes

By: Chantal Eustace
For: Vancouver Sun
Date: July 25th, 2009

Spinnerette frontwoman Brody Dalle says balancing parenthood and touring with her new band is kind of like walking a tightrope.

Fortunately, she says, her rocker husband Josh Homme, of Queens of the Stone Age, is a big help.

“It’s a real balancing act,” she says, speaking by phone from Oxford, England, a stop on her European tour. She adds that the musical couple staggers concerts and caring for their three-year-old daughter, Camille. “Right now my husband is not doing anything, so he’s with her. And that makes it so much easier.”

Dalle’s voice is a husky deadpan and she’s quick to chuckle about things — like how Ricola candies keep her singing pipes tuned up or how jogging before concerts helps her avoid cigarette cravings.

The Australian-born rocker has a lot on her plate. But this is nothing new. Before starting up Spinnerette, she fronted punk band The Distillers until it disbanded three years ago.
She started her first band, Sourpuss, at age 13, says Dalle, adding that back then she sounded like a strangled chipmunk.

But she kept going. 

“The more you sing, the better you get at it,” says Dalle. “It’s just always what I’ve done.”

She needs to make music, she says: “It just is a necessary thing, you know?”

So when The Distillers ended, she was quick to regroup, she says. After giving birth to Camille, she assembled talents like Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age), Tony Bevilacqua (The Distillers) and Jack Irons (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eleven) to make an album. 

Spinnerette’s self-titled debut came together during an emotional time, she says.
Shortly after her daughter was born, Dalle’s father died. Around the same time, she says, a friend was diagnosed with cancer. 

There were problems with sound in the studio too, and a “meddling record company.”
It was a really “tumultuous” time, says Dalle, her voice sounding tired at the mere memory. 

But the music didn’t stop.

“I drew from everywhere, I think,” she says, of coping when things were hard. 

“When somebody dies and someone is born — my daughter was born before my dad died, but it, um — it opens up this Pandora’s box of, you know, of baggage,” says Dalle.
“Like, how do you relate to your past? How do you relate to everybody and what does it mean? And what’s going to happen? You know, like, it’s pretty intense.”

Kinda like Dalle’s brand of punk-pop meets rock ’n’ roll. 

The result is an album full of ups and downs. It’s racy — like the album cover, featuring a woman’s crotch in lace panties and the bottom edge of a corset — but it’s also kind of polished. 

Songs like the kicker Ghetto Love — “You sold your heart for the primal experience; Gave up on love for a medal malevolence” — come mixed with a dance thump that could work on a party mix. Others, like the melodic, Baptized By Fire, is a radio friendly ditty that showcases Dalle’s vocal range. 

“It’s going good,” says Dalle, of her tour so far, adding that her live show is hot and sweaty.

And what else can we expect?

“I don’t know,” Dalle says. “It’s really f-----g loud. That’s what you can expect.”

She sounds like a perfectly balanced punkette.