Brody Dalle: Spinnerette / The Distillers

The Exclaim! Questionnaire

BY Sam SutherlandPublished Mar 26, 2009

Brody Dalle started her life as a teenage punk in Melbourne, Australia. She played in a band called Sourpuss, did pretty well for herself, and at the age of 16, met Rancid's Tim Armstrong backstage at a big summer festival. The two fell in love, and within a few years, Dalle was married and living in California, where most of us first noticed her as the brash powerhouse voice behind the Distillers, a grimy-as-fuck punk band who produced three solid records before calling it a day in 2006. Over the course of the Distillers' career, Dalle went from an underage punk to a full-on rock'n'roll vixen, a harsh-voiced hellion in the spirit of Joan Jett and Courtney Love. Now a mother and newly remarried (to Queens of the Stone Age braintrust Josh Homme), Dalle has refocused her musical energies with Spinnerette, an electro-tinged punk project that calls to mind a modern, club-ready Big Audio Dynamite. It's a far cry from the all-out street-punk growl of early Distillers, but it's a logical progression for one of the more unique musical characters to have emerged from the Epitaph punk scene in the tail end of the '90s. And it sounds fucking awesome.

What are you up to?
Spinnerette. Sitting here with you. And talking about Spinnerette.

What are your current fixations?
I'm obsessed with Ratatat. I'm even trying to get him to make a remix of one of my songs. But they don't have a manager and I have no way to get a hold of them. I sent them a message on MySpace but they do everything themselves and I'm sure they get a million messages like that. So if you're out there, and you're reading this... Call me!

Why do you live where you do?

Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art:
My Christmas tree.

What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
I just saw this band called Rumspringa from L.A., and the kid was singing was like an Asian Elvis Presley.

What have been your career highs and lows?
Highs would be playing Brixton Academy in London. Lows would be making Sing Sing Death House with an engineer who was smoking crack. Then again, it was better that he was smoking crack and that we weren't, so I guess it's not really my low.

What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
After a gig one time, this girl told me I looked horrible. So mean!

What should everyone shut up about?
Those shoes, man. Crocs. I hate those fucking things. They need to go away. And they're really not environmentally sound. They're not going to biodegrade and go away.

What traits do you most like and most dislike about yourself?
I don't like that I'm socially awkward. I'm a bit socially inept sometimes. I don't like that I black out when I get drunk. And then I have to do the walk of shame the next day and apologise to everyone for... peeing on my car or something. And I like that I'm a pretty easy-going girl.

What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Going to the petting zoo with my daughter, the market with my husband, and going to Art's Deli afterwards and getting some big old giant sandwiches. Po' boys. And then making a Sunday dinner and having a fire.

What advice should you have taken, but did not?
I don't know if I've ever done that. Well, that's not true. That's happened too many times to even count. That's the "Uh-oh" moment. Probably when I crashed my husband's car. And then when I crashed it again.

What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
I kicked Rose [Mazzola, former Distillers guitarist] out of my band for being a promiscuous, drug-addicted teenager I couldn't handle anymore. I abandoned my false daughter!

What do you think of when you think of Canada?

What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money?
tape. It was rad. I still love it.

What was your most memorable day job?
I worked at a florist. But that's so boring.

How do you spoil yourself?
I get Josh to tickle me with feathers and eat grapes... (Laughs). No, no.

If I wasn't playing music I would be...
I would be a fireman.

What do you fear most?

What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
My husband's eyes.

What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
Gene Simmons always touches my face every time I see him and I just can't take it anymore.

Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
I would like to have dinner with Elvis Presley. And I would make him make me one of his mother's peanut butter-banana sandwiches. That's a heart attack waiting to happen.

What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
She wishes I was Pat Benatar.

What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
That kind of Hawaiian song with the steel guitar... Oh man. Let me call my husband, he'll know better than me. [Gets phone] Hi babe. I'm working. [Away from phone] Santo & Johnny! [Back to phone] Hey baby, what's the name of our song? The Santo & Johnny song? "Sleep Walk.: Okay, I'll call you back to talk. Bye. [Hangs up] Sorry. Santo & Johnny, "Sleep Walk."

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