brody-dalleAfter a brief rest following my struggle up the 4 flights of stairs of the echoing university building that houses the Manchester Academy complex, the door swung open as a slim blonde welcomed me like any housewife opening the door to a welcome visitor.  “Hey, how ya doin’….” in a soft semi Californian accent. The warm hand shake and concern that I was being made comfortable came with the offer “I can make you a cup of tea.” I declined and shared the bottle of sparkling mineral water that was already on the table, a reflection of the healthy rider of a reformed Brody Dalle.

The last time I had seen had seen her in the flesh she was (I’m sure she’d forgive me) a slightly overweight, dyed black haired punk, with mascara running down her face as she flung her guitar into the mosh pit of Reading Festival, some 10 years earlier. On the surface, the two were incomparable.

Brody Dalle is in the UK promoting her new album Dipoid Love, a short whistle stop tour of  just a few dates. Apart from a one off performance this was the first series of concerts since her co-headlining tour of Australia with Nine Inch Nails and her other half, Josh Homme’s Queens Of The Stone Age.

So how did it go last night (in Glasgow)?

It was okay, it wasn’t great. The first show back is always rough. I’ve gone changing diapers to standing in front of a room of 800 people in the space of a few days. We were all jet lagged, it’s a little jarring and I have to kinda switch from one to the other. I was doing Mom stuff and I get on a plane and then “You’re on”, and I’ve gotta turn the switch.

How was Australia? Was it like going home? 

It was incredible, yes it is [still home], Melbourne is so different, when I left 17 years ago Melbourne was about 1 million people, now it’s 5 million. All the places I used to go to when I was living there, they’re all gone. All my old haunts. My Mom left, she’s gone to Tasmania, so I don’t have that centre to go to any more so I feel a little lost there.

And touring with Josh ? Is it a case of ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’? He has a reputation of being a workaholic, or have you beaten that out of him now?

Yeah touring with Josh is awesome. He beat it out of himself,  he wants to relax, the older he gets the more he retreats.

We’ve got a habit of labelling our rock stars, Riot Girl, Courtney 2, Bad ass musician…How would you label 2014+09brodyyourself now? 

I think I’m pretty much an open book, I’m pretty honest. I don’t want to be compared to anyone. I wouldn’t compare myself to Courtney, if you put Courtney and me sitting here it would be like night and day. We have completely different ideology’s. Because we have blonde hair and we’re both in bands and we scream. I was definitely influenced by Kurt [Cobain] when I was a teenager, but I haven’t listened to Hole in fuckin’ years, I don’t wanna sound like her, I wanna sound like myself.

Who do you listen to now?

I really love (extended Lurrrrrve) Metronomy, I saw their show, Oh my god, it was fuckin incredible. I recently turned my daughter on to Siouxsie & The Banshee’s, she loves Siouxsie, she says “I want to meet her”.

There is always going to be the inevitable question about The Distillers, is it something you feel you’ve got to go back to or is it a closed book now, is that chapter gone? 

I don’t think it’s a closed book, I just think the chapter is unwritten. I don’t ever want to say we won’t do something, because I did try to do something with them but it was just kind of lacking in lustre. It just felt old and there was nothing there. There’s nothing on the agenda right now.

The new album, you’ve obviously had a big hand in the production of it. Is it a more produced sound? Do you think it’s a more polished album from what you’ve done before? 

No I really don’t. It sounds dirtier to me. When I think about Coral Fang, that’s over produced. Andy Wallace mixing it. What’s his name in New York [Howie Weinberg] doing the mastering, that was so over produced… crazy… something we weren’t used to. Six weeks we had to make that record ! Six fucking weeks, before that we made records in two weeks.

Is your past stuff a hindrance now? Would you prefer not to have to continually refer to it?

I understand why, No not at all. I think some people are a little too much over emotionally invested in it…some parts of my past, but no, I don’t mind you asking me about my old records at all.

What’s your favourite track off the new album?

Right now it’s ‘Parties for Prostitutes’ , just because we’ve started playing it live, it’s really fun.

brody-1800-1394116035I think you’re at your best when you’ve got a guitar in your hand.

Fuck Yeah !!! I felt lost with Spinerette, there was so many layers that we couldn’t recreate it live, so we had three guitar players, and then some of the stuff I couldn’t play and sing at the same time, so it was confusing. I just felt out of my element, but guitar is my…it’s my love.

Do your kids inspire your writing? 

They don’t inspire my writing but I write about them or to them. They make me feel whole.

This is just a short visit, anything planned for later in the year?

Yeah we come back in August.

Any festivals?

Yeah I think it’s all festivals. Josh and I are playing all the same festivals so that we can be together and bring our kids out with us. The weather is good in August isn’t it?

Emily Kokal, of Warpaint, they’re the other end of the spectrum from what I’d expect from you. How did you come to be working with Emily? (vocals on ‘Meet The Foetus’) 

We both live in LA, I love them [Warpaint], we partied one night a long time ago and I said I want to hang out more with those girls, and then our lives and our schedules, and them touring…it never seemed to work out. They’re awesome girls, they really are. I just saw them the other day at  Coachella, I just love Emily’s voice, it’s fucking angelic. I needed a girl gang [for Dipoid Love]  she just came into my mind. I really love the Bulgarian Women’s Voice Choir, have you ever watched any of that stuff? It’s going to blow your mind,  and so I wanted to do something like that, although in the end we didn’t even come close. It’s [The Bulgarian State Radio Vocal Choir] so beautiful, it’ll make me cry.

You said of Spinerette, you said you had zero confidence at the time. Have you found the new Brody now? tumblr_myn3mvf6ZK1rp21yfo1_1280

It’s not the new Brody, I’m just in touch with myself again. Before I got pregnant with my daughter my band broke up, and I struggled with a meth addiction, there was just a lot of upheaval, that shit was going on with Nick Oliveri (former QOTSA), and then my former relationship (Tim Armstrong, frontman of Rancid) and my Dad died, it was brutal. I was like 50 lbs overweight, I didn’t have a band, I didn’t know who I was. I had Camille and my husband had to go on tour two weeks later, it was just jarring, it was intense.

It (post natal depression) lasted about four years, but I came out the other side and I made this record… With which the laughter and smile returned.

How is the voice holding up? 

It’s really good, I thought I was getting sick, I was scared my glands were getting really swollen. I have nodes (on vocal chords), my doctor said to me you have three nodes, I asked “is that bad” he said well you’re not trying to be Christine Aguilera…

Has punk died now, has it lost its direction? 

No way, it’s still the language of teenagers, that’s what they feel and they want and they see. It’s not going to die…that’s stupid.

What about an encore tonight?

I hate encore’s, I hate those. It’s funny because last night (Glasgow) we ended and walked off the stage and they went crazy, and I felt so guilty, so bad. It’s supposed to be a spontaneous thing and it’s become written in, it’s so cheesy, I’d rather just play longer. So I just say turn the lights on, let’s get off.

With that, the interview drew to a close as we resumed chatter about festivals and the August weather. I left content at having 20 minutes intense and honest conversation with someone who was at the epicentre of the punk movement during the early part of the noughties.

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Chris Hagues

Having spent half my life down south and the remainder in the north it could be argued that I'm neither here nor there, which would be a good description of where my musical taste lies, anything but middle of the road. I have spent over 30 years within media related industries, working in Fleet Street before it became just a name on the Monopoly board, in print media, broadcast media and more latterly it's virtual format. I have grasped every opportunity to pass my opinion on live music wherever you can find it, and I am at my happiest in the summer months sitting in a field basking in the sunshine listening to live bands. OK , maybe the sunshine is an exaggeration, although it's not as rare as you'd be led to believe, I've been attending UK festivals since the 70's, where you're likely to find me in the new bands tent rather than in front of the main stages. Nothing pleases me more than to see bands I have reviewed hit the big time, having first seen them in venues where you'd struggle to swing the proverbial cat.. I have lived and travelled throughout the UK but have now found my home where British music is at it's best, MANCHESTER.