Names dropped by Brody Dalle during the course of one 22-minute interview about her new band, Spinnerette: Roky Erickson, Devo, Prince, Django Reinhardt, the Gun Club, My Bloody Valentine, Black Flag, Cyndi Lauper and Tom Petty.
And though she’s talking about her influences, she’s quick to point out that the band — whose formation she announced to the world late last month via SpinneretteMusic.com — “isn’t going to be that far removed” from her previous outfit, the Distillers. But there’s already been one seismic shift that she’ll freely admit to: Spinnerette are going to be her project.
“It’s gonna be very different — I’ve moved outside the punk-rock box,” she said. “I want to work harder than I ever have before. I kind of shunned that with the Distillers; I was afraid of what it could be. I didn’t want to come across as some pop star or something. I’m not saying I want anything to do with that now, but I’ve sort of grown the balls to own it now.”
Spinnerette formed in the wake of the Distillers’ slow disintegration over the past two years. The Distillers’ last album, Coral Fang, hit in 2003 (see “Distillers Promise Refinement, Experimentation On Biting New LP” ), and after touring in support of the disc, the group fell apart, a process documented in a spate of very public Internet posts. The new band encompasses four very hectic years in Dalle’s life, a period during which she married Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme and gave birth to their daughter, Camille Harley Homme.
“By the time this record comes out, it will be five years since I last released a record,” she said. “I still record on tapes, and I’ve got, like, 50 hours of stuff. It’s a lot of music to go through, and that’s why it’s taken me so long.
“Plus, having a baby takes awhile too,” she continued. “Has it changed me? Yeah, I mean, it’s made me more aware of my surroundings, and it’s made me a little bit more sensitive. I’m not the hard, cold bitch I used to be.”
Dalle is scheduled to enter the studio in June with guitarist/producer/QOTSA member Alain Johannes and her former Distillers mate Tony Bevilacqua (the three, plus two other super-secret musicians, make up Spinnerette). They will spend the summer working on the band’s debut disc.
Dalle is hesitant to say just what the music she’s been making will sound like: The one demo currently streaming on the band’s site — a song called “Case of the Swirls” — was written on a Wurlitzer organ and transcribed to the guitar by Johannes, but don’t take that as a hint of things to come.
“It’s a little more in-your-face — it’s a bit of a cacophony, but it’s all coming together,” Dalle said. “In the Distillers, I didn’t want to do anything too drastic or anything too tasteful. I could’ve put more into Coral Fang, but I held back deliberately. And [producer] Gil Norton would be like, ‘Why don’t we put some tambourines here,’ and I was like, ‘No f—ing way. Tambourines? F— you!’ I didn’t want to mess with the sound. I wanted it to be as raw as possible.”
And that’s one way Spinnerette and the Distillers most certainly won’t be different. Though she’s grown as a person and an artist, Dalle is still dedicated to making the most visceral, honest and, well, brutal rock she can. Which is why, when asked if her new album will sound more refined, she cackles, pauses and then strikes:
“I hate that word. I hate when a press release says, ‘Oh, this band has matured and refined themselves,’ ” she sneered. “If I had to describe it, I’d say it’s ‘re-smarted.’ Instead of retarded, call it re-smarted. I like that word.”