Checking Out Veruca Salt

March 6 [16:15 EST] -- It's almost as if we all woke up one morning in 1994, and Veruca Salt was there. The band's buzzing guitars, sugar cane hooks, and floating vocal harmonies came together on their breakthrough single, "Seether," and soon radio and MTV were overrun with the track.

Such "overnight sensations" are usually the result of years and years of hard work and touring, but Veruca Salt's rise from obscurity in Chicago was every bit as quick as it seemed. Dueling singer/guitarists Louise Post and Nina Gordon met on New Year's Eve of 1992, and, after eight months of bonding, recruited bassist Steve Lack and drummer Jim Shapiro (Nina's brother) to round out the outfit. The band then adopted the name of the demanding little girl from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and recorded a four song demo tape as Veruca Salt.

On the strength of that demo and a mere three live performances, the band was signed to Chicago's independent Minty Fresh records. Shortly after

the release of their debut LP, 1994's "American Thighs" (whose title is an allusion to a line from AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long"), the band found itself at the center of a major label bidding war. Geffen Records emerged victorious, signed the band, and re-released "American Thighs" in September of 1994. Two years after their first meeting, Post and Gordon had a major label contract, a top ten hit, and soon found themselves touring with Weezer, Live, Dinosaur Jr., P.J. Harvey, and Hole.

Despite the strength of their music, Veruca Salt's meteoric rise and cover girl good looks made them easy targets for disdain in the indie community. The group seems to have taken any venom that has come their way, chewed it up, and spit it back out onto tape as each Veruca Salt project seems to grow increasingly edgier. After "American Thighs," the band teamed up with producer Steve Albini for the not-so-subtly titled 1996 EP "Blow It Out Your Ass It's Veruca Salt.

For their

second full length album, the Verucas employed noted metal producer Bob Rock (Metallica, Motley Crue) to give the band a thicker, thunderous sound on "Eight Arms To Hold You." The title comes from the working title of the Beatles' film "Help!," and in that vein the album boasts an affinity for pop hooks. However, this time out the melodies have sharper fangs and come draped over a booming drum beat, making "Eight Arms" a solid rock album from beginning to end.

So what's next for the one-time alterna-darlings turned flat out rockers? The band plans to hit the road with new drummer Stacy Jones (formerly of Letters To Cleo)... other than that, the future is wide open. Are they the next Runaways, or the next Heart? Stay tuned, 'cause only time will tell.