Originally published in Guitar World, October 2009
Guitar World recently caught up with ex-Distillers frontwoman Brody Dalle, where she talks about her current band, Spinnerette.
"I’m fascinated by spiders,” Brody Dalle says. “And spinnerets are the internal organs a spider uses to spin its web.”
That explains the name of Dalle’s new band, Spinnerette, her first public outing since her feisty punk band the Distillers ended five years ago. But you have to dig deeper to explain the turbulent and inventive sound of Spinnerette’s self-titled debut CD. Driving, distorted bass lines, played by Dalle herself, draw the listener into a tangled web of spiky riffs, distressed drums and doomy vocals. When a catchy melody breaks through the mix, which happens frequently, it feels like a ray of sunlight.
“It’s a pretty bittersweet record,” says Dalle, who has seen both good and bad times in the past four or five years. There was her marriage to Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, her second to date, following her divorce from Rancid’s Tim Armstrong. In 2006, Homme and Dalle welcomed their new daughter, Camille, into the world, but the occasion was darkened by the death of Dalle’s father around the same time. All these life passages are echoed on Spinnerette’s album.
“When you have a kid—especially a daughter, I think—it makes you reflect on your own relationship with your mother and, really, all of your relationships,” Dalle says. “Basically, that’s what this whole record is about: relating to other people, to yourself, to your past, to death, to life…”
It was Homme who suggested that Dalle team up with producer/guitarist and Queens of the Stone Age member Alain Johannes to help her realize her musical vision. “Al and I speak each other’s language when it comes to music,” she says. “We never fought about music. I’ve been looking for that my whole life, basically.”
Johannes brought in drummer Jack Irons, who’d played in the producer’s former band Eleven and in an early Red Hot Chili Peppers lineup. Dalle brought in former Distillers axman Tony Bevilacqua, who joined Dalle and Johannes in laying down guitar tracks. But tragedy struck again when Johannes’ wife and musical partner of many years, Natasha Shneider, died from cancer in 2008.
For Dalle, the album is not only a triumph over adversity but also proof that there is life after the Distillers. “The Distillers were kind of one-dimensional,” she says. “There’s so much more depth to Spinnerette.”