Artists for Peace Members of Arcade Fire brought the house -- or at least the…
- Posted on Mar 23rd 2011 3:15PM by Emily Tan
"It felt a little bit tricky," Mosshart tells Spinner. "It was really weird clearing my brain every single time and switching back and forth. [After] recording with the Kills for three weeks, I go back on tour with Dead Weather and remember being like, 'How am I going to remember the songs?' That was definitely challenging but all right in the end. I was kind of surprised that I could do it."
When she wasn't rocking the stage with Jack White, she used her downtime on the road to write songs for 'Blood Pressures,' leaving her with plenty of material for when she and Hince reunited in Benton Harbor, Mich. While some bands like to write songs together, the Kills don't necessarily follow this method -- even when they're together.
"The way we both write songs is we're in the same place but we're both in different rooms where we can't hear each other and writing at the same time," she says. "Then we meet up and play each other what we're doing, and then there's a response. It didn't seem that weird to me writing in a hotel room halfway across the world because I would just see him and show him stuff when I saw him. We don't jam. Jamie and I can't just sit and play together."
Obviously, the process works. 'Blood Pressures' is a collection of songs that recall the Kills' earlier sound but also experiments with stripped-down tracks, like the heartbreaking ballad 'The Last Goodbye.'
"I feel like I wrote that song in two and a half minutes. However long it is, that's how long it took to write it," Mosshart says. "It's one of those ones that you just sit down with an acoustic guitar and wrote a song and love it so much. It was so kind of straight and normal -- sort of like Patsy Cline -- that something had to happen and it couldn't be on a Kills record, but Jamie played around with it and tried different instruments with it. It kind of turned into a Velvet Underground song, if you can believe that."
While Mosshart channeled Cline on 'The Last Goodbye,' she is quick to admit that she's "definitely a tomboy," which made it really easy for her to front groups without any other women. As a child, the 32-year-old singer and guitarist grew up skateboarding with the boys in her Florida neighborhood, and those same playmates ended up being her first bandmates when she hit her teens. "It's just always been that way since I was a kid," she says. "It just happened to be that they were the people that were into the same things I was into when I was young. I feel like they found me as much as I have found them."
"I met Jamie when I was with my first band when I was a teenager," she adds. "It just felt like this person I've been looking for to play music with. It was the most amazing thing to meet him, and it was stuck in my head that we had to play music together so I moved [to London] when I was 20. The Dead Weather boys, I've known them from touring so long. We're all close friends, and we're all into the same stuff. I honestly don't do it on purpose. I don't hate girls, I swear."
Although some women acknowledge the disadvantages of being with guys all the time, Mosshart hardly has any complaints, especially since her bandmates don't mind being her shopping buddies. "I think it's awesome," she says. "There's not really a downside. All the boys want to shop with me. Jamie and I definitely shop a lot. We always go shopping. We love it, mostly to vintage places. The boys are up for doing [girl] stuff all the time."
Through her time in the Kills and Dead Weather, Mosshart has earned two nicknames: "VV" and "Baby Ruthless," respectively. "Jamie and I, we were joking around. We weren't even a band and didn't have any songs," she says. "We were talking about Warhol, the Factory and Edie Sedgwick. We had a couple glasses of wine and decided, out of nowhere, to name each other. You had two seconds to think of a name, and whatever it was stuck. He just made a sound, and I thought, 'Oh no, how do you spell that?' And that was my name."
Meanwhile "Baby Ruthless" was a name someone blurted out when the Dead Weather started recording. "Jack or somebody said that to me in the studio," she reveals. "Somebody started calling me that, and it got put on the record. Honestly, none of these things are intentional. I didn't name myself. I do really like my real name. I don't have a problem with it."
No matter what you decide to call her or which band you prefer, Mosshart is just grateful to work with people she cares about. "I surround myself with people I consider my closest friends," she says, "and I'm really lucky to be in two bands with some of them."