Theo Wargo, Getty Images The third and final day of Lollapalooza 2012 felt…
- Posted on Sep 28th 2011 4:00PM by Dan Reilly
While Dee Dee has plenty to be happy about with the strength of the record, she's still coping with her mother's death from cancer, a sudden loss that inspired many of the new songs. Spinner recently caught up with Dee Dee to discuss the new album, surviving a rock 'n' roll marriage, her collaboration with Tamaryn and how she's dealing with her grief.
A lot of the songs on this record are darker and more personal. Are you nervous about releasing it and how it will be received?
I don't know. It's always hard to figure out. I don't really feel like I have much control over what it is I write about. I mean, sometimes some good phrase will come to me, and I can build a song around that, but generally, it's just sort of what's on your mind. If I hadn't released these songs, it might have been 10 others just like it, or maybe it wouldn't have been anything, you know? [Laughs] That's what happened, and that's what came out. I hope it's not alienating.
Do you use songwriting as a form of therapy?
Definitely. Maybe not intentionally, but I've found for my personal brand of psyche and how I deal with things, it's usually much more internal than external, and it seems to come out in music, maybe more so than actual talking.
Why did you release 'Coming Down' as the first song off the album? It's a standout track but it's also a bit of a departure.
It's a really long song, and because it was quite a big shift for us, I think Sub Pop just wanted to highlight this song. I was happy that they did, and I think the response has been pretty positive. I wouldn't say it's not indicative of the record as a whole. I think it has a good place on it and makes sense on it, but it's definitely a standout, stylistically and sonically, from the others.
What inspired it, lyrically and musically?
When I was writing this one and demoing it, even without the bridge, it was like seven minutes or something ridiculous. I had some strange loop going on, and I got into a strange drone, and it kind of wrote itself from there.
Maybe it has a lot to do with what it's about topically, which was just being really upset. I think it's a common reaction that people, myself included, want to disengage when something's that overwhelming. It's why people go out and get wasted when they have bad news. I was on a serious attempt to not deal with what was going on and trying to stay as out of it as possible, because it was just an overwhelming situation, coming in and out of being forced to realize what was going on. That's basically what "coming down" is in reference to.
Some people have thought it was about a relationship or that it was a breakup song. I read some review of it that was a positive review, but they totally got it wrong. I think I responded via Twitter that, "'Coming Down' is not a breakup song unless you're breaking up with life" [laughs].
Was your mother's death also the inspiration for 'Hold Your Hand'?
Yeah, those sort of represent the bookends of the situation, because she died over the course of a year. 'Hold Your Hand' was a song that I wrote pretty quickly after the situation came about. It was a very sudden diagnosis and things changed very, very drastically very quickly. 'Coming Down' was essentially written about the last week, so those sort of bookend the situation, and I hope I can write about something else soon. I've written since then but it was kind of a drag to be like, "Wow, this record is about that a lot."
On another family topic, your dad went on tour with you. How was that?
It was great. I know it's very un-rock 'n' roll. I have a very special father who's young at heart. He likes to stay busy and loves to travel, and he's very supportive. The idea just came to me and he was into it. He sold merch for the tour and became good friends with the band we had on tour with us, Mazes. When we got to London, we made him go buy a leather jacket. I mean, we didn't make him, but it was like, "You have to have a leather jacket if you're part of our crew." He was pretty much up for anything. It was a good thing for him to get such an inside perspective on what I do, because it's a pretty abnormal lifestyle [laughs].
For this album, did you make a conscious decision to put your vocals more out there in the mix and show off more range?
Well, I don't think I thought about it in those terms, but as the band progresses, that's been sort of my move. I'm a singer and a songwriter before anything else, and it makes sense that the more comfortable you are with what you're doing, the less you hide it.
Part of the album was also inspired by the separation between you and your husband, Brandon Welchez of Crocodiles. What's the secret to making a rock 'n' roll marriage work?
It's really important, in any kind of relationship where you want to survive distance and time apart, to try to communicate as much as possible. At this point, we're making a big effort to coordinate our schedules, because if you're not really proactive about it, if you don't pipe in and make demands, you may find yourself away forever. We're doing a tour together, and we schedule vacations after tours sometimes.
Do you write together?
We play each other new songs we've written, which is funny, because it comes across like we're both folk artists: We're on our acoustic guitars in our bedroom singing pop songs. We've written a few songs together. In the future, that'll happen more and more, I would assume.
You and Tamaryn teamed up as Les Demoniaques to record Jesus and Mary Chain's 'Teenage Lust.' How did that come about?
I had moved to San Francisco, and she was kind of the only person I knew there, so we hung out a lot. I find her very inspiring, and I love her music -- we have a lot of the same tastes. We just started talking about writing together, doing a recording project, so we did that for a couple of nights. We wrote an original and tried a couple of different covers, and then we did this. Aside from hanging out to redo the vocals, it was very much an exchange of sounds.
The cover has a topless woman on it. Were you involved in that?
Yeah, that was the plan, but I can't say who graces the cover.
Like it's a secret or just a random pic?
Yeah, a secret.
Will you be putting out the other songs as an EP?
We haven't done anything else. We're both pretty busy with our bands, so I think it'll be if the stars align again.
Les Demoniaques- Teenage Lust by truepanther
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