“Well the stars definitely had to align for this to happen the way it did and some of it is mysterious to me and poetically so, because none of us imagined that we would do this again and I don’t think any of us had harboured any secret hopes that it might happen.”
From Tour Release: Finally! The news Veruca Salt fans have been waiting yeeeears for! The original members of Veruca Salt, Nina Gordon, Louise Post, Steve Lack and Jim Shapiro recently announced an epic reunion tour that seems them playing their first shows together since 1998, and we are stoked to say Australia has been included in those plans which will see them here in September!
Born in Chicago in 1993 out of singer-songwriter-guitarists Louise Post and Nina Gordon’s desire for a dreamy-grunge band with influences like Big Star, My Bloody Valentine and the Pixies, they soon made the transition from cutesy pop upstarts to big league wet dream rock queens and became one of the most important bands of the 90’s in the process. Their sugary sweet vocal harmonies sat perfectly with their huge fuzzy rawk riffs and it sounded oh so good!
Their live shows were energetic and frantic with the band jumping all over the stage doing scissor kicks, mimicking pogo sticks, head banging and just plain rocking out. Everything a fun rock show should be and that energy will once again manifest for fans and band alike.
We gave Louise a call at home for a great chat about the return of the band, the upcoming Australian tour as well as new music and much more…
Thanks for your time today Louise and first things first, welcome back!
Well thank you so much.
After so long away, how humbling is it to see the sold out signs being hung up on a lot of these Aussie shows?
It’s very touching, it really is. It makes us feel so welcome and it makes us so excited about returning to Australia.
Now you’ve been here before under the Veruca Salt banner but this is the first time with the original line up, is there just something a little more special for you doing it this way?
Something ultimately special about doing it this way, definitely, this is the pinnacle of special *laughs*. You know we came in ’97, Nina and Steve and I, but Jim was not with us and he had just left the band and we were touring with our new drummer Stacy Jones, so having Jim with us this time is stupefyingly meaningful.
Do you have a great memory though of that previous trip here?
I have really good memories of that trip and I have very dramatic memories of that trip. It was a dramatic time for me, I went through a massive break up while in Perth over the phone and it wasn’t pretty and that was the beginning of our tour so I was acting out a lot of emotions on stage. So while I have a memory of really passionate shows, it stemmed from a lot of inner turmoil. We also had a lot of fun on that tour I will say, so they’re not solely bad memories, it’s mixed with an incredible tapestry of images and really good times and great people that we met along the way and adventures that we had with other American bands that were there and it’s all sort of a big mix. I always find Australians to be incredibly lovely and welcoming and gracious hosts of our band when we’re touring there.
What can we expect set wise at these upcoming shows?
You know we’re really focused on classic ‘VS’ if you will, just playing the stuff that we wrote and recorded together, the four of us and that makes the most sense right now and it’s the most fun for us. I think we’re all hoping that in time we might incorporate some of the stuff that Nina and I did separately because we like each other’s music a lot, even when we weren’t involved with it *laughs* but right now we’re just having a really good time playing the first couple of albums and EP that we put out.
How has the dynamic been playing together again?
It’s been fantastic, we have such a good time playing together and it’s really surreal at times looking around the stage and seeing the four of us. Being in a band is like being in a family which you would know if you’ve ever been in a band and being reunited is incredible, it’s like looking around and seeing my sister and my two brothers right next to me playing music again and we sound so much the same, we’re still the same people, we play the same way and although I think we’ve all gotten better and I can just close my eyes and picture us so many years ago just being on the same stage together and it’s pretty profound, it’s really fun.
I know you’ve been asked this before and knowing there was there a time you thought we’d never see you all play together as a band, why was now the right time?
Well the stars definitely had to align for this to happen the way it did and some of it is mysterious to me and poetically so, because none of us imagined that we would do this again and I don’t think any of us had harboured any secret hopes that it might happen. I think deep down we all really wanted to heal this old wound and I think deep down we all had this sense of being unfinished with the music that we had to write together, we were on our way to making our third record when we split up and we’ve had regrets about that, separately and collectively now that we’ve gotten back together. We feel that we have so much more to say, we have so many more songs to write together and so much more to collaborate on, and this is a different chapter and it’s just as valid, it’s equally based in passion and drive, and we’re so excited to be playing with each other that we’ve sort of been reborn and not just reunited but reborn. I think enough time had passed that we were truly able to get over our shit and get over ourselves and tend to the situation that needed attention and needed healing so that everyone can move forward.
After the announcement here and the reaction of the tour, have you noticed that your original fans have truly stuck with you throughout this whole time?
Yes *laughs* without a doubt, we have the most loyal fans. I think it was probably hard for some of our fans when there was a need to choose sides between me and Nina, and many didn’t, most fans I think really liked both of our output, both of our songs that we were both putting out and releasing, and yet with every divorce people feel the need to choose sides and that’s perfectly natural. So not only have these fans stuck by us in our solo ventures, but they have waited all this time for us to kiss and make up *laughs* and now everyone can put down the swords as it were and just relax, and anyone who’s ever been through a breakup can understand what that’s like and that’s why I think what we’re experiencing is not unique to us, its universal and anyone who’s been through a serious breakup with a best friend or a boyfriend or husband or family member knows what it’s like to go through that and how centrally painful that can be, and ideally how incredible healing and positive the reconciliation and profound it can be.
So, we had a couple of new songs hit for Record Store Day, and you’ve been recording, when are we expecting some more new music from Veruca Salt?
Well… we are finishing up some recording this Fall and hoping to release the album in your Autumn, our Spring. Early next year.
You’ve also been working with Brad Wood again, the man that produced your first LP, what’s it been like revisiting that relationship?
It’s been an incredible experience to get to know Brad again, to see how much he’s grown as an artist and a producer which are really one in the same, and as a man. I love working with him, I would love to make many records with him, and he understands us as a band possibly better than anyone else, he definitely understands intimately what it means to be in the trenches with Veruca Salt, he gets our personalities, he knows how to navigate murky waters with us when things get a little tense in the studio, he handles it delicately and professionally and he is a huge supporter and admirer of what we do, and he also as are many producers, our fifth member when in the studio, and we defer to him for many creative decisions. We are always interested in what he has to say, he is deeply invested and he’s got really and I’m trying to think of another word than incredible *laughs*… he has fantastic ideas that enhance our songs across the board. We just love him and it’s been fascinating getting to know him again while we all get to know each other again, and returning to the studio with Brad has felt like this poetic coming full circle, and I can’t imagine making this record with anyone else, it’s just a joy to work with him.
Has the song writing dynamic changed or did it almost just slip back into how it was previously?
It has changed a lot, there are certain things that have stayed the same, those being that we are all deeply opinionated *laughs* and when it comes to song arrangement, song structure, lyrics, we all take song writing incredibly seriously and when it comes down to the guitar tone or the sound of a snare, or the way someone pronounces a certain word when they’re singing, or two overdubs, what guitar parts to play and what it the most tasteful arpeggio out of five different ones that we tried, and what’s the best feedback to use out of twenty different feedback takes I did. I mean we work in an incredibly detailed fashion and we’re all incredibly opinionated *laughs* and yet we’ve become much more collaborative and it’s gotten much more easier in that regard. Now when we recorded in the past, Nina and I would come to the band with our individual songs that we had pretty much crafted from the ground up in our respective living rooms and then the band would flush them out and write their parts, and it was highly collaborative from that point on. From this juncture, with both Nina and I being Moms or Mums as you say and being incredibly busy people, we write songs in the cracks of our lives and we bring them to each other in segments, like Nina will write a verse and I’ll write a chorus and vice versa, then we’ll work on a bridge together, or a lot of songs will come out of thin air when we’re just sitting around and playing guitar together, and Jim will send us an idea in an email and we’ll run with it. So we are very much co song writing now, where before it was very much more of a personal thing that became a band thing, this is more a band thing from the ground up.
What do you still find or once again find enjoyable about being in this band?
I love my bandmates, they are so funny and smart, they keep my laughing hysterically to the point of tears *laughs* and they make me better, they make me a better person and a musician and inspire and challenge me to new heights both on stage and off. I think they are the greatest group of people I can imagine playing music with and I hope that I play music with them for a long time to come.
In 1993 when the band started, and now some twenty years on music has changed, scenes have come and gone, where do you see a place for Veruca Salt in 2014 and beyond?
Well we definitely play rock and roll of the pop rock variety and I think we are just evolving artists that don’t necessarily categorize ourselves strictly or very narrowly, I don’t know how we will evolve or what kind of music we will make but I guarantee it will come from the heart and that it will have integrity and durability and we really appreciate and honour and value our fan base and we don’t take their loyalty lightly. What I imagine is a lot more music coming from us and a lot more connection with our fans and more inspiration coming in from all corners.
Do you have a message for your Aussie ‘Saltines’?
We love our Aussie Saltines, we can’t wait to see them again, and to share in this precious and sacred journey.
It’s so close too, you must be getting excited…
We are really excited, I just saw Nina today and we can’t believe we’re leaving so soon *laughs* we have so much to do to get ready to leave, not to mention practise for the better part of the week, so right now our minds are blown that we’re actually leaving and we’re actually coming over there and doing this. I think once we arrive in Brisbane we will get settled and it will sink in that we’re actually going to do this tour, but we’re really getting excited and we’re also motivated by all of our Aussie friends that are posting pictures on facebook and sending us messages and sending us cyber love letting us know that they’re excited that we’re coming.
Lastly, let’s predict the future, so can you please finish this sentence, by the end of 2014, Veruca Salt will…
Be finished recording their album… and will have toured Australia.
Again, thanks so much for your time today, Louise, it was a pleasure.
Well it was a pleasure, I appreciate the thoughtful interview, Troy, thank you.
Catch Veruca Salt at the following tour dates:
Wednesday, September 24: Brisbane – Zoo
Thursday, September 25: Adelaide – The Gov
Friday, September 26: Melbourne – Corner Hotel
Saturday, September 27: Sydney, Factory Theatre
Tuesday, September 30: Melbourne – Corner Hotel
Wednesday, October 1: Melbourne – Corner Hotel
Thursday, October 2: Sydney, Factory Theatre
Sunday, October 4: Perth – Rosemount Hotel
Tickets are only $59 + booking fee and available from metropolistouring.com
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Band members: Nina Gordon, Louise Post, Steve Lack and Jim Shapiro