“I knew this skinhead when I was a kid who tattoo’d ‘SKINS’ on his forehead. But he did it in the mirror so it said ‘SNIKS’. I think that could definitely be a laser situation.” Brody Dalle is sitting in a Glasgow, Scotland hotel room, on her current U.K. tour in support of her new album Diploid Love. I’ve just put her through a round of five questions, the first one being: “Getting rid of a bad tattoo. Cover it up, or laser surgery?” When asked about her about her own regrets in regards to permanent ink, her reply mirrors an attitude that continued throughout the whole interview: looking on the bright side.
“Maybe if you got Daffy Duck, I’d probably want to laser that shit off. But like a bad Misfits tattoo? You gotta keep that. I like all my bad tattoos. They’re a part of who you are.”
Dalle is sounding better, healthier and happier than she has in a long time. Dark clouds have parted and bright skies are finally breaking through for her. Her new album is getting a great deal of positive buzz on the backs of its first singles “Meet The Fetus/Oh The Joy,” a song about motherhood, and anti-bullying anthem “Don’t Mess With Me.”
The record is her first since the sole release of her short lived 2009 project Spinnerette. And she is as excited about it as anyone. “This is my favourite record that I’ve made,” she says. “I was a lot better with my editing this time around.”
Diploid Love will be familiar to those who have followed her since her days in popular punk outfit The Distillers, boasting sharp riffs and an edgy attitude while also following the natural continuation of the avenues she was exploring with Spinnerette; so why a solo record and not another Spinnerette or Distillers album?
“Distillers ended in 2005, so making a record under that name wasn’t really an option. Although I did try to get Distillers back together a couple years ago, it just didn’t feel right. And Spinnerette, I was kind of hiding behind that. And it was my first moment away from the Distillers, I was experimenting and was seeing what else I could do.”
Her first two singles paint a perfect picture of the melding of her various styles, with “Meet the Fetus/Oh The Joy” containing the dark, sexy lullaby’s that floated throughout her Spinnerette record. And “Don’t Mess With Me” a warm slice of punk rock apple pie.
“It wasn’t conscious at all, that’s just me writing the way I want to, I guess. Most of the songs were written for this record. I have a lot of riffs laying around, a lot of beginnings of songs, but the only one I had [from before] was ‘Underworld’ I think.”
Dalle’s current tour will be a dream for anyone who’s been a fan of any of the projects she’s taken up, with songs from as far back as 2000 appearing in the set list.
“Yeah, actually to the first Distillers record. We’ve been playing ‘Blackest Years’ and it’s been really fun and sounds good, so a little bit of everything.
“I want to make another record as soon as possible,” she says when I ask her about her future plans for her current project. “I’m writing in June but we’re on tour in July and August and then going out again in November.”
So for those who have been awaiting her return these last five years, it looks as though there will be plenty of Brody Dalle to go around, as well as plenty of shows to look forward to. Just don’t expect an encore. “I hate encores so much. I think they’re cheesy. I’d rather just play longer.”
Anyway, for Dalle the point is, and has always been, the music. A point she sums up beautifully at the end of our conversation. “I’m on the quest to make the perfect record. I might be 90 when I do it, but I gotta just keep on trucking. And I just love making music.”
Catch Brody Dalle’s return to the stage on May 23rd at Venue.
By Dustin Griffin
Photo (middle): Richard Sibbald