Burning Brides Interview 26/9/2003
Melanie representing Burning Brides
James representing Pelican Newspaper.
Introduction: Burning Brides are a band from Philadelphia who have recently attracted a lot of attention after tours with Queens of the Stone Age and Audioslave.
Speaking to Melanie from the Burning Brides was really fun. She is the bass player in band.
J: I’m speaking to you from Perth.
M: Oh excellent! Where is Perth?
J: Perth is the most isolated city in the world on the west coast of Australia.
J: Did you ever imagine that you’d be talking to someone in Perth about your music?
M: No, especially not about my band, no. How fucking cool is that?
J: Pretty fuckin cool. Burning Brides are pretty unknown here, tell us about yourselves.
M: We’re pretty unknown throughout the world, so don’t feel bad. We’re a band from Philadelphia. We’ve been together for about three years. We put out our first record a couple of years ago, printed it up, put it in the back of our van, toured for a couple of years, signed to V2, who re-released it around the world, now here we are coming to Australia in November.
J: How did you record your first album?
M: We had a friend in Philly who had a big motorcycle warehouse that he stored a whole bunch of motorcycles and old vintage cars and he bought a bunch of gear and started recording local bands, so the four of us went in there and tried to figure out what we were doing and kind of like winged it.
J: It’s a pretty heavy album.
J: and you play bass in the band?
J: What kind of bass do you play?
M: Have two Fender P Basses, a ’72 and a ’74.
J: I have a ’78 Jazz Bass
M: I played a Jazz for a while but I prefer the P bass.
J: My band is called …and your youth punishes you like a milkless fridge
M: That’s a pretty awesome name. You guys should tour with the Trail of Dead.
J: Yeah, we’ve been meaning too, but we’re pretty busy.
Anyway, you’re in the studio recording some new songs?
M: Yeah in the process of recording our next record.
J: How many songs do you think you’ll record this time?
M: Umm… I think about 12 or 14 will make it on this record. You’re never going to get a Burning Brides record that will be too long. I like to think that you should always put your strongest material on record and I don’t think there should be anything superfluous on the record. I don’t like listening to really long albums and I don’t like albums that don’t have a good cohesive flow to them, just throwing shit on there to make a record longer I think is kind of lame.
J: When are you coming to Australia?
M: We are coming in November and touring with Magic Dirt. We’re pretty psyched up about that.
J: Are you going to make it to Perth?
M: I don’t know I haven’t seen our tour schedule. I hope so.
J: What bands did you grow up listening to?
M: The first band that I listened to and always and still do is the Beatles. We all grew up listening to a lot of classic rock bands. I met Dimitri when we were living in New York, he started turning me onto bands like in the late eighties early nineties, like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. The Melvins, Mudhoney, and then we started listening to bands like to Stooges, ACDC, Black Sabbath, Ramones, Led Zeppelin, basically a lot of classic rock music.
J: You can definitely hear those flavours in the songs. In each song you pack in a lot of different styles.
M: That’s one thing we are really proud of that I think a lot of bands don’t do nowadays. There’s something to be said for bands that do one style and do it really well. I miss bands having a bit more of a range. Melody and song structure are for me the two most important things, and it doesn’t matter what type of rock music, a good song is a good song, whether it’s a Slayer song or it’s a Beatles song.
J: Who plays organ on the album?
M: Dimitri does that.
We all kind of did whatever, you know, whoever was there at the time put on all the bells and whistles. That’s me playing the gong and background claps and yelling. None of us had any clue about what we were doing. We just tried everything. The song If I’m a Man was the first song that came together in the studio. It was completely improvised in the studio. We threw in some free association word play.
J: Yeah I love the line about the man picking up a Volkswagen to save a blonde on the street.
M: At the time Dimitri was working in a bar in Philadelphia called the Kaiser Tav, it’s like our underground rock club. It’s really small; it fills up with about two hundred people, something like that. Unfortunately, what started happening, it was always like on a really cool street in Philadelphia and over the last couple of years that street started getting more and more yuppified.
J: Yes, that tends to be a trend around the world.
M: I know. That’s kind of like the theme of the record too. The whole image of the title, Fall of Plastic Empire has to do with the more superficial and plastic things get the more people are going to rebel against it.
J: So you’re kind of purists in that sense?
M: Yeah I guess we are into pure art forms in a way. Dimitri tried a little bit of theatre acting for a while so he’s familiar with a lot of Shakespeare. When it comes to the lyrics, he’s more of a fan of the way things sound, and imagery being more important but more abstract. He definitely doesn’t consider himself a poet, but he has a really good time with word play.
J: What underground band are you getting into around Philadelphia and New York?
M: There’s a band from Phily that I think are great called the Capital Years.
J: Do you like Shellac?
M: Yes. I think Steve Albini is awesome. I love Big Black and Rapeman. I love everything that guys done I think he’s pretty damm talented. Do you have that Big Black album Songs About Fucking?
M: That’s a great record. There’s a band from Whales right now. They are called My Red Cell. They’ve just signed on our label, I think they are going to be huge.
J: You toured with Audio Slave and Queens of the Stoneage?
M: The Queens Of The Stoneage shows were with …and you will know us by the trail of dead. That was a tour that I’ll never forget. It was total debauchery. Total insanity. Every night we just went nuts. We all enjoyed each other’s company; we all had a great time. It’s probably a good thing that the tour didn’t go any longer than it did cause some of us would have ended up dead.
Audioslave was also really fun because I have a lot of respect of where those guys are coming from. The had some guts to do that tour and it was just the two bands. Just us opening up for them and we got to play in front of thousands of people every night. It really felt like we held our own. It was really awesome, those guys made us feel really welcome. That was also the first tour we did in a tour bus and we were like WHOOO cause that’s pretty exciting.
J: Those guy have been doing it for ages, did you learn anything from them?
M: I don’t know if you learn anything from people. I think we enjoyed their company a lot. Those guys have been touring for ages and are all kind of over the, you know, going out every night and going crazy and they kind of do their thing…
J: Pace themselves?
M: Yeah, exactly.
J: You used to acting yourself, is that right?
M: No, I was actually a ballet dancer my whole life.
J: What was that like?
M: What was that like? It was a lot of hard work. I did it for years, and I never did anything else and then I was like o.k. that’s enough of that.
J: Do you incorporate some of the ballet in your live set?
M: No, not at all. [chuckle] Although that would be kinda funny for me to ballet on stage with my big bass.
M: I guess the thing that you do incorporate, is that, you know, I’ve been performing my whole life, and even though it was in a completely different capacity. I definitely enjoyed being on stage and playing live. I think Dimitri and I both have a really good idea of what it means to put on a good show. We pride ourselves on our live shows. Hopefully when we come out to Perth you can come and see us. You know you’ve got to play every night as if it’s your last. So every show is pretty intense.
J: So, think of a question you wanted me to ask and answer it.
M: Ummm Ummm Am I the most beautiful bass player in the whole world? Yes.
J: Well may be you are
M: I guarantee you I am.
No I’m just fucking with you.