Veruca Salt Returns
Maxim speaks with the newly-reformed alternative mainstay.
All things must end: a job, a relationship, a band. It doesn’t matter what it is—everything runs its course, punctuated by a beginning, a hopefully triumphant middle, and eventually, an inevitable end.
Sometimes, though, when that end is too abrupt, or a thing has crashed and burned before its time, you get a chance for a happier coda. Such is the case with the comeback of Veruca Salt, the 90s alt rockers out with a new record, Ghost Notes, on July 10.
Recorded last year, Ghost Notes features the original Veruca Salt lineup and marks the band’s first release since 1997’s Eight Arms to Hold You. Nina Gordon and Louise Post chatted with Maxim about how the new collection of tunes came about and what it was like to make music together again.
What was the motivation in wanting to get the original lineup together again. How did this come together?
Louise: “None of us expected this to happen. This has been a total surprise to all of us. We hadn’t seen each other … it had been 14 whole years. What sparked that first meeting was Nina suddenly feeling a pang of wanting to sing together again. She was looking at the lineup at Coachella in 2012. She saw Mazzy Star had reunited, and it bugged her that we weren’t together and that it was time to get back together and in some capacity play music.
She actually emailed me, and we started over coffee. That escalated to dinner. We caught up, there were tears, apologies—it was just a meeting of two friends who really loved one another who’d parted acrimoniously years before, and by the time we met again, we were so eager to make music again.
The guys (Steve Lack and Jim Shapiro) both live outside L.A., but they were both in L.A. in August of that summer, and we all had dinner together. And as soon as Nina and I started sitting down and playing old songs together again, we both knew there was more to be written, that we needed to pick up where we left off. In 2012, that’s when the ball started rolling.
What did it feel like to do this, to get back together again? Was it easy? Did It feel natural?
Louise: It felt perfectly natural to play music together again. It was sort of like a dream at first. I would just close my eyes then look back up and hear Jim playing drums, Steve next to me, sometimes I’d hear Nina seeing, and it felt like we might be back in the 90s again—then I look over and realize, wow, it’s modern day. It was so fun and meaningful. The only reason to make (the new record) was if it was making sense to us. If the songs were turning out and if we were excited enough to write them—and we were excited about what was coming out of us.
Were you guys conscious of wanting to take fans somewhere new or on recapturing any of your familiar sound from the past?
Nina:We’d tried to do what came naturally to us. There were times we held back from certain sounds that we perceived as a little retro or as a step backwards in time. We really just did what sounded right to us in the studio. It wasn’t a conscious effort to embrace or reject anything in particular, it was an attempt to do this organically in the studio after all these years.
Has the way you guys write together changed?
Nina: It varied, truthfully. For some songs, Louise would bring in a fully formed song or part of a song. I would do the same. We would just kind of kick it back and forth a little. Some songs we wrote all four us in room. In the past, Louise and I wrote our songs individually. One of the things we realized is when you’re in your twenties, you take things really serious, and every little piece of poetry you write is this precious, precious object and you kind of don’t really want anyone messing with it.
Is there a plan for the band at the moment? Do you guys hope to keep playing shows, maybe indefinitely, maybe even record more?
Nina: It’s really about enjoying the moment. We take it seriously. We’re super proud of the album we made, and it re-awakened this bond and this partnership. So we definitely will make music together. This can’t be the end. I think we recognize how special this partnership is. We have lots more to say.
Photos by Alison Dyer