If you came of age at a certain time — say, that musical sweet spot around 1993/’94 when the “Alternative Nation” was just coming into full bloom — chances are Veruca Salt were/are very important to you. In 1994, I was enduring my first year of college, and American Thighs — Veruca Salt’s much-beloved debut album — was basically the unofficial soundtrack of my life. Not only were Veruca Salt ostensibly just very cool — a band fronted by two badass guitar-wielding women, Nina Gordon and Louise Post — their music was oddly prescient as well, neatly ushering in a swarm of other bands who understood the benefit of marrying snarly guitars with undeniable pop hooks and gooey vocal harmonies. Given that “Seether” — the band’s breakthrough single — was one of the most omnipresent songs of the ’90s, the future seemed (at least in that moment) to be Veruca Salt’s for the taking. They sold more than a million records, they toured with other, similarly great bands (Hole and PJ Harvey among them) and played an arena show in front of 10,000 people in their hometown of Chicago. Still, the story of Veruca Salt — like so many of their ’90s brethren — would turn out to be a cautionary tale of sorts. After releasing their Bob Rock-produced sophomore album, Eight Arms To Hold You, and doing a lengthy round of touring, Gordon abruptly left the band in what she now describes as some real Behind The Music bullshit: “It was drugs and cheating and all that junk.” Both Gordon and Post would soldier on making music (Gordon under her own name, Post under the Veruca Salt moniker), but it would never really be the same. Sadder than the end of their musical partnership was the end of their friendship, something that both Post and Gordon mourned for the better part of the next two decades.
But this story has a happy ending. Twenty years after the release of American Thighs, Nina Gordon and Louise Post officially reunited as Veruca Salt, having quietly rekindled their friendship over the past several years. In 2013 the two women re-teamed with their other original bandmates — drummer Jim Shapiro (who is also Gordon’s brother) and bassist Steve Lack — to make some new music. As a result, the band just released a special 10″ vinyl for Record Store Day (including two brand-new and classic-sounding tracks, “The Museum of Broken Relationships” and “It’s Holy”), and are currently hard at work on material for a new Veruca Salt LP with producer Brad Wood (the same person responsible for producing American Thighs back in 1994). They’ll also be hitting the road this summer. I had the good fortune of chatting with Gordon and Post about their reunion and their enduring friendship, for their first interview together as Veruca Salt in 17 years. Read the interview then check out “The Museum of Broken Relationships.”
Spin has an excerpt from the new Dinosaur Jr. oral history/photo book. Here Lou and J talk about the artwork on their first LP:
Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr. bassist): The cover is by Maura Jasper, who’d met J [Mascis] at U-Mass, and was one of those totally cool punk rock girls hanging out with him, she was part of the crew. J came up with the idea for the first record, “I want a guy standing in a field.” He had a bizarre relationship with this little kid at U-Mass called Artie, they’d formed a weird bond, with J treating him like a whipping boy, and Artie lapped it up and seemed totally bewildered by J’s fascination with him. J wanted Artie’s face on the cover so he took a photo of him and put it there in the corner.
J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr. singer/guitarist): Artie didn’t have too many friends. I met him at college and we would hang out and I’d bring him to some parties. Lou’s view makes it seem like it was a little more cynical, but I was just hanging out with this guy, a fellow freshman who I thought was interesting.
This story has been updated to change the genre of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They are not indie. Bands that perform at the Super Bowl and have large record deals cannot hold that title. We regret the error.
So anyway, all I wanted to do was be in bands. That’s all I wanted to do. I was so bummed out because rock bands do not want girls in their band at all. There were just no girls in the band in Dayton, Ohio. Even Pollard from Guided By Voices would say ‘no bleeders.’ And he’s acting like he’s joking but everyone knows he’s not joking. ‘No bleeders in the band.’ So I always just wanted to be in bands and no one around here would play.