25/3/16 – The Distillers – Drain The Blood – 2003

Brody DallePunchy, Punk Rock band fronted by Australian singer/guitarist Brody Dalle (named after Béatrice) sounded like Hole except Dalle can play better guitar. Quick wrist, gravel throat, sneering lip curl, penetrating eyes, red lipstick slash across her face, Dalle was the perfect crossover major label new Punk Rock star item.

Drain The Blood comes from the third and final album Coral Fang released in 2003. Changing guitar players from Rose Casper Mazzola on the first two albums, their self/titled debut (2000) and Sing Sing Death House (2002) they replaced her with Tony Bradley for this major label debut (Sire). But something happens when the corporate claws get into you, smoothing over the rough edges and replacing the raw energy they signed you up for, replacing it with a palatable poison, one that doesn’t inflict enough pain, one that doesn’t kill you enough, defeating the object.

The album was produced by the ubiquitous Gil Norton that I once met in a car park outside a studio in London. He’s produced a lot of records including albums by Echo And The Bunnymen, Patti Smith, Pixies, Triffids, Foo Fighters, so he understands, but perhaps he knows too much and having the talented Andy Wallace mix the album is asking for experience over blood. Inevitably they strayed to the Pop side of Punk and whereas Courtney Love might not have had the musical chops or even Brody’s visual appeal, there’s a certain intrigue in Love’s songs. The Distiller’s fatal flaw might have been that they never felt like they were going to fall apart.

Executive producer Tom Whalley is a record company man that I too have dealt with. He understood the band enough to support and sign them, saw the appeal probably loved Dalle’s attitude as a singer, her looks, her raspy voice but two amazing songs might have made the difference and made it happen. Changing line-ups and three different record labels probably didn’t help and they broke up in 2006 after Coral Fang hit the bottom few places of the US Top 100.

Dalle kept Bradley, he changed his name to Bevilacqua and they became Spinerette. In 2014 Dalle released a solo album Diploid Love. Attitude with less edge in the drums, a more processed vocal, incorporating the studio as an instrument into her vision. Synthesized overdubs and programming herald the arrival of Chilean born producer and multi-instrumentalist, Alain Johannes, his influence looms large. For me I miss that raw edge from their debut recordings even if this is a natural progression through Coral Fang via Spinerette to where we are now.

Every record she makes, there is something I like and one day I hope she writes that killer song that will make more people aware of her talent. Last but not least, if you didn’t know, Dalle has three children and is married to Josh Homme from Queens Of the Stoneage.



This is a post from earlier in month and from where Brody Dalle takes her name: