With friendships rekindled, reunited ’90s indie rock darlings Veruca Salt are heading back to Perth for a show at the Rosemount Hotel on Saturday, October 4. Guitarist/vocalist Nina Gordon checks in with SHANE PINNEGAR.
Riding high in the indie charts with alt-rock hits Seether, Number One Blind, Victrola and Volcano Girls from their first two albums, Veruca Salt seemed on the cusp of a major breakthrough when Nina Gordon abruptly quit in 1998.
Her co-vocalist, guitarist and best friend Louise Post carried on with various line-ups, but things were never the same… until now.
Despite their debut album, American Thighs, being 20 years old, Gordon says the band still feels energised playing those songs
“When Louise and I first started playing together,” she explains, “all those years ago, and wrote the songs, we were young women in our early 20s, and we were extremely passionate about what we were doing. We had a lot to say. We had endless hours to write the music. That’s really all we did.
“Because we took such a long break, the songs themselves still have so much life to them, for us at least, and we’re certainly not tired of playing them.
“That is part of the reason we are writing new material and feel the need to write new songs because we’re in very different places in our lives, obviously, and there is a feeling of just needing to express ourselves in who we are now.”
Two new songs (The Museum Of Broken Relationships/It’s Holy), however, surfaced on the excellent – and classic sounding – MMXIV EP, released earlier this year for Record Store Day. A new album is near completion, but a release date hasn’t been set.
“We’re still in the process of figuring out if we are really, truly done – and I think we are, but we may want to run into the studio when we get back from Australia and record one more song,” Gordon explains excitedly.
The band – also consisting of Gordon’s drummer brother Jim Shapiro and Steve Lack on bass – were incredibly influential, their music tapping into hearts and minds around the world. As axe-slinging, take-no-shit riff merchants, both Post and Gordon inspired a lot of girls to pick up an instrument themselves, a fact they were always moved by.
“We played shows back then and there were teenage girls who would come and say how important our music was to them,” Gordon recalls. “We could never really fully process it. It was always very moving and we were always super… I don’t know, just shocked and excited and really thrilled by that, but it was hard to really let it sink in.
“It is a huge honour and certainly there are women that did that for me and for Louise, so the thought of being that to someone else is pretty powerful.”
When the conversation turns to the Australian tour, and the fact that there are many people very excited to see the band live, Gordon can barely restrain her enthusiasm.
“Yeah, we’re so excited to come to Australia! We always had such a great time when we’ve played there and I will say in response to your question earlier about whether we were aware of the impact that we had on young women, I will tell you that touring in Australia in 1997, we were very aware of it because there were so many incredible teenage girls – and boys, but I remember the girls mostly – who were just so articulate and passionate and interesting.
“We loved meeting all of them. I’m hoping a lot of them will come back and see us so we can see how they’ve turned out!”