Veruca Salt On Reuniting & Getting Over “Enormous Egos”

Photo: Courtesy Alison Dyer/Veruca Salt.
They called it: You can't fight the Seether. And so it is that Veruca Salt has reunited and returned to the recording studio, nearly 20 years after breaking up. The Chicago-based rockers achieved mid-'90s fame thanks to hits like "Seether" and "Volcano Girls." Singers Louise Post and Nina Gordon became alt-girl superstars, joining the likes of Kim Gordon, Elastica, Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval, Liz Phair, Kim and Kelley Deal, and Juliana Hatfield as Generation X's ringer-T-wearing #girlbosses. They were Winona Ryder with a guitar. They had sugary voices and sour 'tudes. They...split up. In March 1998, Rolling Stone reported that Gordon had left the group to "pursue other interests." Talk of "internal conflicts" was disputed, but, today, Gordon and Post make no bones about the fact that all was not well within the group, which had also included bassist Steve Lack and drummer Jim Shapiro (who was replaced by Stacy Jones). In a new interview with Refinery29, the reunited bandmates share how a fellow '90s rocker inspired them to mend fences, lick their wounds, and set out on the road. On July 10, their fifth album, Ghost Notes, drops, marking the original lineup's first release since 1997. Here, Post and Gordon open up about their '90s heyday, growing up, and coming back stronger. What are some quintessential '90s moments that you remember?
Nina Gordon: "We played Glastonbury when we'd only been a band for a year. There were 60,000 fans and they knew all the words to our songs...I also remember playing in Paris in front of all these French teens. They knew all the words to "25" and were singing along in these French accents. It was just so surreal to see these words come out of our art." Louise Post: Being made into funny cartoons in Rolling Stone was quite a moment. We didn't look so great but it was an honor." Which came first, the idea of making a new album, or the rebuilding of the friendship?
Post: "Mazzy Star went on tour about 15 years after they'd split up. We started to think about how we could be doing that, and maybe play a few gigs together. First, though, the friendship had to be healed. We had to get over the hump of breaking up. When we finally got together, we were laughing and talking so much that we closed the restaurant. We spoke about doing some reunion shows, but didn't know what that would mean [as a band]. It's a just a ride and we jumped on. How far will it take us? We don't know. It's bigger than we are." What was it like when you first all got together to play again?
"I had forgotten watching Steve write a bass line out of nowhere; I'd forgotten what that felt like, when the magic happens. We rediscovered what it was like to write together. It sounds cliché, but we are also the same people with the same pratfalls. We have our hiccups and bumps, but we're old enough to get through it. This is a moment to be relished and embraced. You want to be present. We went years without talking to each other. There was a lot of sadness, and now I'm ecstatic to come together."

How does it feel to be rejoining the music scene?
Gordon: "It's still very embryonic. We haven't really been out there so much. The first time, we were very much part of the scene. We're more isolated now."

How have you grown as people during your break?
Post: "We've both grown up a whole lot, I'm happy to discover. We're better versions of ourselves now. Everything's in sharper focus. We take ownership of our foibles and flaws. It's like we earned a degree in humility. I know it's true for me; I had an enormous ego. Now I have a right-sized ego.

Videos on MTV used to have a greater impact. Now, it's all about the Internet and social media. How do you adjust to that?
Gordon: "Everything is way more immediate. There's less time to hem and haw over things. You're less precious. I remember we axed a video for 'Number One Blind' because we we were like, 'We can't put that on MTV!' It basically killed our record. Now you can release little videos and they have no weight. It's liberating The video lasts a few seoconds; the music lasts forever. You can just put it out and there's no time to second-guess."

Has your touring process changed now that you're a little bit older?
Gordon: "We used to stay at really scary hotels. Then we had a hit and we stayed at nicer hotels and got a tour bus. There are fewer shenanigans these days. We're not so careless and carefree. We have families and responsibilities."

What advice would you give to a young female musician?
Post: "I would say to speak and write from your heart. Stay true to yourself and be respectful to others because it's a small industry and you never know when you'll work with someone again. Keep your boundaries and keep your self-worth intact. And, as Bette Davis said, "Fasten your seatbelt, it's going to be a bumpy night."

More from Music

R29 Original Series