Brody Dalle

Written and edited by: Angélica Albuquerque

“I don’t know how to do anything else and if I didn’t do it [music], I’d walk this earth like half a person.” – Brody Dalle

foto por: Joseph Cultice 

     Brody Dalle (whose real name is Bree Joanna Alice Robinson although other names are published through the Internet) was born in Melbourne, Australia on the first day of January 1979. 

Who looks at her today and don't know about her background history, can't imagine how her childhood and teenage years were tough.

brody-dalle-biography     Brody, who claimed to has been a very sad child, always had a bitter relationship with her mother; a political, feminist and atheist nurse. At 4 years old, she constantly ran away from home (which took her mother to call the police all the time). Also as a child, Brody watched her mother kick out her biological father of the house for abuse. Then, when she married with another man, gave Brody a sister (Madeleine). 
     This change in the family worsened the tension in the relationship between Brody and her mother. It was at this time that she began using drugs, missing classes and preferring the street to her own home: “Around 13, I started getting really angry and hating my mom--I mean, really hating my mom. She hated me too. We ended up strangling each other in the kitchen. I was always an angry kid, so I started running away and doing [angry] teenage girl stuff--cutting myself, getting high, not going to school.”
But she also explained that she never lived in function of drugs, such as people selling belongings to feed the addiction: “I just experimented, like everyone else.”
To complete, Brody also began to cut herself to try to relieve the pain of a terrible reminder of the past: “I was sexually abused when a kid, so I think a lot of the self harming goes along with that. Most of the young women I’ve met, come into contact with, or read about (who’ve been abused) have all like, cut or fucked themselves up… And the same for some guys. For me, it’s just something I grew out of. I just didn’t want to do it anymore.”

     Although her 13 years old has been marked by the start of more distressing and turbulent moments, this age also marked her first steps in music indeed.
After meeting the Go Go's through the Beat Girls compilation at age 5; seeing her first live show, Cyndi Lauper, at age 7, and having started listening to Nirvana and Sonic Youth with 12; then, at age 13, Brody met her favorite punk band, Discharge, through the excellent album Why: “I just loved it 'cause it was so fast and it was fucking crazy, I'd never heard anything like it--all that screaming. I'm sure I didn't really understand a lot of the politics, but it was exactly how I felt. It was exactly what I wanted to say.”

     From all these discoveries, the desire to make music awakened inside Brody. “I loved music. It's a language I've always understood and at a really early age I learned to speak it like poetry.
     Brody played flute when she was a child, but she hated the instrument. So much, that she threatened to hit it on the teacher's head. So, she began composing and playing guitar at age 13 when her uncle Frazer taught her the first chords: “My uncle Frazer was a muso and surfer, he had a 1960's rickenbacker that I used to drool over and a couple of old acoustics, one of which he gave me. He taught me a few chords the easiest being e major and e minor, I would play these chords over and over and over for hours, until my fingers were severly blistered.”
     One of the first songs that Brody learned to play (if it wasn't the first of all) was “Teenage Whore”, from Hole's album Pretty on the Inside.

     Her career began only a year later, at age 14, in an all-girl band who met each other at a concert for all ages. “I think it was the Meanies,” as once she told.
     With the Sourpuss formed and doing some shows; with troubles at home worsening and after being expelled from two Catholic schools - mostly for not having been baptized and get into trouble by drinking the Jesus' blood and eating his flesh - “You're not a child of God,” so they said - Brody decided to bet on live alone in Jalong, a small town an one hour from Melbourne. But the experience wasn't so nice: “A shithole, fucking white-trash place. My house was actually on the freeway, so I felt, metaphorically, that I was never settled — vrrm, vrrm, vrrm all night long — like my bedroom window was the freeway. It was fucking chaos in there all day, all day.” 

     Without money, the only way out was Brody back to her mother's house, and what could have been a bad idea, was actually quite favorable for both, as they maintain a good relationship since then: “At that point, living on my own, I realized that I couldn’t really function that well. So I went home, and when I walked in my mom was doing the dishes, and I just stood there and looked at her like I’d never seen her before — as her own woman, not as my mother, as a person who had thoughts and feelings and a life of her own before I even fucking came out of her. I thought, ‘Oh shit, we have to become friends now.” With the situation under control, Brody tried to explain what caused her to have a bad relationship with her mother and vice versa: “I think that with girls and their mothers you reach a certain age and there’s this undeniable tension. You’re trying to leave the nest, she wants you stay...”

     Brody's life began to go through a new phase and really change. On New Year's Eve 1995, Sourpuss played at the Somersault Festival Australia and among the bands that also performed were Bestie Boys, Sonic Youth and Rancid, leaded by Tim Armstrong. It was there where Brody knew him and fell madly in love, even mentioning that “it was kind of love at first sight: “It was my 17th birthday; my birthday is New Year's Day. I was 17 and told him I was 19 - he's so hot and so gorgeous and I was totally in love with him.”

brody-dalle-biography-tim-armstrong     At that time, Sourpuss faced some problems that led the band to its end. Then, after completing 18 years old and being free of this musical commitment, Brody married Tim and moved to the United States on April 8, 1997, where she still lives and without thinking about moving back to Australia.

Upon arriving in Los Angeles, one of first measures that Brody took was just looking for members to start a new band: “After my first band, Sourpuss, broke up I knew that's all I wanted to do. Having been kicked out and laughed at in school for being pro-choice and not having the right haircut, made me realize that I didn't want to do anything but play music. I didn't really know how but I knew I was going to do it.”

     The Distillers was born in late 1998, when Brody found in the offices of Epitaph Records the drummer Matt Young and the bassist Kim Fuellerman.
     After the release of their eponymous EP and '99s debut, the band suffered several changes in their lineup, toured with bands like Dropkick Murphys, No Doubt, Garbage, AFI (by the way, it was then that singer Davey Havok introduced Brody to vegetarianism) and released 3 well received albums that gave notoriety to Brody as a person and artist, which somehow was very positive, but also brought some serious personal problems.    
     It all started when in June 2003 she appeared on the Rolling Stone U.S. magazine switching tongues with the leader of Queens of the Stone Age and former Kyuss, Joshua Homme, and also holding him on her lap, with her hand on his groin. The situation caused an outcry in the music world, which was divided into two groups: those who were on the Tim’s side and those who supported Brody and Josh.
     After hearing so much talk and so many offenses, Brody decided to return to Australia in that same year, where she called to inform Tim of her decision: I told him I couldn't do it any more, it was over. The hardest and most painful thing I've ever done. And it was... the... most... liberating feeling... I have ever experienced in my life.

     Upon returning to the United States and then facing the divorce and its consequences (even with good humor after a while, as the Distillers named their USA tour as “The Most Hated Woman on Earth Tour”), Brody changed her surname from Armstrong to Dalle (in honor of Beátrice Dalle, movie star of “Betty Blue) and officially declared the union with Josh. 
     But wasn't that photo shoots that marked their first meeting. The couple had met long ago: “The first time I met Josh I was seventeen and he was twenty-two. It was on the Lollapalooza tour and I loved Kyuss, and I saw him and knew the band had broke up so we just started talking about it and we took a picture together. I was such a little fan. We didn’t see each other again for seven years.
     While Brody was a fan of his work, Josh was enchanted by her: “He told people we made out. It was really cute, he was telling Mark Lanegan that he made out with me, of course he didn’t though. He told me he’d always had a crush on me… It was meant to be.”

     The feeling became mutual and both started dating and living in San Fernando Valley. “I'm sorry... You know that gut-sick feeling, that lovesick feeling? I have that all the time”. “Joshua is my husband and my best friend; his impact on me is so huge, words cannot do justice.”
brody-dalle-biography-orrin-camille     Then, on January 17, 2006, Camille Harley Joan Homme born weighing 6lbs and 15oz. After this happening, Josh and Brody get married in 2007. Already in 2011, on January 26, Brody has announced on Twitter that the couple was expecting their second child, Orrin Ryder Homme, born on August 12.

     If 2006 on the one hand marked the Camille's birth, on the other, marked the indefinite hiatus of Distillers. With these changes occurring in Brody's life, she said she had considered retirement to focus herself on the family: “Mostly because it seemed like the easy way out. Also, when you become a mother you feel guilty about everything, so again it seems [sometimes] like the easy way out. [But] My mum didn't get to follow her dreams of being an artist and I know that had a negative effect on her happiness, so to make her loss worth it and to give my daughter the gift of loving what you do and following your heart, I must work.

     Brody has already been florist and worked at a McDonalds, but the compulsion to make music has always spoken louder. Besides, she told several times that she couldn't do anything except it: “Music is kinda more like a compulsion, something I can’t really help doing. So I do it. It’s how we make a living. It’s what I’ve been doing since I was 13 years old. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t do it.

     That was when Brody decided to form Spinnerette with the help of his faithful guitarist Tony Bevilacqua and the genius Alain Johannes, which brought drummer Jack Irons to the group (both were from Eleven).
Although Spinnerette isn't a band but a project in which Brody plays with people she wants to be there at the moment, was with the lineup mentioned above that in 2008 she released the Ghetto Love EP and in the following year the Spinnerette full-length.
     The band's sound is over worked and more complex than the Distillers. Such a sound change has led some of Distillers' fans to turned up their nose at Spinnerette. But Brody never bothered with those kinds of opinions: “I think that if I didn’t do something different that I’d probably shrivel up and die. You can’t do the same thing over and over. There has to be evolution. Doing the same thing… who wants to do that? Not me. That’s fucking boring.

     After all the ups and downs in your life, drastic changes and significant events, future has all chances to remain positive for Brody, once she thinks about it in that way: “I feel like fear is for the superstitious. I really want to stay away from that shit. It's deadly; it's poisonous. I'm trying to have a positive outlook and just stay grounded. It's going to be interesting to see what happens. I'm always going to make music. I've been making music since I was eight-years-old. It's just in me.


[2013-11-21] - Brody Dalle Signs to Caroline for New Solo Album, Gets Members of the Strokes, Garbage and Queens of the Stone Age to Guest
[2013-11-21] - Brody Dalle To Release First Solo Album Through Caroline
[2013-11-18] Sound and Motion Mag - Brody Dalle Has Signed To Caroline Records With New Album To Come
[2013-11-18] - Brody Dalle signs to relaunched Caroline for solo album
[2013-11-17] New Orleans Sun - Brody Dalle Signs To Universal's Caroline company
[2013-11-17] - Brody Dalle signs to Universal's Caroline company
[2013-11-15] - The Distillers star Brody Dalle for first solo album
[2013-11-15] - Distillers frontwoman Brody Dalle reveals details of debut solo album
[2013-11-15] Fresh News - Brody Dalle signs to Caroline
[2013-11-15] - Brody Dalle signs to Caroline
[2013-10-09] Frontier - Queens of the Stone Age announce Australia & New Zealand co-headline tour with ine Inch Nails & Brody Dalle
[2009-11-11] Brody Dalle Shares Her Highs and Lows
[2009-10-02] My Fantasy Band: Brody Dalle, Spinnerette
[2009-08-xx] Brody Interviews Joan Jett
[2009-07-28] Josh Homme's Wife Songs
[2009-06-30] Spinnerette: Quickie 10
[2009-04-28] Q&As with Brody Dalle of Spinnerette
[2009-02-18] Playlist: Punkstress Brody Dalle's 12 Track Driving Mix
[2008-11-14] Brody Dalle Dumps Major-label Deal
[2007-xx-xx] Interview For The Graveyard Girls 
[2004-08-xx] Brody Dalle Interviewed By Shirley Manson