Vagrant Journalism

Published pieces from the past, the present and of the potential future.

16 April 2007: The Troubadour Hosts The Gossip

Posted by Christina on March 5, 2009

84_thegossip_l270606This is, by far, one of my absolute favorites. I was able to totally professionally finagle my way into interviewing The Gossip after a show they did at the Troubadour in LA. I coordinated with their tour manager, their publicist and record label to get a hold of them and that rush from succeeding in doing all that was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. They’re one of my absolute favorite bands and this was one of my favorite interview experiences next to interviewing Exene Cervenka.

New University Newspaper: The Troubadour Hosts the Gossip

The Troubadour Hosts The Gossip
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 40, Issue 24 | Apr 16 2007

It was the night of the ‘femme puissant’ at The Troubadour. The Gossip, a three-part ensemble vocal about their beliefs, played the headlining act; preceding them was the equally powerful Yo Majesty.

A powerhouse trio of MC vixens, they drove the crowd wild. Their excellent onstage chemistry and seamless melding into each others’ rhymes made for a flawless performance.

Beth Ditto, lead vocalist and band frontwoman, is a powerful stage presence and a true siren of her time. Like a torch singer on crazy fire, she sings syllables elongated with meandering notes coupling with the band’s melodies to drive their messages home. Her outfit was a bright turquoise tunic, electric pink tights and sunny yellow flats topped with jet black beehive and opalescent pearls holding an encapsulated white razor blade in the middle.

‘You know what sucks about tights?’ she confesses to the screaming crowd. ‘They make them too fucking small.’

Initially from Searcy, Ark., Ditto has always been this outwardly forward in presentation, and not without her bouts of adolescence here and there.

‘There was a time when I was really afraid,’ she said. ‘I would lock myself in the bathroom and bouffant my hair for hours – way before that was ever popular in the ’90s. I would always comb it out and walk right out of the bathroom.’

An avid fan took her fanaticism to the next step, avoiding the rent-a-cops and making her way on stage. Ditto noticed and helpfully approached her with a microphone.

Before she was restrained and escorted offstage, Ditto gave her a most gracious hug.

With each song trumping the last as a crowd favorite, for The Gossip’s encore, Ditto wore an oversized Yo Majesty band shirt, sans footwear.

The artistic style of guitarist Brace Paine and drummer Hannah Blilie is influenced by their personal hero bands Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth and UK riot grrrl band Huggy Bear.

‘I worshiped The Mamas and the Papas,’ Ditto said as she waved to a congratulatory fan, showing off the nautical anchor tattoo on her left arm that reads ‘Mama.’

The Gossip’s original drummer, Kathy Mendonca, left the band to pursue midwifery. The addition of their current drummer Blilie, twin sister of The Blood Brothers’ lead vocalist Jordan Blilie, has been a welcome source of happiness in the band.

‘It’s just completely different when you’ve had someone who’s played drums for years and then someone who’s just started playing drums,’ explained Ditto.

For all the diversity the band claims, they are rightfully loud about their opinions. Embracing the forgotten and the made-fun-of, their songs speak about the forlorn seeking to rise above conformity.

‘We really like to make the un-alienated feel alienated,’ Ditto said, ‘and the alienated feel comfortable and at home. That means everything.’

The Gossip’s mantras don’t stop there. Their firm beliefs in open expression are imperative to their style and makes what they do so much more important.

‘We’re open to learning and we’re open to educating people of [a] subversive nature and [a] welcoming, loving nature,’ Ditto said.

‘Music is the best medium for message,’ she continued. ‘I think one of the good things about our band is that we have a lot of punk knowledge and punk influence and we have a lot of pop sensibility.’

The Gossip continues to tour with their latest album, ‘Standing in the Way of Control,’ and open minds of their fans with each song, album and tour. Appreciative of all their successes, they look forward to releasing their next album under the Music With a Twist label, a subsidiary of Columbia.

‘The beauty to me is that I can’t imagine what’s going to happen with the next record,’ Ditto said, ‘because this record was all indie and all the success in Europe and in the U.S. was all the fans and I can’t imagine how wonderful it’s going to be.’


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