My 2009, by Alison Mosshart

This is a wee interview I did for The Skinny a few weeks back. “Wee” being the operative word. I was on the phone to Alison Mosshart, of The Kills and The Dead Weather, for ten minutes before being interrupted by a PR woman, telling me to hurry myself up. Anyway, the results are below. 

This time last year, Alison Mosshart had every reason to be happy with her lot. Midnight Boom, The Kills’ third album, had been sighted near the summit of numerous end-of-year lists. Having toured incessantly since the age of 14, her profile was elevated to that of “rock glamour-puss” (so said, eh, JustinTimberlake.com). She couldn’t have possibly imagined, then, that a year later, she would be standing on the cusp of even greater things. But as front woman of The Dead Weather, a bonafide supergroup boasting members of Queens of the Stone Age, The White Stripes and The Raconteurs, it would appear her star is still on the ascent. Superstardom beckons, and she’s got the column inches to prove it.

On getting together with Jack White:

The Kills toured America with The Raconteurs and towards the end Jack got sick. He needed some help singing some of his songs, so I sung them. Jack asked me to get on the bus from Atlanta to Nashville with him and record in his studio, which he’d just finished building.

He’d had this record label for a long time, through which he wanted to put out 7″ recordings of everyone who came to town. So the four of us were the first to experiment in that studio: just testing it out and writing in it. It was a great experience and we just kept writing. It was weird – something was working way too well, and we didn’t stop. When I came back a few months later, after I finished Kills touring, we carried on writing.

On dealing with the UK media:

I think Jamie (Hince – The Kills, boyfriend of Kate Moss) and I escape everything we want to by working so hard. You don’t read the papers when you’re in your house working, and you don’t want to leave to get it. There’s a real element to living in a bubble that I’ve always liked. You’re more liable to hear about something that’s been written from your mom calling you to tell you than you are by reading it. Ninety per cent of media attention in general isn’t positive or creative, so it doesn’t really matter.

On the road:

The difference from what it was like when I was 14 is that you learn how to cope with it. You really learn how to live on the road. It’s like self preservation: you can get stuff done anywhere. There isn’t anywhere that I haven’t been any more. Different things take priority and doing an incredible show every night is what it’s based on. It’s not that it stops being fun; it just starts being something more rewarding. It’s a different, twisted adventure now.

On life with The Dead Weather:

“We’re not a band that parties a lot at all. There has to be something to celebrate and there’s so much to be done everyday. Sleeping is the most wonderful thing on earth. Maybe I’m getting old, but the last two years of my life have been like that. If I want to get something done or have anything else in my life – even painting a room… those things have to come before getting smashed. Working is more rewarding for me. I’m horrified that I might be a severe workaholic, and sometimes I think I maybe need to have a little more fun.”


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