​alison mosshart on rock and roll, making art and teenage rebellion

As the new Dead Weather video is revealed, i-D catch up with frontwoman Alison Mosshart (also of The Kills) to talk about recording tracks in 45 minutes, skipping school to go on tour, her New York art show and why it’s best to make bold decisions...

by Charlotte Gush
24 August 2015, 1:26am

Alison Mosshart is cool as fuck. An electrifying frontwoman, she stalks stages as if hunting for prey, a style that has been translated into I Feel Love (Every Millions Miles), the first video and single from The Dead Weather's next album, Dodge & Burn, which sees Mosshart stride through a crazy storm in downtown LA.

It's been five long years since the supergroup released an album. To be fair, band members, Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs), Alison Mosshart (The Kills), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs) keep themselves pretty busy. Dodge & Burn will surely revive the very loud, very urgent brand of rock and roll they established on their debut record, 2009's Horehound, and continued the following year with Sea of Cowards.

As the video for I Feel Love (Every Million Miles) is released -- having premiered on Tidal from Monday, i-D caught up with Alison to get the low down on the Dead Weather's erratic recording schedule, her recent New York art show, and why your youth is the best time to make the big decisions in life…

On making the video for I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)...
It was fucking awesome! It's one of those once in a lifetime experiences: you're in the middle of the night in downtown LA, roads have been blocked off, there's a five storey crane and you're attached to it, there's guys with ropes that are pulling and flying you into the air. I feel really thankful that I got a chance to do that action movie stuff; it was totally nuts, I loved it.

On recording at breakneck speed...
It's loud. It's a lot of fun. I never know what to expect, especially with this band, there's no expecting. All of us love writing and recording, and the speed at which we work is so exciting. We sit down and I've got a mic, Dean's got a guitar, Jack's on the drums and LJ ["Little Jack" Lawrence] is at his bass, and within say 45 minutes, we've got a song. We work so incredibly fast and you blink and the record's done. That's been my experience with all three [albums].

On being in the zone on stage...
You kind of go somewhere else, the music is just carrying you away. I'm not thinking at all, that's the glorious part of it, that's why I'm so addicted to it and so at home on stage. I'm certainly not thinking about what I have to do tomorrow or who's backstage standing there. I really get a break from my normal thinking, the adrenaline is sort of doing it all for you.

On the next Kills record…
We're finishing a record, and that's top priority at the minute. It's going great, there's just that annoyingly small amount left to do and then it will be mixed, and then I will sleep for 15 straight hours and it will be so cool.

Poster for Firepower by Alison Mosshart at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York

On art keeping her sane...
I wanted to go to art school, but I was in a band so the band won and I hardly ever made it to school, I was on tour all of the time from when I was 14, 15. I never really finished any of that stuff, I just went on tour and never came back, and now I'm 36 and still doing the same stuff! I always paint backstage, at home, in hotel rooms. I carry all this crap around with me. There's really a lot of boring moments of waiting on the road; you can read, you can get wasted -- you have to find your thing to do or you'll go mad, so my thing to do is to paint. I've accumulated quite a body of work that way; it's all suitcase-sized!

On Firepower, her New York art show…
It was scary! I didn't want to think about what it meant too much, to have a first solo painting show in Chelsea, in New York. That just made me feel kind of nauseous, it's kind of like a childhood dream I had, not something that I ever thought would be real. It wasn't my idea -- I was asked, and you can't say no to something like that, you have to go full-fledged into it. I was completely emotionally overwhelmed.

On the best decision ever she made...
I really loved my thinking and my decision making in my twenties, and it has completely shaped every day after. Getting out of Florida and moving to London with about $100 in my pocket, no plans and nowhere to go, just thinking that's what I wanna do made perfect sense, didn't seem like a bad idea at all; it took about three years until it wasn't a bad idea, until I wasn't sleeping on floors and starving and freezing! You know, it took some time to work things out, but if I hadn't have done that I would have never been in The Kills, I would have never done a bazillion things in my life that I'm very thankful to have been able to do; and it was just a twenty year old leap of faith -- pretty awesome!

On the bravest thing you can do as a young person…
Drop everything you know and everything that's comfortable for you, and go somewhere else and start something. You have a lot of energy when you're twenty and you do crazy things, and I think that's the greatest time ever to make decisions! Because you're fearless! You haven't had a million experiences yet that would make you say no to things or worry. You follow your heart and that's the most powerful thing you've got. Go wherever it takes you, start what you want to start and do whatever you want to do, because there's no rules yet and you really can just shake the whole thing up.

Dodge & Burn is out 25 September on Third Man Records.

the kills
Jack White
Alison Mosshart
The Dead Weather
Dodge and Burn
music interviews
charlotte gush