Veruca Salt of the Earth
I work at a bar and play my music through the speakers.

It can really generate some great conversation with customers. It can also create confusion, hatred and some stink eye.

One day, half way through my playlist called “bad ass babes,” a guy in his 20s asks me, “Who is this? It’s really good.”

Um, seriously? I paused for too long. “Veruca Salt,” I say, expecting him to feel like an idiot for not knowing.

“Never heard of them. Are they new?” he asked. I felt my eyes roll. This guy has to be kidding or maybe he slept through years of his life. He seemed like a cool guy. He knew and liked lots of other music that I played. I was baffled that Veruca Salt missed his radar.

“Ah, no. They’re not new,” I tell him in the most monotonous voice I can muster.

He looks at me like he isn’t going to give up. Direct eye contact and a tilted head are never good signs when you don’t feel like explaining yourself and still expect a tip. I exhale loudly. Fine.

I give in and tell him that they’re a band from Chicago and they’ve been around since 1993. They’re the “90s femme Beatles you don’t know.” He looks at me like I should go on so I give him way more than he bargained for just to be an ass.

I start with my first impression:

When I first saw the two ladies that forefront the band, only one word came to mind: “SHWING!” The video for the song “All Hail Me” made my jaw drop. Here are two effortlessly gorgeous babe-shows rocking out at the most deranged child’s birthday party ever. It’s creepy. It’s sexy. It’s bizarre and at times down right fucked up and yet, it’s stands parallel in complexity to the song itself. Veruca Salt balances good music with good media. One doesn’t outshine the other, much like music today. In 2013, it’s more than hard to find a band that can play live, create epic music videos and still actually make important, beautiful music.

They don’t skimp on any aspect of output. Their debut song, “Seether,” is fucking incredible. The whole album, American Thighs, is one hell of a first album for any band. It’s stone solid. “Seether” is special, however. It’s the start of their dynasty. That shitty South African band, Seether, liked it so much that they even named their band after it. The best thing about this song is it’s poetry. You’re not really sure what it’s about. What is a “seether,” you may ask? It’s a pot for boiling. So, with that in mind – you listen to the song. Here’s the start of it’s lyrics:

Seether is neither loose nor tight.
Seether is neither black nor white.
I try to keep her on a short leash.
I try to calm her down.
I try to ram her into the ground, yeah.
Can’t fight the seether [x3]

At this point, you should be thoroughly fucking confused, if you’re paying attention to the lyrics and not just how awesome the song sounds. You’re asking yourself, “Is this her child?” Then, “Fuck, I hope this isn’t her child.” You stop to scratch your head and you keep listening

I can’t see her till I’m foaming at the mouth

Now, you’re thinking “rabid animal?” You keep listening.

Seether is neither big nor small.

Seether is the center of it all.
I try to rock her in my cradle.
I try to knock her out.
I try to cram her back in my mouth, yeah.
Can’t fight the seether.[x3]
I can’t see her till I’m foaming at the mouth.
Keep her down, boiling water.
Keep her down, what a lovely daughter.
Oh she is not born like other girls,
but I know how to conceive her.
Oh she may not look like other girls,
but she’s a snarl tooth seether. Seether!
Can’t fight the seether.[x3]
I can’t see her till I’m foaming at the mouth. Yeah

You’ve reached the end of the song and you’re now even more perplexed as to what in the fuck it could be about. You’re thinking, “Oh, ‘born like other girls’ – HA! It must be about her daughter (who she must be abusing).” And, you’d be wrong still. What does this have to do with a boiling pot? Why is the singer foaming at the mouth? Does she need medication?

Let me set it straight for you. It’s about Louise Post, the lead vocalist and guitarist. Nina Gordon, who typically writes the music and also plays guitar, wrote the song about her. Louise is Nina’s “Paul” to her “John” and instead of getting compared to a walrus, Louise won the loving comparison of a boiling pot. We learn this in the song, “Volcano Girls” from the album Eight Arms to Hold You.

We hear:

I told you about the Seether before.
You know the one that’s neither or nor.
Well here’s another clue if you please,
The Seether’s Louise.

The bassist, Steve Lack, heard it differently. His mind heard, “This sucks and I don’t want to be in the band anymore.” He just wasn’t into it. He couldn’t support the song. It was such a problem for him that he almost left the band because of it. Nina, feeling like it was their “fight song” wouldn’t let it go and was glad that the bassist stayed regardless.

It can’t be easy working under two bad ass babes. Nina and Louise founded the band together, but many of the other band members were interchanged along the way and eventually Nina left to pursue her own music. Sad to say, none of Nina’s solo work came close to the chemistry that Veruca Salt had and Veruca Salt started to lose it’s charm without Nina.

Let’s all scream until they reunite. Maybe then that idiot at my bar will know who I’m playing.

Ready? Go.

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  • I was just talking about the amazing Louise the other day with a coworker. VS was untouchable in my teenage mind. Let’s not forget the epic Shutterbug lyric: “You monkey you left me.” Get’s me every time!

  • Despite the crafty word-play in Volcano Girls, Seether was not written about Louise Post. Nina Gordon said in an interview that she wrote Seether after she got into an argument with another woman. The altercation got so heated that Nina found herself having to use all the restraint she could conjure not to punch the other woman in the face. And so was born the “Seether.”

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