Hello World, Here Come Your Girls

Veruca Salt's brand new day.
July 22, 2015

Louise Post and I have decided that if Veruca Salt’s original lineup had included a gay boy back in the late ’90s, she and co-frontwoman-guitarist Nina Gordon may have never fallen out and the band may have never broken up.

“I think it’s very likely that we would not have!” she says with a laugh. “Now that you mention it, I’ve never thought of it like that but I can imagine us having a wonderfully neutral, loving gay boy who would have said, ‘Girls! It’s ok. Remember you love each other and don’t trash this! It’s too precious!’”

“It coulda been you! You could have acted as our therapist and as a roadie!” she adds, possibly overestimating both my emotional maturity and upper body strength.
 
Post is on the road at the moment. She and Veruca Salt bass player Steve Lack are driving from L.A. to San Diego to meet up with the rest of the band—Gordon and drummer Jim Shapiro—for the first show of their three and a half week summer tour, which will eventually bring them to New York’s Webster Hall on July 31. It’s a crazy day of phone interviews, an acoustic radio performance, and a meet-and-greet with fans at the band’s sound check. But prepping for a tour is different for Veruca Salt in 2015 than it was in 1996. Post dropped her kid off at preschool earlier and Gordon has dropped her own rugrats off at two different summer camps. “We used to just roll out of bed, write some songs, get on the bus, you know?” Post jokes. “Honestly, the only things that were time consuming were mani-pedis and shopping for the tour. There’s a whole different element now that we’re responsible grown-ups—but don’t tell anybody I said that!”
 
Jokes aside, maturity is a big theme for the reunited original members of Veruca Salt. It’s been 17 years since Gordon abruptly quit the band in 1998 (Shapiro left the year before, just before the release of their sophomore album, Eight Arms to Hold You), ending what was one of the most dynamic and captivating female partnerships in rock as well as her friendship with Post. The decade that followed found both women dealing with the fallout from the breakup through their music, Gordon on two solo albums and Post with a reconstituted Veruca Salt. “We wrote about each other, we sang about each other, we released albums that were largely directed at one another,” says Post. 
 
But slowly over the past few years, the two musicians—both now mothers—began to mend fences via email and phone calls. “None of us was champing at the bit to play music, to get back together,” Post says. “When Nina and I were becoming friends again, it was a relief to not be talking about music.” At the time she was taking a break from music altogether—from the pressure of trying to keep Veruca Salt alive on her own. “The easier way would have been to just go in my own direction, go under a different name, Post says of the two Veruca Salt albums she recorded without Gordon, Lack, and Shapiro. “I was acting out of anger and also a sense of pride; I couldn’t take the fact that we’d split up so prematurely. I didn’t feel like it was done.” 
 
But, she says, after 2006’s IV, she had finally hit her limit. “I wasn’t even interested in playing music when I got an email from Nina saying, ‘Mazzy Star’s playing Coachella. Why aren’t we?’” 
 
With Shapiro and Lack on board for a reunion, the band released “MMXIV,” a special edition 10-inch vinyl EP for Record Store Day and hit the road, playing dates in the U.S. and Australia last summer before heading into the studio to record their first album together since 1997.
 
Released earlier this month, Ghost Notes is a triumphant album. It harnesses the sense of unbridled joy you want to believe these four musicians experience playing together after all these years, and that joy is infectious. You can see it on Post and Gordon’s faces in the videos the band has released for “Museum of Broken Relationships” and “Laughing in a Sugar Bowl,” and you can see it in the clips the band included in their video for “It’s Holy” of Veruca Salt fans listening to the song on vinyl for the first time. 
 
After all, the Veruca Salt story isn’t just the story of a band; it’s the story of a friendship. Bands reunite all the time to rake in big bucks on summer nostalgia tours. They play nice together onstage, but later you hear about how they only communicate through their managers. But it’s easy to see that that isn’t what’s going on with Veruca Salt. Post and Gordon seem genuinely thrilled to be playing together once again. They seem genuinely moved to have found their way back to each other after all these years. 
 
“I sometimes have a moment when I look around me and see my bandmates and I wonder if this is a parallel universe or if this is really happening,” says Post. “I feel like it’s a miracle.” 
 
There’s a moment in the band’s effervescent Record Store Day single, “It’s Holy,” when you can hear the gratitude in Post’s lyrics: “This is cryptic hieroglyphic / What I'm trying to get across is this is precious / Holy, holy, hold on to everyone.” 
 
“I think anybody who’s gone through a breakup of those proportions—or even a fraction of those proportions—can appreciate what it’s like to come back together,” Post says. “I don’t mean to sound self-important, but I have found that the healing process that’s taken place between me and Nina and the whole band resonates with a lot of people.”
 
“I guess everybody loves a happy ending, and this is ours,” she adds. “Although we also feel like it’s just the beginning of the next chapter.”
 
Veruca Salt plays Webster Hall, 125 E 11th St (btwn Third/Fourth Aves), July 31 at 8pm; $25. Visit verucasalt.com for more info. 
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