Singer/Songwriter/Author Discusses Inspiration, Memoirs & More

Monday, January 30, 2012 13:01

An Interview with Storm Large

by: Casey Pukl

I’ll be the first to admit that I was more than a little nervous when I realized I was 15 minutes late for my call-in time with Storm Large. I stumbled into the conference room, set up my recorder, and as her phone was ringing, I rehearsed my apology. She answered, and I immediately began apologizing for my tardiness. Storm’s response?

“Well, you ruined my life, and when I see you, I’m going to headbutt you straight in the bridge of your nose. But other than that, I think you sound like a really nice person.”

And with that sentence, I was instantly comfortable, and Storm and I were off and running.

Storm Large is one of the most genuinely unapologetic and candid artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of interviewing. I won’t spoil it for you below, but by the time you’re done reading, I’m pretty sure you’ll too feel like she’s your newest best friend. Upon hanging up the phone, I immediately turned on my Kindle and purchased the full copy of her memoir, “Crazy Enough”. In the last two days, I’ve read the entire thing, and can only hope that there’s more coming from her in the near future. Read on to learn more about Storm’s entrance to the music world, who inspires her most, and what you can look forward to at her upcoming show!

CP: I have to say, I’m super excited for your show. I remember watching you on Rock Star Supernova, and I’ve been really stoked to find out what you’ve been up to!

SL: Yeah, that was a fun show.

CP: It certainly seemed like a good time, and I mean come on, Dave Navarro. You can’t beat that.

SL: I know. He is very very pretty— like, professionally pretty.

CP: Yes. I’d have to agree with that. I’d love to get into how you started out and got into music.

SL: Well, I always could sing. I loved music, and I always loved to sing. I was always shushed and told to be quiet. You know, girls aren’t supposed to attract attention to themselves; only bad girls do that. Good girls are quiet, and they wait until they’re asked a question, that kind of thing. So singing and performing was kind of a negative trait. But I was compelled to do it all through my childhood anyways. But later on, I didn’t really get back into it until I was in my twenties when I got back on stage. I had sung a couple of times on stage, and it felt really good, but I still just had this kind of negative association with it. And then something clicked when I was on stage in San Francisco, and I sang “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar. The room went crazy, and people were grabbing me and asking me to front their band. Then it just kind of dawned on me that I could do this. I could actually do this, and I want to do this. I just made all of these people really happy. So, this is a positive thing. I had terrible self-esteem, and I viewed myself really negatively. I had a really bad go-around with drugs and people, and I was just a mess at this point in my life. Looking around the room, it was packed and people were screaming and cheering, and I realized that I had just made these people happy with my voice. This is something I want to do until I can’t anymore, and that’s how it started.

CP: I’m sure that was such an incredible experience to look up and see the reaction.

SL: Yeah, it’s addictive. That’s why us performers are just these sloppy broken hearts that are just looking for people to pay attention to us and love us (laughs). The pay off is great. When you see a good performance and you’re just so moved and inspired by a guitar player or a drummer or an actor in a film, you’re moved, and it answers these little questions in your heart. That’s kind of the beauty of art and creativity. It’s expressing the inarticulate feelings and yearnings and dreams. It’s all that magic that exists in the human life, heart, and psyche. Artists tend to run along this flawed, rocky road (laughs), but thank God we do. I hope I can always manage to do it.

CP: It certainly gives you something to write about (laughs).

SL: (Laughs) Yeah, or somebody else can write about it!

CP: (Laughs) So true. So now, you’ve had a pretty eventful year this past year between the book and touring with Pink Martini and your own band. Tell me a little bit about this past year.

SL: Well, I had to finish the book first and foremost. That was a priority. But it was really hard! I was literally writing while I was touring. I’ve been touring non-stop for the last couple of years. I’ve been writing the book all over the country, as well as throughout Scotland and Australia, and then mostly in New York and LA where I was stationed doing a lot of work. But it was hard. And then China got sick, so they asked me to step in, and I was still not done with the book yet. So on top of writing the book, I was learning all of these languages and all of these songs. But they say that to keep people from getting Alzheimer’s or Dementia as they get older, you should consistently keep them learning things. Even learning a new game like a board game, or piano, or a dance step helps. So I think I just bought myself another five years of brainpower with all of the education I got with Pink Martini (laughs)!

I had a wonderful year. I’m still really tired and beat up, and I’ll finally be going on vacation at the end of this month, but I am so grateful for the year I had. It was fantastic.

CP: I’m so happy to hear that. What’s on deck for 2012 now?

SL: I’m working on my one-woman show that’s also called, “Crazy Enough”. I’m going to start performing again with Pink Martini in Europe. China is better, but she has a little boy that she wants to spend more time with. She wants to spend more time being a mom, and she’s very happy with me taking the mic and giving her a break every once in a while. I’ll be in New York quite a bit working on my show, and it’ll hopefully be running off Broadway in the fall or winter of 2012.

CP: So that will be based on the book?

SL: Yeah, it’s a handful of stories from the book, but it’s a musical. It’s a musical memoir; it’s kind of like a rock and roll memoir. It’s weird. We’ve been trying to find things to compare it to to tell people about it. It’s like “Hedwig,” but it’s a true story. It’s like “The Vagina Monologues”, but with rock and roll music. It’s fun, but it’s hard. You have to do things that scare you. You might suck at it, and you might fail, but it’s important to do those things regardless of the outcome. It makes you a better person.

CP: Who are your main inspirations I guess now both musically and as an author?

SL: I’m kind of an inspiration slut. I’ll read a blog or an article or a book and I will be so inspired by something. During the Occupy Wall Street movement, I was so inspired by Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone. I just loved his voice; I loved his deduction and reduction of all of the bullshit into straight facts and his dissertation on what was happening and the ripple effect of this movement.  I just really liked him. I’m really inspired by Stephen Colbert and his brilliant sense of humor. Recently, I read a little bit of Annie Leibovitz, who is absolutely hilarious.

Musically, everything. There is so much that inspires me. What recently have I heard that just rocks my butt? I have to remind myself who. I’m so often learning new stuff that I forget to really listen to a lot. Well, I revisit a lot of old friends, like Nick Cave, I listen to him a lot when I’m cooking. Tom Waits is another one.

CP: Tom Waits is always a solid choice.

SL: Yes. I also loved Mike Patton from Faith No More, “Peeping Tom”. I rock that a lot. I love that record. I always wanted to be the female Mike Patton who could just do anything with his voice. And he just does everything so seemingly tirelessly. I find that to be very admirable. I love people who are just constantly working and doing things even if it’s not successful, even if it’s super underground and weird, as long as they’re into it, and you can tell that they’re super into it, I love that. Randy Newman is another one. He does crazy cool super huge Oscar winning film scores, but then he writes these broken-hearted tunes of loss and loneliness and hope among the ruins. I love that. I love schizophrenic artists like that.

CP: Awesome. Now going into the show you’ll be doing down here, what can our readers and listeners look forward to?

SL: We’re going to do a trio, like an unplugged lounge type of show. I know the venue is a restaurant too, right?

CP: Yeah, it’s a Chicago style supper club.

SL: Bitchin’! That’s awesome! I’m going to wear a nice dress and do that kind of thing!

CP: Yeah, it’s rad. It’s a really intimate venue— very cool and unique.

SL: Awesome! The show will be sort of a rock and roll cabaret type of show where I sing and tell stories and drink wine and engage the audience! It’s going to be a really great night!

Storm’s memoir, “Crazy Enough,” is currently featured on Oprah’s blog as the “Book of the Week”. Do yourself a favor and get a copy, then come out to see Storm live on Thursday night! If you don’t, rest assured that she’ll come and headbutt you too.

Preview Storm’s Book

WHAT: Storm Large Band
WHEN: Thursday, February 2, 2012, 7:30pm
TICKETS: $10-$23 Buy Tickets
MORE INFO: Artist Profile