Veruca Salt seemed fated to be one of the many “could have been” stories of rock and roll.
The band experienced a brief period of intense skyrocketing fame in the ’90s, led by dual vocalists Nina Gordon and Louise Post and a massively popular single, “Seether,” before falling apart after the two had a huge blowout. Gordon left the band, and while Post and the gang continued without her, it was clear something was missing.
But not all breaks are permanent. In recent years, the two tentatively got back in touch and found that their creative connection was still just as powerful, which has resulted in a new album, “Ghost Notes,” which came out July 10.
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“The album is so charged with all of the emotion of these past 15 years and everything we went through with the break up, with the time apart," says Gordon, 47. The album tells that story, so now that it’s out there, we both can breathe a sigh of relief.
If it seems like it might be a little awkward for two musicians to be writing music about each other, Gordon says the experience was rather cathartic. "All of that stuff we’ve been carrying around for all those years, it’s sort of like — poof! — and now it’s gone. We can truly let go of all of that.”
And the subject matter made sense. “It did not make sense in writing again, to write typical love songs like back when we were in our 20s and writing our first two albums,” explains Gordon.
Rebuilding one of the most significant relationships in your life is rather inspirational, it turns out. “You go to the wound that is the most raw. You go to it. Louise and I always did that individually. You go to that place. This was the subject matter that was the most fueled and that we felt the most vulnerable around, so it felt like the most obvious place for us to go together,” she says.
Though Gordon worked as a solo musician during their years apart, she’s not exactly missing that life. Rejoining the band is “a huge relief. Louise has always been quarterback for this band. Back in the day, I had all the creative juice in the world and I wanted desperately to be in a band and make music, but I would’ve just sat in my living room for the rest of my life.”
Their initial reunion, after all those years apart, was a powerful experience for them both. " Louise came over to my house and we sang a couple of songs together and it ended in a complete puddle of tears. I was so happy to hear our voices together again. It was sublime."
And if you have concerns about the band not quite sounding like you’d expect from the Veruca Salt of old, don’t be. “The shocking part is how much we sound like Veruca Salt,” says Gordon. “This isn’t just reunion rock. We are going to make the record that we were supposed to make back then.”
Moving past 'the stupid catfight'
Part of the relief of reuniting is a chance to set things right for their fans. “We fell apart and we felt like we let them down, especially because of the way things ended. We’re feminists and it ended in this stupid catfight and we felt really ashamed about that over the years,” says Gordon. Luckily, the music they’re making now is serving as a corrective to that narrative.
“There’s something so beautiful about living with regret and sadness about something, thinking that the door is closed, and finding out that there actually is a way to heal and reconcile and an old dear friend can come back into your life and you can start over,” says Gordon. “You don’t really hear about friendships. You hear about divorces and celebrity divorces, but falling out of a female friendship is so brutal. It really is so brutal when it’s somebody that you depend on and lean on so much. It really is beautiful to feel forgiveness, to feel forgiven and bury the hatchet.”
And that’s the message she hopes their fans can take from the reunion. “It ain’t over till it’s over, and there is hope when two people really care about each other and have this kind of chemistry with one another. It’s meant to be.”
See Veruca Salt July 30 at the Paradise in Boston or July 31 at Webster Hall in New York. Go to www.verucasalt.com for details.