Gossip: “A new album?  Maybe in another twelve years."

Gossip: “A new album? Maybe in another twelve years.”

Won't another twelve years pass before we hear a new Gossip album? When we ask Beth Ditto, the iconic frontwoman of the protagonist band of indie rock of the 2000s, who has just returned to the scene after a silence that had lasted since 2012 with the new album “Real Power”, she lets out a laugh: “ Maybe yes – he says, half-seriously and half-jokingly – it's just that we've never been the type of band that releases records following a chronological sequence”. One more reason not to miss the two Italian dates of the world tour of Beth Ditto (vocals), Nathan Howdeshell (guitar, bass, keyboards) and Hannah Billie (drums), which will start this Saturday from Pasadena, California, and immediately after will arrive in our country for two shows: on June 22nd Gossip will be in Rome (on the stage of Villa Ada Festival 2024) and the following day they will perform in Milan (at the Circolo Magnolia in Segrate).

Pieces that mix the sharp rock of Kiss with the dirty and punk sound of Iggy Pop and his Stooges. Talking Heads style funky jam. Winks here and there at the atmospheres of the Go-Go's and Young Marble Giants records: did you imagine “Real power” specifically for the live dimension?

“Not necessarily, but we've always been a band that really enjoys playing live – live shows are what we love most about this job. Recording this album made us feel like we had never stopped: it's as if we had never stopped playing together. What came out was an explosion of energy, of vitality.”

How crucial was the role of Rick Rubin, who had already produced “Music for men”, the “Heavy cross” album in 2009?

“Without Rick Rubin this album wouldn't have existed: can it go (laughs)? Maybe in one way or another we would still have gone back to playing together, but we wouldn't have made a record like 'Real power', which is our new manifesto”.

What is so special about Rick Rubin that he continues to be, after so many years, a sort of Mr. Wolf of rock?

“He knows how to listen. When you make him listen to something, that something is not distorted: he simply helps you develop the idea, while maintaining the initial inspiration”.

Isn't this the case with other manufacturers?

“There aren't many producers like him.”

Corey Taylor of Slipknot was very critical of Rubin in the past: “The Rick Rubin of today is a shadow of the Rick Rubin he was. He's overrated, he's overpaid and I will never work with him again.” What counter-arguments do you present?

“Maybe his experience wasn't positive. Ours does. We and Rick have only experienced incredibly beautiful moments. And we will never tire of thanking him.”

In today's synthetic and electronic pop, how much need was there for a new Gossip album?

“Need is a strong word (laughs). I would not know. I don't have anything against electronics: it's an accessible genre, capable of reaching anyone. But I miss guitars. I come from the punk rock scene and grew up in Arkansas, on bread and country. Well, I miss going to concerts and seeing people playing a guitar.”

What will your concerts be like?

“Naive. In true Gossip style. There will be five of us on stage. We will play the songs from 'Real Power', but also some pieces taken from previous records.”

Do you still play “Heavy Cross” or, like many of your colleagues, have you also developed a love and hate relationship towards the hit with which you are still identified today, fifteen years later?

“Certain. And no, we don't hate it, even though we thought it was terrible before releasing it. The public wants to listen to it and we make them listen to it, just as we recorded it on the 2009 album. Sometimes we happen to go to colleagues' concerts and witness 20 minute long guitar solos on some songs. We think, 'Why the heck? Let us listen to the song'”.