The rock chick isn’t dead, she just got swamped by all the plastic pop singers and Hollywood starlets who are all over the internet. But now she’s back in the form of Diva Demolition, an all out, straight up, no holds rock outfit that’s bringing back the attitude without the arrogance. The Divas have gone from tearing up pubs to demolishing some of the biggest stages in the country, opening for the likes of Kiss, Mötley Crüe and Aerosmith all in a few short months. With a debut EP, Diva Disease, under the belt, Guitarist Sherree Newton said all they want to do is rock across the country, and maybe pick up a few boy toys along the way.
Before we get into the present I want to take things back a little bit. Can you give us a quick rundown from the days of your last band, Legless, to the start of Diva Demolition.
Oh wow [laughs] ok so Diva Demolition was formed from our previous band [Legless]. We had to evolve, we’d been doing that previous thing for several years and had three albums out of it, but we kept losing drummers and members, which was difficult. So we decided to reinvent ourselves as you do every now and then to keep yourself current, we formed Diva Demolition and there’s no looking back from there, not at the moment anyway [laughs].
You’ve already got an EP out, is there a full-length album in the works?
There’s been a full-length album for ages, but when the release date’s going to be I’m not quite sure, that’s up to the record company. We had it all recorded last year so we just keep adding to it at the moment. With this EP, we wrote one of the songs on it the week of rehearsals on the way to the KISS tour.
Yeah I’ve got a bunch of questions about that tour but before we get there I’d like to know a bit more about your early days as a rocker. Apparently you’ve been into rock music all your life so what were you listening to while you were growing up and what inspired you to get into music?
The lifestyle [laughs]. I got bitten by the rock bug early actually, I love all forms of rock, if you go through my record collection, there’s just so many different styles, different types of music. Yes rock is the main thing, but I’m very eclectic, I love a lot of different stuff. I’ve got AC/DC, KISS albums, Aerosmith of course, it’s just beautiful music. Then if you go even further back I’ve got some weird stuff like The Atlantics and The Shadows.
What’s something in your music collection that no one would expect you to have?
Ummm, music from the Greek Islands [laughs]. Seriously there’s some really different stuff, but maybe I don’t want to give that one away.
Were you a concert junkie growing up?
Yeah, but it was Aussie rock, that was the main thing. When the Australia Day concert came out and all the Australian music concerts came out, every man and his dog who was anyone in the Australian music industry all toured at the same time and they took out all the big ovals. I remember going to one at an oval in Adelaide which was huge! It was amazing, I’m just trying to remember who was on it you had Barnsey, you had John Diesel and the Injectors, The Screaming Jets, that was it and a bit just seeing those guys.
And speaking of shows, the last six months have been massive for you guys, opening for KISS, Mötley Crüe, Aerosmith, these are the kind of gigs that bands aim for in their entire careers, and you did them in a short space of time. How did you get hooked up on these massive shows?
That was the record company. I don’t know who it was or how they got hooked up with it all, but someone was smiling, the rock gods were definitely smiling on us that day. But I couldn’t believe it, it’s something you dream about, and I have dreamed about it since I was a little girl.
What was it like, because I imagine being around Mötley Crüe would have made for some good party stories?
[laughs] For us actually we were very fortunate to be right next door to the Thin Lizzy guys and they were fantastic, they were very friendly. You know you don’t tend to go out there and walk the hallways to see who you can talk to; it’s just not the done thing. You’ve gotta play it cool [laughs], you do your thing, you go out there, you play, you come back or you stay out there as a spectator. We were fortunate enough that the guys from Thin Lizzy and from KISS as well made themselves known to us. They came over to us which was just amazing, it’s not like we leapt out like fan girls and screamed “ahhh we love you guys!” We didn’t have to, it was beautiful, it was really good and we were really lucky. Mötley Crüe on the other hand, no opportunities except to walk past their room with their name on the door which was always shut.
So you never got to talk to Mötley Crüe or anything?
No not at all. I think they were rather private, that’s just how it appeared to me. Maybe they were hanging out in catering I wouldn’t have a clue, I was so excited by everything else that I even forgot that there was catering on the tour.
Did you learn anything while you were on these big tours?
The biggest thing for us, and me personally, was having such a big team around you. It’s not just one person going out there and doing the show, you’ve got 20 people that make what people see happen. I had the trust and the faith, that’s what I learnt, I had a great team that got everything together, got the sounds right and got things happening before I even got onstage. And even if it wasn’t right, they were fixing it as it was going along. I tell you that’s the scariest thing ever, to know that when you’re about to walk out on stage, you haven’t touched your guitar, you’ve not turned your amp on, you’re not sure if your pedals are there or in the right order. You’ve just gotta go with the flow [laughs] and that was the biggest thing for me to realise that this is how it’s done on these big things, because you can’t be doing that yourself. You’ve got other things and you can’t be running back and forth, you’ve got to rely on everyone else to make that happen, and we were so lucky to have such a great team who could make that happen. It was the first time we used in-ear [monitors] as well, and we had to use in-ears for the whole thing so we had no clue what we sounded like other than what was being fed back through to us through headphones that I was desperately trying to keep in my ears for the entire show [laughs].
Was it weird using that tech for the first time?
Oh yeah, too right! I was never one of these chicks that’s into their, what is it now…iPod, like I’ve got a cassette player and stuff, and boombox stuff so lot’s of noise and you can hear it! Not putting these things in your ears and having to get used to it. It’s an experience and I’m glad I’ve had it so I know I’ll be able to turn up and have anything put through there.
Sounds like a far cry from the good old pub gigs.
It’s hugely different, oh my god. I love pub gigs because you’re right up there, right up front, and it’s loud. When you’re doing the big shows, my stereo is louder than what’s on stage sometimes, well that’s how I feel anyway.
As well as the music, there’s a hell of a lot of effort that goes into the presentation of the band, the way you guys look and your attitudes etc. One thing I particularly liked was your web comic, can you tell us the idea behind the web comics and how they came to be?
That all just started out as a bit of fun and games, just mucking around at the end of a couple of shows. When Kylie and I were doing the other band, we used to have characters that we’d dress up as, have a bit of fun with it you know. Anytime you go to a dress up party everyone lets their hair down and really gets out and has a good time, for us we did the same on stage. So we get out there with our iPhones after the show, and we went a bit crazy, take a few photos with some people and get as animated as you can, and then I found this fantastic app called Comic Life. I just started doing a few things there on it, turning these pictures into that comic kind of thing, putting a few captions and stuff under it, and I’d send it off and show the guys and they’d go “that’s pretty cool!”
When we were recording the album last year we did the same thing and we were trying to keep the idea of what happens in one day, a day in the life of a Diva as we progressed. Just various photos that would try and capture how amazing the process is for us, for whatever we’re doing or whatever fun we’re having and do a little one-page comic with it. They really liked it and they said “can you make it more comic like,” and it’s like “well no, because it’s a photo.” So they’ve taken it from there and we’ve come up with all the story lines and delivered the pictures, then they’ve gone and hand drawn them to make them really comicy, I really love it.
Yeah it’s a nice different approach, especially with your band bio.
Well how many bios do you read, you know, and how many bios have we all had to do over the years with various bands and the like, and how do you stand out. You want to stand out so you’ve gotta do something different, you’ve gotta keep evolving, and that was one little way I guess.
As well as the web comics, your attire, artwork and everything like that seem to take influence from 90s grunge. Is there a link there?
Certainly musically there’s a fair bit of influence there because that was a high time for us, but artwork wise I don’t know. I wouldn’t really have thought that was so grungy.
I suppose I associate it with some of the bands from the riot grrrrl movement like L7 and Bikini Kill, they were using that kind of artwork and a similar dress style.
Far out I’ll have to go back, I’ve got a couple of L7 CDs, I’ll have to go and have a look I didn’t realise.
So there’s no direct connection there?
Not really, I loved their album Bricks Are Heavy.
Those groups also had a bit of an activist edge, they wanted to show that women could rock as hard as men, stuff like that. Does Diva have similar attitudes and do you try to break down those stereotypes?
I don’t know if it’s about having to break down those stereotypes, I see it all as pretty equal. We do like to employ many toy boys and you can be one of them if you like.
We need many men in our life, we get bored easily! [laughs]
So it’s all just about rocking out?
Yeah it’s rocking out and enjoying it. Frankly I love to see people in the front row rocking out, I feed on their energy, it gives me energy. It’s just one of these beautiful things that’s back and forth.
So in this world of pop starlets and Hollywood divas, where does the rock chick fit in?
At the top! [laughs] Nah the rock chick is there to take the micky out of everyone else. We’re rock divas, but we’re also just normal chicks who want to break down the barriers, because there’s a lot of chicks out there who get on their high horse and have divaish side of things. For us it’s breaking down that mould hence Diva Demolition.
And finally, what does someone have to do to become a Diva Demolition toy boy?
You just have to like the Diva Demolition gals!
Does that involve being front row, headbanging and all that stuff?
Oh would you, please?
So if I’m front row, headbanging I’ll become a toy boy?
For more info on the band, go to divademolition.com