Sunday, January 3, 2010

Q&A: Singer/Guitarist Brijitte West

I first saw Brijitte West when I got to open up for NY Loose on toour in 1997. She was beautiful, sexy, abrasive, dangerous- everything a female rock-n-roller should be. Her band NY Loose was signed to a big label, and had released a wonderful rock and roll album called "year of the rat" which I still listen to on a weekly basis to this day. I lost track of them and then maybe a year or so ago went looking for them online and discovered Brijitte had a nice solo career going. I got in touch with her and we mailed each other CDs, and I discovered she had relocated to London. We keep in touch regularly and hopefully one day we will be able to collaborate or tour together and just rock. She found time to do this Q&A and it's about time all of you learn just how Rad Brijitte West is.

Q: What was the New York music scene like that you came from, and is it overly romanticized, or was it really a cool scene?

BW: It was a really cool scene. There were so many bands. New York was relatively cheap so you could be a waiter and still have enough for rent and rehearsal. The club bookers were really supportive too and did not put too much pressure on the bands to bring people in. It was before myspace and all that so we really had to go out and be seen if we wanted to be in the scene. There was a lot of different sorts of music happening as well. Sure you had the likes of NY Loose but there were also some amazing 60’s sounding garage bands, stuff like the Chrome Cranks, Blues Explosion and also clubs like the Empire Soul Club where you could dance to obscure records by Irma Thomas. Tramps was also great and you could go see Wilson Picket or Charles Brown tinkling away on piano in the restaurant next door. New York City was full of music. Now it is full of bloody bankers!

Q: Your biggest album with NY loose was arguably "year of the rat", which I adore. Do you have any favourite songs off of it? How did it all work out with a big label at the time?

BW: My favourite song is Detonator not only is it such a cool word but i also wrote the song in five minutes. I have always been a bit tightly wound . Big label ruined us. We signed to the wrong label and had a s**t manager. Music biz worse case scenario number 100,000,000.

Q: What made you move to England, and how do you like it there compared to America and New York?

BW: I moved to London for a change and kind of got stuck here. Life sort of happened ya know? I never had a reason to move back. Now I regret ever coming to this place except of course that I have my gorgeous and amazing and fabulous two children.
I live in London which most people think would be really exciting. London is shit..It’s dirty crowded expensive, full of head scarves, no quality of life, and there is no rock scene. The biggest thing here is X Factor and that creep with the high waisted jeans and all the garbage he churns out for the brainless masses. I live in my own bubble here.

Q: What have you been up to all these years? Catch everyone up on your achievements, what takes up your time, both musically and non musical.

BW: Well I have a certificate to say that I can run a horse stable. I also have a certificate to say I can teach English as a foreign have two birth in the National Health Service is like giving birth during the Victorian era. I had no pain relief. I don’t think you want the details there. My life has been about my kids. I have become a kid again through them. I had to ditch their father unfortunately and now I am a single mom living in a foreign country. Life is tough so I made the toughest coolest and sexiest record you will ever hear!

Q: What are you currently working on and what's up next for you?

BW: I have just made the record that I have always wanted to make!

Q: What sort of gear do you play out of? I know you were fond of SGs.

BW: Marshall tube amp, cab and SG with one p90 single coil pickup.

Q: Do you use any effects pedals and why?

BW: No too complicated

Q: what beauty products can you not live without?

BW: Kiehl’s Creme de Corps

Q: do you have any favourite spa treatments?

BW: If I could afford spa treatments I would have a favourite, it’s been a long time since I have been to a spa. Sorry to p*** on your glamour parade.

Q: Do you have any favourite songs you have written and why?

BW: My new favourite from the upcoming solo album is called “Hey Papito” It’s about my boyfriend. I had no idea he was famous until I went to Brazil where he lives. It’s about being on the beach in Rio and also about all our mutual friends in New York. It’s as if the Beach Boys and the Shangri Las and the Ramones all have a big happy clam bake!

Q: What inspires you to write songs?

BW: Literature, at the moment it would be Leo Tolstoy. Also, really interesting sentences or words I hear randomly, my new album is all mostly about being in my sexual prime and not being able to physically be with the one I want to be with. Sexual frustration can be very inspiring.

Q: What other bands and artists do you simply adore? what are your guilty pleasures?

BW: Rothko, Darlington and Green Day, and really goofy songs like “Mairzi Oats and Dozey Oats and Little Lambs Eat Ivy”. Fave new band is Brothers of Brazil.

Q: Where are some of your favourite places you've been to on tour, and why?

BW: I love Chicago and I saw a ghost dressed in 80’s clothes in the girls bathroom an the Metro just before the gig.

Q: are there any crazy or funny tour stories you can legally tell us about?

BW: Marilyn Manson made all their groupies drink Sea Monkies!!!!

Random topic round!

Topics: bacon butties. are you being served. fish n chips. bobbies. keeping up appearances.

BW: Ugghh all so bloody English...fattening and tasteless, and unappealing uniforms.. 75% of the English culture wear track suits on a daily basis though, that is the reality and they have never seen a track in their lives except of course the race track down at the betting shop!.

Topics: top of the pops. sloane square. piccadilly circus. the Queen.

BW: No thanks to all of the above, give me Prince Charles at least he does useful things with his power.

Topics: east village. CBGB. the continental. coney island high. the ramones.

BW: The breeding ground of sleazy rock and roll. No place in the world will ever be cooler when those places where at their heyday!

Topics: rockabilly music. lesley gore. elvis presley. little richard.

BW: All genius through and through. I bet they all had a fondness for oriental cats.

Topics: rubiks cube. rubiks snake. atari. miss pac man. galaga.

BW: No way never, nada. I am a surfer girl!!!!

Topics: british pound. US greenbacks. the concorde ssupersonic jet

BW: I am a huge aviation and airplane fanatic so I must tell you I saw the last flight of the concord standing in Kew Gardens here in England. I actually wept. Did I just admit that?

Topics: airports. airplanes. cross-atlantic flights. flight attendants.

BW: TAM the Brazilian airline gives you those buttery toffee sweets for some reason. They have the best flight attendants because they are Brazilian and they are always happy and the best bit is they play awesome classic Bossa Nova when you get
on and when you are leaving the plane. I fly to Brazil quite a lot. So much so that I have my bag checked every single time I get back to England. I guess they think I am a drug smuggler. They don’t believe me when I tell them I fly there so much because I am in love with Supla the Brazilian superstar.

Topics: handbags. purses. fanny packs. heels. shoes. makeup.

BW: Um women who spend their entire months wages on a handbag I cannot understand. The only way I would carry an “it” bag is if I had a boyfriend that was rich enough to buy me one and even then I would punk it by defacing it with black magic marker just to be really annoying. Fanny packs are one of the great American fashion faux pas, heels? yes ,whenever possible and black eyeliner and lots of mascara even if you are only going to the post office.

listen to Brijitte's fiery guitars and beautiful voice at and