On Friday May 13th, Welsh glam veterans Tigertailz embark on their next tour of the UK. Supporting them on these dates are SPiT LiKE THiS who, despite being relatively new on the scene, have commanded a loyal following through constant touring and online promotions.
The group recently documented the recording of their anticipated second album Normalityville Horror via their website and have enjoyed numerous acclaimed appearances at such festivals as Hard Rock Hell. Along with frontman Lord Zion, bassist Vikki Spit has spent almost a decade performing with SPiT LiKE THiS, as well as designing merchandise for their company Smell Your Mum.
Following on from our recent interview with Lord Zion, Vikki talks about tattoos, fan videos and all things metal.
Do you feel that playing bass guitar was a natural evolution from learning the violin in high school? What impact did that instrument have on your passion for music when you were younger?
Well, I played violin for a little when i was maybe eight years old – and I can’t say I took to it! When I was a kid we had this old, battered, out of tune pub piano in our house, my dad had swiped it from outside a pub when they were throwing it out. I used to play around on that a lot, I guess that got me started on enjoying making loud noises.
I got my first bass when I was fourteen, the simple reason I chose bass was because I already knew loads of people who played guitar, but nobody who played bass.
One of the most common instruments for girls in rock groups is the bass guitar; why do you think this is?
My honest answer is – if it’s for the same reason as me – guitar is the automatic choice; you think rock band, you think guitar! Lead guitar, all that glory! All the chicks! All the prestige!
Girls tend to have less of that macho ego thing going on, we don’t feel such a strong urge to wear our ovaries on the outside as guys do, so we see a million guitarists, all well and good, but a distinctly lower number of good, rockin’ bassists; makes perfect sense!
Being a bassist doesn’t necessarily mean staying in the guitarist’s shadow, if you’re good at what you do, you can shine. Look at Nikki Sixx, he’s a bassist, but where would the Crüe be without him?
Who did you idolise when you were younger and was there one specific artist or album that first turned you onto the idea of forming a rock band?
I’ve never been one to have idols, I guess I’ve always just wanted to be me – as hard as I could be! No single performer or band made me want to start a band, I just wanted it. Then when I met Zion, it all just seemed to happen very naturally.
How would you describe the mindset that you are in during a show? Are you fully aware of everything around you or do you feel like you are in a trance?
Sometimes, it feels like time outside of me has slowed right down, and I’m in my own little dimension where I’m playing along with the rest of the band and enjoying myself; it’s like that when we’re spot on, dead tight and properly in the pocket, it feels like we couldn’t go wrong if we tried!
On occasion, I’m painfully aware of everything, that only happens when the sound is really bad or something has gone horribly wrong – like in Norway when I managed to smash my front teeth against my mic and lost all feeling in my mouth for three songs and was convinced I’d knocked all my teeth out!
The feeling (and some pain with it) came back eventually, and all my teeth were still in place, but until that point I had to think about what I was doing rather than lose myself in the joy of performing with SPiT LikE THiS like I usually do.
When did you get your first tattoo and would you say each one documents a certain moment in your life?
I got my first tattoo, a tiger, when I was eighteen. They all hold memories for me, some more so that others.
For example, I have a pink skullox (our logo) tattooed on my butt. That tattoo, all bloody and fresh, was the cover of our Dragged Kicking and Screaming EP.
I have Miss Spit on my fingers; that was done backstage at Download festival, so that holds memories for me – of watching Kiss with cling film and gaffa tape wrapped around my hands! I also have a tribute to Zion accross my back which, obviously, means a lot to me.
A lot of them, are purely because I like that image – like the tigers on my stomach, they are (non identical) twins, one is japanese in style, the other, sugar skull style. I want many more!
How would you say that the reaction from fans differs between countries and where do you enjoying performing the most?
What I’ve found is that in Europe, bands are treated with more respect. The fans (and venues for that matter) are aware that you have spent thousands of pounds and hours perfecting your art, they appreciate your effort and show that appreciation in how they enjoy your show.
Saying that though, some places in the UK give us such a brilliant welcome! I think actually it’s more where in the country you are which denotes how the audience reacts. In big cities, like London for example, there are a hundred bands on any night of the week, people are spoiled for entertainment, they take it a little for granted. Travel outside of London a bit and people are hungry for music and performance and they really enjoy themselves and aren’t afraid to show it- which I love!
What is the strangest gift you have been given by a fan?
Once, several years ago, me and Zion found a DVD balanced on the bonnet of our car (this was when we owned the Boner, a gorgeous classic Daimler hearse, sadly, no longer with us). This DVD was a homemade one in a clear plastic slip case, with the words ‘For SLT, My Wife, if you like this, call -‘ written on it. We were rather curious. It was a home-filmed video of a woman from the neck down, fucking herself silly with a variety of vibrators! We didn’t call the number, and to this day we have no idea who left it for us.
Is ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ an important element of the SPiT LiKE THiS philosophy and how do you want your audience to feel during your show?
Well who doesn’t like sex?? The drugs, no, not anymore. I don’t drink or do drugs, and I believe this has made me stronger as a performer, I have more energy and stamina and no hangovers!
I want the audience to enjoy themselves; I want them to scream, shout, sing along, mosh and have a good time. That is what it is all about, being with other people who enjoy live music and having a blast.
Some of the most iconic women in rock over the last thirty years have been Patti Smith, Joan Jett and Courtney Love. How do you feel about how women are portrayed in the metal scene and which in particular are strong role models?
I do think that the press portrays women in a sexual way firstly, and kind of brushes over their talents. Nine times out of ten, if you read a review on a band with a female member, if that member is mentioned, it’s a comment on how she looked rather than the great drum solo she started the set with, or how she interacts with the audience as she plays guitar. No one really gives a toss about how male bass players look, but it seems very important how a female bassist looks.
Women in metal who play an instrument are still a rarity, which is a shame, but understandable, it is an extremely male-dominated world. I think as a woman, you have to be better to be seen as equal, but, how you look will always come into it.
If one day the band came to an end and you no longer had interest in making music do you think you would focus solely on designing clothes, as your company Smell Your Mum has remained active for almost a decade?
Not make massive noise???!!!!
Smellyourmum.com has been a great success for me and Zion, we needed something to feed us and pay our rent while we worked on the band, but we couldn’t get ‘proper’ jobs as I believe they frown upon you rolling in at midday and taking three days or a week off every so often to go do some gigs.
We decided to try making and selling our own t-shirts, I learnt to screen print, Zion built a pretty website and off we went! And fuck me, it went! I dread to think how many tens of thousands of t-shirts I’ve printed since the start, but I am enormously proud of what we’ve achived, and I truly love it when I see someone if a t-shirt I’ve made.
Anyway, if I no longer wanted to make music, I guess I would keep on with smellyourmum.com, but I can’t imagine being totally out of the music biz. I could see me being a manager or tour manager, maybe an agent or some combination of agent/manager/shouty person. I’d also help out new bands in other ways, I know how expensive it can be to get merch running, so when I have a bit of time, I will do small runs of t-shirts for bands, I guess I’d do that a bit more too.
Please don’t take my bass away from me though!