I recently had the opportunity to interview the legendary Jennifer Herrema while her band, RTX was performing at The Funhouse in Seattle. Aside from her talents as rock vocalist/song-smith/frontwoman, Herrema is also an accomplished writer/journalist (VICE, Dazed & Confused, Raygun), visual artist, producer (Palace Brothers, the Kills, etc), and fashion icon [she was one of the original "heroin chic" poster girls photographed by Steven Meisel for Calvin Klein in the mid-nineties]. Jennifer was also one half of Royal Trux, the highly influential rock group formed with her ex, Neil Michael Hagerty (Howling Hex) in the late 80s. After 13 years of playing together, the band split up in 2001.
A few years later, Herrema resurfaced -sans Hagerty- and a new band known as RTX (“Rad Times Xpress”) was born. Still fronted by Herrema, the new incarnation features members Nadav Eisenman, Kurt Midness, Brian Mckinley, and Jaimo Welch. The Seattle show was part of a two-week West Coast tour with newcomers Heavy Cream (Nashville, TN). RTX‘s long-awaited full-length “RAD TIMES IV” is due out in January 2012 on Drag City Records.
Just before dusk, I waited for RTX in front of the empty venue. The long, gray monorail loomed overhead, sliding itself inside the metallic EMP glob that represents what “rock ‘n’ roll” might have looked like. As the sun set behind the strange scene, RTX‘s van pulled up and I was taken aboard. “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins was playing on the radio.
“How’d you know it was me you were meeting with?” I asked the woman in front of me, recognizing Jennifer from photos that I had seen. “Well, Brian seemed to know you,” she replied. “He doesn’t usually talk to people otherwise.“ I had met Brian two days previous while night swimming with friends on Lake Washington. Kurt and Brian had come into my bar the next day and downed some tequilas, as well. Seattle is a small place in that way.
The van drove to the back alley, where the gear is loaded onto the stage. We walked down the street to a spot with remaining daylight and I took a few photos of the band. Afterward, Jennifer found a new Miata roadster for us to lean on while we talked. She lit her cigarette, balancing a plastic cup of white wine on her knee while I set up the recorder… Read the rest of this entry →