By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Indeed, Auf der Maur retains a home in New York and pays U.S. taxes, perhaps aiming to retain a balance between the contrasting joys and opportunities presented by Canadian and American life.
But the nostalgic allure of Montreal is entirely in keeping with Auf der Maur’s love of continuity — musical, personal and spiritual. This is not a gal who gave her less-than-hip hometown and left-behind buddies a gloating finger when fame came calling. A natural collaborator, she has now enlisted musical soul mates she’s met along the way — including her original companions in her pre-Hole outfit, Tinker; Hole’s Eric Erlandson; Smashing Pumpkins’ James Iha; and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme — to create a sumptuous and somewhat eclectic album of unexpected muscle and majesty. Auf der Maur remains loyal to old friends and old songs alike, despite her worldwide whirlwind lifestyle: “Real a Lie,” from her new album, was written with Tinker over 10 years ago. “When I left that band, and left that person, and left my family, that song was in that line of people I was leaving. It was like, ‘I’ll be back for you, I promise.’”
Auf der Maur veers from the Led Zep pseudo-orchestral flurries of the single “Followed the Waves” to the almost vaudeville perkiness of “I’ll Be Anything You Want.” Multitiered guitar textures familiar to Pumpkins fans are present, but the overwhelming impression is of front-to-back quality tunes. (It soundslike a disc a decade in the writing.) It’s an authentic statement; hardly challenging rock’s existing borders, it nevertheless certainly establishes its own little fiefdom. Though lead vocals are not yet second nature to Auf der Maur, she carries the album charmingly despite moments of self-conscious overenunciation that conjure images of repeated takes in the vocal booth.
While the album has already been embraced by European punters and pundits, Auf der Maur claims commercial success and critical acclaim are secondary to her game plan. “What I’m looking forward to is establishing my freedom — that’s what I’ve done with this record. That’s the foundation and the spirit of this project, and everything from here on out is kind of in that spirit.
“Being able to create an environment I want: the band members to put this live band together, or the management, or what kind of tour bus — whatever . . . the way I see it, I graduated toward this freedom, and I’m very lucky that so far the studies I had and the work that I put into my commitment to music has resulted in this kind of freedom.”
Flaws and all, Auf der Maur still floors most of its competition, and its author’s genuine talent and gentle conviction indicate that Melissa’s here to stay. “When I decided to make this record, it was the beginning of ‘Have no fear.’ I’ve always known that fear is evil. It’ll drag you down, it’ll stop you from believing in your dreams.”