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
Dee Dee played a few shows backed by friends — including her husband, Brandon Welchez, singer for the Crocodiles — but it was important to her that the final lineup be all female. She assembled the gang from a continent-spanning network of like-minded players: drummer Frankie Rose from New York, bassist Bambi from Austin and guitarist Jules from San Diego.
The L.A. Times and others have reported that Dee Dee moved to L.A. in order to start anew — the band's MySpace page designates its location as Los Angeles — but this is an unexpected sticking point during the interview:
"When exactly did you move to Los Angeles?"
"Well, I'm kind of transient, so that's the ... issue. I'm in San Diego a lot, I'm in L.A. a lot, and I'm traveling a lot, so we're kind of a cityless band."
"But you're married, so there must be a place you call home."
"[Pause.] I spend the most time in San Diego."
Don't fault Dee Dee for being eager to put the past behind her, even if the move comes with its marketing benefits (L.A. being the new home of noise-pop and all). In past interviews, she's mentioned the frustrations of being a woman in a man's world, musically speaking, and when she's asked about the challenges she has faced in that role, Dee Dee finally opens up a little about her old band.
"It was isolating and incredibly frustrating," she says. The other two members of Grand Ole Party were men. "I can't elaborate on it, but I was burned, which is entirely why I needed to do everything on my own terms. And why it's only now that I'm able to enjoy working with other people again."
Dee Dee's lyrics mimic the dark/light dynamic of her sound: Listen to "Bhang Bhang, I'm a Burnout," about the wonders and bummers of smoking too much pot, or "Blank Girl," a sweet duet with her husband about coming out of her shell, or the numerous covers she has recorded. One of those, the Rolling Stones classic "Play With Fire," is more than a little misogynist.
"It's fun to take something back like that," she says. "I like owning the power, being the person that would deal out the fire."
So who is Dee Dee? She's a cat owner, a former theater geek, a krautrock fan, the type of person who uses eyeliner to turn the occasional zit into a beauty mark, and also the type to put a stunning photo of her mother on the cover of her debut album.
But when all's said and done, it might be easiest to say that "Dee Dee," the Dum Dum Girl formerly known as Kristin Gundred, is not someone who gets burned.