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Warpaint: Back From The Road, Ready For The Bowl

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Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 5:00 AM

click to enlarge Warpaint's Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Stella Mozgawa and Jenny Lee Lindberg. - STEVE APPLEFORD
  • Steve Appleford
  • Warpaint's Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Stella Mozgawa and Jenny Lee Lindberg.
The road can take some getting used to for a young garage band. For the ladies of Warpaint, the last seven weeks riding tour buses and airplanes across Australia, Japan, Europe and the U.K. took a serious toll. The indie rock quartet were finishing up promoting their acclaimed debut album from last year, the elegantly frayed and understated The Fool. They had never been away quite so long.

Singer-guitarist Emily Kokal was proud to consume fewer "toxins" on this trip, but Theresa Wayman was feeling crowded. "By the end, I had bald patches that I had to get re-patched because I was pulling my hair out," recalls Wayman, who also sings and plays guitar, with a laugh. "There was never a moment to be alone and after a while I started to get really claustrophobic."

Now things have mostly returned to normal. Wayman's five-year-old son, named after the distant star Sirius B, just started first grade. This afternoon the band is at one of their favorite outdoor tables at Café Stella in Silver Lake, looking healthy and relaxed in the heat amid a parade of poached eggs and escargot whizzing past. They are warm and chatty, like friends catching up over lunch. It was here that Aussie drummer Stella Mozgawa first agreed to join the locally-based outfit (the others were lifelong friends), stepping away from life as an in-demand session and touring musician. She was ready to struggle and starve for art and rock 'n' roll, if that's what it took to be a full partner in Warpaint.

"I feel like this last year and a half traveling so much, and meeting all kinds of new people, has been a total rebirth," says Wayman, dressed in black. "I found new parts of myself in a really dramatic way."

Only a few scattered live dates remain ahead of them before the band begins writing a new album, with recording sessions likely to start in February. On Sunday, Warpaint make their Hollywood Bowl debut as part of a mini festival of forward-looking rock, headlined by TV On the Radio and Arctic Monkeys.

"It's happening a lot sooner than we expected, but we're also probably playing at 5:30," bassist-singer Jenny Lee Lindberg jokes of Warpaint's gig at the huge, iconic venue, having swept into her chair wearing a green dress of summery cotton gauze, her black hair cropped short on the sides, thick and wavy on top. "We've been everywhere we need to go, probably more than once, and it's just time to stop."

Kokal leans across the table. "I didn't really realize what we were getting into...Now I feel like I'm going to be much more conscious of what I put into an album, because it's going to be dictating the next two years of my life."

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