Melissa Brooks doesn't just say she doesn't give a fuck – she really doesn't. After opening for the Vivian Girls during their farewell L.A. show on Valentine's Day, the 19-year-old budding rock star spent the headlining performance stage-diving.
She favors Doc Martens and cherry lipstick, and isn't shy about hoisting the middle finger. Add in the fact that she's a professionally-trained opera singer with perfect pitch, and it's easy to see why people are predicting that she'll blow up.
She founded the band Aquadolls in Seal Beach in 2012, but more recently is working on a solo psychedelic pop project with local producer Aaron Greene. The working title of the project is Psychedelic Love, she tells us while walking around Amoeba Records in Hollywood, the neighborhood she calls home.
Brooks describes her solo project as “Spice Girls but more punk.” Perhaps even more so, at her core she's the band geek version of Bangerz-era Miley Cyrus: Over the summer she surfed the crowd at Volcom Skatepark in Costa Mesa wearing a pink wig, and then brought an inflatable flamingo on the stage.
The new work should be out by the summer, but for now, Brooks is a freshman at Cal State Fullerton and says she's looking to ink a record deal. If and when that happens she plans to drop out. “My parents said it was okay,” she says with a nervous laugh.
Brooks was groomed for the music industry from an early age growing up in La Mirada. Her mom, a Mexican-American with a fondness for Hawaiian culture, enlisted her in Polynesian dance competitions during middle school.
“My mom has a weird obsession with Hawaii,” Brooks says. “I actually went to Tahiti for a competition when I was 13.”
As the Aquadolls frontwoman, Brooks writes loosey-goosey-punk dipped in 50's nostalgia and Snapchat gratification (That's an app Melissa is all too familiar with. “I've gotten' nudes from random people,” she says, while searching for a Muddy Waters CD for her dad.)
Their debut LP Stoked on You, released last year on Burger Records, included the single “Wander,” a distorted doo-wop track that describes the experience of dropping acid. Brooks' sings: “Don't know but i'll take this chance / Oh baby smile / Let your teeth show / Trip out / Let your mind wander.”
)The group made their mark on scene, but her new project will be a departure from her role as the guitar-wielding frontwoman. “I'll just be holding a mic and singing!” she says.
She's headed in a more Grimes-esque direction, transitioning from trippy surf into experimental electro-pop. With the Aquadolls at Burgerama III, it's going to be interesting to see what Brooks does, given her wild performance reputation.
Like we said: Giving a fuck? It's not in the cards for Melissa Brooks.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.