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Music / Veruca Salt

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Don't be fooled, they can rock out hard enough.

Volcano Girls, we really can't be beat,
Warm us up and watch us blow.
But now and then we fail and we admit defeat,
We're falling off, we are watered down and fully grown!
"Volcano Girls"

Veruca Salt are an Alternative Rock band from Chicago, formed in 1993. Named after a character from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the band had some initial success in The '90s before fading out of view.

The first and most famous incarnation of the band coalesced around Louise Post and Nina Gordon, who both played guitars, sang, and wrote almost all the band's songs (barring some covers and a co-write). Soon enough, they filled out the band with bassist Steve Lack and Nina's brother Jim Shapiro on drums, and gained a record deal with Minty Fresh Records. Their first album, American Thighs, boasted their trademark The Pixies influenced Power Pop and became reasonably successful, chiefly due to Gordon's "Seether" being released as a single and Brad Wood's Grungey production helping it appeal to the alt-rock audience.

After buying time with a noisier, harsher EP called Blow It Out Your Ass It's Veruca Salt, the band moved to Geffen Records and began working on their next album with Bob Rock, apparently because they were impressed by his production for Metallica's Self-Titled Album. The result was Eight Arms to Hold You, which once again became successful due to a Gordon lead single, namely "Volcano Girls" (the Colbert Bump it got from being in the credits of Jawbreaker may have helped). However, the band failed to sustain its momentum as subsequent singles from the album tanked on the charts and Shapiro left after the album was released, being replaced with Stacy Jones for the supporting tour.

The band acrimoniously collapsed only a year later as Gordon left with Lack after arguments with Post. Post re-organised the band, bringing in new members to an almost Revolving Door Band-like degree, and recorded two more albums: Resolver, which got a lukewarm reception due to its unfocused nature and Author Tract-like tendency to throw potshots at Gordon and various other targets, and IV.

Then the unthinkable happened, in March 2013 an announcement was made on the band's official Facebook saying "hatchets buried, axes exhumed" - officially Putting the Band Back Together. Fan's patience was finally rewarded with the release of a new song "The Museum of Broken Relationships" in April 2014 followed by the band embarking on a US tour. A second new song "It's Holy" was released during the tour. A brand new album, Ghost Notes, followed in 2015 cementing the band's return.

Notable Songs:


First incarnation (1993-1998):

  • Nina Gordon - guitar, vocals
  • Louise Post - guitar, vocals
  • Steve Lack - bass
  • Jim Shapiro - drums, occasional vocals (1993-1997)
  • Stacy Jones - drums (1997-1998)

Second incarnation (1998-2013):

  • Louise Post - guitar, vocals
  • Stephen Fitzpatrick - guitar
  • Suzanne Sokol - bass (1998-2000)
  • Gina Crosley - bass (2000-2005)
  • Solomon Snyder - bass (2005)
  • Nicole Fiorentino - bass (2005-2013, also playing with The Smashing Pumpkins)
  • Jimmy Madla - drums (1998-2005)
  • Michael Miley - drums (2005)
  • Kellii Scott - drums (2005-2013)

Third incarnation (2013-):

  • Nina Gordon - guitar, vocals
  • Louise Post - guitar, vocals
  • Steve Lack - bass
  • Jim Shapiro - drums, occasional vocals


  • American Thighs (1994)
  • Blow It Out Your Ass It's Veruca Salt EP (1996)
  • Eight Arms to Hold You (1997)
  • Resolver (2000)
  • Officially Dead EP (2003)
  • Lords of Sounds and Lesser Things (2005)
  • IV (2006)
  • Ghost Notes (2015)

Tropes are, neither, big nor small...

  • Brother–Sister Team: The band's first incarnation; Jim only joined because he owed his sister a favour.
  • The Cameo: They cameo'ed as a replacement band in the video for "Painted Soldiers" by Pavement.
  • Call-Back: The section of "Volcano Girls" where they sing 'the Seether's Louise' is a musical one to the first verse of "Seether", complete with scratchy guitar.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Resolver is potentially a victim of this, as this is their only studio album to be omitted from most digital/streaming music services. This was the first album since Nina Gordon left the band, and considering how several songs on the album contain harsh lyrics that are often believed to be about Gordon (for instance, "Born Entertainer" and "Only You Know"), it's understandable that they might not have wanted to acknowledge songs with such lyrics when Gordon and Post have since made peace.
  • Cover Version: "Bodies" by Sex Pistols, "My Sharona" by The Knack, "Burned" by Neil Young.
  • Darker and Edgier: Both of the Post-only albums.
  • Epic Rocking: "25" and "Disinherit" are longer than their usual songs.
  • Hulking Out: What the song "Seether" is about.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: There exists a solo Nina Gordon cover of N.W.A's "Straight Outta Compton," preformed in a cheery folk sound. We shit you not.
  • Metal Scream: Occasionally... "Shimmer Like a Girl", "I'm Taking Europe With Me", "Straight" and "Earthcrosser", for starters.
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Mostly present and accounted for.
  • Pun-Based Title: Resolver.
  • Record Producer: Brad Wood (American Thighs), Steve Albini (Blow It Out Your Ass It's Veruca Salt), Bob Rock (Eight Arms to Hold You), and self-production since.
  • Sequel Song: "Volcano Girls" refers back to "Seether" and includes the "extra clue" that "the Seether's Louise" (Post).
  • Shout-Out: Let's see... The band takes its name from a character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, American Thighs is a line from "You Shook Me All Night Long", Eight Arms to Hold You was the working title for The Beatles' movie Help!, Resolver is another Beatles pun, Blow It Out Your Ass It's Veruca Salt could be a reference to Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, the bridge of "Number One Blind" quotes The Pixies' "Stormy Weather", "With David Bowie" is obvious, "Laughing in the Sugar Bowl" namedrops "Whole Lotta Love" and "Dirty Back Road", and "Volcano Girls" simultaneously referenced "Glass Onion" by The Beatles and their first hit with the verse:
    I told you about the Seether before
    You know the one that's neither or nor
    Well here's another clue if you please,
    • The line 'jubilation, he loves me again' in "The Museum of Broken Relationships" is one to "Cecilia" by Simon & Garfunkel.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Aurora."
    • And Nina Gordon’s solo song “Tonight And The Rest Of My Life”, which became a minor hit shortly after the band broke up. It sounds more like Sarah McLachlan than Veruca Salt.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Gordon and Post during the band's first incarnation — typically each would sing lead vocals on half the songs on each album with the other providing harmony vocals.
  • Take That!: There's quite a bit of it on Resolver.