Music News

Beth Ditto and her Gossip mates are giving folks something to talk about

The hurricane that is Beth Ditto and her band, Gossip, just released the fourth full-length of their ten-year career, their first for a major label. The album, Music for Men, produced by Rick Rubin, finds ditto and her mates — guitarist/synth Nathan Howdeshell (Brace Paine) and drummer Hannah Billie — continuing to lace sultry dance tracks with thought-provoking lyrics. We caught up with Paine recently and gained some insight on the songwriting process, why the outfit dropped "the" from its moniker, and how you get drunker faster in Denver.

Westword: You guys seem to travel overseas often and have amassed a heavy following there. Is there any particular reason why?

Brace Paine: We get a lot of offers over there, so we just end up over there a lot more. It's just something that happens, I guess.

Tell me about the songwriting process that went into this new album as opposed to the others.

You know, it's pretty democratic: Hannah makes up the drum beat, I make up the guitar bass or keyboard line, and Beth does the vocals. It's pretty simple, actually. Hannah comes up with a melody, and we just sort of jam on it. It's a pretty simple process.

What's the story behind "Brace Paine"?

[Laughs.] Oh, yeah, I like the idea of keeping it — the personal life and that — separate, you know? I used to do zines and write under that name as well.

When you're gone from the States or on the road touring, is there ever a time when you miss home?

Oh, personally? Me? No. Never! Hannah and Beth have a house, and I'm more interested in traveling. I view it like I get paid to go to England and Paris and Europe, and, you know, sometimes I'll just stay there and tour the city staying on couches. I feel pretty lucky that way, to see the world and get paid for it. I try to take advantage of that as much as possible.

What was the story about taking the "the" off of The Gossip?

I think a few years ago, a lot of people were lumping us into the 'the' bands. There were all these 'the' bands, and it was the thing, so we just sort of got rid of it. We just swept it under the rug.

You've been through Denver before, haven't you?

I'm excited about Denver; I really like Denver. We've toured there a bunch of times. Uh, the Larimer Lounge is one place, I think? Yeah, Denver's a cool city. Don't you get drunk faster because of the altitude?

Indeed you do.

It's going to be a sloppy show. Ha!

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Brian Frederick