Storm Large Interview - PortlandBarFly.com
Storm Large makes her debut this Wednesday, July 5th (8pm) on CBS's rock-and-roll reality series, Rockstar: Supernova! Check out a preview of the series online at http://rockstar.msn.com. Here's the here-to-fore unpublished rest of the BarFly Profile interview I did with Storm way on back in 2004 - rereading it now, makes me all the more excited to see her going balls out on national t.v. Hope you enjoy it, too!
When did you become Storm Large?
It was my birth name. My father is Henry W. Large, my grandfather, Henry W. Large, brothers John and Henry Large, and mom, Susie. My real name is Susan Storm Large. Susan, after my mother, and my mom had a friend in town named 'Storm Dumont'. She thought the name Storm was soooo cool. And her name was Susan growing up. It was such a normal name, there were all these different Susans in her school, and she wanted me to have a really....I was the only girl, and the boys got Large family names and so she wanted to name me something kooky and weird.
So, you've been Storm Large since day one...
Since 1969, baby!
When did you start singing?
I could always sing, but no one ever in my life told me that that was worth anything. Like whenever I would sing, like, at camp, or in church - I was in choir for a little while in high school, and I would take solos and whatever. And I was in plays, and stuff. From when I was in fifth grade, I was the lead in all the plays, and I'd sing and whenever I'd try out, they'd be like, "Oh, Storm's gonna get the lead, blah blah", but no one ever told me like on 'Behind the Music', like with Pink and all those fucking bitches and shit, "We knew right away! And we'd tell her, oh my god, she bah bah bah..." But, um, no one ever did. They were like, "she can sing, that's great. She better fuckin' learn how to add up a tab on a bar bill. Learn how to spell. Figure out how to make a bed..."But, um, it wasn't until, god, I went to acting school, in New York City. They were really into my voice, a lot. But, still, I thought, acting is more of a trade, not singing. But I was a shitty actor. 'Cause I was 19, and just queasy and you know, what do you know? I was such a late bloomer, and so emotionally retarded. I look at people now, like young Hollywood or young people that I meet, my teenage cousins, and stuff like that, and I'm like, man, I was so stupid, for a long time. I lost my virginity really young and I was really into sex like stupid early, like 12, 13. And I knew sex was going to be a big part of my life. Either in the sex industry, or you know... I didn't consider myself pretty, no one ever told me I was pretty. I was overweight. I was like one of those punk rock girls with all the hair over one eye and the fishnets and the army jacket. But I'd fuck, and people knew that I'd fuck, and so I made friends that way. But I was just emotionally retarded, and you have to have some level of maturity to act. I'd always fall back on singing, and they'd be like, oh, my god, the voice on her. But, again, no one ever said, "Have you ever thought about just singing, recording music?"
After I graduated, I moved to San Francisco - I don't know why, someone was driving there and they wanted someone to help drive, and I'd never been to California, so I did, and I arrived with garbage bags full of stuff, and stayed for eleven years. Someone heard me sing something, and asked me to sing a song with their band. As soon as I did one song, "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benatar, like five people at that show were like, "are you in a band? Do you want to be in a band? Want to be in a band with me?" So, I started playing music with this guy. Who I slept with, and then I dumped him, and then I was in a band with other people, and it kind of went on like that for a while. I'd just fuck people in bands, and then they'd leave. That was bad. I mean, but, it's like you're working with someone, like in the workplace. I don't want to fuck anyone I don't have anything in common with, and I like I feel better with someone, we're not gonna have a kid, but we're gonna make music together and we're gonna be around each other so frequently, so constantly, that we might as well start fuckin', cause I like a lot of sex, all the time!
The Balls are such a great band - everyone's a rockstar - but you're the superstar. What are you doing wasting your time in Portland? Why aren't you in L.A. or New York, making it big?
I'm a jaded, ex-almost-superstar. If I had a fucking nickel for every goddamn person who's like, "Why aren't you super famous?", I would be famous. It was never my goal to be super famous. I always liked to be loved and popular, like, who doesn't? But, everytime I got close to that world, it was just gross. And I'd sabotage it, maybe. I don't remember consciously sabotaging it, but maybe I did. But, I love my band, now. Though, when I moved here I was gonna quit music, and be a caterer or a chef, go to culinary school. I was tired of trying to be a superstar, cause everytime I tried to be just a musician, it would turn into a superstar thing. Either, people would hate me because they thought I was trying to be a star, or people would be angry at me because I wasn't trying hard enough to be a star. And then, I'm sitting there going, do I want to be a star? Or do I want to be a good songwriter? 'Cause I'm an okay songwriter, but I'm not great. But, everytime I start trying to write songs and perform, people are like, you're a superstar and I'm gonna make you famous! And other people are going, you're a fucking rockstar and fuck you! I'm this totally wanting-to-please-everybody kind of woman, so I'm like, no, what do you mean, I'm totally down. "No, fuck you, record labels, I don't want anything to do with you."Am I down enough? Then I'd try to be ugly. Then I'd try be pretty. I don't know. I was like, you know what, I'm not strong enough to do this. So, I'm gonna be a cook. And I moved here, and started bartending, and looking into the Culinary Institute. They still call me, because they read about me in the paper.
I wasn't built for speed. I was built for comfort. People equate being famous with validating your work. And I get infected by that. And people infected me with that from the moment I ever touched a mic as a rock musician and I tried to go for that brass ring of getting signed. I had famous people coming to my shows. Nikki Sixx loved me, and Rick Rubin loved my voice.
So, where do you see your life going from here?
[laughing] Down the tubes, totally in the sewer. Fuck, I'm so day to day, I can't plan. I'd like to be kind of like the Gen-X Bette Midler of my day. Kind of put shows together, like what the Balls are doing, maybe this is just wishful thinking, but we're so like the Cliff Notes of our youth. Bringing an easily digested version of our punk rock thrasher days, toning it down for our older years, but keeping it current. Keeping it political and funny. Still being a little bit edgy with whatever commentary that I pull out of my ass when I'm wasted on Jager onstage. I don't know. I'd like to do what like Bette Midler, or Bernadette Peters, or Frank Sinatra did. My stongest suit is performance, and not the crafting of songs. I leave that to the Patty Smiths of this world, the writers. I'm a ranter. I take what's already been said and amplify points, and that's kind of my skill, and I want to do that until I lose my voice. Pray to god, it never happens, but age does set in. And that changes things.
Do you have any trepidations?
A lot of my stuff is self-imposed. I should have more money, I should be more like this, I should be more like that. But, truth is, I'm doing really well. I'm like the type of person - this was my day off. I got my toes painted, I got a haircut, I walked around Lloyd center and I looked at shit. And I didn't answer my phone. I was on the computer for a minute, I did a little bit of work, not much. But, all the while going, I should be writing something, I should call somebody, I should be doing something. As artists, we don't have a nine-to-five, so we think we're lazy. It's in our heads, in society, that we're lazy and we're not doing anyting, not contributing anything. But we're working constantly just by living, and breathing. But, um, so all my little sniggly anxieties are self-imposed and phantomous. But, physically, I've never looked, or felt, better. I was an ugly, chubby, miserable teenager. Punk rock with the black stripe across my eyes, I dyed my hair black, it hung in my face, it looked terrible. I didn't have a mom. My mom was crazy, always in institutions, so I didn't have a woman to take me shopping or buy me make-up or show me how to put on make-up, or dress me, or anything. So I wore my brothers', or my dad's clothes.
So, I like, recently just came into my own femaleness. I have girlfriends, now. And I've kind let this brittle guy bravado thing kind of ebb off a little bit. Part of the show now is that I wear dresses. I always wanted to be in a show where I wore fantasy clothes, because it's so not like me to dress fancy. But it's cool, and it's leaking into my life, and I'm being all feminine, and painting my toes, and I got a manicure last week. I broke a nail already, but...
Does it freak you out that everyone falls in love with you? Have you had any bizarre freaky fan experiences?
You know, because I was gross when I was growning up, I still kind of feel like that person. I get all like, you know, I'm just a ham, thanks, thanks. I always show my appreciation, but sometimes people look at me like they put this emphasis on what they see in me, and how they would feel if they were me, their projections. And, like, men think immediately that I would be a bitch. Automatically, they figure automatically, she hates men. And some women feel intimidated by me. I don't get a lot of catty, bitchy stuff, but I get a lot of really insecure, like they yammer at me, and want my approval. They massage me, and try to get on me. And I have really small boundaries with people. I let people touch me. And that can be dangerous.
Some people think that I'm so special. And they think about me, and it gets in their head, and either they love me, love me, love me, and they think I'm amazing, and oh, "I love you so much and and I want to be closer to you and I want to be your friend." Or they think and think and think about me, never meet me, never talk to me, and hate me. Hate me because I have all this stuff. It was interesting. I was walking around the mall today. I'd just got my toes done, my hair done, I'm looking at stuff, and I felt hot. Hot. I was walking around, kind of strutting, like, yeah, I look good. Whoo yeah, teenage boys! I'm thirty-five, whatever, fuck you, you think I'm nothing. Yeah, I'm going to Jamba Juice, I'm going to Hot Topic and look at earrings, and you know, being a girl. And I noticed men looking sometimes, and they're with their girlfriends, and they look at me and it feels good, but I'm like, men are men, and men look. Then I noticed women looking. And I saw a teenage girl, must have worked at Nordstrom's. She was going down the escalator as I was coming up. And I saw her kind of look at me, and not want to look like she was looking at me, and I saw... sadness. She was young, must have been 17, kinda chubby, she still had babyfat, you know. And looking at me, just kind of seeing my confidence, maybe, I don't know, maybe I was reading into it, and was jealous and just kind of looked like, dejected, like wow, she's amazing, and I'll never look like that. 'Cause I'd felt like that. And maybe she wasn't even thinking that, maybe she's like, it must be nice to have a fucking day off you lazy whore! You know? But I remembered feeling like her, and all of a sudden, I started to walk differently, and I was like, okay.
Then, as I walked through the mall, on the way to the bookstore, I saw an older woman in her fifties, walk by me, and look at me. In her face, I saw "wow if I looked like that when I was your age." Looking at me like, "I wish I could start over again." And I felt another kind of jealousy. I'm like, is this what we do as women? Do we covet? And do I have all these powers that I'm supposed be changing the world or doing something different that maybe I'm not doing? Am I gonna get older and regret my wasted youth? Or am I working, am I doing enough? I read this interview with Gloria Steinem, and she was like, "We lose power as we get older, cause our power is in our sexual prime, when men are attracted to us." I'm like, is that true? That's awful. You know cause I'm like, well, here I am right now, and all I'm doing is walking around the mall looking at shit. On my day off. And I just want to hangout and have a nice day and feel confident. And I don't feel hot because men love me. I just feel good today. I feel healthy. I don't care about the fact that I ate spaghetti last night. I'm not counting my calories and carbs and how long did I ride my bike, and how much do I weigh. Today, I'm gonna leave myself alone. And not everyone, but a couple of women are upset by that. It's weird. Because I look in the mirror now, and I see the performer when I'm putting on make-up and stuff. And I'm like cool, genetically, god was good to me. I didn't think so five years ago. I saw a picture of myself when I was 19. And I look the same! When I was 19, I was like, god, I'm so big. I used to pray, pray, so hard, that god would make me small and skinny and quiet. God make me shorter, make me shrink, may me skinny and make me quiet, I'm so loud, please shut me up. Just teach me to shut up. People will like me if I'm quiet. And thank god, he never granted my wish.As it appeared in Print: