Q&A: The Kills' Alison Mosshart Talks the Dead Weather, Discount, and 90210

TheKills_general1_Shawn Brackbill.jpg
Shawn Brackbill
​If you grew up in South Florida and are old enough to remember the mid- and late '90s, you might remember the band Discount. The Vero Beach punk ensemble was led by then middle schooler Alison Mosshart. The once-underaged songstress is now a grown woman living in London as one-half of the Kills and moonlights as a member of Jack White's supergroup the Dead Weather. 

"I have so many fond memories of those days," Mosshart says of performing around these parts as a youngster. "I was 14 years old, driving around in a van or car or whatever we could get our hands on. We played Florida constantly. We weren't really allowed to go much further," she laughs. 

Discount played every skate park or house that would open their doors to them. Since she was under 18, they didn't play bars very often. When they did, it was a problem. "I wasn't really allowed in the places I was playing," Mosshart remembers waiting outside at venues to be allowed in only to perform. Though the band went its separate ways in 2000, Mosshart says she saw all of her former bandmates over the holidays. 

Her current musical partner, Jamie Hince, is known as a guitarist for bands Blyth Power and Scarfo and for dating Kate Moss. As the Kills, Hince and Mosshart put out their first album in 2003.

Their fourth, Blood Pressures, was released last year demonstrating a quirky set of sounds, including a track with a touch of reggae. When asked if there was anything that influenced this album, Mosshart says, "We both tend to not listen to anything in the studio except for what we're working on. There's always that fear that something of someone else's will get in your head and somehow find its way into your music."

They're too focused on not repeating themselves, she notes, saying, "We're trying to do a record we haven't done before." Those that resemble songs on previous albums are discarded. 


"Jamie, when he was a kid, really young, grew up in South Africa." The drummers there influenced his sound, according to Mosshart: "I think they really stuck in his psyche." Both musicians write songs and lyrics. Albums are 50 percent him, 50 percent her. When they first started working as a team, they lived on different continents and communicated musically by mailing tapes to each other, like in the mail. "We don't sit around together and jam," she says. They still make their music separately, then come together to create the final product. 

The Kills' songs have been in numerous movies and television shows. From the remake of Friday the 13th to True Blood to 90210, their tunes are used in a range of manners. Mosshart is a fan of Gossip Girl, in which a the Kills' song has appeared. "We choose the shows that we like," Mosshart claims, though she was never one to watch 90210, then -- in the '90s -- or now. Though sometimes she thinks it works and sometimes it doesn't, she's glad to be involved. "I get excited," Mosshart admits. "I like hearing other people's take on it." 

She's also one-fourth of the Dead Weather, which formed in 2009 with Jack White, Jack Lawrence, and Dean Ferita. When this side project arose, there was some conflict for her in balancing the two bands. "It just fell out of the sky for all of us." 


She admits of her work with the Kills at the time: "I guess I put things on hold slightly. When something works, like with the Dead Weather, all of us, we had to do it because it was working. [It was] kind of a responsibility. You find something magical, it would be stupid to put it on the shelf and leave it there. You have to kind of see it through." After two albums, it ran its course and all the musicians went back to their bands, picking up where they left off. She's sure they'll play together again, but, she believes, "It will have to be as organic and wonderful as it was before." 

Of performing in her home state again, she says: "I'm really excited, especially because my mom and dad can come. It'll be great." Though she visits her family in Florida, it's not often that the Kills make it around these parts. Mosshart added, "I'm glad we're doing it." 

The Kills. 8 p.m. Saturday, January 28, at Revolution, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $21.50. Call 954-449-1025, or visit jointherevolution.net.


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