Michele Madden - Tourettes - Back
Interviewer: Cameron Edney - http://insideout666.mysite.freeserve.com

This year is going to be a massive year for the Australian metal scene. Many venues are finally opening their doors again to rock & metal bands which is fantastic to see, not just here in Sydney but all over Australia. The Australian hard rock & metal scenes are blooming with many talented bands gaining strong fanatical followings. With so much fantastic talent right here in my back yard I wanted to take the opportunity this year to showcase some of our great acts to the rest of the world. One of the bands that will be kicking major ass this year is Sydney based Tourettes. During 2005 the band released their first ever DVD, toured overseas & locally to sold out crowds, Hit the studio writing & recording new tracks for their soon to be released third album ‘Sicksence’. After months of trying to organize this interview, last week I caught up with Tourettes singer Michele Madden. We spoke about being in the studio, touring the world, tattoos, the extended Tourettes tribe, the Sikfuks & much more. It’s time to stand the fuck up with one of Australia’s greats, Tourettes!


Metal Fanatix: Hey Michele, first of all mate thanks for putting some time aside to answer the following questions for all of our readers. How have you been?

Michele Madden: Really good Cam, Fuckin' ace to finally catch up with you!

Metal Fanatix: It sure is mate, we’ve been trying to organize this for a few a while so it’s great to be able to finally do it. Now Tourettes have been off the road over the holidays, what have you guys been up to?

Michele Madden: Well Ash & Ross went out to Germany to hammer out our European record deal which is giving me the horn cause that means a small van, crap food & summer festivals! Then to L.A. where they were getting management sorted. Mikey hung back here & worked & spent time with his lady love. I stayed here & wrote & went to the gym. Exciting? No [laughs]

Metal Fanatix:
I believe you guys will be playing at the Sydney ‘Big Day Out’ festival; do you have any other shows currently lined up?

Michele Madden: We have a few secret ones [laughs]. To tell the truth we’re going into lock down before we play the B.D.O. because I want that shit to be tight. I have been practicing my drumming! It’s gonna be one hell of a day. But yeah, we are gonna do a thank you show in Sydney like we did last time for all the sikfuks who couldn’t make it to the B.D.O. Then I think one in Newcastle & one in the 'Gong.

Metal Fanatix: Tourettes formed back in 2000 right here in Sydney. For those who don’t know too much about the band give us a quick run down!

Michele Madden: Oh Fuck! [Laughs], I met Ash at a House party at the Ranch, he met Ross at a pub & Ross knew Mikey & then we were a band. That’s how I remember it. It all happened pretty fast. Been rockin' the Fuckin' free world much to the disgust of most "True Metalheads" *snort* ever since.

Metal Fanatix: Michele, ‘Detestimony’, the second album really helped build a bigger fan base for you guys, especially with songs such as ‘Stand’ receiving more airplay can we expect to see more of the same on the next album ‘Sicksence’ or are you guys heading in a new direction?

Michele Madden: All directions Cam! I never wanna limit myself. The Boys open my mind as I do theirs. I am the Bogan slob Who Throws on "Use your illusion 1 & 2" in the van & Mikey brings The Metors & Ross can be counted on for Primus & Led Zepplin. Ash has really fallen in love with Meshuggah & Alice in Chains. I have gone from really heavy to singing my ring out. Any cunt can get up there & do the cookie monster & you can’t understand a Fuckin' word! Mix it up some. It’s the wait & see approach!

Metal Fanatix: Lets talk about these new songs mate, I believe you guys have recorded thirteen tracks for the new album can you share any titles with us?

Michele Madden: Good number huh?

Metal Fanatix: [laughs] yeah mate one of my faves [laughs].

Michele Madden: Sure, some of the tracks are: N.O.L.A, Cinommen Hill, Fracture, Rod-Fuckin'-Stuart, Gear, Good Morning. Oh I’m having a brain fart cause I just woke up [laughs]. That’s all I can think of for now!

Metal Fanatix: Cool, I can’t wait to hear Rod-Fuckin-Stuart. When you prepare to do a new album, what comes first the lyrics or the music?

Michele Madden: Ash & I are always working pretty much neck & neck at all times. Ash on his side of town & me on mine. I say that I am never ready until he yells at me & then we hang up on each other a few times & it’s on [laughs]. He plays me what he's done, which can be heartbreaking if I can’t find myself on the ball straight away, but you have to be ruthless. If it’s not there, it gets chucked. He can work out where I am coming from pretty fast. Working with Ash has taught me to be less precious because so much shit gets discarded. If I have a real attachment to a lyric it often goes back into the mix at a later date.

Then we take 'em to the boys & we all live with 20+ songs in demo form. Then we argue some more & go into the studio as a band & knock it out. A long process filled with much profanity.

Metal Fanatix: [laughs] Hey nothing wrong with profanity [laughs]. Has a release date been set for the new album?

Michele Madden: To tell you the truth, no. But we keep saying March. We have to be sure that what ever deal we go with is the right one. This is our life here, it’s not gonna stop. Bands like The Melvins, The Hard ons, The Butthole Surfers, they don’t stop. I wanna go till I have a full body suit & grey dreads to the floor!

Metal Fanatix: You guys also released your first DVD a few months back, what can you tell us about that?

Michele Madden: For all the shit that we get, I have always believed that we are pretty hot as a live band & I wanted a chance to show that. I wanted to get all the clips in one place. The guys at livecast at the Annandale did a great job. There is B.D.O. footage as well. It’s cheap as fuck so if you wanna check it out head to our online shop; I think it’s about $20? Good deal [laughs]!

Metal Fanatix: This last year has been pretty crazy for you guys, touring locally & also back overseas, writing & recording for the new album etc. What has been the one thing that stood out amongst it all?

Michele Madden: Oh that’s Fuckin' hard. I think getting there, knowing that we had done it. Surviving as a unit & coming out stronger.

Metal Fanatix: What do you think has been the most valuable lesson you have learnt thus far in this business?

Michele Madden: Don’t accept shit just because it’s offered to you. Hold out for what you want. Walk lightly & carry a big stick. Fuck what people wanna say. I didn’t come to their gig, they came to mine & I got their money. Don’t stop.

Metal Fanatix: I really believe that in recent years the Australian metal scene has gotten bigger & better then ever before. Besides Tourettes what other Australian bands should we be on the look out for?

Michele Madden: I dig metal, punk all of it so this list is not real exclusive to anyone style. That is such a good one man! There are a zillion [laughs]. Some of the ones that are giving me the horn include: 4 Dead, Freeway, Hy test, Mz Ann Thropik, One Shot Kill, Pod People, The Berserker, The Hell City Glamours, & the immortal Bloodduster (All hail)!

Metal Fanatix: I believe while you were overseas you did some work on the latest Strapping Young Lad album ‘Alien’! How did you get involved with that?

Michele Madden: Well, we got to support S.Y.L. at the Metro a few years ago. One of my all time fave shows because all the purist fucktards in the crowd hated us & Dev and the band loved us! [Laughs] Funny shit! We were playing two shows that nite & at the second one I look out & big Gene is standing in the middle of the pit with the biggest shit eating grin on his face. That was it! We became mates that day & stayed in touch. He has been a huge support to me & the band. When we got to Canada he called me & asked if I wanted to sing on the album! Best Birthday pressie there! We are both Virgos so the whole month was Carnage! We went out to Vancouver [Where strapping is based] in September to tour & it was on!

Metal Fanatix: That’s so Fuckin' awesome! Working with those guys must have been a killer experience for you?

Michele Madden: UN-fucking-believable. Being welcomed into such a headspace as a peer & equal is a very humbling experience. I just kept quiet & watched. The guys in the band are total gentlemen. I am one of the luckiest mother fuckers in the world.

Metal Fanatix: Are you currently working on any other projects outside of Tourettes?

Michele Madden: I just played two shows with Mz Ann Thropik in Sydney which was great fun. Dressed up like an 18th century whore doing PJ Harvey songs & singing back up vocals. Good times! Nath from Stockholm Syndrome & I always have mad brainstorms but never seem to get it together. I have a few guest vocals coming up that may or may not happen. I am supremely flattered that people want me screwing up their albums!

Metal Fanatix: Now there is no doubt in my mind that you are an amazing vocalist & one of the few women in the industry that can belt out the “cookie monster growl” with extreme aggression & balance, was it the style of metal singing that you had always seen yourself doing?

Michele Madden: Thanks for the compliment. I loved the way that Philip Anselmo delivered for one. I have grown up singing along with all the same albums you have...Just louder I guess [laughs]. I just wish that the gender thing didn’t come up so much but ya get that on the big jobs. I didn’t know what I wanted. I just wanted to sing. Many cunts that shall remain nameless would never even let me try out for their bands cause of my gender. I love seeing them now, fat & band less [laughs].The best revenge is living well. I just wanna be one of the top front men of my generation. Why not think big?

Metal Fanatix: I agree, Besides Phil Anselmo who else has been an influence on you musically?

Michele Madden: The Tribe. The Sikfuks who support & stand by us all the time. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how involved in this unit they are. Musically, that’s another long list that I will want to add to as soon as I am done [laughs]! Today, Keith Richards, Bon Scott, Blackie from The Hard Ons, Black Sabbath, C.O.C., Elton John, Down, Buddy Green, Henry Rollins, Nailbomb, ELO, Slayer, Lynyrd Skynyrd [always!]. Fuckin' endless really [laughs].

Here’s the deal, Buy me a lemon squash after a show & I will chew your ear off! It changes all the time!

Metal Fanatix: [laughs] sounds good mate! I have heard/read in the past that you’ve been mistaken for a male [laughs] how do you react to comments like that, especially when you read a review & they say the guy singing kicked ass [laughs]?

Michele Madden: I just wish that I got heckled more but now my rep precedes me & all the little pussies are too scared [laughs]! I think that it’s a compliment. I’d rather that than being looked at as some Fuckin' novelty because I have a cunt. Rather be a cunt & kick your ass. I can see where it comes from though so I can’t complain. My long suffering mum still rolls her eyes "When are you gonna stop dressing like a ten year old boy?" What, strap myself into the latest Paris Hilton slut bandage & be uncomfortable....Sure [laughs]!

A lot of men are the ones who have a problem with the way I look. They can’t get past the fact that I don’t give a fuck. Why should I have to shave my legs & shit? They don’t.

Metal Fanatix: Do you do anything specific to warm up & prepare for a show?

Michele Madden: I try not to talk too much, push ups & dips. Then I hear our theme music & I am gone at that point! We construct the set lists around my voice & after five years it’s all pretty much where I want it.

Metal Fanatix: What do you remember, if anything from the first performance you guys did?

Michele Madden: I couldn’t see because I had a Fuckin' white light in my face! I didn’t want to move too much because I wanted to be note perfect. It was at the Iron duke & that’s where I met Jacobi who was like the first sikfuk. Jacobi got the first Tourettes tattoo & is a huge part of the tribe today.

Metal Fanatix: That’s pretty amazing to me, as you know I have a few tatts dedicated to some of my all-time fave bands Maiden & Kiss, what do you think about fans like Jacobi who go out & get Tourettes tattoos?

Michele Madden: Ah! It fucks me up! I can’t call them fans, they are tribe. They own me man! I was told for so much of my life that I would never amount to shit & I have done my thing & people understood have gone that far. I wondered how Greg Ginn & Black flag must have felt with the four bars, now I know! I relate as well.

The day Dime [RIP] passed I stumbled into a tattoo studio in Calgary & had both my arms inked for him with "Vulgar Display” blaring, sitting there in shock. I am & have always been a fan first & foremost, bottom line! I am fucking honored.

They are all over the world. Miss Lilli has a Tourettes Scarification that is pretty hard to beat & Miss Annie carved it in Slayer style. The youngest that I have seen inked is fifteen. It Fuckin' blows my mind.

Metal Fanatix: Wow, that’s amazing! I remember the first time I actually saw you live; it wasn’t even a Tourettes gig. You did a guest spot onstage with the Hard-Ons which left me blown away. Over the years you have shared the stage with so many great bands. Who have you enjoyed hitting the road with the most & could you share a funny road story with us from the tour?

Michele Madden: Fuck! When was that?

Metal Fanatix: From memory it would have been two maybe three years ago & the hard ons supported the Foo Fighters!

Michele Madden: I love playing with those guys! How Fuckin' good are they? It’s criminal that they are not one of the biggest bands in this country. Going On with The Hard ons before The Foo Fighters was Killer. I don’t think that I can go past opening the main stage at Big Day Out & knowing that Metallica were gonna wrap up the day. I cried like a bitch man, watching them.

I have got heaps of cool memories. Strapping Young Lad is a highlight. Metal for the Brain was a huge deal for me because it was the first time my mum got to see what I did & going back to my hated hometown in style was shit hot.

The last run we did with Bloodduster was cool. I am a mega fan when it comes to them so when Jason PC called me up In Newcastle to do "DFF" I had winged monkeys flying out my butt [laughs]. That & chucking browneyes at each other van to van. Porn, vomiting, you name it, it’s all good [laughs]!

Metal Fanatix: Michele you have some Fuckin' wicked tattoos, out of all the tattoos you have had done what one means the most to you & why?

Michele Madden: They all mean something. The last ones I got are fresh on the fave list. My Hatori Hanso Foo Dogs on my wrists. The "666" behind my ear & my mums Birthday on my neck, I think when I got my forearms done when I was really young & it was a deal that I was making with myself that I could never back down. I had to go all the way no matter how hard it got. I have only let three main men do my work outside of a few bits. Kosta at Chaple tattoos in Melbourne, Michael Medusa at Tattooz on Beaumont in Hamilton, Newcastle & Adam Craft of Illicit Tattoos in Auckland NZ.

Metal Fanatix: The “666” tattoo behind your ear, is that an inspired piece from horror movie ‘The Omen’?

Michele Madden: I don’t think that one’s a tattoo cause’ I can’t remember getting it done [laughs]. Fuckin' with ya! Yeah, it was the omen thing. Adam Craft did that one & I was listening to "Snowblind" by Sabbath at the time. Weird what you remember! I’m working on my sleeves as we speak!

Metal Fanatix: Cool, what do ya plan on getting done?

Michele Madden: It’s all gonna be heavy Black & grey work. Michael Medusa who is my current & favorite artist can read my mind! We talk it all down to a science & then he draws away, on me if I sit still for long enough! He has no qualms about telling me when he thinks my ideas are bollocks & you need that in an artist. I am still pushing him to do my "Apocalypse Now" Full back piece. I wanna get the "SF4L" across my knuckles on both hands & pretty much work from there up! I’m really looking forward to getting the inside of my lip done too. I used to love that on all the punks that I trailed around after like a bad smell when I was a kid!

Metal Fanatix: Over the last few years hard rock & heavy metal music has changed quite a bit. What do you think of the direction the music has taken?

Michele Madden: I am all for evolution. Shit is always gonna be shit though. You can’t polish a turd. That is the stuff that fades away. I don’t really look at what is going on out there cause I am too busy trying to hit the bar that my band has raised. I compete with myself. Shit man! Gimme the best of Rose tattoo, that’s the direction that I take!

Metal Fanatix: Are you currently listening to any of the newer bands?

Michele Madden: I am pretty behind! I wait for friends to pass shit on to me. Lazy broke fuck that I am which is why I am now listening to Fornicator from Portland, Hayseed Dixie, Sigour Ros which was given to me by a sikfuk in Calgary called Eric. All that scremo emo shit, man; I dunno! What ever melts your butter.

Metal Fanatix: Which record/song would define Michele Madden to a complete stranger?

Michele Madden: WAHHH! Fuck man! That changes all the time, ‘Gimme Shelter’ by the Rolling Stones. That’s a big one, nah fuck you Cam! I am taking’ the 5th on this! [Laughs]

Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] well this one should be a little easier; in a few words can you tell us the 1st thing that comes to mind when I mention the following Tourettes tracks:

Michele Madden:

Stand: Being obsessed with "Fight club"

Whitman: Me wanting to write my own "Dead skin mask"

Gear: Love is the drug.

Allergic: Autobiography plus.

RFS: Warmer, warmer... disco.

Metal Fanatix: What advice would you give to other bands trying to break into the business?

Michele Madden: Do it because you can’t imagine doing anything else. It will kick your ass but it’s worth it. There is no "Big break" its more like a series of green stick fractures. You are born right & you have to believe that even when what you do is going down like a schooner of cold sick. Good luck.

Metal Fanatix: If you could put a band together consisting of musicians passed and/or present who would they be and what would you call the band?

Michele Madden: How many nights have this question come up in the van? I’d just love to jam with all of Skynyrd together again. Do a duet with Johnny Cash. Dime, Bon Scott, Layne Staley, Hillel Slovack, Elvis... Fuck! Too many to mention [laughs]. What would I call it? "Wank Fantasy"

Metal Fanatix: Well, Michele that’s about all I have for ya today. I wish you guys all the best for 2006 & hope to catch ya at one of the local gigs! Do you have any last words you want to share with our readers?

Michele Madden: Cam, thanks for asking cool questions & taking the time. To the tribe, stay true & we will see you in the pit. To the haters who hide behind the net & a glaring lack of talent? Eat a bowl of royal fuck & stay out of my way. SF4L, Michele

For fans in Sydney you can catch Tourettes playing live at the Sydney Big Day Out on the 26th January.
More dates are to be announced soon.

To keep up with all the latest Tourettes news check out the following sites:
http://www.tourettes.com.au - Official Tourettes website
http://www.myspace.com/tourettessf4l - Tourettes MySpace website
http://insideout666.mysite.freeserve.com - Dedicated to 40 years of pure hard rock & metal music

© Cameron Edney January 2006 Not to be re-printed in any form without written permission.