In Tom Tom‘s first issue back in 2009, Frankie Madeline Rose was “blazing a trail and leaving no prisoners. Every band she plays in turns to gold. She is the original drummer and part-time bassist/vocalist of the wildly popular Vivian Girls.” She was then playing drums in the band Crystal Stilts and had a single of her own coming out on Slumberland records. In 2004, she lived on the West Coast, and toured with Shitstorm, her band at the time. She was and is a graceful, poised, innovative, hard-hitting, and hard to forget drummer. We recently caught up with Frankie to see what she was up to in 2019.
“[Drum] because it’s fun. If it stops being fun, don’t do it!”
[Tom Tom] First off, how are you? What have you been up to musically (and/or personally) in the past decade?
[Frankie Rose] I’m well! To be honest I’m living much the same life I was living about 10 years ago. I think back then Vivian Girls was my main project; I have made 5 albums [Frankie Rose and the Outs; Interstellar; Herein Wild; Careers; and Cage Tropical] since the last time we spoke, all under my name with the exception of one: a side project called Beverly.
What are you working on currently?
I’m about to start recording my 6th album. Very exciting.
Are you in one band or involved in multiple projects?
Right now, I only have one, being “Frankie Rose,” with a couple of low key recording projects on the side.
What is the biggest change since we spoke to you ten years ago in our very first issue?
Honestly, not much, except that I’m dipping my toes into the world of filmmaking.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t take everything so seriously, especially in the music business. It’s all kind of temporary thing and there’s a lot of ebb and flow. Sometimes you are flush and sometimes you have nothing… it comes with the territory. Also: loyalty is important. Stick with people who believe in you.
Do you still play the drums?
I do. I did last night in a semi-new project. It’s fun.
What is your creative process? Any rituals or habits you adhere to?
I require a good amount of solitude. I also have to set aside time to make records.
In our first issue, you said you didn’t yet feel like a “legitimate” drummer. How do you feel now?
Ha! I don’t think it matters. I’ve never been a player. I can play well enough. I’ve found that being a “ringer” doesn’t make you a good songwriter and being a great songwriter or producer doesn’t mean you have to be a great player.
Do you still have a day job or is music your full-time profession?
It changes from year to year. Right now, I’m filling in the blanks with non-music work. But who knows… next year I could have a full-time job again. Music as a job can be a harsh mistress.
If you could pass on one piece of wisdom to aspiring female musicians, what would it be?
Do it because it’s fun. If it stops being fun, don’t do it!
Which records from the past ten years have inspired you the most?
Oh, ten years is tricky… Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Cold Beat and Business of Dreams.
When you’re not playing music, what do you like to do?
Well I’ve been working a short film and with other people [on side projects].