Veruca Salt is an alternative rock band founded in 1993 in Chicago, Illinois. Since its inception, the band’s line-up has included vocalist-guitarist Louise Post. The current guitarist is Stephen Fitzpatrick, who has been with the band since 1999. The current drummer is Kellii Scott, who has worked with the group on and off since 1999, and the current bassist is Nicole Fiorentino, who has been with the band since 2006.
1993 – 1998: Formation and Growth
Named after the spoiled rich girl from the children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, Veruca Salt was formed in Chicago by Louise Post (guitar/vocals) and Nina Gordon (guitar/vocals). Post and Gordon were introduced through mutual friend and actress Lili Taylor, and began playing music together. They wrote songs for a year and a half before being joined by Gordon’s brother, Jiim Shapiro, on drums and Steve Lack on bass.
The band had done a handful of shows when Jim Powers of Minty Fresh Records asked to sign them to the independent label. The band’s first release was the single “Seether”/”All Hail Me” on Minty Fresh Records, in 1994. The single was a success and Veruca Salt accompanied Hole on a tour, before releasing their debut full-length LP, American Thighs, which eventually reached Gold status.
After signing to Geffen Records, the band quickly gained in popularity as “Seether” became an MTV hit. A stopgap EP produced by Steve Albini, Blow It Out Your Ass It’s Veruca Salt, was released in 1996.
Veruca Salt’s popularity skyrocketed after their second full album, Eight Arms to Hold You, was released in 1997. Produced by Bob Rock, the album generated the hit lead single “Volcano Girls”, which gained exposure as the opening theme to the teen comedy film Jawbreaker. Veruca Salt performed another single, “Shutterbug”, on Saturday Night Live; however, instead of the featured musical group performing two songs as had been tradition, the musical performances were split between Sting and Veruca Salt. Shapiro left the band soon after the release of Eight Arms and was replaced by Stacy Jones (of Letters to Cleo and now American Hi-Fi). Jones toured with the band on the Eight Arms tour, but never recorded with them.
Songwriting duties were shared between Gordon and Post, though the two seldom collaborated. Rather, each would typically submit a complete song to the group and sing the lead vocal on that song, while the other would submit backing vocals. Critics often cited the harmonies between Gordon and Post as one of the band’s major strengths.
1998 – 2005: Gordon’s Departure, Reformation and Resolver
In 1998, Gordon left the band to pursue a solo career (her debut album Tonight and the Rest of My Life was released in 2000). The undisclosed dispute between Gordon and Post has been described as “one of the greatest rock soap operas since Fleetwood Mac or H?sker D?.”
Post, now the only original band member, recruited a new band, consisting of Stephen Fitzpatrick (guitar), Suzanne Sokol (bass) and Jimmy Madla (of ‘Blind Venetians’ and ‘Anger Cake’)(drums), and continued to record and perform under the Veruca Salt moniker. The new band signed with Beyond Records. The first album with the new lineup was 2000’s Resolver.
Gina Crosley became the new bassist at the end of 2000. The new line-up toured in the summer of 2001, and spent time promoting Resolver in the UK. Crosley and Post then moved to L.A. where they lived together and wrote songs that appeared on the Officially Dead EP. Crosley is credited for co-writing “Smoke & Mirrors”, but left the band before the record was released. She also worked on songs that later appeared on IV, but no credit is officially given.
December 2002 saw the release of both Resolver and lead single “Born Entertainer”, in Australia through Embryo Records/MGM. Following the release of “Born Entertainer”, the label released the single “Officially Dead”, which contained newly recorded tracks as well as a remix of “The Same Person”.
2005 – Present: VSIV
In 2005, the band went through another line-up change with Sokol and Madla leaving, being replaced by Solomon Snyder on bass and Michael Miley on drums for the recording of the EPLords of Sounds and Lesser Things (LOSALT). The band then went on tour as Post, Fitzpatrick, drummer Kellii Scott, and bassist Nicole Fiorentino. LOSALT was released and sold independently at the band’s shows and via the website and included six new songs. The title of the EP is an extract from Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. This preceded the full-length album, IV, released September 2006, accompanied by a U.S. tour. IV failed to chart in the US; lead single “So Weird” was released to radio at the end of October 2006, however a video was never produced and the single failed to receive any significant radio play.
The band recently recorded a cover of Neil Young’s song “Burned” for a 2007 Breast Cancer Benefit album due for release in October 2007.
guitarist Stephen Fitzpatrick
bassist Nicole Fiorentino
drummer Kellii Scott