“A lot of people think that rock ‘n roll is dead,” says Julia Pierce, “but we want to make it something new and fresh.”
Julia has a strong advantage there. She’s the lead singer for Cherri Bomb, whose new This Is the End of Control was released this week. It’s the proper debut for the all-gal band whose oldest member is 16 years old. Last year’s Stark EP established Cherri Bomb as a proudly uncool hard rock band, and got some attention with a hot cover of the Foo Fighters’ “The Pretender.” Control is equally timeless while throwing in some ambition and maturity.
Now the band has to face the challenge of dealing with music journalists, many of whom will think it’s really funny to ask if Julia knows Dave Grohl was in a band before the Foo Fighters.
“Actually,” says Julia from her L.A. home, “no one has asked me that yet–but I’m sure people will be asking us about our age all the time. We’ve played SXSW and some local clubs in L.A., and a lot of those were places where we’re not old enough to get in. That’s always something to talk about, but the main thing about those places is getting to play to older people. It’s nice to earn their respect and to show that we’re for real.”
Cherri Bomb will have to keep proving themselves, but it doesn’t have anything to do with their ages. There are plenty of underage rock bands. Most folks will be dismissive of Cherri Bomb because they’re signed to Hollywood Records, which has turned into the home of teenybopper acts who’ve outgrown Radio Disney. Julia’s no poseur, though. She’s cool with her uncool corporate label.
“I love that we’re signed to Hollywood,” she says, “and I think they loved us because we’re a real rock band. That’s all we want to be. Raw authentic rock ‘n roll. We were all brought up in households where our parents played music all the time, so that’s just part of our personalities. We really set out to sound like something nobody’s ever heard. The sound of a generation.”
That’s a bold statement, but today’s rock scene could use more of those. The gals of Cherri Bomb are certainly eager to seek out their generation. They’ll be spending most of this summer out on the Warped tour. (“I’m really excited about becoming friends with all those guys.”) The band are already seasoned veterans of international tours–with a trip to Australia pairing them with the members of Kitty, who were underage girl wonders back in 1999.
“I have a lot of respect for any girl band that’s paved the way for us,” says the diplomatic Julia, “but I’ve always felt really inspired by Kitty. I got to talk to [vocalist] Morgan [Lander] about how a frontperson works the stage and keeps things entertaining, and about how to feel comfortable on the stage. She gave me some really good advice about things like how to control the crowd. She taught me a lot of stuff, but mostly she told me that it all has to come naturally to me.”
Julia will spend the summer letting things come naturally to her while singing to screaming skatepunks. The kids might notice that Cherri Bomb is a great live act, or they might be pissed off that Cherri Bomb isn’t playing some tired pop-punk. There’s even a chance that Cherri Bomb won’t be the voice of their generation. Julia’s realistic about that, though.
“I’ve always wanted to live through those eras where rock was making a revolution,” she says, “and I was thinking the other day that I wish we could get our album out on vinyl. But right now, I’m just hoping that people will take an interest in us.”