Storm Large - vocalist, Storm & Her Dirty Mouth
The Usual - San Jose, CA - 1999
 
Through the seasons we hear of all types of storm systems that do their thing and dissipate, but this year we will hear of one Storm from the music system of San Francisco Bay Area that is sure to stick around. Storm & Her Dirty Mouth. When this Storm fills her lungs, she packs a wallop that sends you flying.
 
Although technically one might consider Storm's music to be along the lines of adult contemporary, there are flairs of jazz along with some balls-out rock 'n' roll. Though the band itself is an amalgam of fine musicians garnered from several other Bay Area bands, the front and center of it all tends to be Storm. From the most subtle note to a bloodcurdling scream, Storm knows how to handle her vocal style with precision. Aside from her vocal talents, Storm's stage presence is unmistakable with her slender and statuesque build. She maintains an energy and almost theatric mesmerization. From an innocent little girl to the most sultry sexual diva, Storm's visuals are a mainstay while fronting Her Dirty Mouth. Not to forget the immense tattoo of the word "Lover" scrawled in Old English lettering across the upper third of her back, along with the intrinsic design on her lower back, Storm is not soon forgotten in any way.
 
Sexy. Loud. Inviting. Dangerous. Opinionated. Caring. Storm is all these things and more. We recently had a chance to meet with Storm at a local show and exchange a few words and thoughts.

K2K: To start, who is who and who plays what in the band?
SL: Ubi "Doobie Doo" Whitaker plays bass. Michael "Kava" Cavaseno "Yohimbe" plays guitar. Dan Foltz plays drums. Geoff "The Riff" Pearlman on guitar also.
 
K2K: Storm is what you're known as. What is your real name?
SL: Storm Susan Large.
 
(at this point, guitarist Michael Cavaseno joined in with his comments)
Michael: This is Michael "Yohimbe" Cavaseno and I just want to say that we want to live to rock your world and that's all that we want to do. We really do want to live for it because there's a lot of people out there who don't want to live for it. We want to live for it and make every moment real.
(and then he ran off...)
 
K2K: Do you think that people like MTV's Jesse Camp are a bad influence on kids these days by "keeping them stupid"?
SL: Every advertiser banks on it. Some kids know it [that they are being fed stupidity]. It starts way before Jesse Camp though. "You're a stupid idiot. All you want to do is smoke pot and fuck teenage girls and skip school and make pipe bombs." Right? You can't blame him. He's a total product of what's going on. You know the ads? "Women will shit your d*** if you smoke Kamels. And "women will leave their boyfriends and let you fuck them in the a** if you smoke Kools. Have you seen that? In every ad, the girl's sticking her butt out and the guy is pointing the Kool at her butt. He [Jesse Camp] is a product, not a contribution. If there was no market for him, he would not exist. He didn't rush onto the set and say "I'm going to influence these people."
 
K2K: Let me reword the statement then. HE is not the bad influence, but what he represents is.
SL: Yes, yes. It's bad to support that kind of thing. When I was a kid, I didn't have any heroes. I liked people who were underdogs who were struggling to be different and and were happy being different. I actually didn't have any respect for myself or anyone else growing up. It's part of the hormonal rage of being a kid and growing up. You think that your problems are totally unique and no one has any idea how to understand you and that just compounds the misery. Everyone goes through this misery no matter how old. I mean, the older I get, the more that I see that everything is like high school. All the way up to middle-age and all the way beyond middle-age. I see like high school type social behavior and it's just your hormones and your emotions and your mind are a little more firing precisely. Your a little calmer. Things aren't as desperate. Everything isn't "the last most important thing". (with sound of desperation) "I'm going to love you forever and if I don't get to be with you one time in the locker room, I'm gonna die." "If I don't get an A, my dad is gonna kill me." "My nails!" These girls who are like, "I'm fat!" and they weigh 80 lbs soaking wet. You know, they still do that.
 
(Suddenly the topic turned as others entered the room and started discussing a legendary Bay Area musician, Mirv, with some candid descriptions.)
 
SL: I'm telling you, he's got staff. Mule dick. Javelin Boy.
 
(The story changes to details of some supposed amazing intimate tricks that Mirv is capable of. Promptly thereafter, the term Graffenberg along with its benefits is explained to Storm.)
 
SL: G-Spot? Graffenberg? That sounds like a plane. That's a great stage name though. I'm going to have to call myself like that or something. Greta von Graffenberg. Elektra von Graffenberg.
 
(Somehow the story switches again to the mating rituals of elephant seals at a local beach in CA.)
 
SL: ...The young males come up first and wait for the females to come. The older males take their time. The young males are nuts and will [mate] anything because they've been in the water for, like, nine months. And they're big. One would fill this room. They're like pachyderms. The guide at the beach told us don't go near them. If you mess with their kids, they will charge you. One woman got too close to a randy young male and tried to take its picture. It crushed her trying to [mate] her. A human. It killed her down on the beach. She got crushed to death. He wasn't trying to attack or kill her, although they will, he was just trying to get some. She must've been a big, fat woman and he thought it was an elephant seal. It was years ago before they got strict now.
 
K2K: It's not an attractive sight to watch them mate either.
SL: No, no. It's like watching two spare tires melting together in an earthquake.
 
(We then are able to get back on track of the subject of the band...)
K2K: So, how long have you been together?
SL: Two years.
 
K2K: What was the band before this?
SL: Flower SF. We were only a band after we broke up. This is funny. You know, I was in LA and wanted to go to the (painter) Van Gogh show at the museum. My friend told me that he heard it was very expensive. I thought how expensive could a museum be. I figured, Van Gogh, a traveling show, maybe $20. - $40. It was $80! I was thinking Vincent Van Gogh never even saw $80. first of all. Secondly, they were sending a clear message that only a select crowd can come to see this art. "This is not for you to see." I felt like protesting but I didn't know what to wear to a protest in Beverly Hills.
 
K2K: That's like the KISS convention were it was $100., $150. to go. They said that it's for the "real fans." Only real fans would pay that much and would do anything that it took to get the money.
SL: That sucks.
 
K2K: Who are your influences?
SL: I have many, many influences. My major influences were, when I was a kid, my dad had an 8-track. I wasn't an avid music-seeker-outer. I was, like, whatever was in my reach and I liked it... My first favorite record was a old 30s blooper record.
 
K2K: I get the impression that you like classical and jazz somewhat as well.
SL: Umm, I'm not really into project jazz. Coltrane I like, but sometimes he goes a little fast for me. I like sort of a groove. I like Charles Mingus. Group C. Miles Davis I like sometimes, but sometimes he also goes out. It's a little too heady for me. I'm a little primitive-minded that way.
 
K2K: What about vocals?
SL: Jazz vocals? Ella Fitzgerald. Nina Simone is jazzy. I actually have been listening to her a lot.
 
K2K: I just got the idea from your style that you got some influence from jazz.
SL: Really? It's true. I was never really influenced, I would say, my blues. I mean, rock 'n' roll is basically blues.
 
K2K: Even though the 70s leave a bad connotation in some people's minds, your music seems to have a lot of the great songwriting structures from the 70s. Like [the song] "Maryanne". That had a nice change in it. But, if you write something with a great change, it catches critically but the public doesn't quite catch on. You have a nice flow in the songs.
SL: There've been songs that have played out and gotten good response, but I wasn't happy with the structure at all. It wasn't working. It has to be so solid that you can play it with an acoustic guitar and vocal or bass guitar and vocal straight. Just the basic foundation. It has to flow good and primitive in my thinking because I'm so new at songwriting. I've been doing it seven years.
Michael and I write and Ubi.
 
K2K: How much time do you spend on structuring songs as opposed to everything else?
SL: Michael spends hours. There's a lot of stuff on the 4-track that we've had years ago. A lot of stuff comes up spontaneously. It's about half-and-half in the set. Some of the set is spontaneous. Like "I'm Not Alright" came all at once. I started singing the guitar part, Michael and Ubi jumped on it, Dan jumped on it right away and I immediately had a very strong verse melody for it. The rest of it I sat down with Geoff and worked out the chorus and that came around spontaneously. "Ima Yora" came spontaneously in my head and I wrote it on bass. The blues stomp swampy. "Lust" was, like, seven years.
 
K2K: Do you play anything yourself?
SL: Never live. I'll play bass one of these days. I can play drums. (Someone mentions Storm playing the other night with the band.) No, that wasn't Storm & Her Dirty Mouth, that was Storm Playing Drums With Too Many People.
 
K2K: OK, more important than your music - Why did you do those tattoos and how bad did they hurt?
SL: A lot. I liked the idea of having a beautiful word look really hard and painful. It was very painful. But, I like pain a little bit.
 
K2K: How would you describe your music? How does it fit on radio?
SL: It's up to them. The band never chooses. We're not indie or punk enough for college radio. We're a little too pop and too popular. San Francisco is such a small scene that they get kind of resentful if you're popular. It's all "sellout." We had a yard-sale trying to make rent, selling all my clothes and stuff. And someone came up and we were on the cover of BAM [Magazine], and they were like, "What's up rock star?" I was like, "Rock star"? "You wanna buy some socks, bitch?"
 
K2K: What are your plans now?
SL: Take a couple of days off, write songs. Go into the studio in August or September and have a full-length release by January [2000].
For more info about Storm Large
 
Written by and live Photos © 1999 Philip Anderson

Philip Anderson is a musician, in addition to being a writer/photographer. He has performed as a guitarist/vocalist, as well as songwriter, in several bands over the past 20 years. As a writer and photographer, he has been published by several magazines and in several books, and had his works appear on television.

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