21 DISARMing Questions for Annette Zilinskas of Medicine

Medicine, the pioneering shoegaze band from Los Angeles formed in 1990 has returned with a brand new 11-track album entitled Scarred For Life.  Comprised entirely of cover songs including tracks from Neil Young, Judee Sill, Miles Davis, The Monkees, and even Bob Welch, it’s described as a record that is “killer no filler” and has been released by Drawing Room Records.

Medicine were the fist American band to sign with the legendary UK label Creation Records on the basis of their original demo. In their home country,they signed to Rick Rubin’s American Recordings label in 1992.

We asked Medicine singer Annette Zilinskas, also known as the original bassist for The Bangles and vocalist with influential roots-punk outfit Blood on the Saddle, 21 of our DISARMing questions about music, art, and life in general.  This is what she told us.

DISARM: Hello Annette. Thanks for taking the time to answer our DIARMing questions. It’s great to see all your latest activity with The Bangles and Medicine lately. It feels like things have come full circle with both bands and we really love the Scarred For Life album. So here we go.

What are you listening to right now?

Annette: I’m listening to a lot of Coolies partly because I love their music and I’ll be performing with them playing bass on March 15th for Kim Shattuck’s ALS Benefit at the El Rey. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Fall, Modettes and Ty Segal lately.

What was the first LP/tape/CD you remember owning?

It was a 45 that I got as a child from a garage sale…Chipmunks red vinyl. First LP was Carol King and Linda Ronstadt.

Vinyl or CD/Digital?

Vinyl (of course, and still!)

Who are your favourite artists?

Have a seat….there are just too many but I’ll take a whirl…Yardbirds, early Linda Ronstadt, Tammy Wynette, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Reverands, Mercury Rev, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Butthole Surfers, Buffalo Springfield, Warm Drag, Beatles, early Stones, The Fall, Gene Vincent, Ty Segal, Led Zeppelin, LA Witch, Leaving Trains, Opal, Black Flag, the Outsiders, Gun Club, M17, Public Enemy, Ethyl Meatplow, Johnny Cash and June Carter…I know I’m forgetting something really obvious but ah well…

Why do you live where you do?

It’s where I landed.

What is your favourite journey?

Road trips – I like the high desert at night such as Joshua Tree, Landers. I enjoy the Sci Fi’ness and expansive quality of it. My next stop hopefully will be Marfa Texas to check out the Marfa lights.

What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?

Just plopping down and watching something classic or a cool underground 60s movie…not having any deadlines or having to do anything is an ideal day for me.

What essentials do you take on a plane or tour bus?

Eye Drops, Brush, Dentine, Lip Gloss, Sunglasses.  

What is your dream vacation if money was no object?

Any place that I have never been to before.

What do you do with 4 hours to yourself in a new city?

Coffee number one. Walk around and see if there any good bookshops or old cathedrals to discover. Read the local paper.

Photo: Beatrix Zilinskas

What inspired you to take up music?

Linda Ronstadt. Major girl crush. Also, AM radio. And hearing The Carpenters the Yardbirds and Elvis.

What was your most memorable day job?

Working at the Chipmunks production company. My first job and one of the best I had.

What advice should you have taken but didn’t?

Music should always come first…not boyfriends lol.

What should everyone shut up about?

I’m sure you know the answer 😉

Who’s your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would the menu be?

James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Robert Mapplethorpe, Dorothy Dandridge or Sharon Tate. Italian food or Mediterranean.

Who is your favourite hero of fiction?

Sinuhe – from the novel The Egyptian.

What was the best live gig or music festival you attended (as a fan or artist)?

As a fan, when my uncles, Ray and Vic, took my sister and I as kids to see the Rolling Stones at the Forum. As an artist, playing Arroyo Seco with the Bangles.

What are your “must” read magazines, news, websites, blogs?

You forgot podcasts…right now I’m delving into “You Must Remember This”.

Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art.

A video project Kal Spelletich (from the band Semen) and I did. We filmed very tight close-ups of pigeons who had gathered around the video camera that we set down on the ground with breadcrumbs scattered around it. They got in close to the lens eating the crumbs. Playing it back, the pigeons were almost unrecognizable and looked like abstract white and grey spotted movement. One couldn’t make out that they were birds. When we slowed it down, it had an almost hypnotic drug like effect on the viewer. I also love Chiho Aoshima video installation piece called “City Glow”.

What does the next 6 months look like for you?

Hopefully touring doing music or a spoken word adventure across the continents.

Which musician rule do you agree with? Always meet your heroes or never meet your heroes?

Probably not.  I usually prefer one’s imagination better. But not always!

Thanks Annette!

You can buy Scarred For Life now from Medicine’s Bandcamp page HERE.


Lend An Ear: Shoegazers we’re listening to – Part 13

Lend An Ear 13Another terrific playlist of Shoegaze, Dream Pop, Nugaze, and Noise for your listening pleasure and once again, recommended to you by Phil Locke. (Also see Part 12 for more of Phil’s selections).  This playlist features Eros and the Eschaton, Curelight Wounds, Jetman Jet Team, The History of Apple Pie, Roku  Music, Coaltar of the Deepers, Noir For Rachel, Salsa Cinderella, TuT, and Medicine.

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