Veruca Salt, the band, not the spoilt little shit from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, has been on my mind lately. Why? Well, I was rearranging my vinyl collection the other day and paused at my autographed copy of their second studio album Eight Arms To Hold You (1997) which I was lucky enough to pick up at their Melbourne show in 2018. That Melbourne show was incidentally a lot of fun. I have to say seeing two of my favourite female musicians of all time, Nina Gordon and Louise Post play live again, after missing out on their 2014 Australian reunion tour was better than finding a golden ticket to visit the illustrious Willy Wonka. They are truly an amazing act and arguably sounding better than ever in their late 40’s!! See my review here.
One of many highlights of their show as we sang along was waiting for our cue to jump in on the big moments, especially songs from the album Eight Arms To Hold You. From it comes a song called Shutterbug, which is incidentally a term used to describe an enthusiastic amateur photographer. But to be honest I’m yet to decipher what the songs title has to do with the song. All I can tell you is that it sounds like one hell of an angry breakup song written by Louise Post. I love how it elbs and flows between Louise Post’s softly spoken delivery of her lyrics and next explodes with a gush of guitars and whaling between Gordon and Post. The best verse or line is pretty much for me: “It’s morning in Phily/ My heads feeling heavy/ The sun makes me dizzy/ You monkey you left me!”
That last line is a trigger for most fans to shout out “You monkey you left me!” at the top of their voices. Interestingly, for over twenty years people have wondered whether the song was a dig at Dave Grohl and his ugly break up with Post. Personally, I’m not sure what I believe until I actually hear it from Post. But in short ‘monkey’ is often assumed to be a reference to Grohl and his Foo Fighters song Monkey Wrench. Unfortunate as much as we would like it to be true, Louise Post allegedly a few years ago in a Periscope session said the song was in fact surprisingly about Nick Cave? But more recently, and to add to the confusion, a friend of mine told me a story how at their recent Lodge show in Los Angeles, Post apparently said the monkey was in fact Steve Lack, Veruca Salt’s bassist. That might make more sense since he did leave the band around about the time of the release of Eight Arms To Hold You.
Anyway while ‘monkey’ might seem like an outright assault at Post’s ex bandmate (or ex boyfriend), still under the weight of it all with its chugging guitars and Post’s rousing and uplighting solo, Shutterbug screams everything that I loved about ‘90s alt-rock.