Five 1990s bands who broke up too soon

These bands are gone but should not be forgotten.
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Call it hard rock or melodic metal. Call it post-punk or hardcore. Whatever you call it, Brody Dalle has one of the best voices you will hear singing it. By the time of the Distillers' final album, 2003’s Coral Fang, Dalle’s seven-year marriage to Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong was coming to a violent end. Armstrong, who was fourteen years older than Dalle, began a relationship with her when she was just 16.

Brody Dalle has been through some things in her life, and you can hear it in her voice. On the first song on the Distillers’ first album “Oh Serena,” the raw wound is palpable. “Oh Serena, what they say about you – They all say it’s a resistance – They all say that you don’t listen.” That song, and indeed parts of that debut album, show the Rancid influence. Guitarist Rose Mazzola provided machine-gun guitar riffs and Andy Granelli serves up some classic punk rocket fuel from behind his drum kit. But the Distillers were primarily Dalle’s creation. She wrote all the songs and her voice is always the dominant instrument.

By the time of Coral Fang, the Distillers had expanded their sound, simultaneously managing to become more melodious and more hardcore. Coral Fang and its lead single “Drain the Blood,” proved to be their biggest commercial success. It is a marvelous hard-core punk album, 45 minutes without a let-up. Even when it gets tuneful, it stays hard and passionate.

Rigors of constant touring and Dalle’s personal life issues caused her to disband the Distillers and form a new outfit – Spinnerette – with the hope of giving her a little more freedom. She also married Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme shortly after she split from Armstrong. (Rumors of their relationship were one of the factors that led to her divorce.) She had three children with Homme but that relationship ended in an emotionally violent explosion in 2019, with both partners accusing the other of abuse.

I won’t go into any further details on that unhappy situation. You can easily find the info online if you care to. I’ll only mention that at the same time Brody Dalle was going through another messy personal crisis, she was getting The Distillers back together for a long-awaited reunion.

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