With a reputation for commanding audience members to strip, preferably on her stage while she performs "Take Off Your Clothes," Chantal Claret is a bit of a wild woman.
Chantal Claret is a brilliantly flippant twenty-something that makes up half of the main members of the spectacularly talented Morningwood band. Despite the images the name conjures up, (I can't help but think of masturbatory teenagers) Morningwood has a seasoned, powerful, indie/glam-rock sound.
While Chantal and Peter, aka, "Pedro" Yanowitz (formerly of the Wallflowers--anybody remember the song "One Headlight"?) have enlisted the help of other talent on their albums, Morningwood (Capitol Records, 2006), an album produced by Gil Norton of Pixies, Foo Fighters, and Echo the Bunnymen credits, and their recently released album, Diamonds and Studs, (VH1 Records, 2009) she and Pedro remain the focal points of interest.
Morningwood is no stranger to success; "Nth Degree" has been featured in several Mercury car commercials, and "New York Girls" was used in the Sex and the City movie. They've appeared on national TV spots, The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Last Call with Carson Daly, and they are no strangers to MTV studios.
With all these accomplishments under her belt, Chantal is a woman with a lot of brass. A woman of few words, I can't tell if she likes or hates being interviewed based on the sheer economy of words she affords an interviewer, she'll drop a tongue-in-cheek statement that will have you doubting whether she actually said it. Chantal is cocky and self-assured, a combination that can be deadly and slightly off-putting to someone of a weaker constitution. She is intriguing never-the-less.
Amidst Keno and penny slots, antiMusic tracked down the lovely spitfire.
antiMusic: How did you decide on the name Morningwood?
Chantal: Pedro and I met and came up with the name, before we ever made any music together, it is like us. Playful with a double entendre.
antiMusic: Tell me about how you two came to form a band together?
Chantal: We met at a birthday party, Pedro heard me sing and asked me to come sing on some of his songs, I did and then there was the band.
antiMusic: What do you make of the recent successes you have enjoyed like your appearances on Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman?
Chantal: It's super fun to play on those shows.
antiMusic: Talk about the difference in appearing on both shows?
Chantal: there isn't really a difference, they are both great talk shows with great crews. The biggest difference is that Letterman keeps his studio super cold, so yer nipples get hard real fast, which saves a lot of time.
antiMusic: Tell me about the Papa Roach/Jet/Killing Hannah tour. How did you get on the tour?
Chantal: We submitted for it and were accepted for it. It was fun.
antiMusic: What have been some of the highlights for you on the tour? Any good stories?
Chantal:We went to FL to play with Jet for the last night and on the plane our guitar player,Will, had a full on seizure due to lack of sleep and the perfect s*** storm of events. Fortunately there was a medical conference in Tampa so there were like 5 doctors on the plane. When the EMTs were bringing him off the plane our video was playing on the TV screens in your seats. Very surreal. He plowed through and actually played a seriously kick ass show later that night.
Before I continue my interview, I extracted this little segment of Chantal's blog that better describes the situation with their guitarist en route to Florida:
...k now on to FL, the last date of the show we flew to Tampa, FL, we were running on empty, we were sitting on the plane, as soon as we sat down our video started playing on the tv screens in our seats (i love you Jetblue), that was trippy. I passed out. I was woken up when I heard a stewardess come over the moniters saying "Is there a DR on board the plane?", I groggily looked up to see what the commotion was and HOLY FUCKING SHIT right in front of me I see Will, our super awesome healthy sweet guitar player, in a f***ing seizure. A full on f***ing seizure, he was white, his lips were blue, his arms were stretched out and clenched, so f***ing scary. Luckily, there was a medical conference in Tampa, so there were literally TWO nurses sitting across from him and like 5 DR's on board. The flight attendant Elijah, was incredible, he was calm, cool & collected and took amazing care of Will, who felt like s*** afterwards but was okay. Apparently Will has had 2 seizure's before, and it was due to lack of sleep and being all warm and in the middle of the plane there isn't as much oxygen. He was such a trooper...
If you want to read more of their interesting exploits, head to their myspace page ( http://www.morningwoodrocks.com) and look under Chantal's blog. Continuing on with the interview now.
antiMusic: Talk about singing "Groove is in the Heart" with Dave Navarro?
Chantal:It was super fun. I like that song a lot he asked what I wanted to sing, I told him and then we did it.•
antiMusic: Did you ever think you would have a song download on Rockband?
Chantal:I hoped we would, I haven't gotten to play it yet.
antiMusic: What was the process like in getting that together?
Chantal:I don't know, they asked us for it and we agreed.
antiMusic: How has the public received Diamonds and Studs?
Chantal: People seem to enjoy it immensely as far as I know. I love it, so that's awesome as well.
antiMusic: Where did the name of the album come from?
Chantal: I wanted the cover to have studs all over it. The record is full of diamonds and full of studs.
antiMusic: Do you have any plans for a follow-up or are you going to focus on tour support for the album?
Chantal:We just released it 3 weeks ago; I think a follow up would be a little premature.
antiMusic: How do you blow off steam or handle "creative differences' with Pedro?
Chantal:With Pedro?-We talk s*** out, communication is key.
antiMusic: Is it more difficult with only two main members in the band?
Chantal:Yes, it is more difficult because there is not a tie breaker when we do not agree on something.
antiMusic: Talk about a song on Diamonds and Studs that has a personal meaning for you?
Chantal: They all have a personal meaning to me. Killer Life reminds me of my mother; today is what would have been her 62nd birthday. The song basically means everyone dies so you just have to keep going on with your life.•
antiMusic: What is your favorite track on the new album?
Chantal: Cat In a Box is a lovely track I think. It is really nice to sing.
antiMusic: What song off of the new album do you like to play live?
Chantal: I like to play Killer Life and Hot Tonight, they are fun to sing.
antiMusic: What do you hope people take away from your music?
Chantal: Pure enjoyment
antiMusic: What other musician would you like to work with or perform with?
Chantal: Bette Midler
antiMusic: Do you have any favorite producers you would like to tap into for future projects?
Chantal: Anyone awesome who "gets" our sound
antiMusic: What would you be doing for a thrill if you were not playing music?
Chantal: Playing 5 cent Keno in Las Vegas, which is what I am doing right this second. Or else working with physically and mentally disabled children
antiMusic: What is your favorite album of all time?
Chantal: That question is impossible. I can not narrow it down. I'm gonna say Diamonds & Studs for now cuz I made it•
antiMusic: What is the most challenging moment you have experienced with this project?
Chantal:Getting it out•
antiMusic: What sort of advice would you give other musicians just starting out?
Chantal: Make music and put it out. Get it done.