Cherri Bomb is one of the most buzzed-about rock bands of 2012—and for good reason. Its debut album, “This is the End of Control,” released via Hollywood Records, is a refreshing offering of pure, honest rock ‘n’ roll in an age of TV talent shows and manufactured pop stars. Cherri Bomb has toured Europe and Australia, opened for the Foo Fighters and Smashing Pumpkins, and will spend part of the summer on the Vans Warped Tour—and oh yeah, the four members of the band are girls between the ages of 14 and 16. Founding member Julia Pierce, who recently celebrated her 15th birthday, checked in with Live Metal’s Greg Maki to talk about the formation of Cherri Bomb, touring and more.
LIVE METAL: Just a couple weeks ago, Cherri Bomb played at the Bamboozle Festival, one of the bigger festivals we have here in this country. How did it go?
JULIA PIERCE: That show was actually really interesting. (laughs) It’s funny you ask. It wasn’t quite what we thought it would be, just ‘cause our set was shortened. It was still a nice festival, though. We saw the Foo Fighters after. That kind of made the entire day 10 times better.
How does something like that compare to the festivals you’ve played over in Europe or Australia?
I always say Soundwave in Australia is hands-down my favorite festival in the world. That’s kind of like the festival I look forward to playing all the time. I love European festivals, but yeah, Australia—that’s definitely my favorite place to go right now.
A couple weeks ago, your first album, “This is the End of Control,” came out. On the day it came out, did you do anything special to celebrate?
Yes, actually. We were in New York City. That was the tour that we played Bamboozle and a couple of other dates in New York. We got to New York City the night of our album release, and we went to a really fancy, nice dinner with our label over there in New York, and we had a great time. And then, at midnight, we went to Best Buy to see our album physically on the shelf. It just felt so good. (laughs) We took a lot of pictures.
Going back a few years, when did you first pick up a musical instrument, and what made you do that?
I first started playing piano when I was 5. I’m not really sure why. I just gravitated to it. Then I would take piano lessons. My parents would take me to a music shop in New Jersey, and I would take my lesson every week, but every time I walked in and out of the music shop, I would always take notice of the guitars hanging on the walls. They just looked so beautiful to me. My parents saw that I really wanted a guitar, so one day—for Christmas, I think—they just surprised me with a guitar, and that’s kind of what launched my passion for music.
Lots of kids form bands and dream of being rock stars, but obviously, you were a lot more serious about it. What was it that drove you, and I guess is still driving you today, to do that?
I think music has such a big impact on me, and I know that I idolized many people in music. I think about how much they have helped me through hard times. And I just think, I want to be someone like that. I want to be someone that people look up to in the world of rock ‘n’ roll, someone that’s inspiring and revolutionary. So that’s kind of what I aspire to be, and the passion never went away.
When you decided to form a band, how did you go about finding the three girls who became your bandmates?
Well, I put flyers out around Los Angeles, like in music shops actually, calling out for girls who were my age and played instruments and just wanted to be in a rock band. And then I also put up ads on Craigslist. At the time, it was really difficult because not a lot of people my age even played instruments. I got a lot of submissions from people saying, “Oh yeah, I can play ‘Guitar … Hero.’” (laughs) And that wasn’t at all what I was looking for—like not at all. I really wanted to play with girls who actually could play instruments.
So the process took a while, but eventually, (drummer) Nia (Lovelis) responded to an ad on Craigslist. We were communicating, and eventually we just rehearsed together in a little rehearsal space, and it just clicked. We were learning classic rock covers together, and it just felt like a really good bond, and it felt like something was really happening here. Then (guitarist/keyboardist) Miranda (Miller), she was actually in Florida at the time. We’re all from the East Coast, so she was visiting her family. She sent in videos of herself playing piano, guitar, singing. Nia and I were watching these videos of her, and we knew that she was in the band right away—before she even knew it. She came back to L.A. and we rehearsed with her, and she was so multitalented, like the perfect element that we wanted in the band. Then we asked Rena, Nia’s sister—she played guitar at the time, so we asked her, “Hey, do you mind picking up the bass and learning a couple songs, maybe jamming out with us in rehearsal and we’ll see what happens?” At first, we wanted her to be a temporary bass player until we found an actual bass player, but then she just really loved playing bass and we loved having her in the band. So we just said, “Rena, do you want to be in the band?” And she said, “Yeah, sure,” and that’s kind of how Cherri Bomb formed.
Especially in the early days of the band, did you have problems running into promoters and venues who wouldn’t give you a chance or didn’t take you seriously?
Yeah, we have dealt with that a lot, actually. It was worse in the beginning because we were younger and we didn’t really have that much music out, we didn’t really know what our sound was yet and we were just starting out. I do think it’s definitely gotten better now that we have music out and we just released an album. People know what we’re all about, and we’re definitely being taken seriously.
When and how did you hook up with (former Hole drummer) Samantha Maloney, your manager?
Well Samantha, she was friends with Nia and Rena’s mom. They were in a band together a while ago when they lived in New York. They always kept in touch, and then one day, Nia and Rena’s mom contacted Sam and said, “Hey, Sam, why don’t you check out this band? My daughters are in this band. They’re called Cherri Bomb. Why don’t you check them out?” So she really took an interest in us. She actually asked us to open up for her all-star band called the Chelsea Girls. So we played for them at the Roxy, and we always just kept in touch with her. Then, cut to a year or two later when we started rehearsing a lot more often and things were rolling more for the band. Sam communicated with us again, and she just decided that she wanted to help us and became our manager.
You had a digital EP (“Stark”) last year and then the album that just came out. Were all those songs from the same recording sessions or were they separate?
We recorded the songs at different studios, a couple of different studios. We worked with a couple different producers, so it just took a while over time. But yeah, it was in a couple different places.
Speaking of producers, you worked a lot with the team Red Decibel. What was it like working with them? Looking at the songwriting credits, it looks like it was a very collaborative process with them.
It was a collaborative process. It was actually a really creative environment every time we went there. We would spend hours in the studio just experimenting. A lot of it was spontaneous, too.
What sorts of things inspire your songwriting?
I think it’s mostly just life experiences that inspire us to write. The way that we write, it just depends. Usually, inspiration comes from one riff or one lyric, and it just expands. We all work together and pitch in ideas, and it works well when we’re all in a group.
One thing sometimes you’ll hear people in bands talk about is the so-called “lead singer disease.” Your band has four lead singers, so does that ever cause any problems as far as who’s gonna do what part? Or does it help because you can all kind of share that spotlight?
You know what, when we write a song, we always think, who fits best for this song? Who would really sing this song the best? We just kind of say, “This song really fits you” or “This song really fits you.” It really does help because all of us, we love to sing. So it’s great sharing that factor.
Coming up not too long from now, this summer, you’re gonna be on the Warped Tour. Are you looking forward to that?
Yes. Warped Tour is a festival that I’ve always wanted to play—for years. This year, I’m so excited ‘cause I’m a huge fan of all the bands on the lineup. I can’t wait to go and become friends with these guys and just have a great time, and I’m so thankful to do it.
In general, what would you say is the best part of going on tour?
I’d have to say the memories of having great times and all the different cities. On our off-days, we always do a lot of fun things with our tour group and all that. And then, also, the crazy moments that happen onstage.
On the other side, when you’re on tour, what do you miss most about home?
That’s a really a good question because I’ve never thought about that. I’m so wrapped up in the fun of being on tour that not yet have I ever really missed being at home. (laughs)
Well, that’s good, right?
Yeah. I love being on the road so much, it’s like sometimes I actually get homesick from being on the road. Right now, I’m really agitated to go on tour already. (laughs) I miss the road.
Do you have things lined up for after the Warped Tour yet?
There was talk about it. I heard that we might do a couple of other dates after the Warped Tour in America, but I’m actually not that sure. I know we’re doing something after Warped Tour.
So far, in your short time as a band, you’ve already accomplished a lot. What has been the highlight so far?
I’d have to say opening up for the Foo Fighters definitely was the highlight, just because the Foo Fighters, they are our favorite band in the entire world. We look up to them so much. Being able to meet them and talking to them and getting to know them—because they are the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. We had dinner with them and they gave us a lot of advice. They were just telling us stories. And then opening up for them in a 25,000-seat arena in Germany—like, whew. It was like a dream come true. That was one of the biggest highlights.
Looking forward into the future, what kind of goals do you have for yourself and the band?
We just want to play a lot of shows, get our name out there, get people to check out our album. And then get some more material written and eventually get our second album, and just keep gaining and gaining more followers and building up the Bomb Squad.