You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down: A Q&A with Chantal Claret of Morningwood

How many times in life have you’ve been told to “hang in there”?  And how many times have you actually done it?  What do you mean, you ask?  You know what I mean.  How many times when things have gotten hard, I mean really hard, that you’ve decided to stay the course, to stick it out no matter what?

Chantal Claret of the band Morningwood knows what it’s like to hang tough and navigate life’s rough patches. She and co-founding member bass player Pedro Yanowitz have survived record label drama, band bust ups, and even a 3000 mile separation.

Don’t cue the maudlin music. No need to shed tears darlings. You can file this one under: A set back is a set up for a hellava comeback.

And comeback Morningwood has. The band has been named VH1’s you oughta know artist for the month of October.  Previous artists so honored have included The Fray, Amy Winehouse, James Blunt and Adele. The band is also set to release their latest album, Diamonds & Studs on October 27 whose lead single, “Best of Me,” was the theme song for the VH1 reality show Daisy of Love.

Recently, The Ride chatted with Chantal about music, surviving, and her obsession with bingo.

The Ride: Hey Chantal. Love your music. I’m new to you and your sound. I’d describe it as in-your-face brassy, a bit snarky but still fun.  How would you describe it?

Chantal: I think you are pretty right on, this is the one question I have never really been able to answer, I really cannot narrow down our sound to a few words; I am horrible at it.  Our new record [Diamonds & Studs] mixes a lot of our tastes in music from rock, and pop to hip hop and taiko and opera. That is very exciting to us.

The Ride: How would you describe you?

Chantal: I would describe me pretty much the same way you described our music “in-your-face brassy, a bit snarky but still fun”.

Chantal Claret of Morningwood
Chantal Claret of Morningwood (photo: Transfer Media Group)

The Ride: How did you get to do the Daisy of Love theme song, “Best of Me”? Which came first the song or the phone call asking you to write the song?

Chantal: The song came first.

The Ride: Apparently, you have no problem having your songs used in commercials and other media. Do you put any restrictions on its use, like “no tampon commercials”?

Chantal: Actually I always joke about how I would love to have one of our songs used in a Tampax commercial because I totally endorse Tampax.  To me, it is an honor when a company that has so much invested in a product or a movie hears one of our songs to help sell their item.  It’s their vision and if our music accompanies that vision that is really cool to me.  The only time I wrestle with whether or not I would do something is when they try and brand me or the band with the product; that is where I am very protective, and I have to 1000000% believe in the product and love the product in order to do it.

Chantal Claret and Pedro Yanowitz of Morningwood
Chantal Claret and Pedro Yanowitz of Morningwood (photo: Transfer Media Group)

The Ride: I read that Morningwood had undergone many incarnations. How did you keep going despite so many trials? What’s your motivation? Any mantras? Mine: “I’m not afraid..I was born to do this” – Joan of Arc

Chantal: We have had a lot of trials and tribulations. My motivation is that this is one of the few things I think I am good at; I would have to start from scratch at something else and figure out what I would be doing if I didn’t have this. Believe me, I think that will happen at some point, but I don’t think it is time for that just yet.  As long as other people still want to hear my sing and believe in me, I will keep going. I never want to be one of those musicians who is kicking a dead horse. And my mantra, which is more of a cautionary tale, is “Don’t count on anything happening until it has happened”. That is the one for sure rule I have learned in this business.

The Ride: Has being married changed your approach to music – the sound and/or process? (Hubby is Jimmy Urine of the band Mindless Self Indulgence) And did I read correctly that your husband’s last name is “Urine”? Is it pronounced the normal way or is there some fancy pronunciation?

Chantal: You know what at first I was going to say being married has not changed our sound or process at all, but to be honest I think it has. My husband’s music is so diverse it really gave me the confidence to want to try and put all of my influences into our music. I am very inspired by my husband and the way he works and the music he makes. He has an incredible work ethic and I hope some of that rubs off on me.  His last name is Euringer; Jimmy Urine is his stage name, no fancy pronunciation. It is a jokey sorta name, if you knew the music it would make sense.

The Ride: What does it mean to you to be selected to be VH1’s you oughta know artist for the month of October?

Chantal: It’s such a huge compliment to be a you oughta know artist. I mean only 36 artists a year get that kind of treatment from such a great institution such as VH1 and for them to love our music and believe in us and want to reintroduce us to the world is really wonderful. I am such a huge fan of their channel; it is really the best thing ever.

The Ride: I follow you on Twitter (@chantalclaret). Love reading your tweets. They are fun and real and really fun. Why did you decide to become part of the Twitterverse? How has the experience been?

Chantal: Thanks! I love Twitter. I have always been a computer dork and have always been very ALL ACCESS to fans and whoever wanted to talk to me. Finally, technology has caught up where it is so easy to do it.  This is not new to me, the format of Twitter itself is, but the idea isn’t.

The Ride:  Your Twitter profile says you are avid bingo player. I have a friend who loves bingo. What’s the appeal?

Chantal: Bingo is wonderful. Being a room with 300 old people and staring at sheets of numbers for 6 hours is really great mental exercise and also really relaxing if that makes any sense. I am not a gambler by any means, but this is the closest I get and can still feel okay about losing my money.

The Ride: Any words of wisdom?

Chantal: To quote T.S. Eliot “The only art worth talking about is the art one happens to like.” Oh yeah and buy our record please! Thank you!

The Ride: Thanks so very much Chantal. And I have to say this, “You Rock!”

Morningwood on MySpace, click here.  Chantal Claret on Twitter (@chantalclaret), click here.

Here’s the brand new video from Morningwood

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