2011 YEAR BITCH Selene Vigil-Wilk

Back
with a new album, the former 7 Year Bitch frontwoman isn’t ready to sweeten up
her music.

 

BY GILLIAN G. GAAR

 

In the early ‘90s, 7 Year Bitch was one of Seattle’s best bands. They had a compelling
live show, fierce songs like “No Fucking War” and “Dead Men Don’t Rape,” and
the distinctive, snarling lead vocals of Selene Vigil. But after three albums
(two on Seattle-based C/Z, one on Atlantic)
and increasing critical acclaim, the group disappeared. What happened?

 

“A lot happened,” says Vigil-Wilk, now married to Rage Against The
Machine drummer Brad Wilk. “Valerie [Agnew, the drummer] moved to San Francisco, then Elizabeth [Davis, the bassist] moved
to San Francisco.
Roisin [Dunne, the guitarist] quit. We tried to replace her but that didn’t
work out so well. We fired our third manager. I moved to Los Angeles. We were no longer on the same
page any more. Drugs and alcohol were causing serious problems… the breakup
was brutal. But Valerie, Elizabeth, and I are back to being friends now, and
have been for some time.”

 

Since the split, it’s been largely quiet on the musical front for
Vigil-Wilk. There was a side project, Cistine, that consisted of one song
released on the Internet (“There was talk of starting a band but it didn’t pan
out”). But the desire to make music was never far away, due in part to the
instruments and 4-track that were a constant presence in the living room of the
home Vigil-Wilk shares with her husband, two sons, and three dogs. And after
completing enough songs Vigil-Wilk realized she had enough for an album – That Was Then, released on her own
label, Tuck & Roll Music

 

The album’s 10 tracks (lyrics by Vigil-Wilk and music co-written
with Matt Sherrod, with whom she also co-produced and split instrumental
duties) burn with an intensity that bites down on the first note and doesn’t
let up until the last. Songs like “I Brought the Rain With Me” and “Seattle” look back, while
“Soak” embraces the idea of immersing yourself in a new experience. “My hope would
be that people would see that this is coming from the heart,” Vigil-Wilk says.
“That they would feel or sense truth, and that they would tap their toe or nod
their head because they enjoy the music.”

 

Vigil-Wilk’s other new venture isn’t a surprising one for a former
health food store employee; she and her husband are the producers of Olade, an
organic, sugar-free juice sweetened with Stevia, a natural sweetener. “It came
about because a drink like this didn’t exist and it needed to exist – people drink
a lot of crap!” Vigil-Wilk explains. “Brad, being diabetic, can’t drink sugar
and I can’t stand artificial sweeteners.” And if Vigil-Wilk decides to tour (no
live shows are planned at present), it’ll fit in well on the tour bus. “It is
great as a mixer with vodka,” she says. “There’s less of a hangover because of
less sugar, and it has electrolytes.”

 

[Photo
Credit: Leann Mueller]

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