Picture by: Dan Santoni
Interviewed by Marianne Jacobsen (Journalist/Writer) Myglobalmind Webzine
Photographs by: Dan Santoni
Musician, artist, businesswoman. Most humans are only capable of one if any of these fine traits. Meet Nadja Peulen. Nadja is all of the above and so much more. I’m of the personal thought that Nadja might just be a force of nature. She’s just that cool. She took the time at the B4BQ to sit down with me and have a chat.
MGM: Describe Coal Chamber to a new or curious fan.
NP: Coal Chamber has been around for a long time. I didn’t join the band until 1999 so I can only really share about my own experiences. I may have come in a little later. However that was like, 16 years ago! (laughter) So Coal Chamber is a metal band with a gothic new way groove element to it. We are definitely a live band (MGM concurs). I think that is our strongest point because we are very energetic and theatrical. To actually experience Coal Chamber – come out and see us live and then make up your own mind. You know its kind of hard for me to talk about the band because I have one vision of it and everyone has another opinion. So I guess the best thing I can say is just come and GET TAKEN!!! (laughter)
MGM: So how did all of this (your really fucking cool life) start?
NP: Well my family were/are a real rock and roll family. We travelled a lot and stayed in a lot of different places. So in some ways I kind of feel like I was set up for this type of lifestyle. Like a gypsy, on the road. I’ve always been around a lot of people, attended concerts – I kind of grew up that way. I’ve always loved music because there was always a lot of music being played in my house being the 70s there were lots of different influences going on. Lots of Motown, Disco, Classic Rock – and those are definitely all my influences – from Bowie to Iggy Pop, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Grand Funk Railroad, Stevie Wonder and all that good stuff. In school I had music class and gravitated to the drums. So I started out on the drums. I grew up in a small town and I was always told like most people are told when they are children or from small towns that, “music is not for you”. That overall someone from a small town that kind of dream will never happen blah blah blah. So I never really thought about it. Then one day I picked up and moved to LA. I continued to play the drums. I started learning from really great drummers and then I started jamming with people and everything was very positive and helpful. Eventually, I just wanted to get more into songwriting. So someone gave me a bass. A cheap $100 bass – and I started playing bass and I started playing with one finger and slowly graduated to a couple more fingers (chuckle). I’ve never had a lesson in my life.
MGM: No way! (visibly in awe)
NP: I’m self taught and I just basically got a bass and three months later I was in a girl band and I started playing around Hollywood – the Wiskey a Go Go, The Viper Room and whatever clubs were there at the time. I really liked that and did that for a couple of years and then I just started jamming with other people and a couple of years later I ended up in Coal Chamber touring the world.
MGM: Has it changed you?
NP: I would say yes, definitely for the positive. I like travelling and I like doing all this stuff. I feel like when I tour and when I play and perform, I am truly mostly myself. By feeling this way, I feel like I generate more positive energy towards others.
NP: OMG I FEEL LIKE SUCH A HIPPIE RIGHT NOW!!! (laughter)
MGM: How do you feel about all these sub genres of music? MGM personally thinks music is in two categories Good or No Good.
NP: Yeah and even that is relevant. Who knows anything anymore? What might be good to you might be bad for me. One thing I’ve noticed recently at jams is a lot more female musicians. I’ve also noticed a lot of female bass players. What I really like is that I’m a finger style bass player and I noticed a lot of them are doing finger style. Which is not like when I was growing up – finger style was kind of a taboo thing and everyone was supposed to play with a pick because that’s what everyone wants for their sound. I personally feel that the finger style bass playing is coming back a lot more now so that makes me really happy because its old school.
MGM: So if you had to pick a time that you felt complete satisfaction with your life and career could you do it?
NP: Sure, it has happened many times in my life for sure. Can I pick a particular time at this moment? No – my mind is a little blank. (laughter).
To me being on stage and playing music is one of the best things because I have a very busy mind – I’m always thinking.
MGM: What sign are you?
Interview interruption to discuss astrology.
NP: Honestly being on stage and being in the moment is really the only time my mind kinda stops. So for me that is Peace. I’ve also achieved peace recently with doing yoga.
MGM: What kind of yoga?
Interview interrupted again to discuss Kundalini, Chakra Blow Outs and Kundalini Psychosis (yes these are real things people!)
NP: When I get off tour im going to get right back into yoga. It’s pretty difficult to do it on tour when you are travelling and there is no space and not a lot of privacy.
MGM: Is Sharon Osbourne continuing to manage Coal Chamber?
NP: No, I don’t think that she was been with Coal Chamber since early 2000’s. In 1999 she was our manager and she is/was great! You know, I love her and I think she’s awesome. She is a very powerful woman and I have nothing but respect for her.
MGM: Ok so now it’s the time to ask about your star struck moment?
NP: My star struck moment. Ok, I guess that moment would be with Iggy Pop.
MGM: OOOOH! (once again MGM visibly impressed)
NP: Iggy Pop is one of my idols and my friend Whitey was his guitar player – I’m not sure if he still is now, – however he did play with him for a long time. I remember coming off of one of these Coal Chamber tours back in the day and I got a phone call from Whitey saying, “Why don’t you come down to the Swinghouse and jam with me and a couple of friends?” I was like, “Well I’m in bed. My bass is dusty and I’m watching TV. I really don’t feel like jamming with you right now.”Whitey called back a couple of times and finally said, “Well it’s Iggy and he wants to jam with you.” I’m like, “Yeah you’re fucking with me.” “You just want me to come down there and hang out.” I got another phone call from Iggy’s manager, which turned out to be his son Eric. He said, “Yeah Iggy Pop is down here and he really really wants to jam with you.” I’m thinking – these guys are pranking me. Then I finally got a phone call from Iggy himself and I recognized his voice and I nearly pissed my pants! I was like “holy shit!” Iggy said, “Nadja I have heard a lot of really good things about you. I want to jam with you. Come down here – can you be here in 10 minutes?” I was like, “fuck it!” I grabbed my bass – I hadn’t played in a long time. I was in my pjs and I ran down there. I could not believe it when I got there. It was super cool. I jammed with him for a couple of hours and totally sucked and played in the wrong key.
MGM: I’m sure you were awesome! Everyone is always their own worst critic.
NP: Yeah that’s true. I was always afraid to meet someone like Iggy Pop because I listen to his music so much, that I believed a person like that would probably be an asshole and I’d never be able to listen to his music the same way. However, he was super cool – he was exactly what you’d expect. Iggy is the real deal – he’s humble and is the way that someone of his stature should be.
MGM: What’s your relationship like with your fans?
NP: We have amazing fans. I can say that some of our fans have even become some of my friends. You start talking about life and other things. I don’t always have the time to answer everything to everyone because I am really busy and there is a lot of social media stuff going on and I can’t reply to everyone – it’s nothing personal.
MGM: Do you find that with social media you feel like a part of your privacy has been taken away?
NP: Yeah. I’m really not much of an internet person. You know, we have to do it because that is how it is nowadays. However I do find it just a little scary, you know? I think everyone has a platform now to be heard. And honestly, we don’t need to hear all of these people. (laughter) You just don’t because most of them don’t have very much to say that is useful to anyone. Sometimes I catch myself responding back to really rude things and I’m like “you know what I’m gonna say something.” Because, I actually do stand up for myself a lot. However then I start thinking, “Why am I replying to some person who is probably sitting somewhere in a basement and has nothing better to do? So therefore, I choose to engage less and less on social media on a personal level.
Note: MGM lives in basement and has nothing better to do – please don’t tell Nadja!
MGM: You’ve had the new album Rivals out since July 19th and even though I have not seen you perform live this tour (MGM now has) – All the reviews and comments I have read are continually saying you are killing it out there. How are you enjoying this tour?
NP: I’m really enjoying it. Im having a great time! It’s an honour to be playing in front of our fans after this many years. They keep coming back and I look at every tour as a nice opportunity for me to play in front of people again, However, I really don’t need to hear my drum tech making stupid comments in the back while I’m trying to do an interview…
A moment is taken to tell off drum tech (in the nicest possible way) and banish him from the interview space.
MGM: So privacy and trying to find your own space must be challenging when touring like this?
NP: Privacy? There is none! (laughter)
MGM: What’s it like being the only female on the tour? How do you create your own space?
NP: It does get challenging. I usually get dressed in the bathroom on the bus. Which is a very small space. Again though, on the road is like a gypsy lifestyle. It’s kind of like dirty camping and you just kind of adapt to what you have. This tour I have one more woman on the road with me. She’s the merch girl and that’s never happened before because usually I’m the only female.
MGM: So usually its boy’s club and you’re ok with that?
NP: Yeah it’s fine. It’s just sometimes you have to stand up and be a bitch!!!! (laughter) It’s ok. It’s just sometimes you have to put your foot down and be professional otherwise it’s gonna be all over the place. I’m very easygoing – but sometimes it’s kind of like “Whoa!”
MGM: How much longer are you on the road for?
NP: Just another week.
MGM: And then what?
NP: Then I’m gonna go home, get back to yoga and doing some creative designs for some t-shirts and things like that. I have my own t-shirt company that I started back in 2001 called Crueltees. I used to sell to Hot Topic. I had to lay that to rest for a little while and now it’s happening again.
MGM begins rant on how we need decent t-shirts for women that fit. (amirite?)
MGM: So you’re an artist as well?
NP: Yes, I was in Art Academy when I quit to come to LA actually. I love to paint and sketch and I designed my own bass logo that I have on there and transfer it over to t-shirts and things like that.
MGM: Where can we find these t-shirts?
NP: You can find them on my website http://nadjapeulen.com/
MGM: Thanks for your time!
NP: Thank you!
MGM received glow in the dark picks from NP, and of course, MGM reciprocated with CANDY – and a hug!
OH and we also got cut off because everyone else was done their interviews and we were still yapping …to be continued.
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