One of the biggest bands of the last decade, The Kills are celebrating ten years together with the release of picture book Dream and Drive.Delving into their past and celebrating a career that has seen them release four acclaimed albums, tour the world and earned them an astonishing reputation, Dream and Drive takes us right back to the start. Often raw and always truthful, the book tells the story of Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince through hundreds of pictures captured over the span of their musical careers. From festivals and tours, to hotel rooms and all the wild parties in between Dream and Drive was photographed by Kenneth Capello, friend of The Kills and an esteemed photographer in his own right.
We talk to Alison Mosshart about Dream and Drive and the last ten years of The Kills.
The book Drive and Drive has just come out in England. How did the idea behind it form?
The idea came from the fact that there were thousands and thousands of contact sheets of the band which Kenneth took. We first met him about ten years ago in Paris while we were filming in a basement and started taking pictures. We met him a couple of times after that in New York and the three of us became great friends.
Was it a natural process putting the book together?
Yes, we invited him to come on tour with us whenever he wanted or he could so that’s what he did. All of a sudden we just had tons and tons of photographs and the idea has been around for a while about making a book with them, but the know how on how to put it together and get it actually printed was a different story.
Was there any defining moments of The Kills that have been captured within the book?
I am sure there are many. Kenneth took pictures of the first time The Kills played Coachella Music Festival which was pretty cool and a lot of it is really while we were touring which is always an exciting time, going around America. There are a lot of beautiful things, I especially love any of the stuff that is in the desert, Coney Island on the beach and all the weird Motel shots, of us staying in total dives and loving it, loving every second of it.
Do you prefer the free spirited lifestyle of touring?
I love touring, I have been doing it since I was fourteen years old so it has been about twenty years now. I love it and I don’t think that is going to go away any time soon. I don’t like being anywhere for more than four days, it has gotten to that point.
Was there any pictures that have been omitted from the book?
Of course, thousands. What we tried to do was put together a well-rounded book of backstage photos and onstage photos and hotels and planes and everything. There were a billion doubles and live shots where I am laying on the ground and in hotel rooms. It was hard to edit it because there were so many great pictures. In the end we chose pictures that weren’t necessarily the most beautiful pictures of us because thats not really the point. We went for the ones that had the biggest story attached to them, when your looking at the photo if you don’t know the story it tells itself. We chose those over the more sort of fashion looking shots.
How important do you think an image is for a band?
I think it is incredibly important and I think you would be an idiot if you said it didn’t matter and had that down to earth thinking that it doesn’t matter what you look like or how you dress. When I was a kid and chose records in the record store I would make decisions based on what the people looked like, because that was what I related to. I went for a look that scared me or looked cool to me. Our eyes are a massive part of how we think.
The book Dream and Drive celebrates ten years of The Kills being together, what have been your highlights so far?
I don’t know, ten years is a really long time. I swear once a week I have a highlight that I will never forget.
What has been your highlight this week?
We just played two shows at The Mayan in Los Angeles and that was incredible and we also had a book signing for Dream and Drive. It was so incredibly successful that I was shocked. It was crazy to see like a thousand people lined up round the block to buy a book and get it signed. We honestly thought that like ten people would show up. That was really amazing to sit there, we were so unaware that so many people would care. It is so hard to put a book out right now as it’s not really like books are the most popular thing. People don’t shop in the same way and collect things in the same way they used to. It is very inspiring to see people buy a real object and treasure it.
Do you have a favourite book yourself?
I have many favourite books, photo book I’m not too sure. I can’t think of anything as I just woke up. Actually I really like Robert Frank photo books, anything he ever did I really love. Maybe my favourite book ever is Coney Island Of The Mind it is a poetry book by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Where do you see The Kills heading in the next ten years?
I don’t know we never really plan ahead. I don’t really know what’s going to happen tomorrow just that we have tones of shit to do today.
Not a lot of bands make it to the ten year mark, what has been the key element behind your success?
Just loving doing what we do. You can spend a life time just trying to find a creative partner like I have found in Jamie. It does not happen so easily so we were really lucky to find each other and be obsessed with music in the way that we are, and be obsessed withperforming. There is such a strong foundation there, we wake up in the morning and it is the first thing we think about doing and I think we have that incredible need. I think we were lucky enough to find each
other and both be that same way. I don’t think there is a secret, it is more like a compulsion.
Dream and Drive is out now in the UK
Words by Robyn Lynch