Alison Mosshart – Pieces Of Me

The Dead Weather and Kills singer guides us through the cultural pointers that have shaped her soul
My first album
Walt Disney’s Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
“I remember having this kids’ record player covered in denim that my parents bought me, and that was the first record for it. Beyond that, my dad’s a used car dealer, and when he’d buy cars he’d give me the tapes that he found in them. That was my musical education: Devo, Springsteen, Men At Work, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson and Elvis.”

My first gig
Tommy: The Musical
“It’s dark, definitely – it’s about child abuse as much as pinball. But at the time I didn’t think of it as dark. It was so beautiful. It was incredible. I sat right in the front, so I was sort of in the orchestra pit. It was so loud, it had a profound impact on me.”

My favourite gig
Fugazi, Montreal, mid-’90s  
“I’d just flown in from a tour with my first band and I was meeting my parents. I’d never seen Fugazi play, but they’d been my favourite band since I was 11. Then I saw a sign advertising a gig. I literally ran and bought tickets for me and my family. It was partly an act of reconciliation because my parents weren’t speaking to me because I’d just got a tattoo.”

The book that changed me
Edie: An American Biography, by Jean Stein
“It’s about [tragic Andy Warhol acolyte] Edie Sedgwick. I was just the right age to read that. I found it in a thrift store.”

My favourite artwork
Goat Head by Don Van Vliet  
“Don Van Vliet’s the singer of Captain Beefheart, and he also does really incredible paintings. I didn’t know which one to pick because I love them all. They’re pretty abstract. I remember going to see one of his shows in NYC – it was in the tiniest gallery ever. Just one square room with about 20 paintings in it, and I didn’t leave all day.”

Right now I’m loving
Karen Elson
“Jack [White] is producing her record ‘The Ghost Who Walks’, so I heard a lot of it when she was making it. It’s just really stunning. She’s got the most beautiful voice. It’s sultry, it’s smart. Maybe some people are writing her off as a sort of fashion-puppet, but they’ll change their minds pretty quickly.”

My favourite character
The Devil
“I like the imagery of the Devil. It’s kind of beautiful, it’s kind of a joke, it’s kind of sinister – it’s all things to all people. Hell isn’t even in The Bible – it’s been constructed later. All through blues music – through all music, literature, and art and everything – from Goethe to Robert Johnson to Pantera. The Devil is constantly talked about and used in so many different ways.”

My favourite place
Hotel Chelsea, New York
“My little brother’s moved to New York, so I get to hang out with him. He’s a chef. After reading the Edie book, it was the first place I wanted to go. There are still people living there from that time, and everyone’s got loads of stories. Everyone sits in the lobby and chats – it’s like one big family.”