Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Warpaint

In Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz an artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them. This week: Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa takes the ultimate test

An easy one to begin with. Which band once sang: “Fuck your romance, I wanna pretend that Jenny Lee Lindberg is my girlfriend” in reference to the Warpaint bassist?

“Um, it’s the band Swim Deep? I do remember that moment!”

CORRECT. From the Birmingham indie-poppers’ 2012 debut single ‘King City’ – as well as the recently updated ‘JennyLee version’, remixed by the musician herself.

“That’s a pretty good start! [Laughs] We thought it was adorable that someone had dedicated a song to our lovely Jenny, who deserves to have every song dedicated to her. It was a very sweet, touching moment to be acknowledged culturally like that.”

You drummed on which two tracks of the deluxe edition of The xx’s 2017 album ‘I See You’?

“‘Say Something Loving’ and… I’m so tempted to look on Wikipedia right now! It’s not ‘Decade’, is it? Shit! Pass!”

WRONG. ‘Say Something Loving’ and ‘Naïve’.

“How embarrassing! I had a vivid recollection of ‘Say Something Loving’, but apologies to my friends [The xx] who will be mortally offended that I forgot ‘Naïve’ for sure!”

You’ve toured with The xx. Any favourite memories?

“I’ve become closer with Romy [Madley Croft, xx vocalist and guitarist] and Jamie xx over the last few years because they started coming to Australia often to finish up work. Romy and I had a fun summer a few years ago: they were touring, and then we’d DJ an afterparty. This is before she became a superstar DJ, and I have fond memories of that almost innocent period of us playing the music we love together and getting to show my friends swim holes that I love.”

Talking of big names you’ve performed with, any good stories of opening for Harry Styles in 2018?

“I wish I had some scandalous stories to tell you! But it was just a lot of laughs, and having afterparties in ramen restaurants. Harry was sweet and supportive. It was flattering that he asked us to [support him], especially given that we’re not necessarily the same kind of music. But he has a track record of highlighting female talent both in his band and in the support acts he chooses: you can feel that’s something he cares about. He doesn’t just talk about it, he puts it into action.”

Warpaint covered Duran Duran’s ‘The Chauffeur’ for the 2015 tribute album ‘Making Patterns Rhyme’. Name two other artists who grace the compilation.

“I’m failing! Stevie Nicks? [Laughs]”

WRONG. Among many others, you could have had: Moby, Service Bells, Beliefs, Soko, Luxxury, Verdigrls, The Dead Lovers, Barbarian and Halo Circus.

“I remember Soko, but this just shows my deep, tragic ignorance of other bands! We supported Duran Duran at the Hollywood Bowl last year. They were sweet: [Duran Duran frontman] Simon Le Bon said hello before the show and was very complimentary. We didn’t talk about our cover, but he seemed to be somewhat of a fan. When we covered ‘Ashes To Ashes’ for a 2010 tribute compilation [‘We Were So Turned On: A Tribute To David Bowie’], we received feedback that David Bowie himself really liked it, which was very flattering! Especially because it was the first song I ever recorded with Warpaint – so it meant even more.”


Warpaint performed ‘Undertow’ on Later… With Jools Holland in 2011. Can you remember any three of the other acts who appeared on the same episode?

Arctic Monkeys, Randy Newman, Brian Wilson… and Alison Krauss!”


“I remember that well because I was obsessed with Later… With Jools Holland growing up in Australia and was so excited. At the soundcheck they take a group photo, and the girls nominated me to be in the picture – usually it’s the singer instead – because they knew how much it meant to me. There’s a photo of me wearing a stupid hat next to these icons of music!”

Any memorable Arctic Monkeys experiences?

“We’ve seen each other occasionally, but I feel Alex [Turner, Monkeys frontman] and I are friends now because of our mutual friend Zach Dawes [bassist in Mini Mansions and The Last Shadow Puppets], so we often hang out in LA. We got to play in a wedding band together – it was for Zach’s wedding and it was a star-studded event! We performed a finely-curated mix of songs, with rotating vocalists, that were significant to the bride and groom, and then some funny joke songs. It culminated in a hilarious, expletive-ridden version of [Bonnie Tyler’s] ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. There’s a recording of the set, but no-one’s ever going to hear it except for those who were at the wedding. It’s under lock for sure! It’s a sacred piece of music! [Laughs]”

According to IMDb, which three horror TV series have Warpaint songs appeared in?

True Blood was the big one. What were the other two?”

WRONG. The tracks ‘Love Is To Die’ and ‘Undertow’ soundtracked True Blood, while ‘Son’ was in American Horror Story: Hotel, and ‘So Good’ cropped up in Lucifer.

“No way! Unfortunately, I didn’t watch True Blood, and I tried to watch the first season of American Horror Story [Murder House] because Jen is a big fan, but I found it very scary so I had to turn it off. I’m the wrong person to ask about horror!”

You contributed to Adam Green’s 2016 ‘Aladdin’ album, but in the accompanying film, which former child star gets decapitated by a papier-mâché guillotine?

“Macaulay Culkin?”


“Yay! That’s funny that that’s the one I got [right]! Adam Green is great, and I played shows in LA with him around the time ‘Aladdin’ came out and went to the film’s screening. He’s insanely creative and a true multi-disciplinary artist.”

You’ve also drummed on a plethora of big-name artists’ albums, including Kim Gordon’s ‘Murdered Out’ and Tom Jones

“With Kim Gordon, I wasn’t in the studio. I cut drums and then later on they made it into a song, which was a welcome surprise. Recording with Tom Jones was a very regal experience! You’d imagine he’d send his vocals in from a mansion in Barbados or something, but he performed them live in the studio with us and ate dinner and drank wine with us every night, while telling some incredible stories. Of course he told us some Elvis anecdotes. And then some!”

On a similar ‘Aladdin’ note, which band did Adam Green once convince a German chat show host that he had fought alongside in Iraq in a special celebrity unit? Clue: it’s a trio that made you want to drum.

“[Laughs] Hanson?”


“I’m back on top! I’ve never met Hanson but I would like to meet Zac [the drummer], especially to tell him thanks for my career! The closest I’ve come to a full-circle moment was when I was going into a studio in Hollywood recently where I was producing some music, and saw AJ [McLean] from the Backstreet Boys – who was my very first crush. Even though I’m 37 now, I couldn’t properly talk to him – it was like I’d had a stroke! [Laughs] I reverted and regressed to my 12-year-old self, had an unexpected reaction and spoke gibberish to him.”


What was the 2017 Depeche Mode tour that Warpaint opened on called?

“You’re making me feel stupid! [Laughs] ‘Spirit In The Room’? No, that was the title of the Tom Jones record I drummed on! ‘Global Spirit’?

CORRECT.Global Spirit Tour’ – named after the group’s 14 studio album ‘Spirit’.

“Supporting Depeche Mode was one of the best tours we’ve been on. We were treated with such respect, and played foosball with the band after each show. Andy [Fletcher, Depeche Mode keyboardist who passed away in 2022] was still around, and was very sweet and always making sure everybody was comfortable. I met him for the first time years before that at a pub lunch when I was working on a record with an Australian artist, and he was always so curious about everyone he met and [was] a beautiful spirit.”

What number did Jenny Lee Lindberg reach on the 2010 NME Cool List?

“I don’t know! Three?”

WRONG. 27 – she was sandwiched between rapper Giggs (Number 26) and Klaxons bassist Jamie Reynolds (28), and hailed as a “modern-day rock Medusa”…

“[Laughs] That’s bullshit! She should have been in the top three! When we first went over to Britain in 2010, NME was the first time we’d been on a cover of magazine at that level, and it felt really novel. Some of the descriptions of us around that time were unhinged and we had a good laugh. NME described us as “Satanic majesties” and we were always painted as these witchy, unpredictable wild women – but the truth is we were such dorks! “Modern-day rock Medusa?” [Laughs]. I mean, there’s some truth in that! But I’d prefer “stone-cold legend” to describe Jen!”

Warpaint formed on Valentine’s Day 2004, but in which European country did the first ever Valentine’s Day celebration (probably) occur in?

“In history?! Oh come on! [Laughs] Well, the obvious answer would be Paris in France, but that would be such a cliché….”

CORRECT. Apparently the earliest description of February 14 as an annual celebration of love appears in the Charter of the Court of Love, issued by Charles VI of France in 1400.

“Really?! It’s a cliché for a reason, right? But come on, history: you can do better than that! [Laughs]”

Warpaint are performing at the upcoming Christine and the Queens-curated Meltdown festival. What can we expect?

“We’ve never met [Chris], so I’m looking forward to that and hopefully hanging out. We’re flattered to be included, and are going to put on a big ‘ol rock show that will ensure nobody regrets including us in the line-up!”

The verdict: 6/10

“Lord have mercy, those questions! I’m not sure that’s a good score!”

Warpaint will perform at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in London as part of the Christine and the Queens-curated Meltdown festival on June 12. Details can be found here.