The Kills frontwoman Alison Mosshart started out at 14 singing in the Florida punk band Discount. After that band's dissolution, Mosshart and guitarist Jamie Hince (now better known as The Guy Who Just Married Kate Moss) formed the blues-punk duo the Kills, which released its fourth and best disc, "Blood Pressures," in April.
These days Mosshart does double duty, singing in the Kills and Jack White's garage-blues band the Dead Weather.
On the phone from Melbourne, Australia, Mosshart, 32, talks about the Kills' near-disastrous set at Lollapalooza '08 (she fainted) and juggling life in two successful rock bands.
Q: The last time you played Lollapalooza, it was incredibly hot.
A: I remember. I remember it being incredibly painful. I remember my shoes melting onstage, that's how hot it was. … It was one of those days where I think, "This is really dangerous." It was kind of extreme. I'm not one of those people who handles 140 degrees well, while jumping around and screaming.
Q: What's the trick to handling it?
A: There's no trick. I can't really make it through that. That's pretty much the end of the show. We played this show in Paris one time, it was 123 degrees inside the club. Your brain starts cooking, you kind of don't know where you are and you just get weird. You kind of can't make it past a certain point. Because you're cooking. That's what happened at Lollapalooza that day. ... It was so hot on the stage, I could feel it coming through my shoes.
Q: You've been doing this since you were 14. Does that make you feel older than your years, or younger?
A: I don't think of it in those terms at all. I was really lucky to get to play music so young, and to continue getting to play it for so long. I think it's pretty rare.
Q: Do you often wonder what else you might have done?
A: No, not really. I kind of try to do everything I want to do all the time, anyway. I know it would be pretty hard for me to have a normal 9-to-5 job. School was hard enough. I think this is good for me, whatever it is I'm doing.
Q: To have two bands you're juggling at once, you must not be the kind of person who likes a lot of downtime.
A: I haven't reached that point in my life where I like a lot of downtime. I haven't learned how to go on a vacation properly. I just really enjoy playing music, so to me it's not a pain in the a-- to do this all the time. I feel really lucky, I've got two amazing bands that I love and that I love being with.
Q: Have you learned anything about multitasking from Jack White, who always seems to be doing 70 things at once?
A: It's pretty simple, actually. You can't be in more than one place at a time, so that kind of cuts everything down to a pretty dealable level. ... The Dead Weather is a band that makes records really fast, so making records with that band is not really time-consuming. There's always a couple of weeks here and there to do things ... if everyone just happens to be off tour at the same time, which has happened twice.
Q: Do you think playing live with the Dead Weather has given you more confidence?
A: Yes and no, just because I think every time you play a show you become better at what you're doing. I think confidence comes from being on tour since I was 14, rather than two years (in the Dead Weather). ... But that was an incredible learning experience because it was such a rock 'n' roll band, it was such a spontaneous band, which I wasn't used to being in, where I didn't really know what was coming next.
Q: You've said that even when you and Jamie are writing in the same room, you're both very secretive about your songs.
A: He's pretty secretive about his songs. I'm not so much. We both write in separate rooms where we can see each other. We write as many songs as we can, and the ones we love we show each other, and we continue on from there. We both just kind of bring each other songs like we're bringing each other presents.
Q: Do you talk to Jamie before you go off and do Dead Weather stuff? Do you negotiate that between you?
A: Yes and no. The first record Dead Weather did, I never planned to do. It really was by accident that I did a record in those few days when I was just visiting (White's home in Nashville). We went to finish a couple of songs for a 7-inch and it turned into a record before our eyes. That wasn't a conversation I had with anybody, not even the Dead Weather. And the second one came about much the same way. ... There's never been a plan or a discussion, really.