Interview with vocalist Michele Madden, Tourettes Syndrome (October 14th 2006)

Something good is brewing Down Under. With a couple of releases behind them, Tourettes Syndrome haven’t exactly caused a stir on these shores, but this just might change with the new release, ‘Sicksense’ – a blast of an album that oozes of courage and power. Front woman Michele Madden answers a few questions from’s Thomas Nielsen.  

TNI: With Sicksense I believe you have created something that’ll not go unnoticed by fans and media alike. It’s a great blend of styles and moods. How would you describe your music?
: Thanks man, I never really know how to answer this question! It’s different, Like Janes Addicton getting fucked on good coke by slayer? Hahah…its journey music, takes you out of yourself. Pure sonic fuckcore.  

TNI: Brutality seems to be central in your whole expression – the video for Stand [bonus video track on Sicksense] is violent on par with Fight Club. Would you characterise yourself as a violent person?
: Yes. Emotionally violent. I keep a grip on the physical side of it a lot more these days cause I know that people want me to hit them and I wont give them that. I turn it on myself. I have spent a lot of my youth around the rougher side of life so I think that I find it familiar.

That film clip was my idea.  

TNI: Who writes Tourettes Syndrome’s music? Is it a band effort?
Michele: Ash writes the music and Mike and Ross get the feel right and I turn up with the words.  

TNI: Unlike most other female singers in metal bands, you manage to sound both as gentle as a female soul singer and as grim as a growler. How did you end up doing this thing? Are you a trained singer originally?
: hahahah! Hell no! It’s just got more precise as the years have gone on. Trained? Hell I didn’t even make it through high school let alone some kind of vocal training!!!.  

TNI: If you had to single out one track from Sicksense that sums up what Tourettes Syndrome is all about, which one would it be and why?
: For me it’s NOLA. It’s a real “Fuck You” Epic and it still makes me feel like I could chew rocks and shit out a highway.  

TNI: The reports we Europeans receive of metal events in Australia are only sporadic. How would you characterise the scene – alive and thriving?
: It’s a lot smaller than here but it does alright. Metal for the brain is the big festival but in its 16th year that have decided to pull the plug which is sad. We tend to do our own thing away from any specific scene...  

TNI: You played this year’s Wacken festival in Germany. How did that go down?
: Like Jenna Jameson baby. Smooth! I had the time of my life and I can’t wait to do it again after a year of building up the tribe out here. It was magic.  

TNI: Where do you see Tourettes Syndrome in, say two year’s time? Commuting back and forth between Australia and Europe constantly perhaps?
: Guess that’s the way that it is gonna be. I guess 9 months out here and 3 back home. It’s where the music leads you you know? I know that we are gonna break the US in that time if I’ve got any say in it!  

TNI: Let’s play a wee association game. Give me your immediate thoughts on:  

Live performances
Michele: Better than anything else. I fuckin live for it!  

Europe (the continent, not the Swedish rock band…)
Michele: Never boring, Too much meat! Better if I was not broke! Cool fans.  

Michele: Sweet guys.
Jonathan is very polite.

Mortal Sin
Michele: Fucking legends! Gentlemen to the core.  

Michele: Too far away right now….  

TNI: Try to list the five albums that influenced you most (in no particular order) and tell us why.
: Arghhhhh!!!!!How about the 500????

Ok this is right now mind….I will think of all the ones that I should have put in later!!!  

Everything by The Rollins band…ever…..
It’s the drive that gets me every time. His words and the power behind them.  

The Real thing. Faith No More.
My first ever boyfriend made a tape of this for me and I listened to it until it broke. It became a huge influence on me, The tension, the way I sing…I still listen to it to this day.  

Lynard Skynard.
Round 96 the cat [panteras drum tech] was listening to this non stop which then got Big Val hooked which in turn got ME hooked.I dug them before this but I then became a dyed in the wool fan. Drove to Phoneix that xmas with the Box set blaring. Good times!  

Miles Davis live at Carnigie hall 1958.
This album I listened to every night as a child before I went to sleep. It made me feel better than I am.  

Pod People - Doom saloon.
These guys are from my hometown and the last 3 years I have listened to this album on the road non stop. Its like a soundtrack for me. Definitely worth hunting down. I dunno if it influences me but I sure as fuck dig it at 3 in the morning in the back of the van!

TNI: Thanks a million for answering my questions! Do you have any comments for the readers?
: Thanks for asking them! See y’all at a show sometime.


Interviewed by Thomas Nielsen

Tourettes Syndrome - Sicksense

Album available on Armageddon Music.

For more info on Tourettes Syndrome - click on the album cover.