Kara DioGaurdi and Dave Stewart (formerly of the Eurythmics) are the vocal and songwriting geniuses behind the new, soon-to-be-unleashed, super-rock group Platinum Weird. There has been a lot of media hype around their amazing back-story. A convoluted –- and primarily untrue — tale of lost love and fame and near-miraculous meetings that lead to strong bonds of friendship and a creative partnership, it could qualify as a potential Disney film; or at the very least the Movie of the Week on Lifetime (or in the UK the Hallmark Chanel – yes sadly in the UK Hallmark isn’t just a card, it’s also a crap TV channel).
I recently got a chance to chat with Dave and Kara on the phone. Kara was in New York suffering from a very sore throat (causing her to have a very quiet voice). Dave was riding in a car in and around LA giving directions to someone who had never driven in LA before. And I was home in Scotland with friends in the living room, jittery with excitement that Dave Stewart was on the phone, waiting for me as we were going out to dinner. The interviewees were both open and engaging (when not saying "turn left here") and more than willing to share with me in this unique interview.
Why did you feel the need to invent a back-story?
Dave: Well about 85% of it is absolutely true. The rest is filled in by friends of mine, who when I couldn’t remember because… it was filled in. The thing is that when people market things, new acts or whatever it is, there is this matter of hype or bullshit. And actually ours is more truthful than anything.
Kara: It’s true how we did meet. We truly were writing for a new act.
For the Pussycat Dolls?
Kara: Yeah, right. That is true… umm
Dave: And all the back-story of my life before… you know
Kara: Dave did a lot of drugs that’s for sure… (Dave laughs)
Dave: Meeting this American girl in Holland. Falling in love, building up a talented rock group… all this shit.
But was it Platinum Weird?
Dave: Well it never got released but that was the name that was kicking around. You see the thing is… You’ve got to understand, Kara and I have made a record that we just love. We absolutely adore it right.
And, you know, as I said earlier, the hype that goes around these little chartless acts, in order to try to throw out into the universe, is phenomenal and completely full of their lies. And the things… all you’ve got to hear is these two people who write songs and play. I mean Kara has got one of… the best voice I have ever recorded.
Kara: Thank you.
Dave: Then we’ve said: how are people going to understand who we are and how we got together and everything? And it’s been told using all the mediums that we have today, TV, internet, all these sorts of things. And it’s a mythological story that lands you with in the present day and with us. It’s almost like Jefferson Aeroplane turning into Jefferson Starship or something. That whole way of getting through to the general public.
In a way it’s based, a lot more into reality than most things. Nowadays… before they would only be word of mouth or the printed word, and the mythology that surrounds David Bowie, who was David Jones, or Dylan who was Robert Zimmerman and told everyone he was Woody Guthrie’s son. All these various things they got expanded on and written about, to the point where you’ve no idea whether it’s true or not.
But it doesn’t really matter because it’s all wrapped around their music and their words. That’s a good way of explaining it.
Kara: The thing that is interesting is that a lot of the artists out there. I’m not even sure if it’s the singer singing. I won’t name which record, but she didn’t do her own vocal work. But really what is the… I hope that people can hear what we are without all that… see past that hype.
Dave: I think that Kara’s right at the end of the day, what we wanted to do was to have created enough fuss about what we were doing with the documentary or anything other of the mess, that they go “hey what is this, I want to listen to it”. And then they get the album and they’ll love the album.
Kara: They will love it.
Tell me about your lyrics. There seems to be a strong influence of Eurythmics.
Dave: It’s a complete mixture of my influence and Kara’s influence. What’s kind of unique about this duo is that I’m English, from the North East of England, and Kara is from upstate New York. You get this American/English kind of feel that’s a bit like Fleetwood Mac; they were part-English. There was a total mixture there of the English and American.
And you feel you have the same mixture?
Dave: Well yeah. Not because we’re trying to but just we can’t do anything else.
Kara: But, we definitely have a different relationship than Dave had with Annie and than I have had with other collaborators. I mean with respect to that iconic relationship. Dave and I have such a, lightness in our relationship even though it’s… I mean I am a totally different character to Annie.
So your music together is lighter?
Kara: Well the music reflects us but also Dave and I don’t have a relationship which Dave and Annie did. We aren’t lovers and Dave and Annie were.
Dave: Yeah. Yep…
Kara: So it’s [the music] based on our relationship with each other. There is one song called “Taking Chances”, which is basically us looking at each other and going we don’t really know each other that well, we made a great job of this music, this is kind of wild but let’s give it a go.
Dave: Sorry… I’m just directing someone who has never driven in LA who before. Excuse me if I sound alarmed now and then. (laughs)
No, please give direction first. I would hate to be responsible for the death of Dave Stewart. My friends would kill me. (all laugh)
Dave: I think what Kara and I are really looking forward to is playing in front of an audience. We have been doing a few performances and Kara is a phenomenal performer and she hasn’t really had a chance to do it yet.
Are you a live performance virgin Kara?
Kara: More like Hello Dolly in eighth grade.
Dave: When she was nine I think.
When are you performing live for the first time?
Kara: I don’t know. Dave, when are going to be performing?
Dave: The plan is — tour in America in October. For Britain we would probably arrive in late January or early February and play dates around the time the release of the album.
When is it released?
Dave: It’s released on September 19th in America and late January/early February in Britain. But pre-lease in Britain there is going to be a whole load of stuff available for people to hear. Give them a chance to follow the history and that sort of thing.
Are you worried that it will be all over the internet first?
Dave: Well we don’t mind that really actually. The internet sometimes gets a bad name by labels paranoia and that. But on the other hand if your music is strong enough then people want to see you and everything, they will buy your record anyway.
We strongly agree with you!
Dave, you seem to have a very unusual relationship with very musical women.
Dave: Yeah, I know… the longer I live the more I realize this. I have no idea why apart from… I’m really drawn toward the female voice particularly, if it has a kind of, as Kara discovered, melancholy in it.
Kara: He likes us depressed. I’m not depressed…
You don’t seem depressed.
Kara: We have that melancholy in our voice. I'm not depressed.
You also have a lot of power behind your voice Kara.
Dave: Yeah… Kara has got an incredible amount of power in her voice. But also totally clear and perfect pitch.
Kara: My voice is so strong that even when I speak I can be heard all over.
Dave: Yeah when Kara and I first met I thought she was shouting at me all the time but then I realised that is just how she talks anyway.
How long have the two of you known each other? And are you going to continue making music together?
Dave: I don’t think lightly about forming another duo with a girl, if you know what I mean. I’ve done it before. It’s just because we get on so well personally but also in our musical collaboration. We just seem to be on the same wavelength.
Kara: We’ve never had an argument. We’ve never written a song and not been on the same page about it. It’s very odd. It’s very organic. That’s what is made it so easy.
Where did the idea for doing the back-story?
Dave: Well it’s kind of evolved because I was toying with all this 70s-sounding guitars and stuff like that and I was talking all about this. We just fall in and write in this particular way. And from that stories came out about what happened in those lost years. And really I was crazy about guitars and all this kind of stuff. Then from that and I started talking to friends… and it became apparent that we hadn’t just appeared but that we were a band that was always meant to be. Like a Legend kind of a band, a Super-group kind of band. Then Jimmy Lovine (chairman and co-founder of Interscope Records) says “yeah that’s right we are. We should make a film”. And so we did.
And we started identifying and contacting people about and filling in all the gaps. We virtually had to stop it from being a feature film about Erin Grace so…
Did she ever exist?
Dave: Well she did you know… but her name wasn’t Erin Grace, obviously, we changed it.
And then it was kind of interesting because everything the film was about was about Kara really and leading towards Kara. Song wise and everything, was about that lost spirit that gets regained.
How did you feel about that Kara?
Kara: At first I was a little bit like reluctant about the whole thing. But I loved it. Dave always talks me around. Being in the film, in the public arena.
Does losing you anonymity worry you?
Kara: Yeah… yeah I know, but I’m not going to be really out there. I hope that we will be very successful and if we are, I guess that’s part of it.
Platinum Weird’s debut album will be out on September 19th in the US and sometime in early January in the UK and Europe. To check out Platinum Weird’s very cool, retro, indie rock sound right now, you can visit their MySpace site.