Beauty And The Beat: Little Hurricane’s CC On Bridging The Drummer Gender Gap And The Merits Of Waterproof Primer
Celeste “CC” Spina has been playing drums since she was 10, but it took a short-lived career as a chef followed by a serendipitous Craigslist posting to finally get behind the kit in an actual band. She joined singer-songwriter Anthony “Tone” Catalano to form the San Diego duo Little Hurricane, whose debut album Homewrecker (out next week) lives up to the group’s name as something small but powerful; think bluesy rock tracks that sound just as good when played to thousands at Lollapalooza as they do soundtracking an episode of Gossip Girl (GG fans will likely recognize the song “Haunted Heart”). Although CC prefers wearing vintage dresses and styling her hair in long, side-swept waves, she’s no delicate flower—just look at her inked-up arm for proof. “I got my first tattoo at 18,” she says. On the eve of their big album release, CC spoke with Style.com about sweat-proof primers, stocking up on dried fruit, and an American Apparel staple that, in a twist of irony, prevents her from flashing an entire audience.—Rebecca Willa Davis
What does someone not familiar with Little Hurricane need to know going into your debut album Homewrecker?
It’s rock, but there’s blues, folk, country, punk, and funk lurking there as well, [and] it’s full of personal stories of heartache and hope. It’s a true DIY album, recorded while touring the West Coast.
You’ve been compared to—and have yourself talked about—Meg White. Do you ever feel like you need to differentiate yourself from other blues-rock duos with female drummers?
Being compared to someone else is part of playing music and every band goes through it. I like that most female drummers are viewed as a novelty; it’s great motivation to be a better drummer. Being on an all-guy drum line was really challenging when I played as a kid. It sets me apart in a different way now, and I love that. I just really try to be myself. It wouldn’t be any fun to just copy another band.
Which musicians do you look up to, in terms of onstage style?
Karen O, because she has so much confidence with her style. I don’t think I could quite pull off her outfits, but she’s got something that is very much hers, both visually and musically, and I’ve always admired that.
Playing behind a drum kit poses certain sartorial challenges, I imagine.
I can’t wear anything too short or tight or it can look really trashy. A-line, knee-length works best, and I’ll sometime use a crinoline from American Apparel underneath—they have really cute ones that are super soft and can go with most anything. I’ve definitely gotten some help from designer Jennafer Grace when it comes to styling for important shows or photo shoots. Up until this point I’ve worn almost exclusively vintage dresses; I usually go for party dresses [from the] forties or fifties.
Do you try to restrict yourself to a short-sleeve-only wardrobe to keep your arms free—and to show off your tattoos?
It’s definitely function over fashion. I’ve tried to play in long sleeves before, and it’s a surefire way to feel like you are going to overheat and pass out onstage. Between the bright lights and long hair, I am surprised I haven’t already.
Even in short sleeves, it must still get pretty hot onstage. Do you pack an arsenal of sweat- and frizz-proof beauty products when you travel?
I think using a primer really helps for makeup—I like Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix and Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer. Sephora makes a good waterproof eyeliner, and I’m still looking for the right waterproof mascara. A good dry shampoo can be a life saver for long tours—Oscar Blandi makes a good one.
What’s the first thing you do when you get back home after a long tour?
I usually take the longest shower my water heater will allow and get in my most comfortable pajamas. I’ll follow this with a fresh fruit salad and some crappy TV, and I always make sure I have clean sheets to come home to. It’s awesome!
Having previously worked as a chef, is it hard to stay healthy while on the road?
It’s nearly impossible to eat healthy on the road. Part of you just has to accept that as part of touring. There will be times when you are forced to eat something disgusting, or just go hungry, and I’m no fun when I am hungry. Being prepared can help; I love dried mangos, nuts, tangerines, or granola; they keep pretty well on the road and can help get you through [it].
Photo: Rebecca Wilson