Jennifer Herrema's wardrobe has pretty much set the template for the way chicks in bands have been dressing for the last 20 years. The Royal Trux singer likes to wear all of her clothes simultaneously, throwing together super-sized, fucked-up tees, two dirty flannel shirts, multicolored fur pelts, sunglasses, trashed duct-taped jeans, feathers, and tons of jewelry. The good news for those of us without Jennifer's fashion brilliance is that she's set to release a line of jeans with Volcom in July.
Vice: So I read a thing in a Swedish magazine about ten years ago when you were talking about what you had on. I can remember what you were wearing. You had a knitted Eskimo hat, a rabbit fur coat that you loved, even though you said it wasn't warm since rabbits have thin fur…
Jennifer Herrema: Oh yeah, haha!
…a poncho from Ecuador because you liked the Indian look, a dirty flannel shirt, torn Levi's jeans repaired with silver duct-tape, Mexican snakeskin boots bought from people who ate snakes, and a Navajo Indian leather necklace. Oh, and silver turquoise rings, which has been your favorite stone since you were nine when your uncle smuggled precious stones.
Oh shit! I actually still have all those things. The poncho, the Levi's, the snakeskin boots…I'm a packrat, I don't get rid of things and I wear them until they fall apart and then I put them on vacation for a while. But they usually get dragged back out.
Don't you ever need to chuck stuff out?
I have a really long closet and my garage is full of clothes too.
Do you ever get shit for wearing fur?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's a shame, really. Humans were wearing fur at the dawn of time. We kill animals every day for food and fur, and that's just the natural pecking order. It's Darwinism and we are the hunters. Can you imagine if we didn't hunt at all? It'd be overpopulated. I mean, rabbits alone, come on, it's cuckoo! If no one killed rabbits we'd be up to our ears in rabbits.
In the part of Stockholm where I live, there used to be so many rabbits you'd see bunny families on every lawn and even outside clubs. Then all of a sudden they disappeared. Apparently they'd been killed and then burnt to generate electricity. Anyways. Didn't all those layers of fur and wool get really warm on stage?
I used to live in the mountains in Virginia and it was really cold so I have a huge collection of wool and fur coats. It's cold backstage too. Then when I get on stage and start to sweat it feels good, like my skin is all soft. I like to sweat my ass off every night. If I don't sweat when we're playing I don't feel like I'm doing my job.
Do you dress like a rock star every day, or do you dress differently when you go to the supermarket?
Yeah, it's not like I wear costumes on stage or anything, I wear clothes that I'd wear out anywhere. Truthfully, I live by the beach now and mostly wear these Lacoste flip-flops with the little classy alligator dude on them, which I wouldn't actually wear on stage. I don't want one flying off and hitting a member of the audience in the face.
Does living out of the city get boring?
I mix it up with traveling and meeting different people, working with different people. I mean, unless you're taking it to new levels, why do the same thing over and over again? There isn't enough time in this life to be bored.
What does bore you?
Routine. I'm always kicking against it. That's what keeps me excited: kicking against structure.
How did the jeans with Volcom come about?
It's for a line called Road-Tested Denim by Jennifer Herrema. I made 13 prototype pairs by hand, with my denim patches.
How do you even reproduce that, a bunch of random jean patches?
Well that's the thing, my jean patches are like a diary--each one connects with the time I made it.
Would you consider becoming a designer?
I don't have the patience to actually sit and do all the stuff that designers do. You know, measuring and cutting and making patterns—I'd go mad. But I do like working on ideas with designers, like I'm doing with Volcom.
Were you ever a designer-label junkie or have all your outfits come from the thrift store?
Oh yeah, when I was really young I loved Issey Miyake. I thought he was super cool because he was never influenced by Western style and always used his imagination. I always liked John Galliano and Nicolas Ghesquière too, but I've always been more into specific pieces rather than following a label.
You also modeled for a while. What was that like?
It paid well. It was fun enough I suppose.
I want to hear a story.
Well, when I modeled for Hysteric Glamour, Sophia Coppola was taking the photographs. I lived way up in the mountains, on this really rocky hill, and she showed up in a limousine. The road was unpaved so I had to walk down the mountain and find a spot where the limousine could park and then Sophia realized she forgot to bring her camera. It was hilarious, she had to go and get the limo and drive, like, 45 minutes to the nearest town to get some disposable cameras. I've only met her a couple of times, but she's pretty whimsical.
What's the next chapter for you? Are you working on a new album?
Yeah, it's almost done. We're just working on the last overdubs in the mixing right now. It's called Rad Times Four and should be out in the fall. I've been listening a lot to these song compilations and The Gap Band, Zapp, Bootsy Collins, Scorpions and Nelly's second album Nellyville.