If music were all about what was laid down on tape, then the formula to success would be much easier than it is.
For Lori Garrote, lead singer and guitarist for the New, her role within the South Florida music scene has been both as musician and outspoken voice within a small yet amazingly active "girl rock" movement.
For years, she fought, clawed, and scratched to find success, first in trio A.K.A. (2007 Miami New Times Best Girl Band), then more recently as the New. Typically, by her side was on-and-off-again bandmate Nat Smallish, fighting to push the proverbial rock of success up a nearly insurmountable, enormous hill.
Musically, the different iterations of their bands followed the path of punk-driven power pop. The transition from A.K.A. to the New was a natural evolution, a result of the growth of hardworking artists dedicated to their craft. A.K.A. was raw and emotional, and the New felt more polished and clean, but both indisputably came from the same soul.
Yet, while all the tangibles were set in place for the New to succeed, it's the intangible aspect of chemistry that can make a band succeed or fall apart. For Garotte, Smallish, Giz Forte, and Jordan Calloway, the chemistry went sour, and all parties realized that it was time to move on.
"It was pretty much a mutual decision," Nat writes. "We are totally fine, her and I. It was just best for the both of us."
Amicably each went her own way. Smallish now plays with new group Beach Day
, and Garotte continues with a new lineup for the New under the management of John Tovar, former manager of the Mavericks and Marilyn Manson. Behind the women is a long history as one of South Florida's best-known "girl rock" groups. Their biggest legacy is their influence on hordes of young women to pick up a guitar or yell into a microphone.
Lori will be playing with the New's new lineup this Thursday, February 23, at Tobacco Road. She agreed to answer a few questions about her future with the New and her relationship with her former bandmates.
New Times: How would you describe the music that the previous lineup of the New was making?
Well, with the addition of keyboards and adding two more background vocals, it certainly started sounding more feminine and more harmonic.
Was the transition personal? How do the other girls feel?
No, it wasn't personal at all. Just going in direct directions, and the decision was mutual.
What are you trying to do differently?
On the contrary, I am not trying to do things differently here. If I am doing anything differently, it's not settling for less and bringing back the simplicity of it all. I felt more of a connection with my earlier projects (A.K.A) and projects before then. I wasn't thinking too much about it and keeping it as raw as possible. When you overanalyze things, it gets bizarre.
Why did you have to break from your label?
We decided to break from the label because they weren't as "hands on" as we had expected. When our East Coast tour was canceled, we were disappointed and decided this wasn't the route we wanted to travel.
What advice has your new management been giving that's different from what you were doing before?
"Take a stand for you want and to stop being too patient with people!" is what my manager, John Tovar, always says to me. It's in my nature to give people the benefit of the doubt; unfortunately, it's exhausting and a waste of time.
My new manager was a gift from above. Having crossed paths with him back in 2007 and ignoring the situation makes me believe I was naive at the time. When we crossed paths again recently, he didn't even realize I was that same girl he approached years ago until I mentioned it to him. It was a surreal moment. I'm grateful for him; he has put me back where I want to be.
Do you think you'll ever work with your old lineup again?
Yeah, I'm sure we will jam again. I will always jam with Natalie; we've always had a strong musical connection. But as far "working," I really don't know.
What's up next?
I'm extremely busy, but only time will tell what's up next!
The New with new lineup plays Thursday, February 23, 2012, at 8 p.m., upstairs at Tobacco Road.
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