Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (January 7, 2011): Watch Rachel Maddow video from the vault, meet Vanity Theft

If you haven’t heard the pouty-lipped pop rock coming from Ohio’s Vanity Theft, you’re missing out. The foursome has put together a solid album, Get What You Came For, that is set for release Feb. 1 There’s something for just about everyone’s mood, but a standout track for me has to be “Anatomy,” an anthem that confidently discloses, “And besides, baby, I don’t want you for your mind,” which is something I’ve always wanted someone to say to me. Stop wanting me for my mind, people!

The ladies have already toured with favorites Sick of Sarah and they’re about to embark on a cross-country tour with our other gal pals, Hunter Valentine. We were able to catch Vanity Theft drummer, Elyse Driskill, to get a little backstory and hear about what’s in store for the band this year. When did you first pick up the drums?
Elyse Driskill:
I started playing in high school when Britney, our guitarist, had been playing for a couple of years, and I guess she just wanted someone to jam with. She had a drum kit in her basement and one day she was like, “You’re gonna play the drums,” and I was like, “OK,” and then from that day on I just started playing.

AE: So, have you ever had any formal lessons?
No, I’ve never taken lessons, which is kind of funny. I would love to, I just have never found the time so I just taught myself everything.

AE: That’s crazy awesome to be able to pick it up like that – how many hours did you have to practice in order to get this good and be able to sustain your friendship in the band?
Really, we didn’t start playing out for a couple of years, we never really tried to sit down and practice. We just got together and jammed which is basically how I practiced. I took it as it came.

AE: All of you besides Lalaine met in high school?
Yeah, Britney and I went to the same school and Alicia went to a close one. Britney had met her at a fundraising thing for homeless people. Alicia’s band was playing there and so that’s how they met. Then Alicia just started coming over to Britney’s place and we all started jamming together.

AE: What was your first impression of Alicia?
Shoot, I don’t remember. I just remember thinking we just clicked as soon as she started hanging out with us. We all got along so easily; we all made each other laugh. Sometimes when you play music with other people it’s weird and you get self-conscious. But when we first met, it was just really easy to put yourself out there. She wasn’t a judgmental person so it was just easy.

AE: So you had a different bassist to start out with right?
We’ve actually had three!

AE: How did Lalaine get involved with the group and did you have preconceived notions about her since she was coming from a Disney show (Lalaine was previously on Lizzie McGuire)?
Actually no! We met her while we were recording the album because she was friends of friends. One night we were hanging out and joking around and we’re like, “What if Lalaine was our bassist?” So it kind of started out as a joke but then we actually asked her and she suggested a different friend because her friend played (bass). That didn’t end up panning out and Lalaine just ended up practicing and eventually said, “Well maybe I will do this,” and that’s kind of how it happened. She was definitely interested in what we were doing so that played a part as well.

AE: What was the best part of touring with Sick of Sarah?
Oh, shoot, those girls are freakin’ awesome and hilarious. So much fun. We’ve never really had other opportunities to go on tour and going on tour with them was great. They’ve had a lot more experience and showed us little things to do on the road.

AE: Ah tricks of the trade huh?
Yeah, but really the best part was just that they’re so hilarious and fun.

AE: Have you met Hunter Valentine yet? I know you’ll be touring with them in the spring.
We played a show with them in New York a few months ago and met them then. They played at CMJ too and I think a couple of us hung out with them but I wasn’t able to. They seem really cool, I’m sure it’ll be awesome.

AE: When I was a little girl I used to take an empty toilet paper roll and cover the top with foil and sing to Milli Vanilli in my mirror, did you ever do anything like that?
Oh yeah. When I was little I never thought I would play the drums but I would dance around my room a lot, which I guess lends itself to drumming. You’ve got to have rhythm if you’re going to be a drummer. I would definitely be in the mirror a lot just shaking my little butt.

AE: Who were some of your favorite artists to shake your thang to?
Oh my gosh. I liked really weird poppy music when I was little. When I was really really little I liked the Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls, TLC – I loved TLC.

AE: Me too! Don’t go chasing those waterfalls! So, what are you listening to these days? To shake your thang or just to chill out.
I randomly got into Fionna Apple again lately. Criminal was one of my faves when it first came out but I never pursued any more of her stuff until now. So I’m listening to her. I like all the typical stuff like Radiohead and The Faint. I love Heartless Bastards, we saw them at Lollapalooza a few years ago and they’re just great. The Butchers and the Builders were there too and they’re great. Pretty much anyone newish that you can think of. Born Ruffians, We Are Scientists.

AE: So was that what you were just listening to at the gym?
Ha, no, I was listening to T.I. because I need something fast-paced.

AE: Who have been one or some of your biggest female role models? Or someone you think kicks ten thousand asses?
I guess I would say Lady Gaga is pretty baller. If I could dress like her on a daily basis I would do it.

AE: That might be pretty hard as a drummer.
That’s the problem. That’s it. I guess personal role model would be my mom. My mom is one of those people that I can talk about anything with and she’ll tell me what she thinks even if it’s not something I want to hear.

AE: It’s important to have those people in your life to call you out on your B.S.
Yeah pretty much.

AE: Who do you think the hottest female celebrity of 2010 was? You can list more than one if you want, it’s a difficult question to narrow down.
Emma Watson. She just cut her hair off and it’s freakin’ hot! Ashley Greene from Twilight — she’s pretty awesome. I’d say Lady Gaga too because I just love her. And recently, I just saw them on VH1, Grace Potter from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. She dresses like a girl, but she’s got an edge.

AE: So, I don’t want to pry or anything but have you ever had a relationship with a girl?
Yes, I have. I don’t mind labels but I’m the kind of person that if I like you, I like you.

AE: Do you have any goals for the new year?
I would say, for us to keep writing so we stay sharp. One goal of mine, I want to get a new drum set. That may be a random goal but we’ve had the same drum set since we started playing out. Even if it’s just a single drum. Anything’s better than nothing.

AE: By the way, I really dig your single, “Anatomy.”
Yeah that song turned out pretty awesome. I remember at the beginning, I never thought it would be as good as it is. Not that I thought it didn’t have potential, but I didn’t know it would turn out to be one of our best.

AE: What should everyone know about the album?
Well there’s definitely something for everyone. There are songs to dance to if you want to dance. There are songs to go cry in a corner to if you need to.

AE: What’s the best song on your album to go cry in a corner to?
I would probably say “Missing Teeth” is one of them. For sure missing teeth. You can feel that one if you’ve got your headphones in and are just sitting in a corner.

You can catch Vanity Theft on tour with Hunter Valentine starting at the end of January.

by Mia Jones