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If I acted like I did onstage in normal life, everyone would probably hate me. Alison Mosshart performs with The Kills, Dead Weather and The Raconteurs: BLASBERG: What do you wear? Another time, when we were in France in this massive auditorium, there were loads of people and absolutely no ventilation. And it kept on going around and around, and then I blacked out.

No doubt because of the girl-boy pairing as well as the sound, they have also been compared with The White Stripes, something flattering but misleading: "It's kind of true, because we're both rooted in the blues, and they kicked open the door for our type of bands - who wouldn't want to be compared with The White Stripes - but we are different, for a start we have a drum machine." The way Mosshart explains it, this drum machine that might be considered a cop-out to help keep a lesser band to keep in time, is actually an extra challenge leaving them fully exposed on stage."We can't speed up, we can't slow down, there's no adjusting to be done. Mosshart is so down-to-earth she meets me a little late because she was up late last night chain-smoking cigarettes, writing songs, and painting, at one point spilling thick black lacquer all over a white wall at her week-long sublet in the East Village. MOSSHART: Embarrassingly enough, I think these are the exact same jeans I’ve worn on the past two tours. I have a friend [at Dior] who reorders a pair for me whenever mine get tired. I started that band when I was in junior high school—BLASBERG: Wait, junior high? As we pop inside The Mercer Kitchen to order soup—paint under her fingernails and the distinctive scent of Marlboro Menthol Lights still in her hair—she asks if I want to go ice skating in Central Park later. They’ll be like, “The bands after you were fine and blah blah blah . .” Yeah, they went on at, like, 6 p.m., when the sun was down, asshole. I challenge anyone to show me a boot I like better. DEREK BLASBERG: Do you see this dichotomy you have, being both a cute American girl and a tough-as-nails English rocker? BLASBERG: What I mean is, if I saw you in one of your music videos, looking all sullen and broody, I wouldn’t say, “This girl is totally going to be my best friend.”MOSSHART: Ha! I did at Lollapalooza, which was outside and about 115 degrees.

But performing is one thing, and day-to-day stuff—like the way you talk to people—is totally different. The stage was black, and we felt like we were melting—the bottoms of my shoes were literally smoking. She takes a menthol drag and lets out a loud, phlegmy treble cough, a sound an acute Kills fan might recognize as an opening note of the tune “Cheap and Cheerful,” in which Mosshart begs: “I want you to be crazy ’cause you’re stupid, baby, when you’re sane.” To watch her perform it live, you’d think she was exorcizing some pretty hateful demons. They don’t care, they just read these magazines on the train. He left the motor running, and the generator died when the gas finally ran out. He’s not dead, because I keep hearing he’s stolen more buses. I also was told that he went on a three-day coke bender with a hooker—apparently that’s also his thing. If you weren’t playing music, what would you be doing? I’ve thought about this—I say write books, or draw pictures. BLASBERG: Just sell a bunch of jingles to a beer company. Lately, she’s even gotten a second project started, coming together with musicians Jack White, Jack Lawrence, and Dean Fertita as the band the Dead Weather; they just recorded tracks, and their first album will be out later in the year. I met a lot of people on that circuit, sleeping on people’s floors. The bus was pitch-black and couldn’t be started—Lalo had to pack the bus up using a flashlight. BLASBERG: Stealing buses and doing coke with hookers? But there’s this side of me that truly loves and is obsessed with and addicted to performing. My parents are really proud of me and my brother, who’s a chef here in New York. I have responsibilities and ties to London that I’ll be dealing with probably forever. Not that Mosshart is planning a break from The Kills. That’s when we toured England and I met Jamie [Hince]. Once I stayed in Jamie’s apartment—it was kind of this squat with two levels. It’s hard for me, because when I don’t play for a while, I crave it. I don’t see my parents often, but they’re very supportive, especially as I get older. BLASBERG: Do they want you to move back to America? The duo is putting out its latest ep, , this month, and will continue on a hectic touring schedule that includes a pit stop at Coachella. BLASBERG: Still, that’s good for a bunch of sixth-graders. Downstairs were my friends Ben Corrigan, who drove our tour bus at the time and who is now a photographer, and Sean Forbes, who works in a record store. I was really nervous around him—I don’t think I spoke in a year of knowing him. I don’t really like the idea of my music showing up in a beer commercial—that would be weird. If someone hears your song on and buys your CD, that’s probably an audience you didn’t expect. We get excited, and then we’re here and then there, all over the world, and not looking after ourselves. That is still one of my favorite stories of all time. MOSSHART: After our California gigs we stayed in a Hilton near the airport in l.a.