Nina Rachel Shapiro Gordon is an American rock singer. Co-founder of the band Veruca Salt, Gordon pioneered and revived Bangles inspired pop-rock for the mid-'90s grunge generation. She quickly became known for her instantly infectious power-pop hooks and melodies, writing Veruca Salt hits "Seether" and "Volcano Girls". Since leaving Veruca Salt in 1998, she has released the successful solo album Tonight and the Rest of My Life, written songs for Fefe Dobson and Courtney Jaye, and released her second solo album, Bleeding Heart Graffiti, on August 8, 2006.
The band released an orange 7" single for the song "Seether". "Seether" was a bratty, distorted alt-rocker about an angry and misunderstood woman. Compared to the rest of Veruca Salt's material, "Seether" was very pop, so much so that Gordon said that when she wrote it, she did not think the rest of the band would like it. They sent "Seether" to radio, as it was the most radio-friendly song they had written and the reaction was unexpectedly positive. Unfortunately, the album was not complete and they found themselves rushing to complete it, before "Seether" lost its radio momentum. It ended up peaking at #8 on the Modern Rock charts.
American Thighs was released through Minty Fresh Records on September 27, 1994 and re-released November 8, 1994 by Geffen Records after the label signed the band after an intense label bidding war. The album peaked on the Billboard Top 200 at 69 and was eventually certified Gold. The follow-up single to "Seether", "All Hail Me", failed to chart on the Modern Rock Charts, and the last single from the album, "Number One Blind", written by Gordon, did better than the previous single, peaking at #20 on the Modern Rock charts, but nowhere near as well as "Seether". Gordon and Post were unhappy with the song's video, and it was pulled after airing fewer than five times on MTV's 120 Minutes.
The band released an EP in 1996 titled Blow It Out Your Ass It's Veruca Salt to tide fans over until their next album. It was produced by Steve Albini (PJ Harvey, Nirvana) and contains the Gordon-penned "Shimmer Like a Girl" and "New York Mining Disaster 1996".
Eight Arms to Hold You, which was released February 11, 1997 on Geffen Records, proved to be a difficult and dividing album. Some fans of American Thighs were disappointed by the polished, hard-rock and distinctively Bob Rock production, in comparison to the laid back, indie buzz-bin vibe of American Thighs. The new album garnered mixed reviews from music critics as well. Band members have since admitted that this album was difficult for the band, and the recording process was extremely tense. However, Eight Arms to Hold You sold well due to the success of the first single, "Volcano Girls", written by Gordon. It was a catchy, power-pop tantrum that matched "Seether"'s success, peaking at #8 on the Modern Rock charts. The album, however, didn't have longevity, and despite peaking higher (Billboard Top 200 at 55) than American Thighs, sales dropped off drastically when the second single, "Shutterbug", failed to chart, despite a high budget video and Saturday Night Live performance, as well as other promotion. Three more singles were sent to radio ("The Morning Sad", "Straight" and "Benjamin") but none of them did well enough to warrant a video. However, the Gordon-penned "'Benjamin" was released internationally as the third and last commercial single from the album despite having no video and no promotion. "Benjamin" also failed to chart.
Nina Gordon left Veruca Salt in early 1998 amid rumors of stolen boyfriends and physical altercations with bandmate Louise Post. Post kept the Veruca Salt name, despite being the only remaining original member, and eventually released Resolver in 2000, the first Gordon-less Veruca Salt album.
Soon after leaving the band, Gordon demoed solo material in Boston with friends Kay Hanley and Michael Eisenstein from the band Letters to Cleo. In 1998 she sang on James Iha's solo album Let It Come Down on the song "Beauty". Shortly after she began recording with Eight Arms producer Bob Rock. The album, now titled Tonight and the Rest of My Life, was finished in early 1999 and was set to be released by Outpost Records, owned by Geffen Records, in August 1999. However, not all went smoothy, as Outpost Records was eaten up by the Geffen Records/Interscope Records merger and Gordon was left without a label.
Gordon wasn't label-less for long, however, as she was signed to Warner Bros. Records a few months later. Originally scheduled to be released in January 2000, Tonight was finally released June 27, 2000. The first single, also titled "Tonight and the Rest of My Life", did well on radio and has since been included in commercials for hit movies such as Chocolat and The Notebook. The second single "Now I Can Die", didn't do as well, and the third radio-only single "2003" actually performed better despite having little promotion and no video.
Gordon toured with David Gray as an opening act, and did a headlining tour with Palo Alto.
Tonight and the Rest of My Life peaked at a disappointing 123 on the Billboard Top 200. However, it floated around the mid-100s for months, and has sold close to 300,000 copies to date in the U.S. and 50,000 in Japan.
After Nina Gordon finished promoting Tonight and the Rest of My Life in late 2001, she took a break and began writing material for her second solo album. However, she didn't get into the studio again until late 2003. Reasons for this two year delay are uncertain, but Gordon says it was because she wanted to write a lot of great material. To tide fans over, Gordon released B-side material from Tonight on her website and a demo for a song called "The Time Comes", which was featured in the independent movie, Stealing Innocence.
Gordon began recording her second album with Ethan Johns in late 2003, and via her website stated she was excited with the direction the album was going, even though it was very, very mellow and sad. Gordon finished recording with Johns in early 2004 and stated that she had named it Even the Sunbeams, but little more about the album was ever revealed. A few months later, Gordon admitted she was unhappy with the album and she wasn't going to release it. The only song that surfaced from this recording session was "Lighter on the Moon", which was available on Nina's MySpace site. In April 2006, Gordon stated in the Chicago Reader, "It's a really sad and really slow record. I guess that’s how I was feeling at the time, but when I sorta snapped out of that, I thought, 'I don’t know that I want this to be the album I put out next.' It’s really a lovely record, but it didn't have the spirit of the records I've made in the past.
During this time, Gordon was performing at Largo in Los Angeles, for "Bring the Rock" nights, covering songs by N.W.A., Skid Row, Backstreet Boys and Phil Collins, as well as many others. Her cover of N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton" gained her popularity on Internet music blogs. She also wrote a song with Fefe Dobson titled "Get You Off" for Dobson's album Sunday Love (on which Gordon also sang back-up), as well as a song for Courtney Jaye's album Traveling Light titled "This Is the Day", which she wrote with boyfriend Jeff Russo.
The lead single from Bleeding Heart Graffiti, "Kiss Me 'Til It Bleeds", was supposed to hit radio June 12, but ended up being delayed until mid-July. There was a "physical" promotional single for "Kiss Me 'Til It Bleeds" and it contained the Bleeding Heart Graffiti album track "Don't Let Me Down", as well as Nina's previous hit single, "Tonight and the Rest of My Life". Almost all radio stations received digital copies of the single rather than physical CD singles, however. There is no video for "Kiss Me 'Til It Bleeds" or plans for a video at all.
|2000||Tonight and the Rest of My Life|
|2004||Even the Sunbeams (Unreleased)|
|2006||Bleeding Heart Graffiti|
|1996||Blow It Out Your Ass It's Veruca Salt|
|1997||Eight Arms to Hold You|
|2000||"Tonight and the Rest of My Life"|
|2001||"Now I Can Die"|
|2001||2003 (Promo Only)|
|2006||"Kiss Me 'Til It Bleeds"|
|1995||"Number One Blind"|
|1997||"The Morning Sad" (Promo Only)|