The Attorney and Rockstar: Gina Spiteri

April 14, 2013

My friend LindA introduced me to this brilliant sparkle who takes us into the land of cool. Gina fights for change by day, then follows her dream by night; as one part WINKIE. What’s WINKIE? You’ll see… come on in… you’ll be glad you did…

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where are you from?
I am from Long Island, NY originally. After law school I moved to NYC where I lived in Hell’s Kitchen for five years. At present I live in Brooklyn with my husband Peter and our puppy LouLou Reed. I wish I had some cool story about how I traveled the world looking for a place suitable for habitation and ended up in NY but I’ve lived in NY for my entire life…so far….

what do you do, and do you love it?
I do lots of things and love most of them some of the time. Most notable however- I am an attorney and 1/2 of WINKIE. Being a lawyer has definitely made me a stronger, more confident person. Who doesn’t want to be strong and confident? Instead of merely complaining about the legal system I believe that I truly play a part, albeit a small part- in trying to change it and make it right. When I am able to advocate for those less fortunate or someone being bullied by the man- well- that’s a really great day in Ginaland. Being part of WINKIE is fantastic and this aspect of my life I love probably more than anything else that I have ever done. I am so pleased at how it has evolved into a strange and wonderful soundscape for Peter and I to share with whomever will listen and partake. The process of creating a song is very organic- we start with something very small and build on it until it’s a huge wall of swirling delightful noise with a melody buried inside. I love performing as well, but I get such insane stage fright that I’m usually completely sick right before a show. Performing also gives me an excuse to wear black lipstick. I love black lipstick. I don’t know why.

what did you want to be when you were a kid?
When I was really little I wanted to be a ballerina. I am probably one of the most ungraceful women you will ever meet. The thought of me as a ballerina is pretty frightening. I can run for days but I can’t dance at all. I also wanted to be a writer and play in a band. I have lived so many lives all in my head. Who said that? I think Trent Reznor said that- now there is a great segue- when I was around 13ish I opened up some magazine and saw Trent Reznor inside and his picture I will never forget- kind of not so clear skin, frizzy dark hair- leather jacket-and he was talking about being classically trained. I was like, this guy is just like ME! I can really be a musician and that is what I’m going to do. I also had dreams of becoming the fifth member of Depeche Mode.

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what kind of role did your family play in helping you set and achieve your dreams?
Growing up I was always encouraged with respect to my interest in the arts. Piano, saxophone, chorus, ballet, books. I played the saxophone. Why? I have no idea. I really don’t like the sound of the saxophone except when Daniel Ash plays it. Anyway, thanks to mom and dad I had every New Order album,12-inch and poster. My parents took me to see bands that they had no interest in seeing. They waited on line for tickets, drove me all over the place and let me stay out late to see bands in venues I was definitely too young to be in.

in terms of your career path, is there anything you would have done differently ten years ago?
I think that everything happens for a reason. I try not to question my life and my “life decisions” too much because that will truly make a person crazy- and I am crazy enough to begin with. Sometimes I wonder if I would be in a better position had I not done the law school thing however I always wanted an advanced degree and if I did not have one I would be telling you how much I wished I had gone to law school. With respect to music- no. I have learned so much about myself by the path I have taken to get where I am right now. I played in my own band, then in other people’s bands. I realized that I have something to say and I don’t want to be a vehicle for someone else’s vision because I have my own. That sounds horribly egotistical of me but alas it is so. I guess this means that I’ve learned that I am a huge egomaniac. HA!

what is your dream job?
I’m kind of happy doing the WINKIE thing. I would love to make that my full time job. At one point in my life I had this weird moment and thought that being a makeup artist was what I was supposed to be doing so I took some classes and worked on a few video shoots but I’ve realized that unless you want to look like a sparkly goth cowgirl I’m not the makeup artist for you. Oh wait-my dream job would probably have something to do with testing new flavors for skittles and starburst. I have a little addiction issue with those things.

if you could be a member of any band throughout history, which one would it be?
Depeche Mode! Getting into Kevin Shields (MBV) head would be pretty cool also. Or RAMMSTEIN- that would be amazing- Fire, plastic rafts, silver paint, surrounded by foxy German men all the time.

what are your top ten albums of all time?
AH! This is a very hard question!!! I can’t give you my all time top ten because that changes regularly however I can list 11 albums that I never seem to get tired of:

1) Iggy Pop- The Idiot
2) Depeche Mode- Music for the Masses
3) The Cure- Disintegration
4) Meat Beat Manifesto- 99%
5) The Smiths- The Queen is Dead
(this was hard because Louder than Bombs is also pretty awesome)
6) The Jesus and Mary Chain- Psychocandy
(this is another band I have been truly obsessed with from childhood-present).
7) Gary Numan- Telekon
8) My Bloody Valentine- Loveless
9) Joy Division- Closer
10) The Walkmen- Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone
(this might not fit within the realm of the rest of my list but I love this entire record. The sound is so perfectly askew.)
11)Ministry- The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste

what are your favorite brooklyn shops and eats?
Anywhere that has Helmut Lang on sale. This is not a joke. Barneys Co-Op near downtown Brooklyn is a good place to start. I also like to scope out OAK in Greenpoint. I could go on and on about how amazing the food is here in Williamsburg. I love 1 or 8 on the Southside for Japanese food. I think it’s the all white interior. No really, the sushi is really stellar. Mesa Coyoacan is a Mexican restaurant near our apt which is very popular so we try not to go on weekends when it’s packed. Everything is good here from the margaritas to the desserts. I love the Porto Rico Importing Company which- lucky for me –is now in Williamsburg. They have all different types of coffee from all over the world that they grind on the spot. No silly coffee pods for me. Coffee pods are for coffee babies! The lovely people at TUFFET make a fantastic martini- a real martini- not the pink kind. It’s great there because there is no pretentious “scene” going on. You can have a drink, talk to your friends and not have to worry about being too old or uncool.

what do you collect?
I try not to collect things. It makes me nervous and I always think that once I start collecting things its like the gateway to hoarding. I do however keep my concert tickets. Lately I’ve been waning on this though and there are tickets all over our apt from shows because Peter and I go see lots of bands. I also have this weird thing about keeping my National Geographic magazines after I read them. I have no idea why I do this but I ended up canceling my subscription for a year because I could not bring myself to recycle them but at the same time I did not want to become that crazy lady on the subway with newspapers and National Geographic magazines from 10 years ago! I am a current subscriber however and this month night gardens are featured. How can I throw out a magazine with such beautiful pictures of night gardens? I can’t. I hope I don’t start mumbling to myself while waiting for the train. If I start doing that it’s all over…..

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