The Quirky Bigger, Better, Faster, More! is hitting the right mark on both sides of the Atlantic. Marc Liddell finds out what's up with 4 Non-Blondes.

Dawn's the one on the right.

Thank heavens for small mercies! OK, this Bay Area bunch aren't Vixen, but, then again, nobody could get away with that these days.

There are those who might slither off and die at the thought of their glossy rock with funk and folksy leanings. There was even one hack, with an aversion to Pearl Jam, who described their singer as a "female Eddie Vedder," and the band has also, somewhat glibly, been termed "a female Guns N' Roses." But no matter, these three gals with a male guitarist are laughing all the way to the bank.

Softly-spoken drummer Dawn Richardson admits that music has been "so all-consuming for so long."

"I think what happens is that a lot of the time when you do music you spend so many years of your life supporting your ambitions, that when you get to do music as your main thing," she laughs, "you just go 'Fuck, I don't have any hobbies!' It's weird."


Has the burgeoning success you've experienced altered people's reactions to you?

"It's starting to happen a little bit," admits Dawn. "You feel that with our fans now we're not really like a real person to them. And thinks where, y'know, they just want anything: 'Can I have your hat?' And we're like, 'Why do you want it? I just got it yesterday."

I ask about the dumbest question the band have ever had fired at them. I mean, have they had male groupies?

"That question doesn't come up too much, yet! But the one that I really hate is 'Where did you find your name?"

Well, unless you people out there are severely lobotomised, I'll leave you to figure that one out.

There's an old saying that sorta goes 'the best songs are usually the simplest,' something, it seems, that might apply to their big single What's Up?

"She [Linda Perry] just did it in, like, ten minutes one day," claims Dawn. "I think it's weird but that's just the way things happen sometimes. There's just something there and she found something with that song."

Did Dawn feel that this success thing had made demands on her private life?

"Yeah, it does a little bit. It's definitely changed the way that I've gone because I'm busy doing interviews," she laughs. "Actually, y'know, it's really great because most of my friends are musicians too, and they have been trying to make it for a long time. So, it's cool that somebody has!"

I try to draw her out on the lover versus commitment question, y'know, if she's got one does that create a conflict with her music? Dawn won't be drawn, answering vaguely.

"If they're doing the same thing as you it is. It's hard. I can understand because if I was on the other side, like hey, I don't know how I would feel."

She does reveal one thing - and this is an exclusive - that she has a pet goldfish!


Talk gets round to discussing the band's personality.

"We're a very personality type of band," Dawn boasts, as well as disclosing that they're all Zodiac fire signs. "Linda's definitely very intense, on and off stage, while someone like Roger's kinda mellow. He's mellow enough to work with three women. That would probably drive anyone crazy."

Perhaps so, but the crazy train looks like becoming the gravy train, and most of us want to be one of those!

Mark Liddell
Riff Raff
December, 1993
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