It's no secret that Die Mannequin's lead singer and guitarist Care Failure has had a rocky life. The band's press bio---newly updated to coincide with the release of its first full-length album Fino + Bleed---spreads the story bare: Failure wrestled with a friend's suicide, ran away from home and fell into heavy drug use and dealing on the streets of Toronto all before the age of 20. In a fairytale twist, EMI scraped her off the streets, started paying her rent and gave her a record deal.
The now 22-year-old is candid and calm, speaking over the phone from Calgary during a flurry of interviews promoting Fino + Bleed and the band's current tour opening for Marilyn Manson. But when she touches on the recent death of Mylo, the dog she shared with Die Mannquin's bassist and longtime boyfriend Anthony Bleed, her voice begins to quiver.
"We came home and found him on the floor," she says. "He got poisoned and died. We always said we'd kill ourselves if we lost Mylo. Animals don't do nothing bad to nobody. That's why it kills when they pass."
Mylo's death is a pivotal scene in Bruce McDonald's documentary The Raw Side of...Die Mannequin, released as a companion piece to Fino + Bleed. As the camera follows the band through a US tour, it develops into a gritty, starkly romantic tribute to Failure's mythos, the music and the road.
The movie "really shows how un-glamourous it all is," Failure says. "It's for people like my parents, who are always like, 'Well, you have a song on the radio, and a video on TV---why aren't you rich yet?' I suppose it's interesting in its own charming, Sid and Nancy-ish kind of way."
McDonald succeeds at capturing the desperation of Die Mannequin's live show, but the rawness is tempered by a surprisingly whimsical streak. At their June show at The Paragon Theatre, Failure kicked off their set by sneaking onstage and playing drums to the theme from Beverly Hills 90210, her face split by a drunken, exuberant smile. During their filthy, sweat-spraying show, Failure was always at the side of the stage, collapsing onto the floor, playing fuzzy, feedback-laden solos that lasted for ages.
The band has been through many changes since then. Fino + Bleed is a bigger, cleaner album than fans are used to, with Failure's vocals front and centre. To fill out the sound, the band picked up a new drummer and a second guitarist. As a result, Failure is forced to stand in the middle for the first time in her career.
"I hate being in the spotlight," she says. "It's extremely weird for me to be in the middle. It's supposed to make things easier for me, but it's still a challenge. If it were up to me, I'd be doing tons of solos. But---whatever. I'm a young white girl making music and touring for a living. Things aren't that bad." –Alison Lang