Why Storm Large intimidates men, liberates women and is the envy of Dame Edna

06.04.15
Storm Large
The Sydney Morning Herald

It could be her height or perhaps her honesty. But singer Storm Large is often told men find her intimidating.

"That never made sense to me," she says. "Yes well, I'm tall, I'm independent but I'm very friendly and very polite. I don't show up and punch someone in the face."

Bold and brash on stage, Large is gregarious, garrulous and, true to her word, unfailingly polite on the phone as she drives the dusty inland route between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Manhandling ruminant mammals scares some men, others find it alluring.

"I inspire a lot of men to fantasise about me," Large says. "I'm also told I empower women to try and emulate me in a sexually liberated way and their boyfriends write emails thanking me."

She also receives gratitude from female fans.

"I don't know what it is I'm doing," she says. "I get on stage, talk a lot of shit, tell jokes, sing songs. Maybe it's because I don't really edit myself. I try not to swear but I run off my mouth."

"I carry off backless dresses because of a tattoo," she says. "I could get a sharpie with a big magic marker and give him a nice back tattoo.

"It's a great big word across my shoulders that reads 'mother'.

"That was when I was 23, so 23 years ago. It sits on my shoulders and reminds me where I came from."

Large tends to avoid cussing in theatrical settings, which she says makes her musings on love and sex a lot more colourful.

"It forces me to be much more creative in how I offend people," she says. "I don't set out to shock or offend people. Honestly as disgusting as I can be, it's remarkable how few people are offended."

Large shot to prominence in 2006 when she was a contestant on Tommy Lee's reality television show Rock Star Supernova and later as the author of the memoir Crazy Enough inspired by her cabaret show of the same name. Since 2011, she has also performed with the group Pink Martini.

Large's performances often involve the personal. The autobiographical show Crazy Enough, which she toured to Australia four years ago, detailed her tumultuous childhood.

"The show I did was very personal about growing up with a mentally ill mother," she says, "and sort of through the pain and the escapism of dealing with that reality is what made me into an artist and a performer."

Her latest show Taken By Storm will include interpretations of American songbook classics, the music of Jacques Brel and originals like Stand Up for Me, an anthemic song she wrote about marriage equality.

"Each performance with me gets very personal," she says. "But the gist of it is an exploration of love and why we as a race continue to pursue romantic love when we just experience disasters and heartbreak over and over again.

"It's an exploration of the quest for love, the craziness of the quest of love and exploration of the songs that illustrate the quest for love." 

Read the rest of the review here