Nashville Pussy

Nashville Pussy

Some things have to be seen up close and in person to be fully appreciated. Sure, a great piece of art like the Mona Lisa or a Shakespearean play sound nifty when described, but one can only truly appreciate the magnitude and power of such works if one experiences them first hand, and undoubtedly, the experience will change a life. The same holds true for Nashville Pussy. Hardcore, good-timing rock & roll bands are a dime a dozen these days, but once you’ve had a little Pussy in your face, you’ll never be the same. Up close, personal and loud as hell is the only way to fully appreciate the Nashville Pussy experience. Sure, their album, the naughtily titled Let Them Eat Pussy , is a fun blast of sleazy rock & roll, but to truly appreciate the raunchy glory that is Nashville Pussy, the band must be seen live. For best results, catch ’em on a night in some crowded, smoke-filled bar when the liquor’s running free and all brain activity is decidedly below the belt. Nashville Pussy is all about the true rock & roll experience, and while there’s been a return to balls-out rock over the past couple years, don’t think NP’s a bunch of coattail riders.

“It’s always been that way for us, sex, drugs, and music of some kind,” says sultry voiced bassist Corey Parks. “It never died for us, I don’t know about anybody else. It’s about time for loud, distorted guitars to come back to the ears. Never too much of that for me.”

Well, Parks’ band has distorted guitars in spades, and for further proof, just see ’em live. Lead singer Blaine Cartwright wails and growls his way through songs like “Go Motherfucker Go” and “Snake Eyes,” strumming his guitar with a madman’s furry, while his wife, Ruyter Suys leaps around the stage like a demented banshee rattling off stinging lead solos. Genial wildman drummer Jeremy Thompson pounds the skins unmercifully while the aforementioned Parks holds down the bottom with simple yet thunderous lines. Of course, Parks has an added attraction for live fans: the statuesque and stunning 6’3″ blonde ends each show with a vodka-induced ball of fire, and it’s really, really neat.

“We’re just trying to rock and get through the show without having a heart attack,” Parks says. “We’re all about the good time this year. It’s feel-good music you don’t have to think about. It’s dirty and sexy, but tells you everything’s gonna be all right. The antics we do take up maybe 10 minutes a show, and we only do it to amuse ourselves.”

Those antics Parks refers to include not only her show-stopping fire breathing, but also the now discarded kiss she and Suys used to do at the end of a show. Sure, all that’s a lot of fun to watch, but one shouldn’t let it distract from Nashville Pussy’s raw sonic power. Visceral and pounding, the band mixes metallic sludge with high-octane punk energy for an intoxicating sonic brew that appeals to the basest desire: loud music, hard liquor, and nasty sex. You gotta love that.

“The thing I notice is that people who see our shows are always having a good time,” Parks explains. “It rubs off because it rocks. Lots of guys are just blown away, and we draw a lot of guys who’re blown away by our rockingness. We got fans from 13-year-old kids to 60-year-old grandmas. The Pussy translates to all shapes and sizes. Everybody loves the Pussy.”

Indeed. The Pussy first took shape a little over four years ago when the band relocated to Athens, GA, on the recommendation of Rick Miller of Southern Culture on the Skids. Like the Rev. Horton Heat and the almighty Supersuckers, Nashville Pussy turned away from the mopey alternative rock and post-grunge that infected the airwaves, as well as from any sort of overly introspective R.E.M. influenced indie rock of the North Georgia surroundings. Taking their name from the infamous line that introduced “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” on Ted Nugent’s Double Live Gonzo , the Pussy went back to rock & roll’s roots, calling forth the perfect masters of hardcore rock: AC/DC, Motorhead, and the Ramones.

The mixture of punk and metal delivered with a slightly threatening leer clicked with fans and music critics as well, mainly because music critics get off on writing “pussy” as much as possible. The band released their first album, Let Them Eat Pussy , on Amphetamine Reptile in 1998, and was soon picked up by Polygram/Mercury. From that point, things started happening fairly rapidly. The band’s fanbase expanded greatly and the Pussy was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Hard Rock category for “Fried Chicken and Coffee.”

Unfortunately, it soon all came apart. Before they signed with Mercury, the band was the subject of a bidding war and after hitting the label, they got loads of support from A&R and the rest. Unfortunately, pretty much anyone who supported Nashville Pussy got fired when Mercury was the latest victim in the mass merging of the major labels over the past couple years. Over 130 bands were dropped, and while the Pussy had plenty of support from the label previously and a Grammy nomination under their belt, the band was the only non-platinum-selling artist on the list.

“Man, we were praying to get released from our contract,” Parks says. “We made out just fine, though. We made a tidy little sum of money, put out a nice record, and got a Grammy nomination. Not bad for a punk rock record we made for $5,000.

“No one tells Nashville Pussy what to do. We tell people what to do. This is all just like breathing.”

Nashville Pussy is still pretty much kicking ass and taking names despite their struggles. They’ve been tearing up the road as of late, hitting Europe this spring, and came off a much-talked about showing at Austin’s South By Southwest. The band’s putting the finishing touches on a brand-new record, High As Hell , which should be available come May. Parks said the album will be the band’s answer to AC/DC’s “Powerage,” more hard rock and less punk than the first. In the interim, Parks said the Pussy will simply be doing what it’s always done: play some down and dirty rock & roll, raise the right amount of hell, and give a great big “up yours” to the knotheads who want to complain.

“We’re not worrying about what has happened or what could happen, just staying focused on the hear and now, staying focused on the record, and seeing how much trouble I can stir up,” Parks says. “My motto for this year is beaver and cocaine for everyone. Anybody that has any problems with that, I tell ’em come see the show.

“And after they see us and they still have a problem, tell ’em to come talk to the 6’3″ blonde chick in the black cowboy hat and we’ll straighten it out.”

Works for me.

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