with Pity Fuck
CBGB, New York City • 3.20.98
You have to be impressed when a band gains a national underground following from playing only unannounced shows. San Francisco based quartet Pity Fuck (who I understand were once asked by David J. to come through on their name), performed one of their infamous surprise sets at CBGB recently, opening for local punk femme faves, Cat Box. With an elaborate stage show that includes fire-breathing and table dancing, Pity Fuck are best described musically as a cross between Flying Saucer Attack, Mercury Rev, and Pulp.
Dressed in the “suit and tie” style of her idol, Jarvis Cocker, guitarist Michelle Andersen was a visual antithesis to vocalist Andrea Buechler, who was dressed as a bachelor party stripper. Playing a ’60s Truetone Hollowbody guitar with an astounding effects pedal, Andersen and bassist Stuart Chaldecott provided solid musical support for Buechler’s stage diving antics, which recall early concert performances of Courtney Love. While songs like “Cute Boy Alert” and “I Got Pregnant Just by Looking at Him” clearly show the gals in this band are looking for action, the boys got into the spotlight when drummer Hirome took over lead vocals from behind his kit for the band’s current number one single, “I Have a Headache.” And Chaldecott never looked sexier than when he was screaming “Will you please stop throwing this at me?,” as he tossed a handful of make up back at the audience after Andersen made a request that the crowd “Please throw lipstick.” Pity Fuck may be playing in your town soon, or maybe not.
Riding high on the success of their newest CD, The ManHaters’ Club (Scratch ‘n’ Sniff Records), Cat Box took the stage as a packed house of enthusiastic fans gave the bands’ popular hand signal, the “Cat Call,” which involves making the familiar heavy metal “devil horn” behind the head while screaming “Cat Box” at the top of your lungs. Far out. LeaLinda “Fluffy” Palumbo greeted the crowd by announcing “Tonight, the CB in CBGB stands for Cat Box!” as they roared into their most popular crowd pleaser, “Please Fuck Off and Quit Bothering Me.”
It’s hard to believe this is the same band who began their career covering songs by the cartoon band Josie and the Pussycats. Bassist Gail “Trixie” Worley and drummer Sue “Bitch Goddess” Simone, who formed Cat Box with Palumbo after disbanding their duo, The Rhythm Method, are now writing most of the bands’ material, which they claim is inspired by “stuff we read on club bathroom walls, and true stories our girlfriends tell us.” There is a good deal of novelty-hit quirkiness in “All I Want,” a tongue-in-cheek tale of one woman’s revenge against a man who cheats (like any guy would have the balls to cheat on these babes!) “All I Want” never fails to get the ladies in the audience involved, with its infectious, sing-along chorus of “All I want/ All I want/ All I want/ Is Your Head on a Stick.” Punk rock!
Watch for Cat Box to make their big screen debut this summer as the bar band in David Cronenberg’s upcoming release, Violent, Disturbing Sex. In the meantime, pick up all their records and be sure to give the Cat Call when you see them on the street.