Whether their name offends you or the title of their 1998 debut album Let Them Eat Pussy makes you skittish, once you step up to this Southern raw bar where the proverbial clams are the menu's calling card and the white lightning essence is so residual you can taste the bathtub rust, you'll likely become a regular customer.
Over the course of their decade-plus of whiskey-sprayed hellraising, Nashville Pussy may have scaled back the hardcore-tinged pace from their early years, but they sure haven't skimped on their mad dog work ethic. The band has generated more than a slew of gigs since their last album, 2005's Get Some as the name Nashville Pussy begins to haunt the collections of metalheads, punk rockers and rebel yellers from many walks of life. Doing so has cost the band a pair of bassists along the way and as you'll read further, gross bodily infliction while belting out sweathog rock 'n roll at their customarily fierce tempo.
This year The Pussy delivers their latest album From Hell to Texas, one of their leanest and loudest efforts to-date. Ruyter Suys, one of the most underrated guitarists in the business, amps up her game on From Hell to Texas with her husband vocalist/guitarst Blaine Cartwright and her rounded posse of drummer Jeremy Thompson and bassist Karen Cuda.
Telling these motherfuckers to go with some Nuge, AC/DC and The Ramones whipping their seats into action is elementary for Nashville Pussy. As Nashville Pussy gains widespread attention in increments, be on the lookout for this group in respectable rock clubs as well as weed-choked redneck dives the world over. Success is in the hands of Ruyter and company, or as she told me in this Take 5 interview, "Fuck it making it step-by-step, where's the damn elevator?"
The Metal Minute: A few years ago I interviewed Blaine and he spoke highly of you as both his wife and bandmate. As Nashville Pussy continues to slug it out on the road, you guys are finally starting to build your audience, even on a global level. You two have been at this for over a decade now and you're still going strong in both relationships. How do you feel your mutual roles together have kept Nashville Pussy alive and with all of your public attention, how crazy has life been for you with all the sex-crazed men in your audience?
Ruyter Suys: Me and Blaine get along real good so for the most part our easy ass relationship as a couple makes it much easier to be in a band together. Besides, I am his biggest fan so I love to watch him perform every night from the best seat in the house, right next to him onstage. As far as the sex-crazed men goes, I have been attracting them long before I was in a band so I'm pretty used to it. Being in a band just lets me even take more advantage of them and I get to leave town the next day! We are a strange couple and honestly unless a couple gets along really good I would never recommend being in a band with a spouse--being on the road amplifies more than just the music--it will amplify any little problem as well. It ain't for the weak of heart, and yes, it gets as crazy as you think!
MM: I'll leave that to my imagination! (laughs) We have always felt a certain amount of stability with all of our bassists but too much comfort doesn't necessarily make for an exciting band. Karen has the perfect blend of stability and wild ass untamable spirit which makes her energy undeniable. Karen is the most perfect bass player for this band. The foundation of this band has always been Blaine, myself and Jeremy on drums - Karen is the perfect addition to our rock solid trio and we are a pretty tough unit to break into. Her "breaking in period" lasted about five minutes she's been breaking us in since then.
RS: We have always felt a certain amount of stability with all of our bassists but too much comfort doesn't necessarily make for an exciting band. Karen has the perfect blend of stability and wild ass untamable spirit which makes her energy undeniable. Karen is the most perfect bass player for this band. The foundation of this band has always been Blaine, myself and Jeremy on drums. Karen is the perfect addition to our rock solid trio and we are a pretty tough unit to break into. Her "breaking in period" lasted about five
minutes she's been breaking us in since then.
MM: (laughs) I think From Hell to Texas is your most-stripped album to-date still bearing affinities for punk as well as Aerosmith, Nugent, Kiss and still a good chunk of that hellraising hillbilly flavor. I also think you guys sound like you had a hell of a lot of fun with this album, even more than on Get Some. Would you agree with that?
RS: Yes, I totally agree. This album was kind of a breeze to write and record. For the first time I managed to write a few tunes and Jeremy and I came up with "Stone Cold Down." This was the first time the rest of the band contributed this much. So hell yeah, it was fun. Being in the studio always is. Plus we got to hang at Willie Nelson's ranch! How cool is that?
MM: Very! I was heading down the road the other day with "Lazy Jesus" playing in the truck and I got passed by some speed freak who ended up cutting things too close and he slammed on his brakes in front of me and what do I see on the hypocrite's bumper, a sticker praising Jesus. Divine intervention, maybe? Seriously, that song is really addictive for the rhythm and the melody, but the envelope sure got pushed on that one, eh?
RS: "Lazy Jesus" kicks ass! Blaine purposely saved that song for last when he was showing us songs for the new album. Usually Blaine writes a Ramones style song and Jeremy and I turn it into and AC/DC style song. With "Lazy Jesus" he wanted us to leave it alone and leave it real stripped-down and sparse. It is totally infectious and not overplayed in the least. We weren't allowed to turn it into an arena rock song like we usually want to do. I recorded with a beautiful old Fender Telecaster we borrowed from Jeremy's dad in Austin and I left the old crusty strings on it for the recording even. It gave it a certain tarnish and age that you can't create except with the real deal. And between Willie Nelson and Lemmy, I think we've met the best the Lord has to offer on this planet.
MM: We can see that a Nashville Pussy gig is balls-out, pardon the pun, from your recently-released Live in Hollywood DVD. Has there been a gig that has just socked and drained you from all of that insane energy, and what show from the early years of the band really stands out in your mind as a learning lesson for today?
RS: One time in Lisbon, Portugal I was slowly getting electrocuted on stage but kept playing. My transformer was not working at capacity and bit by bit released more and more current into me but I kept playing. At one point I even got shocked when I picked up a towel to dry off! By the end of the night I was throwing up blood and the promoters were asking "What did she take?" Needless to say I was drained but never stopped playing. It was a hell of a gig, though I hope to never repeat it!
Copyright 2009 Ray Van Horn, Jr. / The Metal Minute