Nashville Pussy

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Nashville Pussy snatches up Denver’s own as new bassist

Nashville Pussy :: Bluebird Theatre :: November 12









































By Lisa Oshlo

Crossing the country in a whiskey-filled delirium, white-trash junk rockers Nashville Pussy is exactly the kind of band that your parents warned you about. This is caustic co-ed rock and roll at its redneck primal peak.

The band has recently kidnapped a bass player from Denver, released a new album, and scared the shit out of men, women and children across the U.S. and Canada, and they ain’t about to tap the brakes any time soon.

Nashville Pussy is no stranger to the open road, having toured steadily since Blaine Cartwright and wife Ruyter Suys founded the band almost a decade ago. Jeremy Thompson has been their drummer for about as long, and the band recently recruited Denver’s own Karen Cuda (bass player for Hemi Cuda) to rollick on the low end.

The band members have always been from different parts of the U.S. and Canada, so they began their career on the road and have stayed there pretty much ever since. However, after multiple lineup changes, Cartwright declares proudly that Nashville Pussy is “finally Yankee free.”

The Marquee spoke recently with Suys, Cartwright and Cuda through a crackling cell phone from a small mountain town in Canada during a recent tour stop.

“People go bonkers. They just go totally nuts,” said Suys referring to the last time the band rolled through tiny Nelson, B.C. “I think they were partying for, like, days before we got there.”

That is likely due to the band’s reputation for live shows which are erotic, fast, and loud. “The goal is to get loaded and get laid,” said Suys. Cartwright and Thompson look like they were yanked straight from the cab of a semi, while the two vixens mix biker babe sensibilities with truck-stop chic — and intense talent. Suys has been playing the guitar since the age of eight, and Cuda has been playing bass for 13 years. Their live shows today aren’t quite as raunchy as in years past, when ex-bassist Corey Parks used to breathe fire, and Parks and Suys would make out on stage. “It’s not too raunchy,” said Cartwright. “The girls just look really good and they’re aggressive when they play, but it’s nothing really staged. I think it kind of gets exaggerated. It’s raunchy because the girls are pretty and they jump around and play well.” Regardless of the degree of raunch, Nashville Pussy remain the personification of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Suys met Cartwright when he was touring through Saskatchewan with his former band, 9 Pound Hammer. As he tells it, “I was playing and she was a girl that was hanging around, and we kind of hooked up. I heard her play guitar and we got married.” According to Suys, it was “a one-night stand gone wrong.” All kidding aside, it is their strong marital bond that has allowed the group to flourish through the experience of multiple record labels and rotating players.

Tired of being bored by the rock bands they would go out to see, the couple founded Nashville Pussy in 1996 in order to create “a contemporary version of the music that made you do all that shit in high school,” said Suys.

The band’s illustrious name comes from the introduction to Ted Nugent’s “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” on his Double Live Gonzo album. While Suys concedes that few in the audience grasp the reference, she is proud of having “a name with balls.”

Nashville Pussy released their debut album, Let Them Eat Pussy, on the indie label Amphetamine Reptile in 1998. Despite a lack of radio airplay, the critical acclaim it received prompted Mercury to reissue the record (despite initially deeming it “too offensive to manufacture,” according to an industry source) and garnered them a slot opening for Marilyn Manson. Nashville Pussy was then nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for the single “Fried Chicken and Coffee.” Ultimately, however, the award went to Metallica. “And where are they now?” joked Cartwright.

“Really, that was just kind of a fluke,” he continues. “People who win Grammies have huge audiences anyway, so that makes it kind of a goofy award. But … I still want one.”

The band’s second album, High as Hell, was released in 2000 on TVT. Produced by The Fastbacks’ Kurt Block (who was also at the helm of their first disc), the album plays like the result of mixing drinks, drugs, porn, and southern rock. Southern rock is a big influence on the band, who currently reside in Atlanta and “constantly draw on its rich musical heritage,” said Suys. Citing legendary southern rockers such as the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Suys continued, “those are good roots to grow on.”

Nashville Pussy released their third album, Say Something Nasty, on Artemis Records in 2002.

The year 2000 was one of growth for the band in many ways. They played to large crowds on the Tattoo the Earth Tour, alongside bands like Slipknot and Slayer. They also opened some dates for both The Misfits and Suicidal Tendencies. In addition, Lynyrd Skynyrd invited them to open a special show in Nashville, Tenn. However, 2000 was also the year that saw the seismic shift that was the departure of longtime bassist Corey Parks. Various artists filled the position until Cartwright was introduced to Karen (Exley) Cuda by friends in a band called the Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs.

Cuda was half of the Denver band Hemi Cuda, who have been described as “the alpha bitches of gritty girl rock.” Fortunately for Nashville Pussy fans, Hemi Cuda had taken a break so that the other half of the band, Anika Zappe, could begin the journey that is motherhood. Hemi Cuda had recently completed a new album, but the break was perfect timing, said Cuda. “Super smooth.”

It’s been just about a year, and Karen has adjusted to life as one of the Pussies. “It’s awesome,” she says. “This will be my first time in Denver with this band, so it should really be a blast.”

While she and Suys often end up catering to the core of men’s fantasies during performances, Nashville Pussy, she said, is practically a feminist band. They clearly embody feminine strength — to put it simply, these girls kick ass. Both Suys and Cuda cop to the fact that most men in the audience are simultaneously fascinated with and intimidated by them. “But it was probably that way even before there was a band,” laughs Ruys.

“[Hemi Cuda] was really good,” said Cartwright, “and Karen just fit in perfectly.” By fit in perfectly, Cartwright means that she is a wickedly beautiful woman that simply shreds on the bass guitar, and doesn’t mind gettin’ sleazy for the party.

Cuda worked with the existing band on their latest album, this year’s Get Some. Their first for Spitfire Records, it is at once both fresh and driving. The songs have more of a metal edge than Say Something Nasty, and there is less of the punk component present on their debut album.

Produced by Daniel Rey (Ramones, White Zombie, Masters of Reality), Get Some sounds more polished than their previous efforts, but without losing that good-ol’-boy rock and roll feel.

Cuda seems to inject the band with a shot of adrenaline, as their new material is both faster and harder than their previous releases. It also shows Cartwright as a crackerjack songwriter, with an exceedingly clever wit and a voice reminiscent of Alice Cooper (although physically, Cartwright bears a striking resemblance to Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmeister). In addition to deft composition and thrashing beats, there is also a fair amount of funk and groove consciousness. There’s a standout version of Ike and Tina Turner’s funk classic “Nutbush City Limits,” perfectly suited to a band that has that married-couple thing going on.

In the past couple of years, Nashville Pussy have been really putting out. Two songs from the disc High as Hell, “Wrong Side of a Gun” and “Shoot First and Run Like Hell,” were featured in the movie Super Troopers. The band was also asked to do a cover of Molly Hatchet’s “Flirtin’ with Disaster” for the upcoming movie Run Ronnie Run. In addition to being featured on the soundtrack, Blaine Cartwright makes his acting debut in the movie, playing Duke who, you guessed it, kicks ass and takes names. The band recorded “The Kids are Back” for a Twisted Sister tribute album, “Age of Pamparius” for the Turbonegro tribute album, and a grinding version of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” for the Free the West Memphis Three benefit album.

The really amazing part is that they have accomplished all of this while living their “Southern Discomfort” lifestyle, a lifestyle which Cartwright likens to “AC/DC making out with Motorhead while Lynyrd Skynyrd watches.”

Nashville Pussy :: Bluebird Theatre :: November 12

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