And the Nuge shall name them
Hard-rocking Nashville Pussy comes to the Brick Works
Guitarist Ruyter Suys insists that there was no grand scheme behind choosing the name Nashville Pussy for her band.
But it didn’t take long before she and her band mates realized their band name had immediately caused the group to be held to a certain standard.
“We never had to articulate it or anything,” Suys said. “We thought we were geniuses when we came up with that one. I mean, it just instantly meant we had to kick ass.”
That’s exactly what Nashville Pussy continues to do with its third CD, the newly released Say Something Nasty.
Like its previous CDs, Let Them Eat Pussy and High As Hell, the new release is full of raucous rockers and plenty of humorous lyrics.
Songs like “You Give Drugs a Bad Name,” and “Gonna Hitchhike Down to Cincinnati and Kick the Shit Outta Your Drunk Daddy” all fit the signature Nashville Pussy sound—a rambunctious collision of punk and Ted Nugent-ish metal with a slight Southern accent. The songs are built around catchy guitar riffs, Blaine Cartwright’s snarling vocals and driving rhythms supplied by drummer Jeremy Thompson and new bassist Katie Lynn Campbell.
As with AC/DC or the Ramones, the Nashville Pussy sound is elemental and pure adrenalized rock ‘n’ roll. It also is the kind of sound that has its limits, which means that, like others, Nashville Pussy may over time get complaints about its albums all having a similar sound.
“I totally relate to that idea,” Suys said, noting that this also means the band has a distinctive sound. “Basically when we come up with stuff, there’s only really one way to play it, and that’s what we do.
“I hate to use words like ‘developing’ or ‘maturing’ or anything, but I think we’re getting better,” said Suys (whose full name is pronounced “Rider Sighs"). “We’ve been playing our asses off, so I hope we’re getting better. I mean, like we’re serious about getting better, and we love touring,” she said. “We want to put on a good show, and we want to put out good records.”
As the lead guitarist, Suys is one of the most visible members of the band. She is fond of wearing cleavage-baring bikini tops in photos and on stage, and she has no problem toying, or even acting out, some of the bawdy exploits that filter into the group’s lyrics.
Some of her liberal attitude can be traced to growing up in a home in Vancouver, British Columbia, that was anything but conventional.
“My parents were like standard crazy hippies who dropped out of a university because they got pregnant,” Suys said, praising her parents. “My dad used to run a head shop. It was called The Philosopher’s Stone. He did that for a couple of years … They were just real supportive as far as music went.”
Around age 9, Suys discovered guitar, and by then she was already showing that rock ‘n’ roll was more than just a passing interest. In high school, her circle of friends included three girls who would join Suys in dressing up like Kiss.
“Yeah, dress up like Kiss, that was normal. Then I went to a really super progressive high school where you called teachers by their first names and stuff like that. I’d walk from class to class carrying my guitar. I had it with me everywhere.”
Her path into Nashville Pussy began after she saw Cartwright, who in addition to singing also plays guitar. He was performing in a band called Nine Pound Hammer when the group played a show in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where Ruyter had attended college.
“He was a total nut on stage. He did this thing at the end of the night where he had the microphone and sang ‘Train Kept a’Rollin’ for like about 12 minutes solid,’ she said. “And he wound up on his back, screaming and kicking and all of this stuff. I was like, ‘Wow, this guy’s fucking nuts. I wonder if he’d do that in my house?'”
About three months after meeting at that show, Suys and Cartwright were married. They hit on the name Nashville Pussy after listening to Nugent’s Double Live Gonzo album on which the Motor City Madman affectionately dedicates the song “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” to “that Nashville pussy.”
By 1996, the band was on the road, complete with an original lineup that included Corey Parks, a 6-foot-3 female bassist whose signature stunt was breathing fire in the tradition of Kiss’ Gene Simmons. But shortly after High As Hell was released two years ago, Parks, who Suys said had developed a serious drug habit, quit the band.
Despite the personnel shifts, Pussy continued to gain momentum, building a reputation as a blazing live act not afraid of displaying a little salacious behavior.
Perhaps surprisingly, Suys said she hasn’t received much criticism for the band’s image, its attitude or a band name that could be misconstrued as demeaning to women.
“We will get stuff from people who have never seen us before and think that we’re some kind of exploitative band," she said. "But as far as I’m concerned, we’re just following in the tradition of what every guy rocker has always done."