The ladies of Trucker’s Wife already set their sights beyond Chico
Trucker’s Wife has only played twice and might already be as popular as any band in Chico. Oh, and guess what? The members are all female. But don’t go lumping them into the preordained “girl rock” category—these six women want everyone to know that, despite their band’s name, they don’t want Trucker’s Wife to be defined by gender.
“If the music is not there, they’re not coming back,” guitarist Katie Perry said. It’s a simple statement that puts the focus on the music over the image, even though the band’s early success isn’t based solely on its raw, rock sound.
Consider the debut performance last month at LaSalles. By the time the band went into its first live number, the place was full of a who’s-who of the Chico music community. There was a wall of women at the front of the dance floor screaming and raising glasses between each song of the 20-minute set, and singer “Miss” Rebecca Saucier was returning the favor, vamping it up like a seasoned frontwoman as her bandmates chugged along. Even though the bands they were opening for both featured legendary Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn, it was apparent that most folks were there for Trucker’s Wife.
It was a quick set—one cover of The Murder City Devils, and four original gritty tunes. They played the kind of no-nonsense rock that feels equally satisfying when it’s drunk and sloppy as when it’s sober and precise. And that night, it was a little of both, and everyone in the bar was enthusiastically along for the ride.
“I was scared,” said Perry, remembering the night from the front porch of the south Chico house where the band practices.
After a recent rehearsal, the band members gathered drinking cold cans of Bud and sharing how the nerves they felt at that first show were quelled by the comfort that they drew from not only from one another, but also from the extended community of musicians and music fans that rallied around them that night.
“We trust each other a lot,” said Saucier, referring as much to the music community as her bandmates.
How the band came into being has a lot to with that trust as well. There were no anonymous “Band looking for …” fliers last November. Bassist Jessica Knorzer had written a bunch of songs and wanted to start a band. She didn’t care much about musical experience—she was picking friends she wanted to be around.
Knorzer started with drummer Tyler Carter, and then saw Saucier guest sing with Rev. Shelby Cobra and approached her with, “You’re the voice for my writing, and you’re a peach.”
Perry (aka Devil Kat of Devil Kat Rock Productions) was next, followed by her roommate Tracy Johnson, who had just taken up guitar. Only recently added Katie Kelley had been a full-fledged member of any band before Trucker’s Wife (Candy Apple and Dirty Sister to name two). But in the spirit of the venture, the experienced bassist left her usual instrument to give the Farfisa combo organ a whirl.
A few months of rehearsals, and a lot of devoted guidance from Carter’s boyfriend, Fingers of Passion guitarist/vocalist Dan Glam, followed. Then they were rocking the LaSalles stage, elbow-deep in the communal fun of Chico’s music family. It’s a testament to how the music community shows up for its own, even if it’s just getting its start.
Next, of course, comes recording, followed by the band’s desire to focus on playing outside of Chico. Then, who knows?
Even though Trucker’s Wife doesn’t expect any favors in getting onto big bills, and Perry swears no favoritism, it can’t be a bad thing to have the most high-profile promoter in Chico on guitar. Plus, she’s recently expanded her reach well beyond Chico and is booking U.S. tours for Ginn’s SST label.
So, if the music ends up “bringing them back,” as the members hope, the difference for Trucker’s Wife might end up being the fact that they have one genuine booking agent in their midst.