Hot ’n’ bothered 

Getting beyond the naughty, nasty image of Nashville Pussy

When Nashville Pussy exploded on the scene in 1996, it wasn’t just their rocket-from-the-tomb-of-’70s-metal demolition derby sound that had chain-wallet hipsters and music industry suits alike dropping the names of fire-spewing, guitar-wanking bombshells Ruyter Suys and Corey Parks. The eruption of media hype—gorgeous gals with guitars, salacious cover art, “Dude, she blew fire right over my head!”—burned as hot or hotter, culminating in the band strolling down the red carpet in Hollywood to a Grammy nomination for their first album, 1999’s Let Them Eat Pussy. The prospect of interviewing a band like Nashville Pussy—Suys, husband Blaine Cartwright, drummer Jeremy Thompson and Parks’s replacement Tracey Almazan—was a little intimidating, if not downright menacing. But the Independent found an unexpectedly relaxed atmosphere when we had the pleasure of interviewing Almazan earlier this week.

What’s your tour schedule been like this year?

We’ve pretty much been on the road. We took about a month off to write and record the new album in April, and we had about two months off during Christmastime which made us all a little crazy sitting at home so much. During the past year we’ve had maybe three months off altogether. Touring has been pretty much non-stop.

Did you record the new album with Kurt Bloch [who produced the other two Nashville Pussy albums]?

No, we went to this really great studio in Kentucky and we did it ourselves. This studio sounds so amazing. We recorded on this old board that the owner had just bought. I think a couple of old ZZ Top albums were recorded on this board and a few other famous albums. That board was amazing. Everything sounded the way we’ve always imagined a rock album should sound like. It’s monstrous. There is a huge difference in sound compared to the other records. It sounds like a natural progression from High As Hell. It’s a little more AC/DC; it’s not as fast as Let Them Eat Pussy, and the guitar playing is really getting to an amazing level. I mean, Ruyter, she is just so amazing. There’s not too much of a departure, but it’s going to make sense to anybody who has the other two albums that this is the next album.

Do you have a title for the album yet?

I think we’re planning on calling it Keep on Fuckin’ (coy giggling from both parties), but we’re not sure. We’ll see how that flies. Would your current label TVT have a problem with that?

Oh, we hate TVT, so we don’t really care. I was really disappointed in how lame they are. We’re looking to have somebody else put out this album. I don’t know legally what’s going to happen with that, but that would probably be the best thing for us at this point. Y

ou weren’t in the band when Mercury signed Nashville Pussy, but do you know what reason Mercury gave for dropping them? After they got signed, there was an enormous changeover at Mercury due to a merger, and the A&R guy who signed Nashville Pussy to Mercury, he also signed Guns ‘N Roses and Mötley Crüe—just a kick-ass A&R guy—well, he got fired from Mercury and they took all of his bands and dropped them. It worked out good for the band, because they got paid a lot of money to get dropped from Mercury and then, they got paid a lot of money to give the record to TVT. And at least they got to be courted by Mercury and other majors and get cool souvenirs, dinners, brunches and everything that goes along with it.

Okay, let’s hear your guilty pleasure albums.

My guiltiest pleasure right now is the new GoGo’s album, and that’s because I am a huge GoGo’s fan. I saw them when I was fourteen in 1984 opening up for the Police at Madison Square Garden. I didn’t even go to see the GoGo’s—I went to see the Police, because I’m a drummer before anything else and I love Stewart Copeland, but when I saw the GoGo’s it really affected me. I think that if I had not seen the GoGo’s at that show, that there is a large possibility that I wouldn’t be here right now. In this hotel room with my pack of cigarettes and my coffee (laughter). Blaine made an amazing compilation of ‘70s disco songs that we’ve been listening to while driving. It’s so good. It’s disco before disco was done on synthesizers; it’s got real drums and a real bass player. I don’t know, we might put out a disco album next.

An outsider’s perspective of Nashville Pussy might be a trashy, sweaty, dirty, nasty decadence. Are there times when the image that you have cultivated and the way you truly operate are at odds with each other?

Probably 23 hours out of the day. The only hour that it makes any sense is when we’re on stage. The only reason I didn’t hesitate to join the band is because they’re so fucking nice. They’re super-normal. We do crossword puzzles—and we’re really good at them. Everyone in the band is really smart, so this whole white trash thing doesn’t really pan out for us. We might look it, but all the other factors aren’t there. We’re pretty mellow offstage, but we’re in Vegas now, so of course we were forced to gamble until seven in the morning, but that’s almost mandatory.

And you thought anything other than Chester Fried Chicken and vintage Hustler would sail over Nashville Pussy’s head.

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