NASHVILLE PUSSY – Born To Die In A Rock ‘N’ Roll Band

April 1, 2009, 5 years ago

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By Aaron Small “It had a warmer, ‘70s type sound. It had a good vibe to it, to say the least,” recalls NASHVILLE PUSSY vocalist/guitarist Blaine Cartwright when asked about WILLIE NELSON’s Pedernales Studio. Located just west of Austin, Texas, the former country club was home to Blaine, his wife/guitarist Ruyter Suys, bassist Karen Cuda and drummer Jeremy Thompson during the recording of their new album, From Hell To Texas. “It’s the first place we’ve recorded at that I’ve listened to a bunch of stuff from that studio when I was younger. It was the first place that had a history where I knew some of the records that were made there: THE OUTLAWS and Waylon & Willie (both certified Gold), were big records around my house.” Although Nashville Pussy was hoping that Willie Nelson would make a guest appearance on From Hell To Texas, it wasn’t in the cards. “We were shooting for it, it just didn’t happen schedule-wise. Willie’s a busy individual.” However, Blaine did convince Toronto’s Danko Jones to lend his voice to ‘I’m So High’. “That was so good. He kicked so much ass on that! I’m really proud of him. They did one of their first tours with us a long time ago. Then we saw them at some festival and got reacquainted. After that, we played with them once more and in the mean time, they got so good. I always liked the way they recorded. I kind of wrote that song for his voice. I wanted someone who was a little more masculine than me, not as crazy as me. A little more authoritative with a huskier voice – that’s Danko and it definitely worked out.” Turning attention to Blaine’s unique lyrical prowess, Nashville Pussy has graduated from ‘Lazy White Boy’, which appeared on 2005’s Get Some, to ‘Lazy Jesus’ on From Hell To Texas. “You know Jesus was the original lazy white boy; even though he wasn’t white. ‘Lazy White Boy’ was kind of about me. With ‘Lazy Jesus’ I was just trying to be funny, but I made a point too. There’s all these reports of Jesus walking around, doing everything he does. He waves his hand over this and causes a little miracle. They never say anything about how Jesus came over and he moved the furniture around the house, or Jesus came over and helped with the farm work. They don’t even say Jesus came over and watched the kids! Jesus walked around and performed some miracles, which I’m sure might take a lot out of you but, I don’t think it’ll get your hands too dirty.” ‘Ain’t Your Business’ details a rather scary run-in with State Troopers that resulted in Blaine being carted off to jail. “I got caught in northern Tennessee for something I didn’t fucking do. I basically got out of it. Since you’re writing this in Canada, I’m going to leave it at that. I don’t want to give anybody too much information, but the charges got dismissed. If I didn’t get out of it, there could have been trouble getting back in your country. I didn’t do shit. The whole thing was about getting drugs planted on me. They didn’t show us what they said they found and none of us had anything. It’s small town speed trap crap, the kind of shit you see on TV. I never thought it would happen but… my bail bondsman was Johnny Paycheck’s niece. That tells you what kind of a situation it was. It was the same jail that Hank Jr. and David Allan Coe had been to. It was a little weird. It took about four months out of my life, as far as paying for everything. But it all turned out ok. I’m trying to have the song make enough money on the publishing to where it ends up being a positive thing instead of a negative thing. Ruyter wrote the music to it and I wrote the lyrics really fast. I could have written a book on that stupid two-day event pretty much.” The song mentions an anal cavity search, “Spread your cheeks, let’s see what you’ve got up there.” “Yeah. They make sure you’re not sneaking anything into the prison. It was a fat guy with a flashlight in his mouth. One of the guys I was with was so freaked out he kept saying ‘God damn it.’ And the guy who was looking up our asses with the flashlight in his mouth said, ‘Excuse me, I’m Christian. Please don’t take the Lord’s name in vain sir.’ That’s when we knew what we were up against. It was a no win situation. I knew I was screwed so I was polite as hell. The people who processed us knew too. They said, ‘We’re going to get you out of here as soon as possible.’ That was basically it. I had to pay a bunch of money and it got dismissed. It ended up way better than I thought it would.” ‘Give Me A Hit Before I Go’ contains the ever so truthful line: “Every shit hole in every shit town, we’ve played ‘em all, still do.” “You’d be surprised man! We’ll be playing Portland, Maine – that’s always a piece of crap. The shit holes are on the way to the good towns. Unless you get huge, there’s no way to avoid playing shit holes. It still happens. It can come out of nowhere. Even on an amazing tour, there’ll always be the one shit hole. It’s no surprise anymore but it’s not good news. We’ve graduated to better stuff. But you can be playing in the middle of nowhere and sometimes it’ll be great, sometimes it won’t. Sometimes you’ll play a big city and you won’t recognize the name of the club and it’s a new place but it sucks. You never fucking know.” Is it frustrating or at all bothersome that after five albums, two DVDs and a Grammy nomination in 1998 for the song ‘Fried Chicken And Coffee’ that Nashville Pussy isn’t bigger? “We’re bigger in Europe, but in The States, I don’t see any of our peers doing that well. Except maybe some of the newer bands like Airbourne. Even on that level, I don’t see kids running around Atlanta with Airbourne t-shirts on, or any rock bands. I see some metal shirts like Mastodon, but everyone looks like they want to be in hip-hop. That’s showbiz man. Like jazz musicians or blues musicians, you do what you can in North America and then you go to Europe and make a living after that. When James Brown was on the downslide, he’d play to 1,000 people here and he’d go to Europe and play in front of 30,000. Or The Ramones, they’d play in front of 30,000 people in Portugal and come back here to play out in the suburbs for 800 people. That’s just the way it is. I just make sure that none of it is our fault or our organization’s fault. It’d be great if it was bigger in The States ‘cause it’s really easy to tour The States and Canada. It’s a lot less stress than Europe. We don’t get treated as nice, but it’s just easy.” ‘Late Great USA’ focuses on exactly that scenario, extolling Amsterdam while berating watered down American beer. “I had been spending more and more time in Europe and it’s a blast over there,” says Blaine. “There’s certain things you can do over there that you can’t do back home. Certain things like the beer, cheese and chocolate are all better. I can get hash over there. Little stuff like that. I’m not going to get in trouble for weed. You can buy weed legally, or a prostitute! At some point I just got really tired of… I used to really look forward to coming back to The States after a European tour. I remember being on an airplane, I had been drinking Belgian beer in the Belgian airport; it was Stella (Artois). Then we got on the plane. It was an American plane and they asked if I wanted anything to drink? I said I’ll get a beer and they pull out a can of Miller Lite. I told ‘em to take it back. I couldn’t drink that. It was so depressing. It doesn’t do anything except make me have to pee about ten times.” The album artwork for From Hell To Texas looks very much like an old-time western movie poster, the inspiration for which came from a very unlikely setting. “I had a little vision one day of some kind of spaghetti western kind of thing and I called up (NP artist) Stain Boy. Actually, I had to go to jury duty in Atlanta. They had me in this huge fucking room where you might get picked or you might not. They have books you can read while you’re sitting there ‘cause you can be there all day. In the little library there, they had The Last Gun, Gunsmoke and Massacre River. They all had the same kind of western pictures on them. I could see them across the room. It was a familiar image but it would make this look like our revenge record.”

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