O.T.R.

Spreading the ‘Gospel of the Pussy’ via Thunderpussy [Q&A]

After a killer show at the El Rey in Los Angeles, Thunderpussy quickly catches GUM up with tour and their trademark battle.

Known for their high throttled performances and arena rock cuts, Thunderpussy invigorates in the most refreshing way. The Seattle-based band — comprised of vocalist Molly Sides, Whitney Petty on guitar, Leah Julius on bass, and the latest addition, Lindsey Elias on drums — have captured attention for years and cemented it on their 2018 self-titled debut album.

Harnessing the instrumental, expansive structure of classic rock, Thunderpussy transmutes these past textures with modern polishes and a heavy amount of attention to detail, especially in their live performances, which, if possible, surpass the raw grit their studio cuts possess.

Thunderpussy
Photo: Dulce Genesis Balandran for GUM

And in the midst of ripping each performance to glorious shreds, Thunderpussy have continued to fight to trademark their name. Despite being dismissed by the U.S. Federal Government on the grounds that “it’s scandalous and immoral,” the band continues to “resist and persist.”

Following a breathtaking night at the El Rey in Los Angeles with Black Pistol Fire during their Scandalous and Immoral Tour, rightfully dubbed, GUM was lucky enough to quickly catch-up with the quartet on the hot topic at hand, as well as simply spreading the good word of the pussy.

TP
Photo: Dulce Genesis Balandran for GUM

First wanted to say that the show was bloody amazing [El Rey, Los Angeles] and I almost threw my body on stage, but I digress…. How has tour been so far? You all have been, what it feels like, on a constant trek.

Ha! I love that that’s how you felt! I hope you threw your body around on the dance floor! Tour has been pretty rad. I think we’re all glad to be back on the road. It’s always an adventure and we get to meet some incredible people along the way. As well as continue to spread the gospel of the pussy 😉

Luckily, I got to catch you live with Ruby and now your latest drummer, Lindsey. How has this transition been? She was so incredible, and I was mesmerized by her tight fills, just overall so clean, and was wondering how you all landed on her — going back to an old post when I knew you all were looking for a new drummer.

Lindsey is amazing. She has wonderful energy and is a beast on the drums. It was important for us to find someone who was excited about Thunderpussy and could dive in without feeling like they had to fill someone else’s shoes. We wanted new shoes! Haha! She stormed in and kicked the door down.

TP
Photo: Dulce Genesis Balandran for GUM

A great break for fans and anyone who appreciates music was your cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love.” How did you know, or how was the process of deconstructing it to the point of obvious recognition and the original charm, and still adding Thunderpussy’s own flare? I find covers to be nerve-wracking on both ends, especially beloved singles if they don’t do well.

Our dear friend, John, recommended “Somebody to Love” and thought we would do a great job covering it live. We were having so much fun digging into it that we decided to record it. It’s such a fantastic song and we wanted to respect the magic of it. That’s always the challenge with covers though, making it yours while keeping the power of the original. It was a wonderful challenge.

The debut record was– well, still is– a powerful, and dynamic balance of senses all around. Following that up, what is the direction this time around – in terms of any concepts, experimenting with any new sounds, pedals?

Thank you! That was an incredible journey, the making of our first album. We are so excited to get back into the studio!! The direction? Well, to stay on our toes and keep moving forward. The last few years have been a whirlwind and have inspired a lot of new material. It’s important to keep surprising yourself and experiment. I think that’s where the magic really lies. We’re definitely ready to get weird again!

I’ve been trying to keep up with past and present details regarding Asian-American rock band The Slants, Eric Brunetti and his clothing brand FUCT, and everything in between that ties with Thunderpussy’s trademark battle. Now, I know you all are probably tired of talking about said battle — though good news on the Brunetti case, so congratulations because I’m hopeful this is in fact a first step toward success — but when you mull over the reasons for it being denied, on an opinion that the name is “scandalous” and “immoral,” does the thought ever come into mind that it really isn’t the name? It’s the association of that name and the perception of how a woman should act?

Absolutely. I could write a manifesto on this but I’ll save that for another time. It’s interesting because Dick and Cock have been trademarked numerous times so it definitely leaves you to question, “Why not pussy for pussy sake!?” We are women after all! Pussy has been trademarked in the past but I think the ever-evolving role of “womxn” in society is shifting the mold and acceptance can be a hard change. There are a ton of factors but after all the denials it does make you step back and take a deeper look.

I mean, they cited Urban Dictionary. I guess I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that it is a clear “regaining” control of a remark that has been used to represent a form of “weakness,” similar to The Slants’ case regaining their control of a word and it is overall baffling. How have you all been keeping centered through this ordeal?

Right!?? Well, you have to have a sense of humor. But you also have to keep up the good fight. Resist and persist. And constantly remind people that PUSSY IS POWERFUL!

tp
Photo: Dulce Genesis Balandran for GUM

On the topic of names, coming from someone who accidentally stumbled into this name and reaps constant perceptions of feminism by others, do you ever feel that you all accidentally did add to a movement? I know this isn’t like RiotGrrl, this wasn’t the intent — just music — but you can’t deny what the representation could mean to a lot of women/womxn.

That’s exactly what happened. We created something, hoped it would grow and spark conversation. Life is about storytelling, sharing experiences and evolving. That’s the life of Thunderpussy. We’ve grown and will continue to tell stories of our own as well as those who don’t necessarily get to. I, personally, am proud to be a part of any movement that encourages equality and connection. We’re all fucking human! We have one life to live so we should do it together!

TP
Photo: Dulce Genesis Balandran for GUM

Also, how much do you hate being instantly being labeled as an “all-female-led”, “female-fronted” band? I cringe every time I read those lines.

Haha. Labels are boring. But again, stay in your own track and push forward.

When the summer tour finishes up, what are some things you’re looking forward to doing that you all couldn’t do being on the go so much?

We get to go into the studio! Very excited for that!

TP
Photo: Dulce Genesis Balandran for GUM

Be sure to catch Thunderpussy on the remainder of their summer tour.


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