Getting Inside Nashville Pussy: An Exclusive Interview with Ruyter Suys
Monday, August 26, 2002 @ 4:48 PM
Suys Wants To Say Something Na
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Just take every element that makes rock and roll great -- booze, crank, women and fried chicken -- throw them into a giant musical blender, and what you get is the hellified creation known as Nashville Pussy. The band’s albums grind like a load of sand in your car’s transmission, and the NP live shows can leave you as drained as two sunburned days at the lake after three cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon. The tunes they create are funny, they’re ironic, and most importantly they accurately capture the essence of every Jerry Springer watchin’, WWF lovin’ trailer dweller on this planet.
Nashville Pussy’s latest offering, Say Something Nasty, is their most incendiary to date. The title track is mingled here with such soon to be NP classics as “You Give Drugs a Bad Name,” “The Bitch Just Kicked Me Out,” and “Gonna Hitchhike Down To Cincinnati And Kick the Shit Outta Your Drunk Daddy.” The new record manages to showcase both Nashville Pussy’s varied metallic punk sound as well as Blaine’s kerosene-charred vocals. In short, it’s the type of record that might end up being just too damn cool to ever achieve any real mainstream popularity -- but you won’t care though if you’re one of the lucky bastards who’s able to obtain a copy. Nope, once you throw Say Something Nasty on your stereo, you will be powerless to do anything other than slam your bones into the fake wood paneling of your bedroom and laugh at how ignorant everyone else is for not recognizing this band’s moonshine-soaked greatness.
Nashville Pussy’s current lineup features Katie Lynn Campbell on bass along with lead guitarist Ruyter Suys who is joined by husband Blaine Cartwright on vocals/guitar with all of it solidly backed up by the drumming of Remo Tompson. For about the last year, the band has been relentlessly traversing the country in the supporting slot for rockabilly icon Reverend Horton Heat, and recent shows in Canada have seen them headlining their own shows with Bionic as the opening act. If their itinerary hasn’t been full enough, they will soon be leaving the States in order to do a few dates in France in September. All of this activity merely comprises the latest installment in the career of a group who has opened for Marilyn Manson, had their style lifted by Madonna and rocked out alongside the likes of Slayer and Sevendust on the Tattoo the Earth tour. Through it all though, Nashville Pussy remains the band the just wants you to go to their shows, have fun and never forget that the most important aspect of life is the desire to always “Keep On Fuckin.”
"We avoid going out with shitty bands... It always goes down in flames. You can’t bullshit our audience. That’s why we have always been known as a band that tours with strong packages."
KNAC.COM: How has touring with the Reverend been? He’s got quite a cult following.
RUYTER: Really fuckin’ good except our air conditioning in the van was out for about four days, and we had to go from Texas to San Francisco and then back down to Tucson and Albuquerque before going back to LA.
KNAC.COM: So much for the life of a glamorous rock star—
RUYTER: Yeah well, those days were far from glamorous unless you call holding a bag of ice over your head while on the tour bus glamorous. We’ve been on the tour with the Reverend on and off for over a year. If the Gods had their way, we’d do the rest of the world with him, but the States are about the only place he’s really ahead of us. In Europe, Japan and Australia, we’re pretty even, so it isn’t really that advantageous to tour with him over there. It would be cool, though.
KNAC.COM: Do you find that a lot of females are fans of your music, or are a lot of them less likely to listen to you because they might be jealous because their boyfriend is checking you out or whatever?
RUYTER: No, no. Chicks freak on us. You hate to use the word “empowering” but it most definitely is. The Pussy Posse definitely has its female members.
KNAC.COM: Who did you always look to as being a cool lady of rock?
RUYTER: I was a big Heart fan -- I really liked Nancy Wilson. Wendy O. Williams was another one from childhood, too. One time I was babysitting, and she came on TV with a chainsaw, and I was like, “Holy fuck, what was that?” I was around twelve at the time, and I was all ready playing guitar, and it really stuck with me.
KNAC.COM: Did she have the tape over her nipples too? I think that’s what made the biggest impression on me. Guys -- adolescent guys in particular -- can be extremely enamored with electrical tape on a woman’s breast. Actually, I think I still am.
RUYTER: Yeah, yeah. She had the whole thing going. I just thought it was fucking awesome.
KNAC.COM: I know that you guys are big AC/DC fans, but are there any bands touring now that you’d like to go out on the road with?
RUYTER: I’d go out with Kid Rock.
KNAC.COM: Kid Rock?…Uh…Why?
RUYTER: I don’t know. I guess because I was so surprised about how much he… rocked. He actually did rock. I had no idea.
KNAC.COM: Really? Neither did I.
RUYTER: Well, we saw him about two years ago in the middle of the peak of the hype, and he was fucking great. He busted out “Back in Black,” a CCR song, and he even did “We’re An American Band.” It’s all good music. He was just really fucking entertaining. I was impressed because, you know, we don’t listen to any rap. The only rap we listen to is like maybe Outkast sometimes. It finally took us twenty years to find some rap we could handle.
KNAC.COM: So what you’re telling me is that if you were single, you might potentially find him attractive?
RUYTER: I guess so.
KNAC.COM: The only reason I ask is that I’m having difficulty figuring out how he bags these chicks. Basically, what I was looking for here is a female perspective on why Kid Rock gets hot women.
RUYTER: Well yeah, he’s confident.
KNAC.COM: So what you’re telling me pretty much is that you could be as ugly as a toad, but if you’re confident and can talk a good line, you can still get women?
RUYTER: Yeah, definitely. Look at Lemmy from Motorhead or James Brown. Also too, you’ve got to be confident without being an asshole. There’s a fine line between cocky, confident and motherfucking bastard.
KNAC.COM: Aaah, I get it now. So since, his last album was Cocky he’s cool as long as the next one he comes out with isn’t titled “Motherfucking Bastard.” Is that it?
RUYTER: Nah, nah, he’d still be cool.
KNAC.COM: What was the biggest thing you guys learned when you switched record labels?
RUYTER: It’s like you have to talk to a bunch of different people from different labels, and you have to find out who is lying and who is telling the truth. It can be hard finding someone who understands you and who gets the joke. It’s like with us, we don’t ever want anyone to take us too seriously. You know, we want our record promoted and everything, but we aren’t too fucking serious. It’s only rock n’ roll -- it isn’t rocket science. We want people to understand where we’re coming from, and that is, we want them to have a good time. That’s important because a lot of record companies don’t understand what in the fuck we’re doing.
KNAC.COM: It’s got to be frustrating dealing with people who aren’t really knowledgeable about what you’re doing. I’m sure in most cases they aren’t exactly coming to the table with the same type of background that you have.
RUYTER: Yeah, and not only that, they try to stick you with shitty bands on tour, too. It’s like, “Hey, we want you to take this really shitty band out on the road with you because we’re trying to get them played on MTV.” We try to tell them that it’s a bad idea. We avoid going out with shitty bands, but sometimes there will be one planted to open for us somewhere as a favor the record label or an A&R guy. It always goes down in flames. You can’t bullshit our audience. That’s why we have always been known as a band that tours with strong packages.
KNAC.COM: How has your bands’ chemistry been since changing bass players?
RUYTER: Great, it’s like everyone gets along, and we all travel in the same bus. Everyone is just laid back and casual. There isn’t this separation like we had with our other bass players. Everyone just gets along. It’s almost like a touring gang or something.
KNAC.COM: That’s great, especially since you guys are always out on the road. You know, you’ve probably been on thousands and thousands of stages, but do you ever see people in your audience who are so odd looking or strange that it distracts you?
RUYTER: Yeah, and some of those are the best shows we’ve ever had -- it’s like the audience is entertaining you. They could just be out there fighting or dancing really fucking stupid.
KNAC.COM: I would guess that’s okay as long as you’re on stage and they stay in the audience, but have you ever had someone make their obsession with you known either in person or through letters or emails?
RUYTER: We’ve got a couple of those out there, but they’re pretty harmless. We try to make them our friends.
KNAC.COM: How satisfied are you with Say Something Nasty? Do you think it’s the album that best represents your sound?
RUYTER: I think it’s a really good representation of our sound. It’s got everything -- you’ve got your punk rock songs, you’ve got your rock n’ roll songs, and you’ve got your jammin’ songs about kickin’ ass. I think it’s a really good example of what we do.
KNAC.COM: Who do you guys listen to who could be considered punk?
RUYTER: Blaine listens to the Ramones, and he really got me into that kind of shit. There’s also this band called the Didjits and another called the Dwarves -- that kind of stuff. There were no Blink 182’s or that kind of shit.
KNAC.COM: Wait a minute, weren’t they one of the shit bands the record label wanted to have open for you?
RUYTER: No, no. We were lucky there. We listen to a lot of metal on top of the punk stuff though -- Metallica’s first three albums, Slayer, Motorhead. That kind of thing.
KNAC.COM: Just the first three Metallica records? You don’t find yourself just clamoring to listen to the material they did with the orchestra?
RUYTER: No, I gave up by the Black album. It was like they… just weren’t that good anymore.
KNAC.COM: Yeah, between the martinis, the haircuts and the more mainstream direction of their music, it seems like a lot of people feel that way.
RUYTER: Even just like the haircuts were like-- (drifts into laughter).
KNAC.COM: Lars, for example, doesn’t really need to cut his hair. Don’t you think he should be trying to grow it as long as he can to hide that forehead?
RUYTER: Well, we met this woman who claimed she was the one who actually cut their hair. She said that the reason they had to have it cut was that they had hair extensions put in and that they had them in for so long that they just got disgusting, and it completely fucked up their hair. It wasn’t like, “We want to get a haircut, it was like you HAVE to get a haircut.” She said they had all this gloop and shit in there and went on tour for a year, and it was just all fucked up. The whole time before, we were like, “Oh my God, you’re the Devil, you cut Metallica’s hair!!” She was just like, “No, no -- they had to.”
RUYTER: Yeah, she did makeup for photo shit or whatever. She was telling us all kinds of stories about how she would get flown off to go and fool around with Steven Tyler and all kinds of stuff. She had all kinds of cool stories to tell.
KNAC.COM: Wow, fooling around with Steven Tyler, huh?
RUYTER: Yep, like getting flown to the Bahamas to fuck Steven Tyler.
KNAC.COM: Jesus, I thought that the price of flights was actually going down. Did she at least get a couple of packs of peanuts with that?
"[Madonna] just copped our style for a while there. She had seen us performing... Shortly after that, she started with her little cowboy thing, but hell, she rips everyone off."
RUYTER: She said he was gggreat! I told her, “That guy is like fifty, and I think he’s had his hip replaced.” She was like, “That guy has the best lips in the world.”
KNAC.COM: No way!! Did she say anything about the outer skin on his face sagging down? He’s starting to look like that dog from Turner and Hootch. As a matter of fact, I just saw him in a picture with that cute chick from American Pie, Tara Reid. What the hell is that all about?
RUYTER: Well, he used to be cool.
KNAC.COM: Yeah, but when was that? The ‘70s or the ‘80s?
RUYTER: I don’t know, maybe twenty years ago.
KNAC.COM: So, you can be cool the rest of your life if you were cool once and still get all kinds of chicks?
RUYTER: Exactly. There’s always going to be someone who still thinks you’re cool.
KNAC.COM: You just have to look under a few more rocks? Is that it?
RUYTER: Yeah, as long as you’ve been cool once-- I mean, Billy Idol still gets chicks.
KNAC.COM: That’s true.
RUYTER: They all do. It blows my mind because I was never into all that big hair ‘80s metal shit, but those same groupies are still comin’ out.
KNAC.COM: Maybe, but who the hell wants to see that? C-section scars and Little Debbie snack cake fat crammed into the same tired assed pair of leopard skin tights -- I don’t even want to think about it -- much less fuck it.
RUYTER: If it’s LA though, at least you can always get some plastic surgery. Being there, it’s like a constant reminder, “Hey, there’s something the matter with you!”
KNAC.COM: Do you like going there to tour and hang out?
RUYTER: Yeah, we go there every chance we get… but we also leave there, too.
KNAC.COM: You mean it’s the whole, “it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there” thing? What is the biggest difference between there and the area where you guys hail from?
RUYTER: Man, I don’t know. Bullshit just doesn’t walk as far as it does in LA. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great in it’s own way, but Hollywood is like this place where the people who were freaks in their own towns on the weekends come, but then, when they move to LA, they become full-time freaks. It’s totally entertaining from the outside -- I just think it would wear you down to live there. It’s like the In “N’ Out Burger chain here sells these things called Protein Burgers which are just fucking hamburgers wrapped in lettuce -- you know, so just call it that. It’s like, “What are you eating? Oh, that’s a Protein Burger!!” If you’re trying to lose weight, you probably shouldn’t be having that burger in the first place.
KNAC.COM: I read someplace where it said that you don’t work out formally doing aerobics or anything like that--
RUYTER: No, I don’t do anything like that. We’re even stopping to get Mexican food here in a little while.
KNAC.COM: After you eat that, maybe you guys can answer some more advice letters for Spin -- it seemed like you were pretty much enjoying yourself.
RUYTER: That was fuckin’ fun as shit, man. Yeah, it was super fun. We were actually walking around a truck stop doing that.
KNAC.COM: And just think, the whole time you were giving sexual advice to poor impressionable young people -- many of which probably listened to Marilyn Manson. Did you enjoy touring with him?
RUYTER: It was actually really good. We had a really good time, but it was definitely our introduction to the big time, which meant a lot of rules. It wasn’t like you could just fuck around because you didn’t go on until midnight and only have to do the sound check at 6:00, if even then. It was like all of the sudden we were playing arenas and there were like a billion rules that we didn’t know about. It was like graduating from a bicycle to a motorcycle.
KNAC.COM: What did you think about his fans, though?
RUYTER: They were actually pretty cool. I think they were just pretty happy that we weren’t Courtney Love. We replaced Hole who was on the first half of the tour, and they just hated her so much. People would turn around and flip her off, and they were making their own “Fuck You, Courtney” shirts. Supposedly, after she went off the bill, only one percent of ticket sales were lost. It just didn’t seem to make any fucking difference at all. We just jumped on for the last half of the tour, and I think people were just really relieved.
KNAC.COM: Speaking of opinionated female singers, what happened with you, Madonna and the cowboy hat?
RUYTER: Nothing other than she just copped our style for a while there. She had seen us performing at the Irving Plaza in New York. Shortly after that, she started with her little cowboy thing, but hell, she rips everyone off. It’s no big deal.
KNAC.COM: I don’t know, but speaking of the skin sag, her neck is starting to sink into the cleavage more and more. If that isn’t bad enough, that gap between her front teeth seems to be getting larger as well. Did she always have that?
RUTER: Yeah, she always had a really large gap.
KNAC.COM: Maybe I was focusing on her breasts before, and now that they’ve fallen, it’s left me with this obsession with her teeth -- bad move. I should have stayed looking at her tits. But when things drop and fall away like that, you never know what you’re left with.
RUYTER: There’s no tellin’. There’s all kinds of weird shit out there.
(Photos by “Missy” at NashvillePussy.com)