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Bruised and Battered
The Hussy Return To The Brass Rail
By EA Poorman
Fort Wayne Reader
Madison, Wisconsin's The Hussy play a kind of fractured garage rock that will rattle your brain and body, leave you lying on the floor stunned and bruised and all you can think is "I want more." Bobby and Heather Hussy are The Hussy. Bobby on squalling, buzzing guitar and vocals and the lovely Heather on drums and vocals. Early on their music was an ode to psychedelic garage freakouts of the late 60s like Blue Cheer and Detroit's muscle-sound of the Stooges and MC5. But with their latest long player Pagan Hiss, these two Madison noise makers have opened their sound a bit to incorporate more pop elements and even some noise collages via Sebadoh. On October 4th The Hussy will be playing the Brass Rail once again and will be joined by Fort Wayne's Slow Pokes and the always wonderful Thunderhawk.
So are you thinking to yourself "I wonder if I'd like this band? Should I spend my hard earned cash on The Hussy and a PBR?" Well, I think you should, but don't just take my word for it. Heaven's Gateway Drugs' Derek Mauger had this to say about The Hussy. "The Hussy exist somewhere at the cross-section of The Stooges, Jay Reatard and Thee Oh Sees. Hands down one of the best live shows I have ever seen. And definitely, the only show I've ever had to dodge getting hit by a flaming guitar that was flung into the audience. Bob and Heather are two of the nicest and hardest working people I've come across in the music scene."
The Stooges, Jay Reatard, Thee Oh Sees, and flaming guitars. What more do you need? Well, Jason Davis of Streetlamps for Spotlights had this to add, "Though the last decade has been littered with all sorts of two-piece bands, The Hussy stand out as the kind of head bobbing, noisy, catchy, spontaneous rock that continues to keep music moving forward. They are currently having the kind of year that most rock bands dream of, having been up and down both coasts and a successful trek through Europe. One part psych garage pop, one part 90s noise rock, one part girl/guy romp - equally fun at the club or at home."
So what do The Hussy have to say? Bobby and Heather were rather forthcoming in answering some questions regarding their music, their hometown, and their thoughts on Fort Wayne's music scene. So what's the Madison music scene like? "The music scene is really exciting in Madison these days! A lot of exciting new bands, a lot of people playing good music and running cool clubs. Crystal Corner, Mickey's Tavern and High Noon are all exciting places in Madison. Peter over at Good Style Shop is great for touring bands. It's cool cuz touring bands are finally coming through more and more, it's great! It's definitely a good time to be in a band in Madison."
The Hussy have played Fort Wayne before; in particular The Brass Rail. What's their thoughts on the Fort's music scene? "Every time the Hussy comes to Fort Wayne The Brass Rail is one of the best shows on our tour. It's always a great crowd and they don't just stand there. On the rock o meter it's probably a solid 8. We can't really talk for the rest of clubs in town as we've only played the Rail. And we've had a lot of help from the community especially Kirk Swenson, R. Mike, Heaven's Gateway Drugs and Jason from Streetlamps for Spotlights!"
Once you listen to The Hussy's discography you see with each record they change things up a bit. They explore new sonic horizons and bring different elements into their sound. Pagan Hiss continues this progression quite wonderfully. Is it the gradual progression of a band, or more of a thought out decision to want to push the band's sound forward? "It wasn't a conscious decision, it's sorta just what came out of the recording process. We recorded a lot of songs over a long period and ultimately pieced the record together as best as we could. We always try to push our boundaries out a bit each new record, but we always want to stay true to the Hussy sound." Along with the sound of the albums, the look continues to evolve as well. Their album covers are some of the most interesting that I've seen since the Flaming Lips early 90s releases(Weed Seizure LP brings Lips' Oh My Gawd!!! to mind every time I see it.) Who designs their album covers, and what are they on?
"C.M. Ruiz did "Pagan Hiss" and the new 7" on Slovenly/Black Gladiator. Ben Lyon did "Weed Seizure" and the new 7" on Certified PR. Chopper did the first LP "Cement Tomb Mind Control". We really love having other people do covers."
"Woodland Creature" is one of the many bits of ear candy on their new album Pagan Hiss. I asked Bobby and Heather about the writing process behind that track and how it came together in the studio. "We weren't playing "Woodland Creature" out live at all. We just sorta pieced it together at a few practices and then brought down the recording gear to the space and tracked it. Then a few weeks later we had our buddy Dead Luke come in and play some lead guitar and recorder on the recording! It came out great!"
The two-piece rock n' roll band has had something of a revitalization over the last ten years. You know the names(White Stripes, Black Keys). Hell, even Fort Wayne has their own dynamic duo in Left Lane Cruiser. For The Hussy, what's the appeal of a two-piece, as opposed to a three-piece, four-piece, or a Polyphonic Spree-like spread? "We played in a previous band together and when that previous band broke up and then we just decided to start a band together. We kept it a two piece out of simplicity. It's just easier that way." Simple enough. And I imagine having just two people to pay for (not counting crew members) was easier while touring Europe. How was the European tour? "The crowds were great! Everyone seemed really excited and we had a great time. The hospitality is incredible! Amsterdam was great, we played on a houseboat. We really had a great time in Paris and the rest of France! Such a great rockin' community there!"
What do we have to look forward to in 2014 from The Hussy? "A 7" Single on Windian early in 2014. Then a split 12" with Digital Leather on Southpaw that we'll tour to SXSW with. After that we're going to release the Hussy's 4th LP on Southpaw later in spring/early summer."
Well, I think I've made it abundantly clear. You must come out and see The Hussy at The Brass Rail on October 4th. With Slow Pokes and Thunderhawk playing as well, it's sure to be a obnoxiously loud and beautifully inebriated evening you'll tell your kids about for years to come. Still not convinced? The check The Hussy out at http://thehussy.bandcamp.com/ and you can also cyberstalk them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thehussyknowsall.