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Interview: Whiskey Bitches

WORDS by Alex Norelli.

Whiskey Bitches bring a rollicky punk charge, an infectious sea of melody peppered velocity, volume  and fun. Check out their interview below, and catch them at Northside Fest this weekend.

Alex: So you’ve been a band for over a year now, how has the last year been for you? What have been the best moments so far?

Madge: Oh man that’s a tough question. I think that our Arlene’s grocery show last week was up there with one of the best nights we’ve had, show was packed and we played really well. As for epic nights… we played at Trash Bar with our boys Highly Suspect and they signed their record deal on the pool table. A few hours later Kate was pushing me down the street in a shopping cart at full speed. I’m pretty sure the bartender at Project Parlor told us we were her heroes for showing up in a shopping cart. In an attempt to repeat the trip on the way home, she dumped me out onto the street, I think we’d had a few more by then.

Kate: It’s been kind of a whirlwind. I learned how to play bass! This band wasn’t really intended to become a serious project, so it’s felt like we’ve been doing a lot of running to keep up with ourselves. I agree that Arlene’s was one of the most fun show’s we’ve played. I had a few too many shots and was stumbling around the stage a bit, but I guess that goes with the territory. People were dancing, a girl lit her hair on fire, my bass came unplugged … All around good time. Also, getting put on a Scottish podcast was pretty cool.

Alex: How did you settle on the name Whiskey Bitches? But also, how has there not already been a band called Whiskey Bitches? its a great name.   

Madge: The short of it is, we made up the band to take a show our old band wanted to cancel thing is the show was 6 days away. So, I had the promoter on one chat message asking what name he can use to promote the show and then on the other I’m group texting Kate and Lora Faye about what name we should use.  We picked the first option that didn’t have another band out there when we Googled it.  I have NO idea how that’s not already a band name!

Alex: I’ve seen you referred to as “female punk band,” do you ever get tired of the distinctions people make between men and women playing music?

Madge: I think it simply sounds a little silly.  I get that they’re trying to say we’re not a hard core band we’re not a punk band that people start circle pits to (someday someday…) and the assumption is all that is attributed to testosterone. The better way to say it is to talk music and not talk gender, because well Perfect Pussy exists and is awesome and basically blows that reference to a softer sound away.  I could talk gender issues all day, but I think what’s important is to realize that more and more, no one really gives a fuck and that’s great.

Eli: Separation is bad. I don’t think gender is a genre. We make original music for all. That said, I think more women need to be recognized as breaking new ground and elevating rock.

Kate: It has to do with context. If someone’s saying we’re a female-led punk band, that’s a fact. If they’re saying that we’re a pretty good punk band for a bunch of girls… well, that’s a different connotation. I think it’s becoming kind of irrelevant at this point. Noisey even wrote an article at the end of last year: “Sorry, Dudes. The Ladies Won Punk This Year.”

Alex: What are you all listening to right now?

Madge: This question is always tough so I’ll stick with what I listened to today at any point: XNY, Highly Suspect, Big Ups, The Teen Age, The Coathangers, Solids, The Dirty Nil, Nothing, Foo Fighters, Velvet Underground, Metric, SAVAGES, Diarrhea Planet, Foo Fighters.

Alex: What are each of your first memories of music/punk?

Madge: The very first record I ever bought myself was Americana by the offspring I sat in my room in front of my little boombox and blasted the whole record straight through.  Although, at that age, I was still a good kid and attempted to censor the record by quickly turning the volume knob to 0 for every curse word, a difficult task if you know the record.

Kate: I definitely remember the first album I spent my own money on was “White Blood Cells” by the White Stripes. Not particularly punk, but there was something about the driving simplicity that really resonated with me. My favorite continuing memories usually have to do with mosh pits that end up in sweaty, bruised messes.

Eli: Rock has been in my life since almost day one, but I would have to say my first brush with punk came with the mega commercial success that was Green Day’s “Dookie” – which came out 20 years ago (time really flies!). I wanted to peel back their influences, so I inevitably stumbled into the Sex Pistols and Ramones.

Alex: What are the sonic inspirations for your music and who are your idols on the instruments you play?

Madge: SLASH! gotta just go for it and say slash, I mean let’s be real, the hair, we’re practically soul mates.  Sonic inspirations is a tougher one, loud car engines, Ramones, Misfits,

Kate: I mean, I’m down with Dee Dee Ramone and Jerry Only. Anything that’s simple, punky and energetic. With that said, the first bass line I ever tried to learn was to “Trooper” by Iron Maiden. Also, have you ever seen Vulture Shit? Every time I see Mike play, I’m like, “Shit, I have to go home and practice more.” I kind of felt the same way after seeing The Coathangers.

Eli: Any drummer that gives off tons of energy and fun, from Buddy Rich and Keith Moon to Sheila E and Dave Grohl.

Alex: Question … do you all ever drink Gin or Bourbon, Campari or another beverage?   And if so, how do you console this with your band name?

Madge: TEQUILA! Thanks to our friends at Ilegal Mezcal, I’ve been drinking a ton of Mezcal, it’s so summer friendly.  As for the band name well, I apologize profusely and promise it won’t happen again and it was just the one slip up. I make sure to be sweet about it too, “Babe, baby you know I love you I just got a little curious for a second. It won’t happen again, promise” but we know it always happens again.

Kate: It happens.

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