RUYTER SUYS (NASHVILLE PUSSY) INTERVIEW:
May 25, 2010
On Saturday May 15th, I had the opportunity to catch Nashville Pussy on the Parental Advisory Tour. They are on a package tour with openers Psychostick and Green Jelly respectively. To say that the two opening acts were interesting would be an understatement. I was there to see the headliners however, Nashville Pussy, and they didn’t disappoint. When I caught them last fall opening for Motorhead, Nashville Pussy nearly stole the show from under Lemmy and company. They did steal the spotlight from The Reverend Horton Heat that night, but Motorhead was able to come on strong as you knew they would.
This evening, rather than a 30 minute set as openers, Nashville Pussy blazed through a solid 60 minute set that consisted of standouts like the Ike and Tina Turner cover of “Nutbush City Limits”, “Go Mother Fucker Go”, “Why, Why, Why” and “I’m So High” — the two aforementioned from their latest album From Hell To Texas. The band hit the stage like a band possessed. Karen Cuda was dressed the part of the rock star and she can lay down a Godzilla sized groove, drummer Jeremy Thompson played simple effective beats a la Frank Beard of ZZ Top, Blaine Cartwright looked as angry as ever, but the MVP of the band is the high octane antics and guitar pyrotechnics of lead guitarist Ruyter Suys. If Angus Young had a daughter she’d be the prototype. If you’re looking to see an electrifying rock show look no further than Nashville Pussy, they deliver each and every time.
Here’s a brief interview that I conducted with guitarist Ruyter Suys minutes before they hit the stage at Peter’s Room in Portland, Oregon. I didn’t know what to expect from Ruyter but it was a laid-back and fun interview. I hope you enjoy reading it.
Sleaze Roxx: Nashville Pussy seem to tour non-stop, does it wear on you after a while?
Ruyter Suys: Well, you’d think it would — and the truth is that at some point it does. We’re currently on day 50 of a 65 date tour, we’ve actually been touring since February. We went to Europe, then we were off to Australia, then we kicked off this tour almost right after that. What’s cool about doing this many shows is that you hit a zone. You thought you were tight as a band before. Of course now having said that watch something happen, but I find that as a band you get better and better. I think that’s what keeps us going.
Sleaze Roxx: You guys have played all over the world. How about favorite place to play in Europe?
Ruyter Suys: I’d say that we have a bigger following in Europe than in the U.S.
Sleaze Roxx: Why do you think that is?
Ruyter Suys: I think France is a great place to play. We have a loyal fan base there. I think the reason that we are big there is because France has had a history of appreciation for Americana that Americans don’t have. I’ll give you an example… Miles Davis, the French kept his music alive. He was much bigger there than he was in this country. They’ve embraced the blues and jazz for decades. Some of those artists were barely known in the United States. I think we’re kind of like some of those blues artists and France has accepted us.
Sleaze Roxx: What’s your favorite place to play in The United States?
Ruyter Suys: Where do we do well? We have pockets across the U.S. were we do really well like Chicago, Seattle, Austin, Atlanta and Dallas. We really don’t know until we play there. We just like playing in front of an audience.
Sleaze Roxx: I saw you guys opening for Motorhead last fall and you went over great with the predominant Motorhead audience. I actually felt bad for The Reverend Horton Heat because he had to follow after you guys. You pulled out all the stops and kept the audience on their toes with your high energy set.
Ruyter Suys: That was the second time we’ve played in Portland with Motorhead, the last time was at La Luna I believe. Well, The Reverend Horton Heat is bigger in The States but we love the role as underdog. We put on our best show for 30 minutes as the opener and then whoever follows up have to step it up. We loved opening that tour because we got four hours to drink whiskey and watch Motorhead every night. We were in heaven!
Sleaze Roxx: On this Parental Advisory Tour you have three very different bands in one package. How did this tour come together and why Psychostick and Green Jelly as openers?
Ruyter Suys: The weird thing about this particular tour is that we got added to it. The tour was booked and ready to roll then the headliner dropped out. We were approached about doing the tour and we took it.
Sleaze Roxx: Who was supposed to headline the tour — can you say?
Ruyter Suys: Prong were supposed to do it. It was a fluke, we had the time off and were available and this massive offer came in and we said ‘alright we’ll take it’, and here we are.
Sleaze Roxx: Did you think twice about hopping on this tour? It’s not a traditional package, the other two bands are as far removed as they can be from what you guys do.
Ruyter Suys: Yes and no! (laughs) I think we all looked at each other and thought should we do this? When you look back to some of our previous tours we’ve opened for other acts that aren’t anything like us. We’ve opened up for Marilyn Manson and Lynyrd Skynryd so in a matter of minutes we were like ‘yes we’ll do it!’ You’ve got to take chances you know.
Sleaze Roxx: Since you are headlining this particular tour how many songs from the new album will make it into the set?
Ruyter Suys: Off of From Hell To Texas we’re doing in the area of 6 to 7 songs off that album. We’re playing an hour as headliner so that allows us to get a few more new songs into the set.
Sleaze Roxx: Your latest album From Hell To Texas has been out for about a year. Your label SPV in the United States folded late last year but are back and running in the USA. Have they been pressuring you to get into the studio and crank out another album?
Ruyter Suys: Man, that was a mess. When we went out with Motorhead it was a perfect opportunity for them to promote both bands since we were both on the sample label and they completely dropped the ball. It was so simple — two of the bands on the same roster touring together, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. This is the second time we’ve been on the road in the U.S. doing what our record company couldn’t do. They can try as hard as they want but in the meantime we will be doing what we do and playing in front of people across America individually if we have to.
Sleaze Roxx: So after the tour what are the plans more touring or new music?
Ruyter Suys: I have no idea at this point. They have exercised their right in getting this last album. I’m guessing at this time this is testing grounds for them to see how well they do promoting us. We’ve recouped in North America and in Europe so we hold the cards right now, which is really nice.
Sleaze Roxx: Any new music written?
Ruyter Suys: Hell no! (laughs) Wait, I shouldn’t say that — we have some ideas that we’re working on but we have no idea what we’ll be doing with them. We have a couple different projects going on where some of these songs might wind up on.
Sleaze Roxx: Like Nine Pound Hammer or something?
Ruyter Suys: Right! Like Nine Pound Hammer — you know your stuff. They have a record in the works that is set for release in the next four months or so. They’ve got a month and half worth of dates booked in Europe that run from August through September I believe. That’s one of the reasons we’re out in earnest because Blaine Cartwright will be gone for a few months and we’ll be forced to take a break during that time.
Sleaze Roxx: So you have about two weeks left on this tour then what’s in store for you?
Ruyter Suys: We wrap up this tour and then we’re off to Europe for festivals this summer — we have a couple of festivals in Finland. We’ve never done festivals in Finland, I’m excited about that because our shows have sold out there for a few years now. That should be amazing, plus the fact that we’re not there this time in fucking February. Which is what happened the last time we were there. We went right above the Arctic Circle. Who the fuck knew that people even lived there?! Other than Santa Claus that is. Anyway who books a tour like that in February? Don’t get me wrong it was one hell of a good time but it was fucking frigid! We’re there in the summer so I look forward to the better weather. We’re playing some metal fests and a biker fest — it’s going to be fun.
Sleaze Roxx: Ruyter thanks so much for a few minutes before you hit the stage. Safe travels for the rest of this tour and beyond. I look forward to seeing you again next time around.
Ruyter Suys: Thank you coming to the show.
Thanks again to Ruyter Suys and Nashville Pussy. Also Jon Freeman at Freeman Productions and manager Andrew Demarest for being very flexible and coordinating the interview.