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Thunderpussy: “We’re Sort of Reinventing Our Little Corner of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

May 14, 2018
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Thunderpussy

Thunderpussy puts a new spin on the that classic rock sound and their stage show evokes the 70s theatrics of their heroes – Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and that ilk.

Frontwoman Molly Sides struts and spins and thrusts at the audience. Ruby Dunphy pounds on the drums. Bass player Leah Julius and guitarist Whitney Petty drive the sound that has been making crowds go crazy since the Seattle foursome launched three years ago.

We spoke to guitarist Petty about the band, their brand new album and their live show.  

How did you all come together?

Some things just work out. Seattle has a really vibrant music scene. There has been one for many decades now. We all kind of met in the arts community. Everyone was in the right place at the right time.

You all come from different sounds. Your previous band has that more hard sound. Leah’s band sounded more like an indie band. Molly’s previous band had a far out, different sound. So, are you leading the sound for Thunderpussy?

You could say that. From an outside perspective, it probably looks like that. For me, I’m so in the middle of it that it’s hard to separate from the process. When we go to the studio, it’s like, “Here’s some riffs.” Then we all work on it. Everybody brings those different influences to the table.

There are a lot of other influences that are not that obvious. Leah is really into pop punk. Ruby is studying jazz in college. She’s an amazing jazz drummer. So there is definitely a fusion going on and I think that makes for a really original take on a kind of old music. We’re sort of reinventing our little corner of rock ‘n’ roll.

Pop punk is so emo. What you guys are doing sounds like raw aggression.

There’s a lot of guttural, raw feeling coming out in the music. I got into playing guitar to kind of let that aggression out, especially when I was playing drums with The Grizzled Mighty. That was very much, “How hard can I hit these drums?”

Now, we’re all chasing a feeling, which is why we are such a great live band. The album, we’re very proud of it, it was really fun to make and even a little terrifying at times. But really, our bread and butter, is being on stage, live. We really love connecting with audiences. There’s a sort of catharsis that happens when we’re all four on stage.

You guys have been performing together for a few years, right?

I was posting stuff on Facebook and a memory popped up. I think we’re at the three year mark from our first show, almost to the day.

Why did it take so long to get the album out?

The whole thing has been a real process. We’ve been very fortunate but we’ve also been very stubborn and tenacious about our vision for it. Molly and I always had this if-it-ain’t-broke, don’t-fix-it kind of attitude towards the music business. We’ve modeled Thunderpussy on an archaic model of 70s rock ‘n’ roll. We’re super into the album-oriented rock of that era.

It took us a long time to find Sylvia Massy. We’ve worked with a few producers in Seattle, and we really wanted a producer who could guide us, steer the ship and be a leader. We couldn’t really find the right person. We randomly found Sylvia through a random phone call. They asked if we could do some thing with this producer, here’s her name. We were like, “Her?” A female producer? I didn’t even know that was an option. It’s such a male dominated industry.

We met her and fell in love. She said, “You don’t have even close enough songs to make an album. Go back and write 30 more.” We did.

When we finally made that record, we didn’t just want to throw it out. We wanted to do it right. You only get to put out your debut album one time.

You have a new take on an old sound. You’re doing a full album project in the age of singles. What exactly are you guys trying to do?

We’re just trying to do what we love instead of what the market dictates, I guess.

We found a certain producer who helped us make the album we wanted that plays from start to finish with a vibe that runs throughout. It’s just not a singles-driven project.

It was our first record. It was really important for us to do what our heroes did.

Who are your heroes?

Led Zeppelin. Aerosmith. Thin Lizzy. Black Sabbath. The pillars of rock ‘n’ roll, the ones who put on a great live show and had really great records.

We have such a great live show and everyone kept saying, “You just have to capture that feeling on the record and you’ll win.” I don’t think that’s what we want.  Putting out a record is completely different from doing a live show.

The last show we did in Seattle was our masterpiece. We’re not really able to do on the road what we are able to do in Seattle, because we have all the resources here. We had 12 back-up dancers; we brought out a jazz band and did a rock fusion set; we brought out guests; we had platforms built; we had fire dancers. We were able to orchestrate this thing from start to finish.

What should people expect from this tour?

If you come to a Thunderpussy show, I hope you’ll leave feeling fucking incredible. Really uplifted and empowered. Buzzing a little? Maybe vibrating on a higher frequency because you’ve seen the pinnacle of a rock ‘n’ roll show.

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