News Upbringing: Perfect Pussy

There’s method to the twenty-three minutes, zero seconds of pure sonic assault that defines Perfect Pussy’s debut album ‘Say Yes To Love’. Of course there is. It might sound like a lifetime’s worth of bottled up frustration being given its first big day out, and there are probably moments devoted to spontaneity - but behind the wall of noise is a whole lot of background.

In Upbringing, we ask some of our favourite bands to recall their formative moments. It can be anything from a life-changing gig to a packet of crisps - doesn’t matter. Conversations span from before the formation of a group right up to the point where they are today. Answers courtesy of bassist Greg Ambler and singer Meredith Graves.

What’s the first gig you can ever remember going to? Describe the experience.
Greg: Doobie Brothers and Foreigner, and my mom took me. It was at Starwood Amphitheater in Nashville, Tennessee. And I remember falling asleep during ‘Cold As Ice’, and some weird old drunk guy grabbing my leg and asking me why I wasn’t partying. And I thought to myself, ‘why aren’t I partying, ten year old Greg?’ And I went back to sleep.

Can you remember the first song you ever developed an obsession over?
G: ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ by Coolio. I begged my mom for the tape and she got me the single for Christmas. I knew, because the wrapping was shaped just like a tape cassette. And though she hid it deep inside her closet, she was the single mother of an only child, so every time she left the house, I would carefully remove the scotch tape from the wrapping and listen to it at full volume to the point where my neighbors told my mom, and she found out that I had been opening it.
Meredith: ‘Train In Vain,’ by the Clash. One of the first records I ever heard. Sadly enough, it’s probably still my favorite Clash song.

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Could you quickly pick out a couple of venues you grew up going to?
G: I mostly went to like, arenas or bigger rock shows growing up; I didn’t really get into DIY punk music until I was in my early twenties. So I would describe the venues I went to as a fun atmosphere for partying, but not for individual growth. Lots of drugs, and debauchery, which was fun for a young kid, but grew old as I did.
M: There was a bar in my hometown, a small town bordered by a military base, called Shooties, that was very literally on the wrong side of the tracks. I started sneaking in when I was fourteen or fifteen, it was the grossest, darkest shack in the middle of nothing - it just stood there on a street corner looking dismal, cracked windows and metal doors. I used to see the Murder Junkies there.

As a band so far, what’s the best and worst show you’ve ever played?
G: Definitely, the best shows are the ones where no one shows up and you really have a chance to talk to every person who is there. Coincidentally, we play our longest and hardest sets for these shows. Shows like NYU are the worst, the stage is too big, the room is too big, there’s no reason to have a sound guy when you should be playing on the floor.
M: Every show is the best show. No show is the worst show - no matter how bad you think it is, there will always be a worse show.



What’s the best piece of advice anyone’s ever given you?
G: Don’t turn down a free bed. Everyone’s an asshole.
M: The power in any relationship belongs to whoever cares less.

If you could be any band from the past two decades, who would you be and why?
G: Polaris. Inspired an entire generation to grow up into weirdos, including myself. They were a band that attached themselves to the DNA that was every indie punk child growing up and I recently rediscovered their music, letting me enjoy this band twice in my lifetime.
M: Jimmy Eat World. I’m kidding, I don’t have an actual answer, but I realized yesterday that I still know all the words to ‘Bleed American’ and coincidentally, all the air-drums too. I’m an air-drumming world champion.

If there’s anything you could tell the person you were when you started writing music, what would it be?
G: Get a real job.
M: You will live through a lot, but you will live. And it’s going to be ok, or ok-ish, eventually. And you’re totally fine just the way you are, so chill out.

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