The Priscillas
e-mail interview, January 2005

The Priscillas sound exactly as they look. It's a buzzy mix of glam sleaze punk guitar driven mayhem that's dripping with an attitude.

You can't help but like The Priscillas. This is fun rock 'n' roll punk with pop sensibilities that can't take itself too seriously. Vocalist Jen, has a warm, piercing delivery and manages to cut through the wall of guitars with aplomb and style. Nothing if not charismatic, The Priscillas will charm the pants off you. How can you not like a band that sings a song with a chorus that goes "Shut yer face, yer doing my 'ead in"? They're funny, narcistic, and sarcastic and make a fine racket.

(From cdtimes)

The Priscillas - who, what and why?
Jenny Drag - the voice
Guri Go Go - guitar
Kate Kannibal - bass
Mavis Minx - drums

Kate: We're a rock'n'roll band and the world needs us.

Who are your heroes and heroines - musical, artistic, political, anything else, and why?

Kate: Tony Benn. Debbie Harry.
Guri: Animal from the Muppets - he's the first guy I fell in love with.
Jen: Paul Lynd - the camp character that used to appear in Bewitched episodes called Uncle Arthur. He's really funny and really camp.
Kate: I like very old men who still have their dignity. Also, they might have big ears and maybe they will wear a cravat or a smart shirt, perhaps a flat cap…
Mave: And they must have their own teeth.
Guri: I like Bananaman.
Mave: Dennis the Menance and Minnie the Minx because they're naughty and have great dress sense. My other heroes and heroines are friends of mine who I admire and find an inspiration.

Describe The Priscillas live experience.

Guri: I think it kind of sweeps you away. You laugh so much you hurt then afterwards you just cry because of the sheer beauty and fun of it.
Jen: It's beautiful - explosions, of all kinds.
Guri: High kicks and co-ordinated guitar moves. Mavis looks like a mixture of Bettie Page and Animal on the drums.
Mave: And Jen leaps around the stage like Catwoman.
Kate: It breaks your heart.
Jen: Burps and laughter.

Do you feel that women are under-represented in pop and rock, except by dull manufactured girl groups?

Kate: I don't think girl groups are dull and manufactured.
Mave: I do.
Kate: Girl groups are cool - any kind of girls in pop are cool.
Mave: But they all sound the same and have such lame songs.
Kate: Girls Aloud have genius songs. I think girls get really slagged off in pop music and that's not fair.
Guri: Well, girls get slagged off in rock as well.
Kate: Girls get slagged off in all kinds of music - I support girls in whatever they do: pop, rock, dance.
Jen: I don't. I think shit is shit and I think there are shit boy bands, shit girl bands, shit pop music and shit rock music. Luckily I like the good ones. There's shit music everywhere and I'm glad to say we're definitely not shit.
Guri: I think girls are under-represented in rock, absolutely. It's been a boys' game for so long and they're really trying to keep girls out of it. They get a bit frightened if girls can actually play. They can go and fuck themselves.
Jen: There are a lot of good bands out there who really should have made it by now that haven't, whether they're boys or girls or transgender!
Mave: I hate girls in music who are apologetic - that kind of "we can't play because we're girls" attitude. But there are a lot of excellent girl bands around in the London scene at the moment.
Kate: I don't think record labels sign many girl bands and that's because A&R men want to fuck boys in bands or want to be boys in bands themselves! They want to live vicariously through them, take drugs with them, and fuck groupies with them, and obviously they can't do that through girl bands.
Jen: I've actually booked an appointment for my sex change at last - does that change it?

Have you experienced any sexism at the hands of 'the biz'?

Guri: No.
Kate: Sexy-ism.
Mave: You come up against sexism if you're female in anything.
Jen: I feel bad for the boys in the music industry because they have to get traumatised by screaming girls all the time.
Kate: We are those screaming girls!
Jen: We're just screaming. We don't have to worry about being stupid or worry about groupies…

We're organising a Ramones tribute night; if you were to play such a thing, which Ramones songs would you cover?

Mave: 'I Just Wanna Have Something to Do', 'Psychotherapy' and 'Endless Vacation'.
Jen: 'Beat on the Brat'.
Kate: I'd cover the really uncool ones, their very last songs when they reformed. Everybody else will be doing the cool ones.
Guri: Yeah, we should do one of Dee Dee's rap songs!

What do you listen to whilst driving?

Kate: I've been doing a lot of driving recently and I've been listening to The Who and very, very gay disco compilations.
Guri: Motorhead.
Mave: Yeah, Motorhead are good when you're taking off in a plane.
Jen: Guided by Voices saved my life one time because I was driving back home from Camden, New Jersey, and had to drive for three hours. I was stuck on the wrong side of the tracks by myself and it was a scary neighbourhood. I found my GBV tape and it got me through.
Kate: I listen to the traffic report.
Jen: WFMU - Joe Belock!
Mave: I can't drive, but I love listening to fast, furious rock'n' roll when I'm in the car.
Kate: Fast rock'n'roll puts me off driving, that's why I like The Who or Black Sabbath.
Guri: Actually, it depends on when you drive. At night, Johnny Cash is really good.
Jen: Echo and The Bunnymen.
Kate: The Ulcers and The Black Time.
Mave: Blimey, that would make you crash!
Jen: Reno's Men.

How did the single with Damaged Goods come about?

Guri: We called Ian up and asked him if he'd put it out. Simple as that.
Kate: No, actually, we threatened to break his legs unless he put the single out. We tied him up and threatened to jump up and down on his stomach and then we tickled him, and then he did a big wee on us.
Mave: We ate chips with Ian in the pub and talked about the single. That's it.

What are your plans for world domination?

Kate: Make friends with the right people: Paul Daniels, Debbie McGee, both of the Krankies, Ian Lavender, the whole cast of East Enders, Cilla Black.
Guri: We want to be friends with Jonathan Ross.
Kate: We'll have a big party, invite them all round, tie them up and tickle them until they wee on us...
Mave: Not that again.
Guri: We need an army - we'll snatch the Kiss Army. Although we already have our Priscillans!
Kate: And then develop weapons of mass destruction, confetti bombs.
Guri: Glitter bombs and loads of smoke.
Kate: We'll develop our own code and language, called Priscillese. Priscillians can then talk in secret about us.

I teach guitar to 7-11 year olds. What songs should I teach them to inspire them (especially girls) with rock 'n' roll?

Jen: Teach me please!
Guri: 'Brain Surgeon'.
Kate: 'I Love Rock'n'Roll' by Joan Jett. 'Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White' by The Standells.
Mave: I like the Minor Threat version of that song.
Guri: 'Down by The Meadow' by Marilyn Monroe.
Jen: 'Black Bird' by The Beatles (The Beatles are banned - Ed).
Kate: 'Puff the Magic Dragon'.
Jen: Anything by Cream
Guri: 'Stairway to Heaven' (that's absolutely banned - Ed)
Kate: Anything by The Sonics. That'd also teach them to sing with gusto. And then watch 'School of Rock'.
Jen: Johnny Cash.
Kate: It'd be good to have young girls playing Cramps songs. And 'Too Drunk to Fuck' by The Dead Kennedys (I think that may be banned too - but not by me! Ed)

What was the first song you learnt?

Jen: (starts singing) 'I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me' (everyone joins in and there's total surprise that everyone knows the words).
Mave: We should do a cover of that.
Jen: No, that was a joke!
Kate: I never learnt to play bass along to anything. I could never be arsed. The first song I learnt was probably one I played in a band.
Jen: 'Cool Skool' - on the piano, with my sister..
Mave: I taught myself to play 'Holiday in Cambodia' and 'Belsen was a Gas' on the piano. It sounded lovely.

What's next for The Priscillas?

Mave: The single (a double A side called 'Gonna Rip Up Your Photograph'/'Brain Surgeon' on Damaged Goods, due for release in February), we're touring Holland in February, a UK tour in Feb/March, possibly New York in March, Sweden and Norway and then another UK tour before summer. Then recording an LP.
Guri: Then another tour.
Kate: A wee.

What's best, chips or cream buns?

Mave: Chips, chips, chips. With curry.
Jen: What's a cream bun? (Mave describes) Oh, it depends on my mood I think.
Guri: Chips.
Jen: Chips AND cream a cream bun on it.
Mave: Cream buns are good for food fights. Chips aren't so much fun.

Thankyou very much!

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