It's time to get down and dirty with Nashville Pussy 

Atlanta hard rockers hit the GLC stage on Dec. 7

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - SEX, LOVE & ROCK N' ROLL At the heart of Nashville Pussy's hard-rockin', hard-drinkin' southern sound is an epic romance that began with a tab of acid on a crisp Winnipeg day.
  • Photo submitted
  • SEX, LOVE & ROCK N' ROLL At the heart of Nashville Pussy's hard-rockin', hard-drinkin' southern sound is an epic romance that began with a tab of acid on a crisp Winnipeg day.

For close to 20 years, Nashville Pussy has been bringing the sex, drugs and rock n' roll to bars and clubs the world over. On occasion, however, the delightfully sleazy southern rockers have had the debauchery come to them. Like the time they played to a packed crowd in Austin, Texas, when a young couple in the front row began getting, umm, intimate all over the band's thumping monitor.

"I think it was right after we finished playing the song 'Keep on Fuckin',' so you really can't be mad at them for doing what we say," recounts lead guitarist Ruyter Suys. "They were just taking it a step further and having a blast doing it."

Such is the life of the hard-rockin', hard-drinkin' band that originally touted itself as "the underground AC/DC." Restraint, you quickly learn, is not in Nashville Pussy's cuss-heavy vocabulary, with such glorious song titles (and I'm keeping this relatively PG) as "High As Hell," "She's Got the Drugs" and "Say Something Nasty."

But lest you dismiss Nashville Pussy as just another leather-clad remnant of the '80s rock scene, you should also know that two decades, nine albums and a Grammy nod later, the Atlanta foursome ain't nothing to laugh at. Laughing with them, however, is another story.

"It's really hard not to be funny," says Suys. "You have certain ideas and then you get in the studio and you just want to make people laugh. You wind up changing lyrics on the spot so you can crack people up — that's our problem."

At the centre of Nashville Pussy are its two co-founders, Suys and her husband, guitarist Blaine Cartwright. Like a lot of epic love stories, their romance began with a tab of acid on a crisp fall day in Winnipeg. "We pretty much fell in love right then," Suys recalls.

But the odds were stacked against them. Suys was a precocious undergrad "raised by Vancouver hippies," while Cartwright was a good ole' boy from the heart of Kentucky with an accent as thick as a buttermilk biscuit.

"I thought it wasn't going to work," Suys says. "He sounded like Yosemite Sam to me."

The mere idea of them as a couple seemed so absurd that they knew it was destined to be. Within four months, they were married — "on a dare," Suys says. They haven't looked back since, their relationship providing the foundation to everything Nashville Pussy does.

"We're a very unique couple, to say the least," says Suys. "We absolutely just love each other, we have complete respect for each other artistically, and we're kind of each other's biggest fans. There's no competition. We're a team, we're a great fucking team."

Rounding out the band is drummer Jeremy Thompson and bass player Bonnie Buitrago, who was recruited to even out the testosterone levels onstage. Suys is well known for her shredding — in 2009, Elle named her as one of the 12 greatest female electric guitarists of all time — and yet she still finds herself having to fight perceptions of women in rock n' roll.

"I know I have to play that role, but it's weird that gender is that vital when it comes to rock n' roll," she says. "One of the benefits of being Canadian and raised by hippies is that I was blissfully unaware of any kind of sexual limitations; I didn't think being born a certain gender was going to prevent me from rocking."

It seems nothing could ever really prevent Suys from rocking, even if she never achieves the same level of mainstream acclaim her rock idols have. Sure, Nashville Pussy has amassed a rabid, cult-like following on the rock club scene, but radio play has thus far eluded them. That's probably because, unlike so many bands before them, they've refused to water down their music.

After all, Suys knows the best cocktail is a stiff one.

"We would love mainstream recognition, but, like every band, you want it on your own terms," she says. "It would be nice to have a hit, but as far as we're concerned every song we write is a hit. So we're not about to change what we do."

Nashville Pussy plays the GLC on Monday, Dec. 7 at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, available at www.whistlerblackcomb.com/nashvillepussy.

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