There was this noise band called Harry Pussy from Miami, Florida. They existed from 1992 to 1997. The two founding members were drummer Adris Hoyos and guitarist Bill Orcutt. Both contributed vocals. They also had a second guitar player to round out the lineup. Mark Feehan and Dan Hosker occupied that position over the band's lifetime. The rumor has it that they got their name from a nickname that John Lennon used for Yoko Ono.
I had never really heard of Harry Pussy until Load Records put out a compilation in 2008 called You'll Never Play This Town Again. It collects a bunch of material from 1997, including both studio and live tracks. This release is slightly repetitive in that it includes multiple versions of the same songs taken from different shows. It doesn't feel as repetitive as that sounds due to the inclusion of stage banter between the live songs. There is even a show in its entirety, making for an 18:00 minute track. You'll Never Play This Town Again gives you a good sense of what the band was like.
Harry Pussy played some of the most abrasive music ever. The blistering dual guitars created a wall of no wave bliss over top of some epic drumming. Adris Hoyos is hands down one of the best drummers ever. The sheer amount of energy she put into the songs is amazing. In addition to hitting the drums as hard as possible at a high tempo, she was screaming at the top of her lungs for the vocals. I think what works for me about this band is that they achieve all the things I like without falling into any clichés. Or maybe they stuck to the clichés that I like. You could describe the typical metal or punk band in some of the terms that I used because both of those type of bands play fast and have noisy guitars, but they would be miles apart upon comparing the actual sounds.
"At the time I figured this is as popular as this kind of music is going to get. I felt like Harry Pussy was probably all anyone would ever want to hear along these lines. And then around 2005 people in these bands started writing me and I started to pay attention, and I realized I was wrong" - Bill Orcutt
The band was somewhat of a singular entity during the mid 1990s. There weren't really many other bands doing what they were doing at this time. They did garner the support of Sonic Youth and Lou Barlow. Harry Pussy even toured with Smog and Sebadoh, which would have been a show to see. Of course when anybody is ahead of the curve and underappreciated in their own time, it usually means their impact tends to be felt sometime in the future. Such is the case with many of today's no wave and noise bands who list them as an important influence, including AIDS Wolf, Hair Police, Magik Markers and Sightings.
1. Harry Pussy also have a pair of CDs that are still available from Siltbreeze. Ride A Dove is an album and What Was Music? is a collection of assorted compilation tracks. They released a number of 7"s and live LPs as well. Most of those are long out of print, but can probably be found on the internet.
2. Guitarist Bill Orcutt resurfaced in 2009 with a 7" and a LP. Both were collected by Editions Mego for a 2011 release called A New Way To Pay Old Debts. This record features Bill on an old acoustic guitar with four strings.
3. There are actually a lot of interviews with the band from 1990s 'zines that have made their way online. Just make sure to include the word "band" when you do the old Google search.
For more info:
Out Door Interview with Bill Orcutt
I posted this a few days ago, but here's a mix for your headphones. Inspired by walking around and the cold air freezing the snot in your nose.