Always fun when I can bring a Band from my hometown of Pittsburgh to these pages, reading their answers fills in all the blanks, from Mott The Hoople to the Replacements back to Sonic Youth and Sleater-Kinney , it’s all here kids, trust me, Murder For Girls are a Band you should be listening to and if your anywhere around Pittsburgh, see them live , support your local music scene. Very cool band and some serious killer tunes….
Murder for Girls: The 50thirdand3rd interview. Compiled 9/13/14.
People say we sound like….
JONATHAN: Hole’s first record, Siouxsie, Sleater-Kinney, Sonic Youth, Th’ Faith Healers.
MICHELE: People say we sound like we have a 90’s vibe but I feel like we have a pretty groovy Indie undertone. We have a lot of straight-forward rock/punk songs to keep things interesting.
TAMMY: Pixies, Sonic Youth, Veruca Salt, The Breeders.
ZO: breeders, le tigre…riot grrrl shit.
We are originally from…
What is the state of the punk scene in Pittsburgh?
JONATHAN: There are several good bands, some very young, with small but supportive followings. The city has some older musicians, like me, who are still active after playing out for 20 or 30 years or more.
MICHELE: Apparently, it’s alive and well. When Murder For Girls hit the scene I was happy to see there were so many great bands around. I had no idea the punk scene was so huge in Pittsburgh.
TAMMY: There are a lot of good bands right now – there could be more crossover however, as far as who plays with who and where.
ZO: slowly but slowly it seems to be on the mend.
Who are some that have an influence on your sound?
JONATHAN: On bass, I would mention some typical heroes, like Flea, Mike Watt, Lemmy, Les Claypool. Also, Peter Hook, Kim Gordon, and John McVie. But the two biggest influences on my style of play are that I originally played guitar for ten years before I switched to bass in 1987, and I still use techniques on bass that one would associate with guitar. And that I have spent many hours playing bass alone and developed a fairly busy style to entertain myself.
MICHELE: Me personally…my drummer heroes influenced a lot of what I listened to: Dawn Richardson (4 Non-Blondes), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chilli Peppers), Brad Wilk (Rage Against the Machine), John Bonham (Led Zepplin), Patty Schemel (Hole), Jamie Miller (Snot), Bud Gaugh (Sublime).
ZO: Pixies–i always wanted to play like joey santiago.
The first time we met was…
JONATHAN: The first time that all four of us were in the same room was September 26, 2013.
MICHELE: I’d say about 2 years ago. I met with Jon and Tammy first and we meshed well right away.
TAMMY: I met Jonathan when he came to a show for my other band, Bunny Five Coat.
We knew we were going to be a band…
JONATHAN: I met Michele first, a few months before the others, and knew immediately that I wanted to work with her. And Tammy approached me about doing something musically within 48 hours of me meeting Zo. And then when Zo agreed, I knew it was going to work.
MICHELE: I think things really started to go well when Zo and Tammy took over vocals. They were coming up with great melodies and we just couldn’t stop writing songs after that.
TAMMY: When we first jammed, IMO.
ZO: Because we all agreed to do it. we got along very easily.
Books we recommend…
JONATHAN: Related to music, Get in the Van and American Hardcore.
MICHELE: Hatchet, Kundalini Rising, Invisible Monsters, Rubyfruit Jungle.
TAMMY: Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 by Michael Azerrad.
ZO: William Z Foster and The Tragedy of American Radicalism.
Our craziest gig ever was…
JONATHAN: All of our gigs are sort of crazy. It’s sort of crazy that I’m still playing music.
MICHELE: Our craziest gig ever was probably when we played over in South Side. We had our first band adventure when we tended to a guy’s busted head because he got thrown out of one of the bars. We argued with an arrogant cop who made matters worse. Then we ended up eating some of the weird chicken from Bridesmaids.
TAMMY: It was probably at the Smiling Moose, opening for Sons of Hippies, for the mere fact Zo made smoothies onstage.
ZO: I don’t know how crazy it was, but at our first gig, Tammy asked me, “are you ready for this shit?” I said, “not really.” That was our first show. I met my now boyfriend there. I haven’t had a boyfriend in 10 years. He was in the crowd and said to me after I came down to move my shit, “that was really cool.” The rest is history.
If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be…
JONATHAN: I would like to go back to the early days of rock & roll radio, when just about anybody could have a record played on a local station somewhere. The early 80s hardcore period still appeals to me, as well as the beginning of death metal in England. And the early 90’s was a good time to play in a band. A lot of energy in those years and an interest in new things.
MICHELE: I would go back to 1967 to see Big Brother & the Holding Company at the Monterey International Pop Festival.
TAMMY: 1974, because there was so many bands breaking out at that time, and also I could see Mott the Hoople.
ZO: I suppose medieval Iberian peninsula kind of stuff….Also would have liked to been around when Ravel and Debussy were all the rage. Also 1950s…would have loved to have seen Ritchie Valens.
Growing up ,at home we listened to…
JONATHAN: My parents listened to very little music in the house. A lot of AM radio music since my dad refused to pay the extra few dollars to get an FM radio when he purchased the family car. But my mom had some Beatles and Elvis 45s and some early soul and pop on vinyl, like “Hang on, Sloopy” and “Devil with a Blue Dress on.” Some Aretha and Diana Ross, too.
MICHELE: Growing up at home we listened to a lot of oldies do-wop and Elvis, the Beatles, Creedance Clearwater Revival, 3 Dog Night, Aretha Franklin, Joan Jett, and my mom taught me who Pete Townsend was. We had a record player so my parents would put on Bing Crosby for the holidays.
TAMMY: My parents listened to mostly country music.
ZO: punk rock and new wave – ramones, blondie, rolling stones, the slits (from my mother), old hippy shit from the 60s janis, jimmy, and the like (records from both parents), ABBA (father), Pablo Casals (father), classical (father), oldies on the radio EVERY time my mother was driving. My beloved 4th grade music teacher, Mr K. (who I think had a crush on my mom which really made me mad), would play old 45s..stuff like Smoky Joe’s Cafe. He was the original hipster. I will never forget when some kid asked, “Hey Mr K! You going to Kennywood?” Mr K. said, “I have not been there in over 15 years. It’s just something I don’t do.” I got an A in his class. I was one of his best students.
What tunes are on heavy rotation for you?
JONATHAN: I listen to electronica and some jazz and classical at my place. I like the more electronic indie stuff, like Purity Ring, CHVRCHES, Phantogram, and Crystal Castles. But my favorite band is probably Siouxsie and the Banshees; I listen to The Scream and JuJu a few times a month.
MICHELE: I usually just throw on Pandora, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs station, the Donora station, or Black Keys station and let it play.
ZO: right now…The Hunches, Pissed Jeans…trying to get into post-punk, no-wave…trying….
If you could open for any band right now who would that be and why?
JONATHAN: Most of the bands that I would like to open for are no longer together or at least are not touring, like Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney, or Siouxsie. Shonen Knife is touring; that would be cool.
MICHELLE: Probably the Yeah Yeah Yeahs so I can stick around for the show afterward.
TAMMY: The Replacements, because I could see them every night, and they just so happened to be playing again!
ZO: Shannon and the Clams. A fantasy. It will never happen. I did contact them and they did respond only to direct me to their booking agent who never got back to me. sigh.
When you are touring and have some time off, where could we find you…
JONATHAN: Probably writing in my motel room or car. I write compulsively. When I travel, I don’t go out much.
MICHELLE: I’d be around my family, out back reading, or at my desk writing/ripping my hair out.
TAMMY: if that ever happened, I’d be seeking out whatever tourist spot I already looked up in advance and also eating at whatever place I scouted out! I would want to see whatever any town has to offer.
ZO: LOL!!! Me!!! ??TOURING!? I’m a nurse who’s also a single mom with 2 kids. I’m not going anywhere.
The one thing we want you to remember while you’re listening to us is…
JONATHAN: We’re not jerks. And we’re the kind of band that will hang out with you and make you something to eat.
MICHELE: We hope you like what you hear. #supportlocalmusic #murderforgirls
TAMMY: We are your future.
ZO: I am NOT a riot grrl. I’m an old, crotchety, hard working woman. Thanks.
listen/buy some kick ass music from…Murder For Girls
follow/keep up/LIKE… Murder For Girls….
Remember: this show is tonight at Gooski’s.
Be there at 10 when No Movement kicks things off.