Every Wednesday is Heritage Hump Day! That's because every Wednesday from now to the end of the year or before someone really big stops us, Heritage Hump Records (a temporary subsidiary of Onus Records) and New Times will be bringing you a limited edition collector's item of a much beloved Phoenix band that walked the scorched earth of Arizona before the year 2000 A.D. We will honor that band with a commemorative digital single that you, the digital public, will have only seven days to download to your computers and smart phones before this single gets marked up to an exorbitant price as determined by the mp3 collector community. When that happens, a new Heritage Hump subject will be chosen and the free-for-a-limited-time-only cycle begins anew.
This week we examine the only bona-fide goth-horror punk rock all-girl band the Valley has ever offered up, The Green Lady Killers. The nucleus of the band has always been singer/guitarist Lady Van Buren (Kathleen Ryan) and Cherrybomb (Katherine Wing) but has included at least four other bassists, including Cremona from The Cremians and Louis Lashes from Saints of Van Buren. Yes, the Green Lady Killers briefly experimented with testosterone in the ranks with a male axe wielder doing some of the ladykilling around the time of their first six-song eponymous EP, which is when this "Locals Only" profile on the group which ran in New Times on November 1, 2007:
"It's either fortuitous psychic planning or just plain dumb luck that The Green Lady Killers released an EP that opens with a song called "Psycho Ellen" in the same week Ellen DeGeneres cuckooed up the airwaves weeping about a troublesome doggy she couldn't handle with some kind of Michael Vick finality. "Psycho Ellen, she is sick in the head; psycho Ellen, she's better off dead" fits the TMZ gossip blotter perfectly, although the rest of the song, with its accounts of serial stalking and warrantless wiretapping, does not.
If only there were a morning zoo worth its oats in this town, this would be prime drive-time music. Who couldn't use a shot of Lady Van Buren first thing in the morning, elocutin' like Glenn Danzig after an estrogen shake? Or a bone-bashing horror-pop rhythm section pummeling behind her? Or GLK secret weapon D.F. Jimenez, who peels off the tastiest 20-second guitar solos this side of a séance for James Honeyman-Scott and brings the talk box back from the dead on the crackling good "Spooky"?
This six-song sampler amply demonstrates that the GLK can play three-chord Fangoria-based rock and roll as efficiently as the rest of the gravediggers mining this vein. But a minor-key masterpiece like "Whips and Chains" has the added potential of crossing over into whatever is left of the divided pop audience and staying there with a memorable melody you could play on a theremin and still have the same number of chills up the spine. If Kelly Clarkson had even a minute as convincing as this on her failed goth girl album, she wouldn't be singing duets with Reba McEntire now."
Flash forward to 2010 when the group's lineup included Annie Venom (Anne Marie Malatesta) and the group recorded an album for the Rusty Knuckles label entitled Just Fine. This week's Heritage Hump free download, made available through the kind courtesy of Rusty Knuckles Records, is that album's opening track, "My .45."
Recalling the track today, Cherrybomb says, "My .45" is a song about frustration and revenge. Lady Van Buren was living in a downtown Phoenix neighborhood in 2009. The block where she lived was a bit on the rough side, thanks to some not so great neighbors who lived across the street. Well, I guess one could technically call them neighbors, but a more proper term would be "crackheads." Not only were these neighbors addicts themselves, but they were selling drugs out of their house and were also committing armed robberies around Phoenix. As one can imagine, crack and hard criminals never leads to anything good, especially a decent neighborhood."
"If you listen to the lyrics of the song, they get a bit intense - these neighbors never truly saw Lady Van Buren's .45 (although it was always close at hand), but they did eventually end up going to jail through the collective efforts of the rest of the neighbors that were tired of being harassed on their own front porch. Revenge and redemption can be a beautiful thing when the cause is just."
You can see The Green Lady Killers get all just and indignant in the official badass official music video of "My .45."
You can expect more action from The Green Lady Killers when their upcoming album, Nightshade, gets released this summer. But for more instant gratification, you can see Katherine Wing pound the pagan skins in a new side project called The Hellflowers. They'll be playing with Grave Danger and Battered Suitcases on Saturday, April 11, at ThirdSpace.
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