Boobs and beer. The Georgia-based raunch 'n' rollers in Nashville Pussy don't need much more symbolism than that, even though they've used the Confederate flag on their albums and show fliers for years, à la Lynyrd Skynyrd.
But when you've got hot blonde guitarist Ruyter Suys kneeling down on the floor with her boobs busting out of a leopard-print bra, and her husband (NP front man Blaine Cartwright) standing over her pouring beer down her throat and all over her breasts while she cranks out a blistering guitar solo, nobody's gonna notice your backdrop.
After seeing Nashville Pussy play five times in the past six years, I can say that Ruyter Suys can wail on a whammy bar and deep-throat a Budweiser bottle at the same time like nobody's business. And on this cool Saturday evening in mid-October, Nashville Pussy is headlining the Clubhouse Music Venue's four-year anniversary bash, so I'm hoping to see the band's usual alcohol-fueled mammary action.
My friend Toxic JuJu has never seen Nashville Pussy play before, and I've been going on about how much they're gonna kick ass tonight. But Toxic JuJu has doubts when I introduce her to Ruyter, who's bumming around in dirty jeans, sporting a pair of bookworm glasses and a poufy ponytail, and chowing down on a Caesar salad at Horse & Hound hours before NP takes the stage.
"She looks like a dork," JuJu leans over and whispers.
I met Toxic JuJu in July, two months after she moved to Phoenix from Indianapolis. She's called Toxic JuJu because she used to be married to J.J. Pearson, the original drummer for Toxic Reasons, an Indianapolis-based punk band that made some great records on the Rough Trade label in the '80s. She's fun to go out with, because she's very friendly and talks to lots of people, but she also says exactly what she thinks and doesn't care if she pisses people off.
The first time I took her down to First Friday, we went into Soul Invictus, where naked people were running around in Day-Glo body paint. After being introduced to Soul Invictus owner David Salcido, JuJu screamed at him, "What the hell is this? This isn't art! Why do I need to see this shit?"
Some people might think Toxic JuJu is mean, but I prefer to think of her as delightfully crass and disturbingly honest. She's sorta like Courtney Love, minus the hard drugs.
After leaving the members of Nashville Pussy to their pre-show meal, JuJu and I head next door to the Clubhouse. Outside, there's a gated area with an outdoor stage and a barbecue grill. As we head toward the grill to order some cheeseburgers, we pass a guy in a black cowboy hat who's wearing a tee shirt depicting punk's biggest pariah, G.G. Allin. We have to stop and compliment him on it.
Turns out this fellow is Mike "Bam-Bam" Sversvold, former drummer of JFA and current drummer for Asses of Evil. When Toxic JuJu tells him she used to be married to J.J. Pearson, Bam-Bam gets all excited and buddies up with us for the rest of the night.
We start drinking together, beginning with shots of Patrón at the bar. Bam-Bam isn't sure what to make of me a tiny girl in bondage jeans wearing a dog collar and a doo-rag with skulls and crossbones on it. After gulping down his shot, Bam-Bam turns to me and slaps me on the back, frat-boy style. "You're like, kinda hot, but you look fucking tough!" Bam-Bam tells me. "I don't know whether to try and fuck you or fight you."
I look at him, belch, and say, "Thanks, bro."
When Nashville Pussy starts tuning up onstage, the three of us push our way to the front. The band rips into "Piece of Ass," and I take my hair down and rock the fuck out. Ruyter leans over the amplifier in front of me and joins in the head-banging. Then she bends down in the middle of a solo and gives JuJu a peck on the lips.
Ruyter Suys plays like a dude snarling, banging her head, holding her guitar below her waist, and slinging it around like Angus Young might after ingesting an estrogen-and-meth cocktail.
The band's set lasts about 45 minutes not nearly long enough for me. But it's 2 a.m., and the security dudes at the Clubhouse want to start kicking everybody out. Nashville Pussy's last song is a grand finale jam with members of Canadian hard rock band Priestess and random audience members who jump up onstage to join in the chorus of a song we all know well, AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long."
Sadly, the set was too short to work in Ruyter's boobs-and-beer solo. But at least there's still time to grab fried chicken and coffee.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.