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Straight Outa Miami: Harry Pussy

Florida gave birth to two culturally significant things in the last decade and a half. Booty bass and the music of Harry Pussy. From 1992 to 1997 Harry Pussy were the stonkinest, meanest skronk monsters on the far side of this here planet. Originally a drums guitar duo featuring Cuban wild woman Adris Hoyos and Bill Orcutt the band formed after Adris left flier in a local record store. It read “ Band wanted. No politics, no morality, no religion, no musicians, and especially no punk rockers. Just people into good, clean hatred. Must also like Pussy Galore and Devo.”

While often labeled as ‘noise’ the music of Harry Pussy was actually more in line with the free jazz sounds of Sonny Sharrock, Interstellar Space era John Coltrane, early Half Japanese and New York No Wave. They released a handful of 7”s that quickly gained them a following amongst the underground glitterati. Many fanzine articles were written. Thurston played them on MTV. Second guitar player Mark Fehan soon joined and they recorded their debut album for Philadelphian label Siltbreeze.

Harry Pussy’s debut album came in a plain white sleeve with a photocopied image stolen from a hardcore album pasted upside down on the front. The music was similar to their singles; gnarly sonic atonal ‘punk’ songs mixed with gnarly atonal ‘ballads’. It included an almost completely unrecognizable yet very brilliant cover of Kraftwerk’s Show Room Dummies. A truly awesome album… Listening to it is like mainlining pure electricity. Their second album was called Ride A Dove and featured three long collages of feedback, amp hum, crowd noise, shards of brittle guitar and shrieks and hollers from Adris. Like a distillation of side four of Iggy’s biker taunting Metallic KO accept with absolutely no recognizable tunes nor any witty repartee; just the sounds of a multi-tracked apocalypse for your listening pleasure. Released during Siltbreeze’s ill-fated business partnership with Matador, the album no doubt did Matador few favors with their then partners Atlantic – who most likely invested their bucks in the semi fledging indie with the hopes of garnering a few more Liz Fairs. Exile In Guyville this was not…

Constant touring honed Adris into the poster girl for the US underground noise scene. Prior to performances Adris would nail her kick drum onto the stage floor so she could crouch on it long hair hanging down like the evil spirit from The Ring, shriek through her headset microphone like a possessed demon spawn and pound the drums with semi freeform abandon like a really angry muppet. Scores of lo-fi noise labels sprang up all over the US for the dual purposes of releasing Harry Pussy music and for the label owners to somehow impress Adris enough that she would want them to be her boyfriend. Alas it was not be as Adris married Graham Lambkin of the UK band The Shadow Ring and by the late 90’s the band was no more. Many tears were shed.

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