Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons are by now no stranger to Cat On The Wall. Only last month we reviewed their debut, ‘Exercise Your Demons’, and it promptly got more attention than expected from the band themselves and their fans. Since then, the band has been busy, releasing another album, ‘Dirty Rock’N’Roll’ which is an even bigger step forward, satisfying itself with dark subject matter and going deeper and darker than ever before. They’ve already finished their early tour and look set to drive away any time now. It took a great big bowl of moonshine and a ball of wool before we could hold her down long enough, but Puss Johnson herself is here to answer some questions!
Interview by Jordan Mooney.
Includes photo by www.tobyamies.com
Puss: Hello! Umm.. I guess I’d say I’m a down to earth, open minded, socially awkward introvert-extrovert… I’m an oxymoron? Hopefully without too much of the moron bit…!?
COTW: The band seems to be built up of colourful characters, yourself, Dirty Jake and Filfy Antz, but we noticed there’s no real bassist to speak of. How did you all get together, and why is it strictly a three part group? (Did you eat the bassist? You can tell me…)
Puss: I did eat the bassist yes, and we’ve decided to stay as a 3 piece as we just get along together so well and we’re really enjoying the sounds we’re making. We just know what the other person wants/means when we put songs together, we never have to over explain anything, the three of us together just ‘get it’, this is very rare and we are very lucky. Also myself, Antz, and Jake are quite happy to sit in comfortable silence on the way to gigs of whatever which is important too, sometimes you’re just too frazzled to make conversation and it’s nice that there is no pressure to do so. We all got together in Basingstoke, our first bass player left the band after a long stint and we played as a three piece for a few months which we enjoyed, until the next bass player came along, which didn’t work out either. When we got back to rehearsing with just the three of us we realised that there was a much better vibe and it became exciting and fun again. And from playing live and the new album we’ve had very positive feedback so we decided why look for another bass player?!
COTW: Do you have any future plans? Where do you and the Dirty Johnson boys want to be in ten years time?
Puss: Future plans are to keep plugging away, we love playing else we wouldn’t do it. It’s hard work and can be boring waiting around and packing up gear, but it’s worth it for the time on stage. I can’t imagine my life without Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons. I’d love to play abroad, we keep getting offers and then they fall through, I have a feeling we’ll get across the pond soon though!
COTW: You threw out another album already while this interview was in progress! What does the process consist of, if there is a formal process at all?
Puss: Yes the new album came out on 13th Feb 2013, it’s called ‘Dirty Rock’N’Roll’. We try to record as much as we can live, all in the same room.. then redo the vocals afterwards… it’s far from formal! Our policy is to not put anything down that we can’t pull off live, all we want is a record that sounds like we sound and to try to capture the energy of a live show. We recorded this album and our debut album at Space Eko Studio with Alex McGowan, he’s great to work with and had a great space to record, he’s having to move studio now though unfortunately as they’re converting the place into posh flats.. because we need more of those?!
COTW: Your debut album was an incredibly strong affair – your next album sounds a bit different mind..!
Puss: Thank you! The new album we recorded as a three piece, except for Phil Polecat guesting on a couple of tracks, it was really fun having him in the studio, really nice guy and amazing double bass player. I think it’s a lot more diverse than the last album, and maybe the songs are a bit more serious.. but not too much, when writing songs I can’t help being tongue in cheek and poking fun at myself. You can’t go ramming angst down people’s necks all the time!
COTW: Of course, a band is only as good as they are live, so they say, and you’ve worked up quite a reputation! What’s the recipe to become so…incendiary on stage?
Puss: We’re just having fun! Something happens when the boys kick off the songs, I just go off like a rocket.. I don’t have an explanation for this as I’m quite shy normally. Must be the Devil’s music possessing me!
Puss: No no, I can’t take any credit for the band image, our whole thing is that we are who we are and we play music that we like, some people have suggested that Antz should dye his hair black or something but then we’d just feel phoney, Antz is just Antz, Jake is just Jake and I’m just me.. Not that I’m saying it’s wrong for some bands to adopt a ‘look’ if it works for them, but it’s just not our bag. Yes I have just started selling my artwork on T-shirts, if you would like to take a look my website it’s www.pussjohnson.com. I only have three designs at the moment but when I make enough money back I’ll do more.. funds are tight as it’s just me in my bedroom like a little sweatshop worker!
COTW: We seem to remember it was to be based upon icons that have inspired you – who are your biggest inspirations? Are there any you would consider particularly unusual?
Puss: I’m into so much stuff I find it really hard to answer this type of question, but I’ll roll off a few for you.. The Stooges, Jon Spencer, Small Faces, James Brown, Captain Beefheart, David Bowie, The Kinks, The Stranglers, Roxy Music, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Jimi Hendrix, Blurt (they’re quite unusual), Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Love, Gong (they’re definitely unusual!), The Cramps, Velvet Underground… ok I’m bored now, this could go on forever. I could go and look up a few obscure bands that I’ve only heard a couple of songs by (just to be pretentious) but I can’t be arsed ha!