Interview with Marissa of the Trucks – Part 2
Welcome to part two of our interview with Marissa of the Trucks. See yesterday’s post for Part 1 where we discover the beginnings of the band and what their music is all about. In this installment we catch up about their experience at SXSW, being featured on NPR, and what it means (or doesn’t mean) to be an all female group.
See the Trucks this Friday at the Capitol Hill Block Party.
SOTS: How was SXSW? You guys had a show each day?
Marissa Moore (MM): Yeah we had four shows. A few of em’ were during the day and we had a couple at night. For me it was pretty overwhelming, because there were so many people, and there was so much good music, like, I didn’t even know what to do with myself. I would just go and get in some place, and then I’d be all antsy like “oh no, what am i missing?!” and then I’d leave and go some place else. But it was really fun, it was definitely something that we never expected to happen, to be included in something like that, so we were excited to be there as a band.
SOTS: Do you feel like it generated some attention attention too? I saw at the Ballard party they were filming you guys…
MM: Yeah, definitely. We had a lot of interviews while we were there, and it was nice because we had our tour after that, so we met people there from the cities were we were going to be going on tour. So we would show up and see someone that we had seen at SXSW and they would have their friends there.
SOTS: A brilliant plan.
MM: Yeah it worked out really well. We planned our tour for that time ”in case” we got accepted into SXSW, but we weren’t really planning on it, so it worked out really well.
SOTS: So that was just two or three weeks after the NPR thing, so that just seems like perfect timing. I almost peed my pants when I’d heard that, I was so excited.
MM: Did you hear it live?
SOTS: No, I think my dad heard it.
MM: Sweet, I love hearing stories about parents. My friend who lives in Florida, his name’s Frankie, he called me the other day, and he was all excited, and he was like I was just in the car with my friend and your song came on the radio, and I was like “Hey, I know this girls!” And then the girl that he was riding with was like “Ohmigod, really?” And then they called, and so she was there, and I was like, “Where did you hear about our music?” because I was surprised that it was in Florida and it was a weird coincidence, and she was like “My mom sent it to me!” I’m so happy that the parents like it.
SOTS: What did you guys think of the definition of “nursery punk?”
MM: Well, you know, it’s interesting. We were so delighted to be on NPR. To hear someone say that we had a place in the history of female rock and roll… It was just like… I was just sitting in my car bawling. I had a couple of friends with my and I was like “DID YOU HEAR THAT!” I was like screaming, and they were like “Shut up, shut up, it’s not over yet.” I was like the little commercial before the actual review and I was all like crying “Did you hear that!” So I was so delighted about it, you know, they could have said anything and we would have been flattered.
But, I would like to argue with the whole idea of nursery punk, as though they aren’t skilled musicians, or something. As though they are pre-school level musicians. I would like to argue with that, but you know, it’s so freakin’ accurate! I’ve never sang before. I’ve never played any instruments before. Faith had played keyboards but not the bass. Kristin had played guitar but not keyboards. And Lindy, Lindy’s just freakin’ badass, she knew the drums when she came into the band.
But it’s actually so accurate. The only problem I would have with it is, in the review it actually sounded like he was equating because we were females that it was “nursery punk.” And that’s not true, you know. I don’t know if he could have really meant that. I would like to doubt that, you know, that it just came out that way. But as far as the Trucks, “nursery punk” is perfect. We’re really primitive with our instruments. We’re really elementary with our skills. So that’s what we like, it’s an aesthetic.
To us, we’d rather just focus on really simple music, these idea’s that are fun, and just get it out there and be like, “Yeah. Rad.” So personally it didn’t upset me. If someone was always going to assume that if girls were playing punk music is was “nursery,” that would bother me. But,it did bother me at first, but to be honest, he could say whatever he wants about us.
And you know, its really accurate. We can get more complicated and we probably will, but a lot of things on that CD are simple, and that’s why it’s catchy and that’s why people think it’s fun. Because it’s easy to relate to.
SOTS: [Labeling the Trucks "nursery punk"] infuriated me. I was listening and freaking out and then I heard “nursery punk” and I was pissed. I think a lot of punk is inherently simple.
MM: My Xylophone, which was how we started a lot of the songs, it was a preschool rainbow colored xylophone. So it’s really accurate. If you’re going to have a genre called nursery punk and put all the females into it, that’s not right. But as for the Trucks, it’s perfect.
SOTS: When listing your influences, I noticed he only named female bands. So is a female band allowed to be influenced by someone who has testes?
MM: You know, that is something that is kind of frustrating to us. Because we were never like, “Let’s start a girl band and be bratty about sex.” We were never like that. We were just three friends that were like “let’s play some music.” And then, “Ooh people like these songs, lets make a band.” When we were looking for drummers, we tried guys too. But we choose Lindy because she was the best. That is really frustrating to us. Because it’s just so stupid. We don’t just listen to girl bands. I don’t know who is even a girl band. I love Blonde Redhead and the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs… but those aren’t girl groups, they do have girl singers. If the whole purpose of this story, was our place in the history of female rock, then it makes sense. I guess, it does set it up to be more about female empowerment. But that’s not what we started out to do, we just make music that we like. [When] we started the first two years, we made music for our friends to like. But we’ve been put in some female showcase shows, which is so fucking stupid. We’ll be with all female bands who have nothing to do with each other. … We don’t consider ourselves a female band.
SOTS: Right, you’re just a band who happens to have ovaries.
MM: Right, I don’t even know if I listen to any all girl bands. I mean, so it’s weird to only list our influences as that. It’s really not accurate. I mean, the Cure is probably our biggest influence. Though we fight about that… A lot of our favorite bands, don’t have a girl in them. Though we did get our first show, because of it (being girls). There was a Pop Festival that was student run and all of the bands were all guys. So, the Women’s Center complained and they threw together this kinda lame “Women’s Showcase.” We played with “Late Tuesday” – a four girl, Christian band that sings four part harmony, bluegrass band. They sound exactly like the soundtrack to Oh Brother Where Art Thou? They were nice girls, but we were like – “Uh, we have to go on after this?!” So it was just kind of interesting. We don’t want to be affiliated with stuff that segregates females like that. We’re just trying to be honest people, with humor – that’s what we’re about. It would drastically change the dynamic of the band, if there was a guy in it. But it was never our point to make a band, without a guy.
“Boy band” is totally a derogatory term. I mean, if they called every band that was four guys a boy band, that would be totally ridiculous. So we don’t get it. I think it’s going to change. I think it’s really going to change with the next generation. Because there are more and more people who don’t even take note of that or mention that we’re all girls. Like The Crocodile, where we played our first Seattle show. They were like, we like your music – you’re rad. We were the opening band,and it wasn’t with girl bands, it was just two regular Seattle bands. Normal Seattle bands, not girl bands, they happened to be all boys…but nobody made a big deal out of it. And there are lots of people who don’t talk about it, it’s usually some, like middle aged guy who really gets a kick out of all girl bands. I mean, if a teenage girl sees us and says – hey girls are doing it by themselves – that’s one thing we’re proud of. I mean we tour by ourselves. We don’t bring a sound guy, we just do it ourselves. We just try not to really rely on boyfriends to handle our shows. But that has more to do with being part of the do-it-yourself scene, than being a girl band.
SOTS: I see you guys as a very positive balance against other girl bands, like the Pussy Cat Dolls.
MM: (audible gasp) That show, okay, that reality show… whose going to be the Pussy Cat Dolls?! That gives me anxiety attacks. I can’t believe it. I finally told my roommates, push me out of the house if that comes on. Because I’ll just be sitting there, there are all these girls who are so young and they are like great singers and great dancers, with such low self-esteem. And then you have these men, these old men telling them you’ll never make it in show-biz. And I’m like “I can’t sing OR dance. And my band is trying to make it in… SHOW-BIZ.” I hope no one ever thinks, we’re like that. What we want is for people to come away from our shows thinking – what just happened? Because they get that there is some element of sexiness to it, mixed with an element of disgust. Like cross-dressing or a moustache, that’s just what we are.
SOTS: It’s much more like the traditional sense of Burlesque.
MM: Yes, yes, exactly. Actually down at the Can-Can at the Pike Street Market, the Burlesque troop is doing routines of three of our songs; that are freaking amazing. I went down and checked it out and I was so honored, because they get it. They know what we’re doing. And it’s just so nice to have artists say, I know what you’re doing.
SOTS: So you guys are planning a national tour for the fall?
MM: Yes. October. And I think the first week of November.
SOTS: Do you already have somebody to tour with?
MM: Actually, no we’re kinda working on that. For this tour we’re doing it on our own. That’s the only way we’ve done it so far. I guess we don’t know how to go about finding a band to tour with. We’d like to it’d be really fun. We’re not really sure what to do with ourselves. We started so Do-It-Yourself and we started so locally intentioned, it’s just this huge mental transition that all of us are tentative about making.
SOTS: Do you have day jobs?
MM: I work as a personal assistant, and Kristin is a house cleaner, Lindy works as a manager of Target, and Faith works at a coffee shop. I never realized when I was younger – I was like “if you’ve heard of the band – that has to be their job. They have to be making money, like rich and famous.” And we’re all like: “Woah. I am the brokest I have ever been and our band was just on NPR. That is fucked up.”
The Trucks tour starts October 4 at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle, with more dates to be announced soon.