Nashville Pussy frontman Blaine Cartwright discusses the band’s controversial name | Music Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Nashville Pussy frontman Blaine Cartwright discusses the band’s controversial name

“Even if we called ourselves something wholesome like ‘Aunt Bea’s Quartet,’ once we got to the show, we’d still sing ‘Go Motherfucker, Go.’”

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Nashville Pussy (Blaine Cartwright, left)
  • Nashville Pussy (Blaine Cartwright, left)

Jim Heath, a.k.a. The Reverend Horton Heat, loves touring with Atlanta-based Southern rockers Nashville Pussy. While the band is wildly popular among its fans, he says it’s never gained the level of success that it deserves, probably because of its memorable, but controversial, name.

“I actually think their name hurt them; it’s a fun name, a little shocking,” Heath says. “But they are a great rock band, and while I think it’s a ridiculous reason to do so, a lot of radio stations won’t play their stuff because they don’t want to say the word ‘pussy.’ It’s ridiculous because they are so good … Blaine Cartwright has one of the best screams in rock ’n’ roll.”

Cartwright is the lead singer of the band, which includes his wife and lead guitarist Ruyter Suys, bassist Bonnie Buitrago and drummer Jeremy Thompson. In a phone interview last week (more of which can be found online at www.pghcitypaper.com), Cartwright admits that this subject has been on his mind a long time.

“I think about that a lot, but we already chose and became known as Nashville Pussy,” Cartwright says. “Definitely touring with the Rev carries us into certain venues that wouldn’t otherwise have us.

“But even if you get past the name, there’s still the lyrical content of the songs. Even if we called ourselves something wholesome like ‘Aunt Bea’s Quartet,’ once we got to the show, we’d still sing ‘Go Motherfucker, Go.’”

Cartwright says the name was “brilliant for the first little bit,” and he has long hoped that the word “pussy” wouldn’t be “talked about as such an evil thing.” 

Plus, he adds, the band is “kind of oblivious to what the norm is for people’s speech. We tend to cuss a lot.” Cartwright says he distinctly remembers the moment he realized that not everyone is as comfortable with the type of language he and the band are used to.

“I remember this one time early on, we were on tour in Virginia. We just started doing good, so we went for a Sunday dinner at Red Lobster to celebrate,” he says, laughing. “And the two female members of the band started arguing over this guy’s dick size. They were yelling ‘motherfucker’ at each other, and we just got these looks of horror from everyone around us. We’re pretty oblivious to the way square people talk, so eliminating the word ‘pussy’ from our name would only be scratching the surface.

“Once you actually delve into what we’re really all about, you’ll probably find something even more offensive.”

Not that you should take the word “offensive” as a negative. The hardcore image that the name implies is pretty much how the band has operated since forming in 1996. Cartwright had just parted ways with his band, Nine Pound Hammer (which just released a new record with Cartwright), and he looked to form a new group featuring Cartwright on guitar and vocals and his wife, Ruyter Suys on lead guitar. The idea for the name to a live-album reference to “Nashville pussy” by Ted Nugent. The band had built up a solid following over the years and in 1998 picked up a Grammy nomination for best heavy metal performance for their song “Fried Chicken and Coffee” off of their Eat More Pussy record. More Southern rock than metal, the band lost out to Metallica.

“But over time we were able to show we weren't a novelty act,” Cartwright says. “We've toured with bands like Lynard Skynard, ZZ Top and Marilyn Manson. We've played all kinds of shows in all kinds of places.”

Despite being around for two decades and occassionally worrying that their band name might be holding them back a little, Nashville Pussy hasn't really changed a thing.

“We haven't really slowed down any, we don't really know how to play any differently,” Cartwright says. “We still play fast and hard and are as mean as ever. In fact, I think we're louder now than we used to be.”


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