"Hardcore rock & roll has produced few feminist Icons -- until now" wrote Julia Szabo in a review of "Binge and Purge" for Rolling Stone. With songs like "Babysitters On Acid", "Makin' It (with other species)", "PLugg". and "2 Bad 4 U", these Icons would be fodder for the censors had their albums "Babysitters On Acid" and "Binge and Purge" been released on major labels, that is. I can see the censors choking now. I talked to the "Wrestlemania Rejects", as The Austin Chronicle called them, before their show at EMO'S with special guest: Pork. They had more on their minds than what epithets they have been given. They're hoping to sign to a new record label and put out another record. And with their determination, I'm sure they will. I spoke to Gina recently, and she said they would be returning to Japan in May to do some shows. Long Live The Lunachicks.
JANE (ROC): What do you think about censorship? Oh, I don't know your name...
GINA: That's our new drummer, Chip.
CHIP: Hi! How ya doin?
GINA: Well, it's obvious I feel stupid saying it again but I think it sucks!!!
SINDI: We don't concern ourselves with it too much. We say "fuck" in almost every song.
GINA: That's our favorite word.
SINDI: No, of course, 'Babysitters on Acid' would probably be censored if it was on a major.
GINA: And probably even 'Binge and Purge'. They had to put those stickers on the records.
ROC: So I guess you think Tipper Gore and the PMRC suck, too?
SQUID: I mean, censorship is just wrong. It just...it's unconstitutional and uh, denial of our freedom...
GINA: And disgusting...
SQUID: And denial of our human right to express ourselves...in disgusting ways.
ROC: So, tell me about the band's involvement with ROCK FOR CHOICE?
GINA: Well, L7 got us started with it. They invited us out to L.A. to play with a bunch of really great bands. And since then anytime that we can, if we have the time. We've played a bunch of them along the East coast.
ROC: What is your opinion of the abortion issue?
GINA: Same thing that we said about censorship.
SQUID: We'd have to say unanimously...we all voted for freedom of choice to choose, for individuals to pick and choose,and make decisions for themselves. Rather than the government or church making decisions for women.
CHIP: It's actually ridiculous that it's even a question. It's just ridiculous. It's a bunch of shit.
GINA: It's our bodies.
CHIP: What's the problem!
GINA: You can't, tell me what to do with my body.
CHIP: It's freedom of choice; it's all there is.
ROC: How do you feel about these people that kill doctors that perform abortions?
GINA: They're fanatical fucking maniacs!
CHIP: They're always inflicting they're opinions on everybody else.
GINA: It's totally insane!
CHIP: It's always that way...all the religious fanatics, anti-abortion fanatics.
SQUID: We don't care what they do. The whole point, the freedom of choice movement isn't telling anybody what to do. They are trying to tell us what to do, and they don't have the right.
ROC: Do you feel a need to be a part of that change? Do you consider yourselves activists?
SQUID: I can tell you honestly that I would fight to the death, blood and guts, if I had to for my right, you know what I mean, to choose whether or not to have a child. Or to preserve the right for all women to make that choice themselves. I would go to jail for it. There's no other issue that could possibly affect our lives more directly than this issue, you know what I mean!? And if this is what it takes to get me into politics, then I'm in! I'll fuckin' kill anybody who tries to take that right away from me!
ROC: So, how long have you all been together as a band?
GINA: '88. We're old...
SINDI: We started playing in '88, started gigging.
ROC: Are you going to be putting out a new album since you have a new drummer?
GINA: Uh, we put out a new single. It's on Sympathy For The Record Industry. (The single: "Shit-Finger-Dick (SFD) / Light As A Feather (Stiff As a Board) came out at the end of Sept. '93.) and we're searching for a record label. So, once we find one then we'll be putting out a record.
SQUID: But, we have some more touring and then we'll start recording a record, but we don't know with who yet.
ROC: So, why did you start a band? Why did you want to be in a band?
SQUID: We were bored, and there was like nothing happening in New York, ya know, and like all the really cool shit, I missed out on most of, seeing live, ya know. And there was such a lack of good live music to go see. And um, we had friends who were in...like, the only cool bands that were playing that I knew of were people that we were friends with that were, like, were great! So, we were, like, "shit!" ya know...we're like sittin' or standin' here in the fuckin' audience all the time, jumpin' around, so why not!?! Just "why not?" And we were friends in school, in and out of school. And we like the same bands and shit, I bought a bass for $25 bucks, and went to Gina's house.
GINA: She didn't know how to play, but it really didn't matter.
SQUID: She had a guitar.
SINDI: We were just messin' around. We didn't have any goals as a band...
SQUID: It was a joke.
ROC: So, it wasn't, like, "let's start a band" and take it all seriously? It was just to have fun!
SQUID: No, never like that.
ROC: So, what are your influences, or who inspires you?
SQUID: You know, I just really worshipped THE RAMONES, and like punk rock music so much that, you know, I never...I can't say...like, Dee Dee Ramone is my idol. You know, I wanted to be Dee Dee Ramone. So, I bought a Fender Precision. Well, no, I bought a bass that looks like a Fender Precision. It was really cheap. (laughs)
ROC: So, what made you choose to play bass?
SQUID: Because she owned a guitar, and she owned a guitar, and she was like "I'll be the singer!" And I really couldn't sing. And I thought that it would be easier and cheaper to learn how to figure out how to play bass than drums, 'cuz where was I going to get a drum set? And this kid I knew had a bass that we was gonna, that he would sell me for 25 dollars. So, that's really what made me choose to be a bass player. And then I just held it as low as I could, you know, and put my feet apart. (demonstrates)...I can do it!
ROC: I was thinking of starting a band. But, I don't know, I think you have to be dedicated.
GINA: It depends on how far you want to take it, you know!? We never expected that this would become our lives.
ROC: Are you hoping to sign to a major label or another indie?
GINA: We'll be signing to another indie for the next record. Then, I really don't know.
SQUID: There's a lot of fucked up shit happening in the record business.
GINA: Major labels are, kinda scary.
SQUID: I could say that safely, like, three or four years ago, we were like, "Yeah! We're gonna sign a record...and have a tour bus!" But, you know, the more time you spend in this business, the more you realize how really corrupt and controlled it is.
THEO: Aside from the fact that no major label has offered us a Goddamned thing. So that has a lot to do with it as well.
ROC: I was talking to somebody and they were saying how it's surprising that alot of people still haven't heard of The Lunachicks. And I'm like, "I don't know why! They're around..."
THEO: They know about us. The industry knows, they just...they can't classify us into any certain category.
SQUID: We've also never been properly...There's ways that bands are properly brought out to the public, properly managed, supported, properly publicized by money. And we've never...I mean, the only kind of organization that ever was really behind us was our first record label, which was an English label. They gave us a push...
ROC: "Blast First?"
SQUID: Blast First took us to England. Got us...That's when you realize that how you get in magazines is that your record label hires a publicist for you. And the publicists job...They get you big pages in magazines. So, we went over there. We thought we were rock stars, you know, like 18, 19 years old, like, "we're going to be so famous!" You know what I mean!? And then things went sour with the label, 'cuz they were really trying to screw us around. And then we were like, "We don't need you!" We realized later, you know; not that it was a mistake...it wasn't a mistake...But, that you don't just get famous like that. It's not just like this story book kind of that, you know!?
THEO: We were basically really lucky in the beginning, then our luck sorta started fading, and we had to work harder on it than we did initially.
ROC: So, do you think that the misconception is that when you're in a band you don't have a day job? Do you all still have day jobs?
LUNACHICKS: Yeah!!! Absolutely!
THEO: It's really hard to keep a job going on tours.
SQUID: We're all struggling for money. You know, New York is a very expensive place to live. It's a hard place to have a band. It's a hard place to afford a studio to play in. I mean, you can not just go to your friend's basement 'cuz his mom's not there and hook up a studio and put mattresses on the wall. I mean, it's just not like that there. It's a hard living. It's got its things. I mean, we've learned alot. We've learned how to play, in the last four or five years, you know. That's one thing that we learned how to do.
GINA: Kind of.
SQUID: (laughs) and you know, whenever we fill a room with people, we know that the only reason we filled the room is because people like our music. And we earned every person's opinion that's there, not because we have hype, not because it's cool this week or because somebody, said it is what's going on. But, because, word of mouth. And purely because of, you know, the band. So, that's a good feeling, because it's something you know you really earned.
ROC: The one magazine that had a lot of good articles with you all was DETAILS; and recently, there was a picture thing with you all in CREEM.
SQUID: You wanna hear a story about that CREEM thing?
SQUID: Somebody had this idea to do a photo story like that...
GINA: Yeah, they do it pretty much in every issue; they have, like, four or five photo stories.
SQUID: But the funny part is that they had this....What was his name? The Rapper?
SQUID: Redman. And their first choice was Debbie Gibson to pose with Redman.
ROC: Oh, No...
SQUID: This is for real! And Debbie Gibson...They couldn't get Debbie Gibson, because her mom was a bitch! And they almost got her, but when it fell through with Debbie Gibson...The logical next choice would, of course, be The Lunachicks.
SQUID: And that's how we got the job. Thanks, Debbie! Wherever you are! But, you know, even that to me was kinda stupid...
GINA: We all thought it was stupid!
SQUID: It's so stupid! I mean, it was good exposure for us, but at the same time it's like, so retarded! Why the hell should we be known for wearing stupid clothes. They tried to dress us up in their clothes, and we were, like, "Get away! Get away!" They put makeup on us. We had to go, like, wipe it all off and do our own makeup. We wore our own clothes, and then they had to lie: "Aw...This was Patricia Fields." No, that's mine. I got that for $2 at a Salvation Army in Rhode Island. I know exactly...
THEO: There was a pair of pants that I wore that I found in the garbage, literally.
GINA: They probably put $100, um...Saks Fifth Avenue.
ROC: I was reading the credits thinking "Are you sure?!"
SQUID: It was stupid! It was a bummer, almost that that's what it came down to, because that's got nothing to do with what we are about.
THEO: I think it was great exposure, no matter what.
SQUID: It was great exposure! But wouldn't it be nice to have exposure, like, musically, and not have to do stupid photo, dumb shit like that, you know!? It would be nice to be known for your music first, you know what I mean!? And if I had my choice, it would have been done a little bit differently. But, you gotta jump on shit like that when you're in our position.
ROC: What do you write songs about? There are other bands that sing about political stuff, or are just interested in playing their guitars loud.
SQUID: We sing about things that we care about, but in our own way, you know. It's only really important that it makes sense to us. We don't really care if nobody else understands it.
SINDI: Alot of inside jokes.
ROC: Yeah, I kinda figured that out. I was listening to "2 Bad 4 U" today, cool song! I was paying attention to the lyrics and reading along, and it made alot of sense.
SIMI: You know, alot of people, alot of journalists peg that as a man hating song. When actually it's just a hatred of one man. It's not, like, a "we hate men" song. It's about one particular person, it could've been a man, it could've been a woman...
GINA: Another classic case of writers from the label...
SQUID: ...Got us into a whole "they hate men!" It's like, come on, man! Have you ever been in any relationships in your life; have you ever had your heart broken by a man or a woman!? Does it really matter!? You know? That's life!
ROC: So, what do you think of the girl rock thing? You all were around before all that...
SQUID: It's kind of a bummer.
SINDI: It's pretty annoying!
GINA: I think it's disgusting!
ROC: What do you think of the RIOT GRRRL movement?
GINA: I think it's got its ups and downs.
SQUID: I think it's being used. I think the whole thing is being manipulated again now to peg every girl who's got a fuckin' barret in her hair...is a Riot Grrrl, you know what I mean?! When people call us Riot Grrrls...It's like, we don't know nothin' about it. We didn't make it up. We don't go to meetings. Like, we are just living our lives as individuals, you know, and are not concerned with being men or women. The only problem I have with Riot Grrrl, um... I don't want to get into it. I think it's good for people who feel they need that...
THEO: I think it is good for girls...Like, I did not know much about it, then we saw this girl speak and...The way it looks, at least in D.C., is that these people who have been really fucked with are letting it out. And I think that's good.
THEO: But, the fact that it's being abused into calling every girl in a band...
SQUID: And it's another way to take half of the population of the planet and, like, put a label on it, you know what I mean?! It's still a man's world, it's still...rock n' roll is a man's world. But now we have Riot Grrrls. It's like, "What the fuck are you talkin' about?" Open your eyes!
ROC: It's a whole movement, like feminism; it's not just about music.
SQUID: I think it's really cool that women are picking up instruments and speaking out about things that they need to say. I think that's a good thing, but...
SINDI: I think it's bullshit to play a show and not allow men in.
THEO: Did that really happen? I don't know if that's true or a fuckin' rumor...
EVERYONE: Yeah! It's true. (referring to a show by BRATMOBILE, where men were barred).
SINDI: I think those people should go populate their own fuckin' island where they don't have any men.
THEO: Well, there are clubs where it's "men's night" or "ladies night" you know, it's like the same shit.
GINA: I mean I understand it. I understand. But, I don't agree with it. But I understand where it comes from, and if that's what they want to do, then that's fine.
ROC: Do you think the bands music is erotic?
THEO: I think we have some erotic songs. Definitely!