Seattle's Thunderpussy is following in the footsteps of girl groups like The Go-Go's, The Bangles and Spice Girls, but with less pop and more rock. The LGBTQ-inclusive Thunderpussy consists of Molly Sides on vocals, Whitney Petty on guitar, Leah Julius on bass and Ruby Dumphy playing drums.
They released a self-titled album containing tracks like "Utero Tango" and "Speed Queen" that Petty wrote about Sides.
Sides grew up in Ketchum, Idaho, with a father that listened to Elvis Presley and a mom who played Barbra Streisand Christmas records. Windy City Times talked with the out frontwoman right after her show at Chicago's Cobra Lounge.
Windy City Times: First off, who came up with the name for the band?
Molly Sides: Whitney called me on the phone. I was in Idaho visiting my mom. We were coming up with names. Nothing was sticking. She said, "What about Thunderpussy?" She was kidding, but I thought it was perfect. A joke turned into an adventure.
WCT: I was wondering if it was an homage to Pussy Riot.
MS: No, not at all. If anything it is about our love for James Bond.
WCT: You formed the band with Whitney?
MS: We did. We started dating about six years ago. We were both in different bands. We fell in love with each other and explored music together as a couple. It grew into collaborating. We played together in our living room. It evolved from there.
I was doing dancing a lot and there was an event called "Behind the Pink Door." I asked if Thunderpussy could play and we hadn't even finished one song yet. I like improvising and performing live. I think that is when you flesh things out.
We had our first show five years ago just Whitney and I with a little amp, guitar, and a mic.
WCT: What is it like touring with someone you are dating?
MS: It is a lot of things. It's exciting, and fun. The traveling part can be exhausting. Once we get to the venue, set up, and are able to get on that stage everything changes. We get our energy from that adrenaline rush.
I grew up on the road, so I am a fan of road trips. It is not hard for me to be in the car.
WCT: How do the members of the band want to be identified?
MS: We are not a fan of labels at all. Each one of us is different. Whitney and I are together, Ruby has a girlfriend. Leah dates men, but we joke that she hasn't found the right woman yet!
We are a band that is open.
WCT: After seeing you perform, you seem very comfortable onstage. Have you always been that way?
MS: I have been performing since I was a wee one. I grew up going to a theater camp back in Idaho. I studied mime and voice. I sang in choir. My teacher was actually named Mary Poppin. She was magical to me just like the character, but without the S. She opened me up more than anybody to feeling comfortable in the pews.
WCT: Did you look up to bands like The Go-Go's?
MS: I listen to everything from Aaliyah and Missy Elliott to Bonnie Raitt. As far as female bands not so much. I love The Go-Go's and The Pretenders, but that is more because of Chrissie Hynde. I think more of female fronted bands versus full female bands. I don't think of my group like that. I just see three badass women performing who have epic voices.
WCT: You reminded me of Florence and the Machine when I saw you live.
MS: That's a huge compliment, because I am obsessed with her. She is a breathe of fresh air. There is a brightness to her when she performs.
WCT: Who's idea was it to have the Britney Spears yellow snake on the cover?
MS: We didn't even think about Britney! [Laughs] It was an Alice Cooper nod.
WCT: Did you feel pressure to do a self-titled song?
MS: No pressure at all. When we first started we knew we wanted a self titled song. It started off with us joking around. It just took on a life of its own. It was organic but held something bigger. I think "Thunderpussy" is a good balance to the album. It is a nod to Bad Company as well.
WCT: "Torpedo Love" is my favorite song on the record.
MS: This album is a lot about my relationship with Whitney. When we started fleshing out these songs we were in something so deep that we could lose perspective. It's about a twisted warped world that is love. The album is about that for Whitney and I.
It was kind of a weird journey through characters. "Torpedo Love" is a whirlwind that is falling deeper into crashing waves of passion together. You feel like you are anchored to somebody and you don't want to let go.
We recorded that video live and it took on a new life. It captured everybody in where they were at. It was a beautiful atmosphere with people that we love.
We love that song so much!
WCT: "Speed Queen" was written about you?
MS: Yes. Whitney used me as character for that one. It was one of our first songs.
WCT: Do you have a name for your fans, like Gaga's Little Monsters? I was thinking "Pussycats."
MS: That might be already taken. I hope as we get a bigger fan base that they will create something. I hope people join the ride and feel they are a part of it. Until then, we have Club Pussy. They are VIP, very important pussies. They can sign up online at ThunderpussyUSA.com!