The Ramones always told us what they we’re going to give us, then gave it to us but we were still stunned and surprised when “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue” really did end up being about wanting to sniff glue. Ex-Girlfriends echo that surprising honest-honesty. One of the first tracks they released was titled “My First Abortion,” and I won’t spoil the subject matter for you.
Today we’re ecstatic to be premiering Ex-Girlfriends first EP, You’re Next. Aside from being a band of straight talking, plain speaking badass women (the band is co-fronted by Sharkmuffin’s Tarra Thiessen and Side Bitch’s Heather Cousins), You’re Next is loud as hell. It’s loud in a literal sense (did their equipment survive recording this EP?) and it’s loud emotionally. It’s screams and panics and cuts itself open and bleeds all over everything without trying mend the wound or conceal the carnage. Keep reading for a short and sweet interview with Ex-Girlfriends, stream the EP below and catch them tonight at The Gutter.
So this tour has Ex-Girlfriends and Sharkmuffin. Have any of you ever toured while being in two of the touring bands?
Tarra: March will be my first time playing in two separate projects touring together. Sharkmuffin + Ex-Girlfriends have different vibes as a whole so I haven’t thought about how I’ll personally differentiate on stage yet. I am really excited for the two Tarra’s to finally meet…hopefully they don’t kill each other.
Heather: This is the first time I’m not the main front person. I’ve always loved Tarra’s music and helping front that with back up lyrics or guitar parts is awesome. In terms of the songs I front, I like going wild on stage. It’s when I feel the most free cause I’m rather shy otherwise unless you give me a bunch of whiskey.
Some Ex-Girlfriends songs and lyrics deal with the mundanities of womanhood, a topic which has become “controversial” in the last couple of weeks. What’s the feeling and attitude going into this tour, especially in playing some of the more conservative and Trump supporting states?
Tarra: It’s still surprising to me when on tour how many people are amazed at seeing women play instruments well. It’s really rewarding when other women tell us about how much they appreciate and are inspired by seeing us play after our set in areas where they don’t see women perform as often as you can in New York or other big cities. Hopefully more women will pick up a guitar and start screaming this coming year!
Heather: Tarra and I joked at a local wine bar about what our first song would be and we said “my first abortion.” And so I went with that and actually sung about my first abortion (ironically I found out I was pregnant again when we started performing it). It was pretty cool saying at the Mercury Lounge before we played it “I just had an abortion yesterday and this song is called my first abortion.”
Christine: I’m really proud we are touching on controversial topics. It’s so important especially since this topic was magnified in the election.
Monika: Overall, we’re very excited about the tour. Though I’d be lying if I said Orange Julius hasn’t cast a dark, foreboding shadow over the experience as a whole. Trump supporters will get the same performance that non-Trump supporters get from us — but we won’t hide the fact that we actively fight his every move. We are women but we don’t represent a silent or passive female voice. Our attitude is one of composed, unapologetically outspoken strength.
Crystal: This is us! We’re proud of our individualities, our pasts, presents, mistakes and accomplishments. Who’s Trump?
Is there something inherently political or defiant about being an all girl band?
Tarra: It sounds annoying for me to complain about being categorized as an ‘all-girl band’ as opposed to a ‘band’ when we have the word ‘girl’ in our band name, but I feel the media’s focus on that distinction is unnecessary and only perpetuates being a woman in a band as a novelty when women have been playing in bands for decades. There are more interesting things to talk about regarding the actual music we are making that becomes overlooked by that focus as well. I would much rather be known as a good musician than as a good *female* musician, so it has always bothered me that we end up being politicized just by being five females playing music together.
Heather: I’ve been in awesome groups with guys before. I was in a band for four years with all dudes and that was a really great experience. After I left that band and started playing with other men I had some less pleasant experiences where I was either not taken as seriously or felt that certain guys wanted something else besides music to develop between us. I think it’s amazing just getting a bunch of women together and having such a positive influence on each other.
Christine: Not at all. We came together by coincidence and what is original about us is that all of our style is very different. instead of saying “oh we are in an all girl band” we use this band as a way to build friendship and teamwork and that is real girl power.
Monika: Inherently defiant? No. Being in an all-girl band is not an act of resistance or dissent (maybe it was 30 years ago). But given the state of our nation’s political climate, it would be a waste not to use any influence we have to educate as many people as possible about basic human rights. This includes the rights of POC, the LGBTQ community, and of course, women. It is our social responsibility to speak up.
Crystal: Is there something defiant about naming your first single My First Abortion? meh. We aren’t inherently defiant or political. Being political or defiant implies intent. You are either intentionally being political or defiant or you are just being yourself.
Can you walk us through the journey of Why Aren’t You Stalking Me Anymore?
Tarra: One of my exes at one point used the location sharing preferences on my cell phone to strategically run into me a few days in a row after we broke up. We made amends after that but one time I couldn’t make it to his show after I said I would and he abruptly stopped talking to me for 4 months. During those 4 months I became an incredibly manic and drunkenly-irresponsible cell phone user who would not stop texting him at 3am because I couldn’t believe that he wouldn’t speak to me anymore. It was really unhealthy how much I missed the attention and complained all the time about it to Ex-Girlfriends and felt totally insane. Heather told me that I needed to write a song called “Why Aren’t You Stalking Me Anymore?” in order to deal. It helped. Thanks Heather!
Crystal: It’s that late night phone call or text message from an ex you hate until they stop sending.
What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?
Tarra: I was on a 5 month longer tinder date once that ended in my date pissing in my bed and then getting upset at me for accusing him of pissing in my bed.
Heather: I’ve been on so many bad dates but worst break up would of been on my 27th birthday I got us a fancy hotel room cause his roommate was doing drugs and I lived in a closet. He got wasted with his bandmates made me wait for hours (and didn’t bring a gift. Then he did one shot with my friends and I and puked all over the fancy hotel room. I told him to sober up or leave and he left, then texted me saying it was over. He came over in the morning wasted again and fell asleep on my floor.
Christine: I went on a blind date and based on his photo I think you could guess the app. I went to the bar and he had no teeth from a skateboarding accident two years ago and was blacked out
Monika: I guess he wasn’t used to smoking weed, because when he came back to my place he sat on my bed and stared at my wall for 19 minutes (I counted) before telling me he “had to go.”
Crystal: A date I didn’t know I was on.
What feeling would you associate with each track on the EP?
Monika: “Slay” is period sex: bloody and pleasurable. “Fa Fa Fa” is youthful, innocent, horny-as-hell bliss, like the smell of sex and ocean water.”Why Aren’t You Stalking Me Anymore?”is an operatic tug of war between emotional immaturity and self-indulgence, like fighting with your sibling, but with sex. “You’re Next” is like the feeling when you’re drunk and angry, but you’re so drunk that you forget why you’re angry. And that makes you angrier.
Crystal: Why Aren’t You Stalking Me Anymore is like getting off of Social Media You’re Next is dating a drug addict. Slay is making lemons out of lemonade. FaFaFa is being with people you love.
2/2 The Gutter, NYC (EP release show)
2/3 The Station, Chapel Hill, NC
2/4 Betty’s, Nashville, TN
2/6 The 806, Amarillo, TX
2/9 High Hat LA, CA
2/10 Black Light, Long Beach, CA
2/11 Tower Bar, San Diego, CA
2/12 Gnarburger, LA, CA