NO SET WILL EVER BE THE SAME
A CONVERSATION WITH RUBY DUNPHY OF THUNDERPUSSY
“It was on a beach in Hawaii. The goddess Athena came down and struck us with lightning, and since then, we have been Thunderpussy” is the response I get after asking drummer Ruby Dunphy how Thunderpussy got their name. As our conversation winds its way towards its end, I realize it’s not every day that you get to chat with someone who make’s their living by playing drums in a band called Thunderpussy. Aside from making waves with their stunning live show and their self-titled record released earlier this year, the Seattle based rock outfit, consisting of vocalist Molly Sides, guitarist Whitney Petty, bassist Leah Julius, and drummer Ruby Dunphy, is currently on tour with the fiery blues rock duo, Black Pistol Fire, with a highly anticipated stop at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theater on Friday, June 15.
Dunphy and I spoke while the band was on the road from Montreal – where they played the Théâtre Fairmount on Saturday – to Ottawa where they would be playing the Algonquin Commons Theater that night. “This is our first big boy Canada tour” she tells me, further explaining “we’ve been up to Vancouver before but this is our first big tour in Canada”. Their School’s Out Tour has stretched from Atlanta up the eastern seaboard into Canada – where the band will tour across Ontario extensively – and back into the American mid-west. 2018 is only proving to get bigger for Thunderpussy as they will commence on a brief tour in Germany this August, followed by a performance at this year’s CalJam Festival which will include Foo Fighters and Iggy Pop with his Post Pop Depression era band – including Josh Homme – as headliners. Those at their nearly sold-out Toronto show are in for a treat, as Dunphy explains “we are ready to play and fuck up a crowd… when we play live, it will be different from the record, not in a better or worse way, it is just supposed to be an experience and we try to make every crowd unique rather than get up and play the same set every night with the same energy and same ideas… The element of surprise is always there; no set will ever be the same”.
If that isn’t enough, Thunderpussy released on May 25, serves as a follow up to the Greatest Tits EP. Thunderpussy is a stellar collection of twelve tracks that is the result of “much experimentation, intent, thought, preparation, and meditation”. The record among the best new work surfacing from the ongoing rock revival that is sweeping North America and takes a note from ‘70s classic rock – “the one thing that brought us all together early on was our love for Zeppelin” – along with elements more prevalent in the blues, punk, noise rock, and even jazz as Dunphy tells me “Elvin Jones has always been a big inspiration on my playing. He is definitely my favourite drummer”. The song and performances on Thunderpussy are nothing to discount; this is an absolute must hear record, so much so that the band quickly attracted the attention of a local Seattle hero, none other than Pearl Jam guitarist, Mike McCready. Not only has McCready supported Thunderpussy vocally – he has championed them as his “new favourite band”, he and his family have also become friends with Thunderpussy as Dunphy explains “We owe so much to the McCready family. We recorded a 7 inch in his home studio and Mike actually plays on ‘Velvet Noose’ on the record. He’s the coolest.”
Thunderpussy are a band to keep an eye on. If their 2018 is any indication, then we will only be hearing more from the band and we will definitely be better for it. Musically, Thunderpussy is a thrilling record that all rock ‘n’ rollers should be cranking, but their live show is truly where it’s at. If you don’t believe Dunphy, the band’s YouTube page is full of high quality live footage that captures the chaotic, raw, and gritty energy of a Thunderpussy concert. This will not be a show to miss.