When I mentally tally up all the shows I’ve seen in my lifetime, I think the band I’ve seen the most times is/was Pussy Galore. I must have seen them playing around New York City anywhere up to twenty times in the 80s, including once in what seemed like a squat in the East Village (with Richard Kern’s band, The Blacksnakes) where everyone was given a tab of acid when they walked in with the admission fee. I confess to taking mine (The handbill, below).
Pussy Galore were the band with the heaviest GROOVE I’d ever experienced, an almighty LOUD GROOVE, that moved entire audiences as one piece. They were what I’d call a body band. You really felt them in your gut. Their shows were normally so loud that you were helpless to resist that fucking insane GROOVE. You and everyone else in the room. The drum kit was embellished with a gas tank and trash cans. It was quite a yowling racket they made.
But Pussy Galore never got even close to capturing their live sound on record. It was always a tinny approximation of what their live shows sounded like and their albums were annoyingly low-fi and deliberately annoying at that. Nihilistic ear bleeders, their albums were. I could never play their records. But live it was a totally different story. They almost bordered on funky live!
The Xtrmntr blog has a neat Pussy Galore rarity and that is the cassette only ironic cover version they made in 1986 of every song on Exile on Main St., with just 550 copies produced. I bought mine at the legendary East Village fanzine store See Hear (I lived down the block and stopped in there frequently, almost on a daily basis, for years. I’d often see Thurston Moore who seemed to show up there as much as I did). Apparently Pussy Galore got a cease and desist letter from the Stones’ lawyers and it became an instant collector’s item. Now, of course, in this age of consumer enlightenment, you can download it all over the Internet.
Below, the “Maximum Penetration,” a Pussy Galore video compilation that came out in 1987. I always thought this was better than any of their albums.
1. Pig Sweat 2. White Noise 3. Just Wanna Die 4. Nothing Can Bring Me Down 5. Biker Rock Loser 6. Constant Pain 7. Rope Legend 8. Pussy Stomp 9. NYC: 1999! 10. Cunt Tease 11. When I Get Off 12. Get Out 13. Pretty Fuck Look 14. Trash Can 15. Die Bitch 16. Spin Out 17. Kill Yourself 18. No Count 19. Fuck You, Man 20. Alright [Cut]
Jon Spencer (guitar, vocals); Julie Cafritz (guitar, vocals); Kurt Wolf (guitar); Neil Hagerty (guitar); Bob Bert (drums)—you’ll notice that there was no bass player. Pussy Galore were a distinctly trebley band