The bassist is a woman who stands 6 feet 3 inches and spits flames and bares her breasts during concerts. The male lead singer and female guitarist, who are married to each other, engage in raunchy, suggestive behavior onstage. And the first question the band poses to record companies interested in signing them is, “Does it bother you if our album covers feature pornography and every song has the F-word in it?”
Of course, any record company bothered by that would probably have already passed simply because of the group’s name: Nashville Pussy. But given the success of shock-rockers Marilyn Manson, it’s perhaps no surprise that the band--which is based in Athens, Ga., and plays a Southern-fried brand of rock--has had no shortage of suitors in its quest for a major label deal.
In the spring, it got an offer from Rick Rubin, who has recently reopened his American Recordings at Sony after leaving Warner Bros. An appearance last month at the Troubadour was packed with executives from major labels. Now it’s apparently a contest between A&M; Records and Mercury’s the Enclave, two rivals within the PolyGram family that is now being assimilated into the Seagram/Universal empire.
The band’s decision is expected in the next couple of weeks. And then the questions will be: Is this really a new Marilyn Manson, a band that can engage in extreme antics and still garner commercial success? Or is it just the next Insane Clown Posse, whose antics have proven anticlimactic in terms of record sales?
Peter Davis, the group’s Minneapolis-based manager, says that NP, which released a debut album in January on the independent Amphetamine Reptile label, has already proven its appeal with a rigorous schedule of more than 230 shows in the past 14 months. In that time, it’s become a consistent concert draw, attracting crowds of up to 1,000.
“Unlike so many other bands that labels are fighting over where it’s based on the instincts of label people who are throwing it against the wall hoping it will stick, this band has taken the guesswork out of it,” he says.
Even one label executive who doesn’t care for the band’s music or approach believes that it’s not a bad gamble.
“I think it’s a clear-cut case of style over substance,” the executive says. “But if Marilyn Manson can do what he’s doing and be wildly successful, why not Nashville Pussy? And if the worst thing that happens is they have a cult following, it could be enough to be a success.”
LIFE OF BRIAN: Ready for Epstein-mania? That’s what some people who are devoted to the memory of the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, who died of a prescription medication overdose in 1967, have in mind.
Believing that Epstein’s legacy has been overlooked in recent years, a group of associates including Epstein’s nephew, Henry, and Martin Lewis, who worked for Beatles press agent Derek Taylor in the years shortly after the band broke up, are launching a drive to bring attention to his achievements.
The effort kicks off with a presentation of Epstein memorabilia to the Hard Rock Cafe on the Universal CityWalk at 8 p.m. on June 25, the 31st anniversary of the Beatles’ global satellite telecast featuring their performance of “All You Need Is Love.” That monumental broadcast, Lewis says, was testimony to Epstein’s vision and his ability to take a pop music act into uncharted territory.
That day will also see the republication of “A Cellarful of Noise,” Epstein’s out-of-print autobiography, with a new introduction by Lewis. An Internet site devoted to Epstein is also being inaugurated, as is a campaign to gain him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the non-performer category.
Meanwhile, the BBC is completing a documentary on Epstein, which will likely be aired in the fall and carried in the U.S. via the A&E; cable channel. In a segment already filmed, Paul McCartney states that of all the people--from Murray the K to George Martin--who were dubbed “the fifth Beatle,” only Epstein really deserved the nod.
“Remember, when Brian first uttered the words that the Beatles would be bigger than Elvis, everyone thought he was out to lunch,” Lewis says. “But it happened, and it couldn’t have without him.”
BOTH SIDES NOW: Joni Mitchell stuck largely to one sound and style during her recent tour with Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. That same jazzy approach dominated TV tapings of two concerts on a cozy Warner Bros. soundstage last weekend. But for the encores each night she put down her guitar and literally kicked off her shoes to show another side.
Most rousing for the audience of fans, industry folks and friends (including Graham Nash and Patricia Arquette the first night) came as Mitchell and her band did Billie Holiday’s saucy “Comes Love.” Actor-dancer Valentino hopped on stage and took the singer by the hand and the two cut a rug in a stylized jitterbug. Valentino then joined two other Mitchell pals in the audience with wireless microphones to provide doo-wop backup on Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers’ “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?,” which Mitchell followed with a particularly funky version of Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man.”
The public will have a chance to see all this when the show airs, probably in September through a television outlet still to be determined, in conjunction with the release of Mitchell’s upcoming album, “Taming the Tiger.”