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Felines of Metal : Faster Pussycat is heading out on a yearlong tour, with a stop at the Ventura Theatre.


Sufferin' succotash! These cats used to be cuter than Catwoman and nearly as cute as the guys in Poison--who were cuter than the cheerleaders when you were in high school. Now the five dudes in Faster Pussycat have drastically sliced their Maybelline bill and are just making music--more, faster and louder--just like usual.

Named for "Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill, Kill," a movie by Russ Meyer--the Cecil B. DeMille of the double-D-cup-cast movie--the five feline fans started doing their hard rock thing in 1986 in Los Angeles. With a minimum of trauma, the band was signed to Elektra Records. Recently, they released "Whipped," their third album. The band recently commenced a yearlong tour, which was to include a stop Monday night at the venerable Ventura Theatre. However, do to scheduling conflicts, the show has been postponed until Sept. 15.

The band got a memorable plug by appearing in the 1988 definitive metal documentary, "The Decline And Fall of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years." Frontman Taime Downe, Seattle refugee and then a co-owner of a notorious Los Angeles metal bar called the Cathouse, spent a lot of time extolling the virtues of beer, drunk women, nasty women, scantily clad women . . . well, you get the idea.

Basically the party animals' soundtrack band, Faster Pussycat incorporates the usual party-til'-you-puke anthems for all the little metal kids.

In a recent interview from Houston where Downe was registered under the name P. Dunnerback, he discussed the life and times of this feline fivesome.

How has your lifestyle changed since "The Decline And Fall of Western Civilization"?

Well, we got our rent paid now. Other than that, everything's the same. We still play nasty rock 'n' roll. Our music is kind of vague in a way, not in another way--it's real rock.

All the bands in the movie were besieged by groupies. Has that changed?

That stuff really doesn't change--they're still around every show.

I notice you're registered under an alias at the hotel.

Otherwise, they'd just call all the hotels until they found you, then call you up. I don't mind talking to them, but then it gets to a point where they're calling at four in the morning.

What happened to the Cathouse?

It's still going on. I don't own it anymore--I don't have the time. I'd rather just go there and have a blast.

Has your music changed since the beginning?

I think it's gotten a bit more aggressive and we're getting better as writers. In fact yesterday, I was listening to our first record, and I thought the songs were really good but the production was sort of cheesy because it was done in just three weeks. I think we've gotten a lot better as players.

So how did you get started in this cat business?

We just started playing in clubs in L. A., mostly three clubs, the Whiskey, the Roxy and the Troubador. We got a record deal and then the hard work really started. We also got help from a lot of cool bands like Guns N' Roses and Poison who let us open for them. We just played around town with a lot of different bands such as Specimen and Dramarama, so we have a wide variety of fans. I don't go out too much anymore, so I haven't really heard about anything really buzzing right now.

Did you guys have to deal with the pay-to-play situation?

We never really had to do that because our friends gave us gigs with them so we developed our own crowd. We could always fill up any of those places, which always made money when we played. The club owners have to pay their bills, and they don't want an empty house, which is why they make bands sell tickets.

What's the coolest thing about being in the band?

Being able to do what I'm doing and getting paid for it. We get to see the country, make records--do all that stuff and get paid. On the other hand, this business is so unpredictable, you never know what's around the corner.

What would you be doing if you weren't in the band?

I'd probably get into photography, something like that. I'd probably be taking pictures for Playboy or Penthouse.

What's the most misunderstood thing about Faster Pussycat?

That we're a glam band. Sometimes we wear a little makeup, but we're not like Poison. We have a lot more edge. We put on a good show and we're worth seeing. Besides, there's always plenty of girls at our shows. We get 'em all.

Why is metal so popular? Not only hasn't it gone away, it's not even sick.

It's escape music for kids, and they always gotta hear something.

What was your strangest gig?

Last night in New Orleans. All the lights went out and we ended up playing half of our set in the dark. Everyone there was so wasted. You know, you can drink and drive in Louisiana. They have drive-through daiquiri places.

What's next?

We're going to tour for about a year--it's just starting. Slik Toxik will be opening plus some friends of ours, Blackboard Jungle. They're poor, just like we used to be.

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