Election year jokes aside, the Polyplush Cats, those tough and sexy darlings of the east coast alternative club scene, are sweeping their besequined selves around the country to promote their third studio release, Drivin' It Home. This punky rock'n'roll record showcases the band's early '80s L.A. style. (Think X, or The Motels, when Martha Davis was really drunk and angry). The nonstop high-energy guitar work by Scott Garrish makes one wonder what they feed him, and drummer Eric Surrat must have a direct link to an ancient tribal skin-pounder (and we also hear that he's quite the between-songs comedian).
But bassist/vocalist Catherine Terranova is the real showstopper. Full of trashy glam bravado, Terranova growls, screams, and bites out lyrics with the perfect balance of energy and drone that is the hallmark of purist's punk. You know that this trio has done some serious time with old New York Dolls and MC-5 records.
"A lot of people have compared us to the MC-5 and that's cool," says Terranova. "Actually, right now I am into country. The new Johnny Cash CD just came out--if it weren't 18 bucks, I'd be listening to it right now. He is so freakin' awesome. I like Monster Magnet, old Metallica, punk, really heavy fast stuff or the total opposite--Johnny Cash."
The Polyplush Cats are currently on the west coast side of a U.S. tour that ends in early November. After they return home to D.C., they will board a plane for Brussels to begin their first European tour. "We will play 17 dates in 17 days," enthuses Terranova.
"Except for a breakdown in Denver, this tour has gone really well," she says. When asked about who they like to see in the audience at their shows, Terranova responds, "I love crowds that are there because they like music and are there to see and hear the music. I don't really care if there are 10 or a thousand if they are really pumped up and into the music. You never know what cities are going to be great--it changes from tour to tour.
"We put on a big rock show--we look the part, play the part, we're totally into it. We are there to entertain and have fun. That's kind of been lost in rock. We don't listen to anybody (from the record) labels, you know. We do what we want to do. We work so hard, and we need the freakin' money, but we hope to get on a label who loves us the way we are."
Whiling away the hours in the R.V. isn't difficult for the Polyplush Cats. They don't listen to the radio because, according to Terranova, "There's nothing on there that I like." Instead, the band is currently reading a biography called The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pasatorius. "He was a great bass player from like the '70s. He's a crazy, manic-depressive rock-and-roller jazz player. He died on my birthday--September 21.
When the book fails to keep them occupied, they fantasize about what three people, living or dead, they'd like to pull into the R.V. and take with them on tour. Surrat's choice would be Keith Moon, Garrish's would be Randy Rhoads, and Terranova's would be Janis Joplin. "Isn't it funny that Eric chose a drummer, Scott picked a guitar player, and I picked a singer?" muses Terranova.