An Interview With Wicked Kiss
Wicked Kiss has arrived with a killer blues rock song that showcases a hard edged and fierce rock sound that comes along with bright guitar work in the form of lead hooks and a fists in the air attitude driven by attitude riddled vocals that have style and swagger.
"Baby Song" is a soiree of rock n' roll fun that you can really get down to and it comes with violin solos, guitar solos, and a badass tonality that lets these girls show their presence.
The song jams out with a live performance sensibility, and it just feels like they are feeding off of each other's energies the entire time and just when you thought you knew what was going on, BOOM, they launch into a high-speed climax to end the song off and it just rocks without any boundaries at all.
This song packed such a punch that you can feel it in your teeth. It's a true show of rock that feels influenced and inspired by the greats. They do an amazing job of being completely natural at this. It's like they were born to rock, and you can feel that in every second of the song.
You want to get up and dance the entire time and when that final explosion of power comes in towards the end of the track you are almost holding your breath until it ends because you're fighting the urge to get up and dance around your living room.
The song sure gives you energy. The energy of the performance on this single just feeds into you and you start to feel that energy growing.
This was as genuine as it gets as far as pure 100% true bred Rock N' Roll goes and with an added southern undertone to boot.
This track also comes with a great music video that only pushes that presence further and also shows another creative side of the band as well.
With the release of such a great single and video, we wanted to have a chat with Wicked Kiss to find out exactly where this all comes from.
Here's what happened.
BuzzSlayers: Okay so let's start with "Baby Song". This single has a classic and high energy rock feel to it. Where did this track come from?
Cathy: Back in the late 80s and early 90s I lived with my sister while her band was
becoming a staple in the Arizona rock scene. I remember the evolution of the Baby Song as it started out as an inside joke, but then became the band's most popular song. People would go nuts at the end of the night when they played it. The girls would let me jump on stage sometimes and sing backups or the chorus with the band on the song, and I just always loved the hook and attitude of it. Fast forward to 2019, and Barb wanted to create a fun project based on the music she loves and always wanted to play. She tried to find a singer, but as musicians tend to do, people would say yes, then flake out or not have time. So, I started jamming with her to help out and we realized how fun it was to play together - there';s something special about being able to make music with family. There's just a natural chemistry that happens which flows into the songs. We both knew right away that we should revisit Baby Song, because we had always talked about how it was one of those songs that instantly gets in your head, and we both felt it never got the proper recording and promotion that it deserved. But what happened in the process was interesting - I knew in order to record it, I had to find my own meaning and connection to the song, and we both knew we needed to update and rearrange the music and give it more layers. As we did that, we spent a lot of time discussing what the lyrics personally meant to each of us and we discovered that there was a deeper meaning there that captured a lot of our feelings and experiences about being females in male dominated industries, and specifically with things we've observed and encountered in music.
Barb: Cathy said it all perfectly. But I might add, as the person who co-wrote the song, I can tell you that it started out life many many years ago, in our old guitarist's apartment early in the morning after a night of all of us drinking, being immature, and watching hours of MTV videos. We suddenly decided to write a spoof of all the videos we were watching, and the way they portrayed females (there were only 2 of us girls in the band at that time). I literally came up with the drums by using some wire clothes hangers on the back of the couch. When Wendy and I brought the song to Whiskey Blu early in our first practices a couple of years later, we all reworked the song a bit and somehow it became our most popular song and when we signed our record contract it was to be our debut single! It still has this inescapable earworm quality to it still, although certainly we updated it immensely and having Rosie from ELO do the violin solo and the outro is an amazing and still unreal feeling, me being such a huge ELO fanatic! The song is deceptively simple and yet intricate at the same, with a huge time change after the last verse. I loved it then and I love it even more now!
BuzzSlayers: I'm hearing some great styles on this song. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Cathy: As a female vocalist, of course I have to list Ann Wilson, Pat Benatar, and Stevie Nicks. You can't be a female rock singer without feeling the influence of these icons. They broke so many barriers, and are some of the greatest vocalists in music, male or female. Of course Heart stands out because its a rare sister act. But for me, Linda Ronstadt is someone you can't overlook - she's a legend and has put out such amazing work for decades, and she's explored other genres and really created some incredibly artistic work that makes her unique. Barb and I were also both heavily influenced by a lot of British and European artists from when we lived in Scotland and grew up on all the great stuff from ABBA, ELO, the Sweet, etc..we watched those artists get their start on Top of the Pops and then explode and influence a lot of American music. The 70s was an incredible time in music that had a big impact on us, and then we loved how it paved the way for some of our favorite 80s music. As for me, I can't answer this question without mentioning RUSH - I'm a fanatical RUSH fan and they are a huge inspiration for me. I've met them and seen them live so many times. Geddy Lee's voice is actually very much in my range, so I learn a lot from studying how he sings and how he conveys the emotions and lyrics of a song - those guys are just at the top of the craft and their work ethic is unmatched. It tore me up when the world lost Neil Peart - the guy was genius.
Barb: All things 70s and 80s! Me and Cathy were, and are still, so immersed in those ears of music and still are. Realizing that things have changed so drastically since then, we didn't want to just do something that everyone else is doing, because we are not motivated at this point by becoming famous or internet popular. We are doing what we find fun or challenging, but keeping our love of our favorite eras of music in everything we do! For me as a music lover and drummer, my influences are a bit varied in styles, but all of them contributed to me as a drummer, my kit setup, my drum style, and just my leanings towards sound: Karen Carpenter, Mick Tucker (Sweet), Bev Bevan (ELO) are directly responsible for everything about me as a drummer. Also, Tommy Lee, Jeff Porcaro, Gadd, and 70s era drummers such as Steve Smith, Tony Thompson (I loved disco and use a lot of the 4 on the floor!), Nigel Glockler (Saxon), Mick Fleetwood, Sandy West, and overall of course Stevie Nicks, Heart, Joan Jett, Pretenders, Benatar, B52s, ABBA, Sweet, Journey, Boston, Beach Boys, Elton John. I grew up in the UK in the early and mid 70s and was very much influenced by the sound and style of the glam rock era over there…Sweet, Gary Glitter, Slade, T-Rex, Bowie!
BuzzSlayers: The video was great! Did you guys put that together yourselves? Did it come out how you expected?
Cathy: We had a general idea of what we wanted to do, but we have to give HUGE credit to our director, Luke Holwerda. I had worked with him on a film project back in the day, and he's just one of those guys I knew could do exactly what we needed. He's one of those rare breeds who's extremely talented with both creative vision, but also technical know-how. We knew he was the perfect director/producer. He came up with a full concept and storyboard basically in one night, and we loved his ideas. From there, he took so much stress and pressure off us, because we knew exactly what direction it would take, and how he would make it work. It was a true collaboration, but we were so fortunate to work with someone who not only saw the vision, but pulled it together and kept us all on track. My sister and I did a ton of backend work to get everything done and all the pieces working together - we spent two years on this project from start to finish in the middle of a pandemic, and when it all came together and we got it out, we were so relieved! It was like giving birth to a musical baby, no pun intended.....
BuzzSlayers: So how did this all begin for you really? When did you fall in love with making music?
Cathy: For me, I fell in love with music as a very small child. Our granddad was a big band musician who played sax, clarinet, piano, flute, piccolo and piano all by ear. At the time I didn't realize how amazing that was, I just remember sitting in his music room and being fascinated by his instruments and listening to him noodle around. My grandma was a violinist and impressive in her own right. She helped me buy my first piano. I took up flute and I sang in school choir and ensemble. I loved performing, and I loved acting too, so I always gravitated towards the creative stuff. At the same time, my sis and I were pretty inseparable growing up, and she was into a bunch of different 70s music that influenced me too - a lot of classic rock and all the greats, but some random stuff too - you name it, we listened to it. Living overseas we were exposed to some cool stuff, and we would sit for hours in my sister's room and organize and our rock posters and albums talking about music and making up our own dumb lyrics and songs about stupid stuff, but it was fun, and we were just weird, LOL. My parents would just shake their heads. But a pivotal moment that stands out for me was actually when my older brother would blast RUSH and AC/DC in his jeep when my mom forced him to drive me to school in the morning. He did it to piss me off, but what he didn't realize is that I secretly loved what he was playing, and once I heard RUSH, that was it, I was hooked. At the same time Barb was starting to play drums and the rock scene was exploding with great stuff, and I started getting into bands like Guns and Roses, Motley Crue, L.A. Guns, Queensryche, Metallica as they were starting out or getting big - it had a huge impact. The L.A. music scene was influencing a lot of the AZ music scene, so that was bleeding into what I was listening to.
Barb: Two words – KAREN CARPENTER! I saw her on TV when I was a little girl and was absolutely mesmerized. I knew then that I wanted to be a drummer like her! Due to circumstances, life, overseas moves as a kid, and the 70s era of absolute disheartening attitudes towards girls in music (especially drums), I started drumming very late in my music life. Self-taught by listening to Motley Crue, the Pretenders, the Runaways, the Go-Gos. I really had no support other than myself at that point, but I knew I could play and knew that being a female drummer was something I could do! I had a very unconventional road towards finally being the drummer in Whiskey Blu, who went on to win several awards in Arizona and becoming one of the most popular local bands to every come out that era, something I still take great pride in accomplishing. Now, the scene has changed in so many ways. Girls are getting drum sets and lessons very early on in their lives, something that I didn't have, and women are very much respected and accomplished now in the industry, especially in the drum world. Personally, I am now focused on just having fun, learning all those things that I never was able to learn back in my formative years when I was discouraged by everyone or not having the time to learn because of the crazy schedule of Whiskey Blu. I have learned how to chart drums and am getting into the back end of a lot of things I missed out on!
BuzzSlayers: What's next for you as a band?
Cathy: This is a unique project so we aren't really putting any pressure on ourselves to do anything but just make music we love, as it feels right. We will do a live show and have been practicing for that, but it has to be the right venue and circumstances because we don't just want to do a bar gig just for the sake of playing. Been there done that. Barb's drum kit is massive, and we have specific ideas of what we would want to do on stage, so we are going to be selective about how we do the live show. We are all busy with other projects, so we are approaching this differently. So much has changed with technology and being able to share music online, so we are focusing primarily on what we can do in the studio and with video to put songs out on our YouTube channel and all the platforms, and then we'll be patient about how and when to do the live show.
BuzzSlayers: What inspires you to write a song?
Cathy: For me, songwriting is fairly new - I've spent decades writing poetry that's inspired from what I'm feeling or experiencing at different times in my life, but now I'm going through and turning some of that into songs that we can work on. It's a process. I think there are two elements you have to have in a song or poem - a story to tell, and feelings to share. Whatever you write has to be an expression that comes from you heart, and hopefully in sharing it, you touch someone else' heart because they are going through or feeling the same things. There are so many things that can inspire a song - historical events, stories from books or poetry, personal events like a breakup or death or love - for me, I mostly write what I'm feeling about things I'm going through or have gone through personally, or things I'm observing in the world around me that are impacting me. My writing is very personal and about how I can express it in words.
BuzzSlayers: What are you all doing when you're NOT working on music?
Cathy: Listening to or talking about RUSH with anyone who will listen, LOL! Just kidding (sort of) - Music takes up a huge portion of my life because I sing in several working bands, so it's not only my profession, but it's also my passion. I'm lucky to do what I love, so even when I'm not performing, music is still touching almost every part of my life. But outside of that, I'm pretty simple - when I have free time I want to spend it with the people I love just cherishing the smallest but most rewarding things in life. As I get older, I find the material things and even "work" and goals are less and less important and the experiences I have with family and friends, the memories and laughter and connection we create together, is by far what matters most. Usually those experiences involve food, lol, I love to eat!!! But I also LOVE animals and my own furbabies, and I have a personal mission for supporting charities that help our veterans. That's something I've been passionately involved in for over 20 years. But lately, there is one thing that's been creeping up in my mind a lot - I've been wanting to get an RV and just travel the U.S. and visit all our national parks and see all the beauty and history in our country. That's a little dream I have.
Barb: Getting more into discovering music from the past that maybe I didn't give a fair shake to first time around! Treasuring my family as much as I can. Thinking about what Cathy said…getting an RV and going places I've never been. Also thinking about at least living part-time in the South of England and traveling to Europe. At this stage of the game in my music career, I'm more interested now in doing what I want to do with no constraints, but also trying to learn how to navigate the new music industry is a FT job in itself! Always trying to learn new things!
BuzzSlayers: Who are you all listening to right now?
Cathy: Not gonna lie, I don't listen to a lot of new music. I just love the old school stuff that I grew up on because I love reliving the memories of where I was, or what I was doing, or what was going on in the world when I listened to certain songs or artists. But if I had to say some new music that I like, I gotta say Greta Van Fleet is pretty cool, love how they sound like old school rock. Also, Haim, Plush, Pretty Reckless and Halestorm are all putting out great, female led music. But I gotta admit, I also like me some Dua Lipa, she's got some awesome catchy music.....
Barb: Nothing recent except for GVF, Collective Soul, Smashmouth. I tend to listen to my old faves like ABBA, ELO, Carpenters, Sweet, Priest, Maiden, Saxon, Fleetwood Mac, Rush, Pink Floyd, 70s and 80s pop and rock. I've really been getting into the 60s lately and early progressive rock– especially bands like Yes, Beach Boys, and Mamas and Papas! Also, discovering Slayer a bit!
BuzzSlayers: Are you doing live performances?
We are working on the live show and when we can do it the way we want, we'll put it out there.
BuzzSlayers: This single seems like a big undertaking. What kind of advice might you have for other up and coming bands out there?
Cathy: If it's easy, then you're probably not doing it right, LOL.....I see a lot of younger kids coming out of School of Rock or artists on YouTube who are starting bands and are doing really cool stuff - I don't know that they need our advice because they are creating music in their own way, which is exactly what we have done, so they're just figuring it out themselves like we did. The only advice I'd give anyone is that it will never benefit you to be arrogant or think you're better than anyone else. There's a ton of talent out there, and there's also unfortunately a lot of pay to play and shitty stuff that has money or connections behind it, so you have to know that the business and life isn't always fair so, you gotta stay true to yourself. But be supportive of other artists and help your music community and be open to the fact that everyone has their own skills and niches, so try to help each other along the way. That always pays dividends. Don't think that talent alone will get you there. You have to work hard and be smart and educated about other aspects than just the music. But there's a theory out there that says if you put 10K hours into anything, you will become successful at it. I always thought that was an interesting thought, because it's about how hard you work and the odds of success becoming greater and greater the more you work at it...
BuzzSlayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
THANK YOU!!!! We hope that what we've created resonates with people - not everyone will get it, but for those who do, hopefully it brings a smile to your face and conjures up some nostalgic feelings and memories like it did for us. And for the ladies out there, we hope you get that this is about being badass women who can do things your own way and open your own doors and lead the way for others coming after you....