When Cheap Girls first played in Indiana, back in 2007, they were the odd men out at a poorly attended hardcore basement show in Lockerbie Square. Their thoughtful power pop sounded out of place against the angry noise of the bands that played before them. Why they came back as many time as they did escapes me, but I’m sure glad they did.
The last four years of hard hard work have finally paid off for the trio. Their first album, the low-key Find Me A Drink Home caught the attention of several bigger labels including forward-thinking Paper & Plastick which released their sophomore record, My Roaring 20’s, in late 2009. Since then, the band has said “goodbye” to the fruitless toil that dooms so many other groups, and has been welcomed with open arms by the benevolent goddess of success.
“We tour a lot.” said drummer Ian Graham in an interview, “We try to swing through each town once every few months, and we try to treat Lansing (the band’s hometown) the same way.” For many bands, it can be a luring trap to play one’s hometown all too frequently without even realizing it. “We want to play Lansing as frequently as we play any other city.” added Graham “In 2010, we only played four shows in Lansing. We actually played L.A. more than that.”
Currently, the band is on tour with punk rock heavy-titters Against Me! and are swinging through Bloomington on Sunday. So how did Cheap Girls go from playing clean-up for Bolth to selling out 1000-capacity theaters with Against Me!? “Last summer, a friend of ours in LA gave (Against Me! frontman) Tom Gabel a copy of our record (My Roaring 20’s)” remembered Graham, “and apparently he liked it!.” A few months later, Against Me! stopped in Lansing for a show and Graham contacted their management and asked to get on the show. The band was shocked when they got the green light to play.
“As soon as we pulled up to load in,” mentioned Graham, “Tom ran up to our van and told us how much he like our new record and asked for a vinyl copy.” After playing a one-off show in Lansing, Cheap Girls got wind of the current Against Me! tour while it was still in the works. “We thought we had a chance,” said Graham, “so we submitted for the opening slot and we got it! We really wanted to be on the tour, and apparently, Against Me! really wanted us!”
“The tour has been a lot fun” Graham added, “the guys in Against Me! are really good dudes and we hang out a lot on the road.” As with most opening bands, Cheap Girls have the hard job of not just warming up the crowd, but winning them over. “Every show we’ve played this tour, we’ve gotten a good reaction but there’s always a group of people that don’t care about anything but Against Me!.”
As the current tour wraps up, the band is looking towards the future. “We’re working on our new record” mentioned Graham, “but we don’t have any definite plans. We’ve talked with a few record labels, but we aren’t in a hurry to leave Paper & Plastick.” As far as independent labels go, P&P is fairly strong and supports it’s bands well. “We don’t really care about distribution since no one really goes to stores to buy records anymore” said Graham, “so working with a major label just seems completely worthless.”
So while Cheap Girls are stopping in Bloomington for their first time this Sunday, they plan on making it back to Indianapolis soon. “We really wanna play there again soon” claimed Graham, “Ian (Graham, guitarist) is going out on a solo tour with Mikey Erg (of The Ergs!) and Dave House but when he gets back from that, we plan on coming back through Indianapolis.” Let’s just hope they keep their word.