Band Profile Take all the great bands of Detroit music history and put them in the blender and you’d likely end up with the strange concoction that is The Gore Gore Girls. Their music captures all the best bits of the Detroit sound when they unleash their lo-fi hipness and rock and roll attitude. Fresh off their whirlwind tour in support of Shonen Knife, they landed on the Melody Inn stage April 9. We met up with members Amy Gore and The Deuce for a quick chat.
NUVO: What’s the story behind that name? It’s from a movie, right? Wasn’t it about a guy that’s killing strippers?
Amy Gore: Yeah it is. The name is from this great H.G. Lewis film The Gore Gore Girls. He did She Devils on Wheels, 2000 Maniacs and basically invented the gore genre. The Gore Gore Girls was his last picture.
NUVO: Your sound is about 50 percent riot grrl and 50 percent ’60s girl groups like the Ronettes, and yet you have all these great garage-influenced bits. Where do you draw your inspiration?
Amy Gore: Well, musically, we’re all turned on by different stuff. I like the old R&B-based rock and roll, but if you talk to the band you might get all kinds of different answers to that. The girl group thing might’ve started out as a novelty and got us the initial attention, but were finding more and more that the novelty is wearing off and we’re turning into a solid rock band.
NUVO: It seems to me that you’re almost a time capsule of the Detroit sound over the past four decades — The MC5, Iggy and the Stooges and the great girl groups of the Motown era. Was that a conscious thing when you started writing songs and putting the band’s sound together?
Amy Gore: It’s funny that you say that. I never really thought of it that way but it’s true. It’s not that I wanted to sound like that, or that I thought the band should sound like that, but it’s the kind of music I grew up with and enjoyed. So yeah, I mean, Detroit has been such a hotbed of music and it all just kind of goes into who we are.
NUVO: Detroit’s going through another musical renaissance, but this time it seems more fractured and diverse. Kid Rock sounds nothing like the White Stripes, who sound nothing like Eminem. This time, there’s no unified sound like “the Seattle sound” or the “Motown sound.” Do you think this is a good thing? Where do you fit into that Detroit scene?
Amy Gore: I don’t really think of us in those terms. We’re just out there doing our own thing. A lot of times those labels are placed on bands and cities by the press. A lot of the articles I see now are talking about Detroit in terms of the “garage” label and I think it’s just because that’s what’s most convenient. I think it’s a misnomer. That’s what happened to the so-called Mod Movement in the ’60s. Those bands were basically just playing R&B music. It was British guys playing R&B. Then the media put the mod label on it, and it all became about skinny ties and Vespa scooters. When these labels get put on music then music becomes about fashion, not about the music.
NUVO: You’re currently touring in and you’ve done the same with the Cramps. How have their audiences received you?
Amy Gore: The audiences with the Cramps weren’t very familiar with us. So they were just getting introduced to our sound. At the Shonen Knife shows we were finding that a lot of their fans are already fans of The Gore Gore Girls, so the response there has been really good.
NUVO: What do you think of the riot grrl movement? Does it help propel you or does it hurt to be automatically pigeon-holed as a girl group? Amy Gore: I don’t know that it hurts us in any way. I think it was a cool thing at the time …. [The Deuce chimes in]
Deuce: I think it helps. I mean [riot grrl] was cool at the time but it was more about just being out there and being aggressive. I think it opened a lot of doors, but I think we’ve moved beyond that now. Hopefully, we’re more than a “girl band.” I’d like to think that now we’re just a great band that happens to be girls. Hopefully, at this point, it’s just about our music.
NUVO: Have you toured outside the U.S.?
Amy Gore: Yep. We’ve toured Europe before and Scandinavia. We actually have some dates coming up soon in Mexico City and then we’re going to mount another tour through Europe.
NUVO: Any big differences between audiences here and overseas?
Amy Gore: It seems to me that the music fans in Europe have a lot better attention span. They really pay attention to everything you’re doing up there. They’re just a lot more into the music.