An Interview with Chrissie Katt of Cyclone Furies

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The Cyclone Furies are an American indie Punk band which has been around for a few years now. In 2020 they’ve released their debut record which is titled Cyclone Furies and it’s some of the most energetic and fun Punk music I’ve heard in some time. It’s awesome to see that the indie scene is as vibrant as ever. In regards to their debut album, I believe in time it will be looked back upon as yet another classic within the genre as well as the start of what hopefully will amount to a long career in music for The Cyclone Furies. Today, I’ve got a member of the band with us, Chrissie Katt. Chissie is a really down to earth person and I was happy to get to know her a bit better. If you’d like to learn more about The Cyclone Furies, head over to their website here and pick up their debut. Once you’ve done that, give this interview a read. Enjoy.

Andrew:
Chrissie, thank you for taking the time to speak with us here. It’s been a weird year so far, hasn’t it? What have you been doing to pass the time?

Chrissie:
My pleasure. This year has been a real Twilight Zone (Golden Earring worm anyone? LOL). People walking into the bank with bandanas on…just an everyday part of life now. Wonder what things will be like on the other side.

Speaking of the other side…this year brought the passing of my best friend Sascha, my fourteen year old, black border collie/chow mix. Now she’s a star warrior romping though the universe. This has hit me quite hard. My kit kats Spider and Tiger Lily have been keeping me good company though…getting me through it.

As for passing time. I’m one of those people who never gets bored. I’m into everything…a bit scattered at times. I’ve spent this time fixing broken things around my place. Thanks to an obscure blog post I got the blade guard back on my miter saw (was trickier than one would know), demolished my deck and rebuilt in a different area using much of the same wood. Did some mind traveling…so many awesome places! And of course writing. Jason and I have been working on new songs for The Cyclone Furies we hope to record next year.

Andrew:
How did you get your start? What are your musical origins sort of speak?

Chrissie:
Rather schizophrenically. The early part would involve my Dad’s love of Christmas carols, Blues and Latin music, hearing Queen’s “Killer Queen” right before or after John Denver’s “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” on the radio, rockin’ to The Ronettes, Roy Orbison and all the others on the am radio in my mom’s Corvair. Grade school exposed me to little numbers like “Bicycle Built for Two” and other ancient Folk songs we’d sing from a book in the cafeteria in what I suppose was “music class.” After school, my big sister would come home and stack David Bowie, Queen, Buddy Holly and Elvis, The Ohio Players and Rick James on what was called the Victrola and we’d dance around to that. My sister once told me I was writing my own songs since I was 3 as I was always humming and rocking. I was actually thought to be autistic because of all that.

I think my true love of Punk Rock first came also as a child when I saw a clip on TV of New York clubs and the “new, wild scene” as they described it (might have been Entertainment Tonight or a show like that or maybe just the news). When I saw the spikey hair and colorful, unique clothes and heard clips of dirty, rockin’ guitar I felt that bolt of lightening that I would later find and fit right into.

My mom bought me a pawn shop guitar at fourteen but no amp and I had no idea what to do with it. No one in my family played music. Then I thought maybe drums would be easier. I actually got smarter and got some lessons but the “You’re doing good but you’re playing like a girl” comment freaked me out and I quit. I regret that. I needed thicker skin, so I just followed the scent to the local underground in San Antonio and immersed myself in the frenzy of live shows. Locals Crippled By Society, The Hickoids, Sons of Hercules and touring bands like The Decendents and Social Distortion. And of course cassette tapes and albums flooded my room and car. The Ramones, Joan Jett, Generation X, The Adolescents and on and on….

Finally, when I was nineteen, I got an acoustic guitar (no amp needed) and took a couple of lessons. My teacher was great but really into Irish jigs which wasn’t grabbing me so I took the chords I learned and worked on those at home. I’m a slow learner so it took a couple of years to smooth those out as the guitar I had was a beast on my fingers which left deep lines and calluses on my fingers for years ’til someone tipped me off to lowering the action on the guitar. Damn! Why hadn’t someone told me that sooner…I was a little mess but I kept at it. The library had tons of music books so I check out the ones with easy songs thus learning a lot of Loretta Lynn and 1950’s songs. Singing while playing was extremely awkward and also took some time – squeaking out my first original song inspired by the death of my first cat and best friend, Love (yes…there is a pattern in my life…) entitled “Guiding Angel.”

After writing a few songs and smoothing them out, I hit my first open mic. It was thrilling! It was wild hearing myself through a monitor for the first time. I made it through with very nice applause from the room and started booking obscure little venues a week later and eventually started recording. A couple of solo albums leaning more to Folk, I finally made it back to my beloved Rock ‘N’ Roll and started my Garage Rock project New Mystery Girl which was a blast!

Andrew:
Tell us how The Cyclone Furies got their start.

Chrissie:
The Cyclones Furies came together when Jason Wolfe and I started jamming together just to see what would happen. He and I both like 1970’s Punk so we decided to work up some songs. He wanted to go in the direction of bands like The Ramones and The Vapids. I had already written a song called “Wild Animal” I was going to record so we worked that up and got our first collaboration going with “No More” that he wrote the chords to and I added lyrics and pulled out a melody to and kept writing more songs with a goal to record.

We needed a bass player and a lead guitarist, but most players in Austin already had full plates so we got the super talented John Carlucci (The Speedies, The Fuzztones, Sylvain Sylvain) on bass and his wife Laura (the Beat Killers, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) was a bonus as she is quick on the keys! Glenn Gilbert (Ritchie Ramone, Screech of Death) was the perfect fit for second guitar. We talked about playing some live dates after the release, but COVID hit around the same time the album came out, so now we’re in a holding pattern watching all the other cyclones splashing and taunting the lower states.

Andrew;
You guys recently released a debut album, right? Tell us about the recording of Cyclone Furies.

Chrissie:
Recording Cyclone Furies was different than I had done in the past. Jason and I went into Stuart Laurence’s Emphatic Studio to record the drums, my rhythm guitar and vocals just for a demo. We booked a larger studio when John, Laura and Glenn came to record for the album and got their parts there but ended up keeping our “demo” tracks on the recording because they sounded much better than what we were getting from the second studio. After getting all the parts down we brought it over to Frenchie at The Bubble for mixing.

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Andrew:
I hear a lot of early Punk in your music. Hints of The Damned and The Ramones can be found in your song structure, I think. What are some of the band’s biggest influences?

Chrissie:
Yes! As I mentioned earlier, all of us love the old Punk Rock. That was the original idea was to keep it simple and fun but original enough as well. The Ramones, Joan Jett, The Vapids and The Rezillos are some of the bigger influences of this project. I hadn’t thought about The Damned, but I’ll be damned if that hasn’t squeaked in there too.

Andrew;
Female fronted bands often get lumped into their own category, which is ridiculous and unfair. There has been a lot of talk recently about doing away with the term “female fronted” in terms of bands. What are your thoughts on that?

Chrissie:
Hmmm…yeah…I don’t think women should get lumped into our “own” category. If it’s Punk it’s Punk or Rock ’N’ Roll, Blues etc. That said, for whatever reason, some people don’t like female voices. I myself like a ton of different music.

Andrew:
As I am sure you know, women are vastly underrepresented in the music business, and often times marginalized. In your opinion, what needs to happen moving forward to change that?

Chrissie:
We tend to be – it’s hard to get help. From my perspective though, woman are often our own worst enemies. Sad as this sounds, a recipe I have often experienced is women who get into the business side of music to find a man (or even a female sexual partner), thus helping only men and pushing other women to the side. To get past this, women must learn to back each other and most importantly respect each other. How we treat each other will sway the future.

Andrew:
Here’s an easy one- where can we get your new album?!

Chrissie:
Ah…a light one but more complicated than it should be thanks to COVID closing the warehouse to our physical distribution. Hoping to have a website up in the coming months. Vinyl, CD’s and MP3’s can be purchased from the respective links below:

Vinyl: https://www.paypal.com/instantcommerce/checkout/9BDZCUY4W4Y98

CD’s: https://www.paypal.com/instantcommerce/checkout/EMHYGNTRKUCH2

MP3’s: https://cyclonefuries.hearnow.com/

Andrew:
I’ve always felt that ‘punk’ is more of an attitude than a genre. In my opinion, an artist who plays Jazz or Folk can be just as ‘punk’ as one who plays Rock. Would you agree?

Chrissie:
Yep, I totally agree. The Pogues are a good example and of course Bob Dylan has always been kind of a punk. One time, I went to a show and a girl made fun of my pants cause they weren’t tight enough and another time when my fishnets weren’t torn. It made me laugh that she was trying to impose rules on me…how UN-Punk Rock! LOL

Andrew:
The Punk scene has changed a lot over the years. It’s always fluid. What are your thoughts on the scene today compared to days past?

Chrissie:
Things change. It’s not as innocent. Early Punk Rock didn’t have the Internet, it was written from raw experience over just observation. Lot of rehashing but not as good as the original being taken from. I like music with a bite. In Austin, there is a strong Hardcore scene, but not enough Punk or Garage Rock melody. It does make it easy to find bands I love though, ’cause they stand out quickly when they have a good energy and songs. If a band is great, then everyone is inside listening and vibrating…if it’s not, they are outside smoking the night away.

Andrew:
Do you collect records? Are you into vinyl? Tapes? CDs? Or, are you all digital now.

Chrissie:
Not sure I’d say I’m a collector but I have and still buy vinyl. I also have a lot of CDs I groove to in the car and still have a good collection of cassettes, though I have nothing to play them on right now. I’m not much digital except for listening to Little Steven’s Underground Garage on XM – I do love that! Love girl groups of the 60s – The Orlons are my favorite and I get my Blues kicks with Franki Lee Sims, Bo Diddley and Slim Harpo.

Andrew:
Where do like to shop for music? How big is you collection?

Chrissie:
I shop local mostly, but I also order some from labels like Wicked Cool, Waterloo Records, End of an Ear and Breakaway. Those are three good ones here in Austin.

Andrew:
What are some of your favorite bands?

Chrissie;
Favorite bands…wow…this could take awhile. Haha. I’ll try to list some old favs as well as newer ones: Older: Lords of the New Church, The New York Dolls, Generation X, Blondie, T.S.O.L., The Pretenders, The Gun Club, The Real Kids, Jim Carroll, The Sons of Hercules Newer to me: The Queers, Palmyra Delran and the Doppel Gang, Soraia, The Two Tens.

Andrew:
What’s one album that you simply cannot live without?

Chrissie;
One…only one??? I’ve actually tortured myself with this question before and could not pick ONE…but for you…I will put this one out there as it never feels old: The Clash (debut album).

Andrew:
2020 was a weird year and we know you can’t tour. So, what’s next for Cyclone Furies? More new music?

Chrissie:
No touring, so we write. The way I see it, we are lucky to have food and shelter as there is a lot of suffering going on out there. Riots, fires and hatred. Lucky to have recorded music to fill our homes with!

Andrew;
Last question. What’s one thing you would like to see change in the industry for the better? What advice do you have for bands just starting out?

Chrssie:
I would like to see more support for each other – more inclusiveness and less competition. For bands just starting out I’d say write from experience and what YOU think is cool rather than what you think people want to hear, that way it’s genuine. Don’t expect too much. Be creative and keep your eye on your music and don’t worry about trends as they come and go. Above all, have some fun – if you get too serious then you may lose the magic. Smile…it sets off healthy endorphins!

Interested in diving deeper into the work of The Cyclone Furies? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

Published by Andrew Daly

Since he was a young child growing up on Long Island, NY, Andrew has always loved writing and collecting physical music. Present-day, Andrew is proud to share his love of music with the world through his writing, and the result is nothing short of beautiful: articles and interviews written by a music addict for fellow music addicts. Andrew lives on Long Island and works as a Horticultural Operations Manager by day and runs the Vinyl Writer Music website by night.

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