Look up sex, drugs and rock ’n roll in the dictionary around 1988 and you’d likely find a reference to Faster Pussycat next to each word. The Hollywood band was notorious for living life on the edge.
Fast-forward 31 years. Some things have changed, while others have not. One constant is the fact that they’re still rocking audiences with their high energy, blow-your-eardrums-out rock ’n roll. In fact, Taime Downe (lead vocals), Xristian Simon (guitar), Danny Nordahl (guitar), Chad Stewart (drums, percussion) and Ace Von Johnson (guitar), will be at The Canyon - Santa Clarita on March 23.
The band recently returned from the Monsters of Rock Cruise, which included bands Tesla, Extreme, Tom Keifer (Cinderella), Saxon, Skid Row, U.D.O., Y&T, Kix, Kings X, Richie Kotzen, Danger Danger, Nelson, D-A-D, The Quireboys, Brian Howe, Pat Travers Band, Pink Cream 69, The Wildhearts, Eclipse, Soto, Rose Tattoo, Vain, John Corabi, Bulletboys, Black ’N Blue, XYZ, Tora Tora, Kip Winger (Winger), Mike Tramp (White Lion), Brighton Rock, Tuff, Killer Dwarfs, Lies, Deceit and Treachery; Jetboy, Neil Zaza, Michael Grant and the Assassins, Femme Fatale, Mitch Malloy, Joey Hoekstra, Gus G, Mach 22, Tony Macalpine, Metalachi and Thee Rock N’ Roll Residency.
The cruise began with a pre-party on Feb. 22 at the Magic City Casino in Miami, Florida. The ship departed Miami on Feb. 24, arrived in Ocho Rios, Jamaica on Feb. 26, traveled to the private Isle of Labadee, spent a day at sea on Feb. 27, then arrived back in Miami on March 1.
They’re taking a break before they head out on the road again.
“It’s the same thing I’ve been doing for 30-plus years,” Faster Pussycat founding member Taime Downe said. “Touring and doing shows.”
He said they usually start with some shows in California before heading out to other states, which they’ll do again this year.
“Last year we started in
Sacramento,” Downe said. “We’re doing a run in May, like a week-long run on the West Coast, then we do the rest of the states for seven weeks, in July and August. Then we’re supposed to go to Europe in the fall, in October.”
This show isn’t the first they’ve played at The Canyon - Santa Clarita. They played there last May, as well. But they’ve also played at various other clubs, which are part of the Canyon “family.”
“The Canyon - Santa Clarita is a good addition to the Canyon Club family,” Downe said. “Last year, we started in Hermosa Beach, then we played there (in Santa Clarita), then we played Sacramento.”
He said the band likes to play in Santa Clarita because it’s nice and it’s local.
“We’re (from) L.A., so it’s like, we’re doing two shows,” he said. “We’re doing there and Agoura Hills, back to back. Not two nights in a row. We play for the Canyon Club and the other clubs they do, quite a bit. They treat us good, so we’re heading back up.”
In addition to their constant touring and performing, Downe said he’s getting ready to start working on some new music. It’s been quite a few years since their last album — 13 years, to be exact. “The Power and the Glory Hole” was released in 2006. He admits that working on new music is going to be a different experience this time around.
“Since I got sick a couple years ago, I had some heart issues,” Downe said. “My lifestyle was a little bit, uh, the opposite of sober, let me put it that way.”
Since his illness, he said he’s “changed stuff up,” which includes walking five miles a day, and has been relearning the recording and song-writing process.
“I was a Pro Tools recording guy for many, many years and (I’ve been) changing up my stuff so I’ve been learning new audio software and just redid my studio, so I have no idea what’s going to come out of it,” he said of the new material.
Downe said he’s working on some material that was underway before he got sick, so that will be a test in learning the new gear.
“But in terms of writing new stuff since then, it’s going to be ... your guess is as good as mine,” he said. “I’d usually sit behind my console with my guitar s*** and a beer, Jack on the rocks, the smokes and a pile of something and it’s different now. There’s none of that, except for maybe a cup of coffee and a pen.”
He said he’s never really attempted to work on tracks sober.
“It could be cool, it could be a disaster,” Downe said. “In the meantime, I’m 54 and I already have a bunch of songs that I already wrote.”
When asked what fans could expect to hear Faster Pussycat play on March 23, he said most of the time, people just want to hear the songs that have already been done.
“They always tell you that they want to hear the new stuff, then when you play something new, they say, ‘How come you didn’t play that song?’” Downe said. “My motto is that I play what the f*** I want to play. I don’t give a s*** what everyone else wants to hear.”
He said they do have an order of songs, which is tried and true, but if there’s a gap in the set, they’ll change things up.
“Bottom line is, we want it to rock,” Downe said.
In terms of a favorite song, he said he doesn’t have one.
“I don’t know,” Downe said. “It’s kinda like picking your kids. I always like playing ‘Slip of the Tongue.’ One of the new ones we do is called ‘Number One with a Bullet.’ It’s not even new, it’s 10 years old, but it’s newer. F****** odd, huh? ‘Bathroom Wall’ is always fun. I don’t really have a favorite.”
He said he likes playing certain songs because of the energy they generate.
“And ‘House of Pain’ is always good, but it’s always the token ballad,” Downe said. “It’s got my dad and s***, that’s kinda sometimes ... it’s good to do it and sometimes it kinda makes you depressed, you know what I mean? Playing the sad part of your life story over and over again. But I like doing it. I like playing it.”
Downe is the band’s songwriter and said he used to draw inspiration from drinking and partying.
“Sitting in a room with my bass player Danny, doing a bump, having a beer and we’re rippin,’” he said of his old song-writing process. “There’s more s*** I remember now, in terms of s*** I should write about. I’m not 21 anymore, but I still don’t want to be that guy that writes about s*** that’s completely stupid.”
One constant in Downe’s life is the desire to perform his music. He said he continues to do it because it’s fun.
“If someone is going to keep paying me to play, whatever, I’ll keep doing it,” he said. “As long as I keep enjoying it.”
Downe said it’s rock ‘n’ roll, so it’s kind of hard to stop playing and performing. He also likes touring, but prefers to be on a bus.
“I like going out with the band,” he said. “ A lot of bands will do fly-outs for the weekend and come back. Me, I like going out for two months. You get a tour bus, the band’s on it and just rolling. It’s like camp, it’s like a vacation, but then you get paid.”
Downe said part of the appeal of touring is being able to wake up in a different city.
But when he’s not touring, he said he rides his motorcycle and hangs out with his buddies. He also does leatherwork.
“I started out making motorcycle bags for choppers, old school s***,” he said. “Then you get the girls who are like, ‘You ought to make a purse like that,’ so now I make f****** purses. But they’re cool and they look like old school. It keeps my mind going and keeps me from smoking and doing my old habits. Doing leather stuff is fun.”
The band is currently waiting for their new website to go live. It’s been in the works for a few months and was supposed to be finished by December. They do have a Facebook page, however.
“The new Faster website is being re-done completely,” Downe said. “It’ll be bad ass, too.”
Tickets for the March 23 show are $20-$34 and available at www.ticketmaster.com
“Just have fun,” Downe said, addressing those who will attend the show. “Get drunk and come see Faster Pussycat. We’re much better when you’re loaded.”