ROCKET TITS with Candy Ass, the Illuminati and Jack Pedlar at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Friday (February 7). $8. 416-532-1598.
Think of it as the real rock 'n' roll high school.With a mind-blowing repertoire of more than 45 classic rawk tunes and a roster that has included (at times) Peaches and CJ Sleeze, Rocket Tits could teach classes on how to Rock You Like A Hurricane and shake your booty All Night Long.
There's something slickly subversive about seeing four women blow the lid off old-school cock rock. In fact, the estro-jet-fuelled quartet of brazen babes consider what they do a public service.
"We're like an educational medium," bellows bassist and co-lead singer Barbi.
"We make the songs sound like originals. We played a show with Princess Superstar a couple of years ago, and there were all these little kids there who had no clue we were doing covers. They knew a couple of songs -- like a Mudhoney one -- and what we were doing got to them."
Before forming the all-girl supergroup, Barbi, who happens to have a degree in classical music, rocked the mod squad in late, lamented garage outfit the Spy. In her downtime from Rocket Tits, she spins at the Bovine and cranks out post-punk electro fusion with her Keyop project. Co-lead singer/guitarist Babs goes electro with the Helens, while drummer Kerri (ex- of Ether and Laudanum) forms the backbone of ambient indie band Delta Marsh, and lead guitarist Kara's resumé includes a stint in loud rockers Six Sins Left.
Before they met (at a Bowie tribute night, natch), Babs and Barbi used to get mistaken for each other. One fateful night backstage at the old El Mo, they put their cattiness aside, smoked a doob and bitched about the oversaturation of all-boy tribute bands. The Tits were born.
They went through a floating lineup before recruiting the seemingly "too cool" Kerri. ("She was so intimidating! She thought I was a drug addict before she met me," howls Babs.) The band was solidified in December 2000 when Kara showed up as their Christmas present after she won a Bovine pool tourney that Barbi was judging.
Being a covers outfit, Rocket Tits have strong feelings about what cuts it in the cutthroat music industry. Some things are built to last, they maintain, but most of the shit coming out today sucks.
"I hate to say it, but I think the most overrated genre today is guitar rock," Babs states.
"Been there, done that. I've heard it all before. I think what we do is maybe the last bastion of credibility, 'cause we take the songs and present them -- still within the paradigm of rock 'n' roll -- but in a different way."
"Like with our cover of Commando -- you listen to it differently because you're used to male vocals, and all of a sudden there are three women singing it. It's like you're hearing it for the first time."
Of course, their primary aim -- besides being wildly entertaining -- is to pay homage to their heroes. Tough-as-nails Babs even tears up when talking about departed icons like the two Joe(y)s (Ramone and Strummer).
"I always hope that somewhere up there in heaven they're all looking down and going, "Yeah! Somebody got it.'" firstname.lastname@example.org