THE BUTCHIES at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Friday (April 25). $10. 416-532-1598.
Picture a parallel universe in some distant future. The state is smashed, punk rock is the new national anthem, and your average pinup girl is a tough-as-nails chick with a shaved head and combat boots who's more likely to fix your car or kick your ass than grind in pasties and a pool of fake sweat.Kaia Wilson, co-founder of feminist indie label Mr. Lady and one-third of queercore crusaders the Butchies, is hoping that future might happen sooner than you'd expect. With their fourth album, Come 'N Get It (Mr. Lady), slated to drop in the fall, Wilson and her comrades Melissa York and Alison Martlew plan to signal the coming revolution -- or at least create sex symbols for a post-Britney planet.
"We're trying to play up our sex appeal on this record, which is something," Wilson chuckles softly from a Holiday Inn somewhere in Montana.
"Goddammit! Why the Donnas? Why not us? I've always done this, write love songs that are clearly for girls, and with a girl singing them the personal is political, because people say it's not right.
"I do think our queer angle has prevented us from gaining the same recognition as the Donnas in some ways. It's hard to be objective, because homophobia seeps through every crack. It's everywhere. But at least we're fighting. We're trying something new here."
Wilson claims the new record has more polished production than their earlier material. It nevertheless remains delirious rough-and-tumble hot-rod punk with politically charged lyrics. The music offers rays of hope to a generation of girl-loving post-Riot Grrrls, its soulful messages about dykes who get beat up for looking like boys buoyed by blistering bass lines and booming drumbeats.
They may be playing for an unabashedly bent crowd at Friday's Vazaleen, says Wilson, but the Butchies are still seeking the attention of mainstream White Stripes-loving America and beyond.
"We wanna be in a band that gets through the stupid invisible force field that keeps us out."
Wilson will have even more time to focus on her Butchies duties since she recently gave up overseeing the label she helped establish with girlfriend Tammy Rae Carland. She doesn't want me to go there during our conversation.
"It's a little complicated and a little personal. I don't know if I really want to talk about it yet in an interview," she sighs.
"At the very least it became a conflict of interest for me to be in the band and behind the label that was putting out the band."
So, was it difficult to let go of something she'd seen grow from a germ of an idea?
Wilson laughs. "Somehow, no. It's all right. Everything has its cycle."firstname.lastname@example.org