it's hard to separate the whip-smart women in StinkMitt from the personalities they play onstage.Call it the Eminem phenomenon. On the one hand, you've got the larger-than-life, bemulleted, trash-talkin', spandex-clad bangers from Surrey, BC, who write lightning-speed visceral rhymes about fucking underage boys and gang-raping hulking men, and then lay them over slinky funk beats.
On the other hand, there are the ladies behind the music -- Lady Precise (aka Jenni Craige), a session vocalist for Deep Dish Records and one of the fiercest freestylin' battle MCs in Vancouver, and Maren Hancunt (aka Betti Forde), a funk DJ-slash-promoter with an M.A. in women's studies.
So when I ring Hancunt, who, as we speak, is sitting in a Vancouver dog park with her boyfriend, it's hard to tell whether her non sequitur outbursts about farting and canines humping are all part of the persona.
It's quite the Spinal Tap moment, so I'm not surprised to discover that Christopher Guest's mockumentary is tops on StinkMitt's list of influences. They were even gonna name their first record Smell The Mitt, after the satirical metal band's Smell The Glove.
Riffing on the rest of their musical background is more difficult for Hancunt, who moves in and out of character.
"StinkMitt wouldn't be influenced by much, 'cause we'd be from Surrey and we'd be listening to, like, Bon Jovi. If we listened to any hiphop, it'd probably be, like, that Taco Grande guy, like Rico Suave. Oh, and also Vanilla Ice.
"We love all hiphop. I listen to everything, commercial and underground, and I know that Lady Precise listened to a lot of Queen Latifah. We also like the Fat Boys, Public Enemy. Our influences are pretty much 2 Live Crew and the Mentors. The Mentors are these big huge fat bikers -- so they look like our dads and uncles -- and they call their brand of music rape rock.
"I don't think it's "reverse' anything for us to get out there and talk about drugging and raping guys and all these things they glorify in hiphop songs. If it makes men more afraid of women, then good. They should be, because we've been so afraid of men for so long. And to quote what's-her-name from Tribe 8 (she means Lynne Breedlove), women being angry or women being predators or women being gross is not the same as men doing the same thing."
It's been mere months since the duo formed in March as a joke, when Hancunt met up with her pal Precise one night at a club and the two launched into a boozy back-and-forth freestyle laced with more "fucks" than a David Mamet play. They debuted the act at a pal's burlesque show and blew the crowd away.
Since then, StinkMitt's been invited to play New Music West -- they didn't apply, but landed a spot over 700 rejected bands after an organizer saw their fierce performance opening for Princess Superstar -- and landed a deal with kick-ass indie label Teenage USA. Their first disc won't drop till spring, but fans can sample their raw, raunchy tracks at www.stinkmitt.com.
Friday's gig at Lee's Palace is their second stint playing Vazaleen. The first time around, promoter Will Munro was reluctant, but signed them up to keep Teenage USA's Phil Klygo quiet. Despite Betti Forde's bout of laryngitis, the pair ripped it up onstage.
"Yeah, they fuckin' loved us! They didn't like us backstage, though. Jenni Craige's a bit of a diva. I think it's 'cause she has six kids, so she's used to ordering people around. So she was bossing, like, "Do you all need to be here?' And they all looked at me, like, "What's your story, bitch? You don't fuck with drag queens.'"
This time, Munro's so stoked for their show that he's flying them over from the West Coast.
Hancunt thinks that loud-mouthed bitches like StinkMitt -- and Princess Superstar and Peaches -- deliver a crucial political statement.
"Satire's great. It's always the best way to slip someone some poison as though it's a lump of sugar. Take Lady Precise. She's big, and she wears tight spandex pants and talks about fucking all the time, and we're not used to that. We're not used to granting bigger women sexuality or sexual desirability or seeing them as sexual beings."firstname.lastname@example.org
STINKMITT as part of Vazaleen at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Friday (November 29). $7. 416-532-1598.