Sound & Vision: Thunderpussy On Their New EP Milk It

Sound and Vision
Emily Fox
photo by Elizabeth Crook (view set)

KEXP's Sound & Vision airs every Saturday morning from 7-9 AM PT, featuring interviews, artistry, commentary, insight, and conversation to that tell broader stories through music, and illustrate why music and art matter. You can also hear more stories in the new Sound & Vision Podcast. New episodes are out every Tuesday. Subscribe now.


Seattle’s Thunderpussy recently released a new EP called Milk It (Stardog Records). The band has gained a reputation for their classic rock sound and high energy live shows – where singer Molly Sides is in an elaborate outfit that’s often accompanied with fishnets and tall boots.

While she dances, she kicks her lean legs high into the air. Guitarist Whitney Petty says the title was based on an inside joke the band had during the recording of this EP. "You know every few minutes there'd be somebody trying to figure something out and asking a question and the answer would be 'you know what? Why don't you just milk it,'" says Petty. "And Molly pointed out our first EP was called Greatest Tits."

Their track "Powerhouse," which features drummer Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers was inspired by Petty's mom – and a myriad of other women in her life. "Hard-working women who are persistent in pursuing their dreams," she says, "taking care of their families, the power within that we all carry and when you're told no, and you push through."

Then, there's the song "Trust a Man," about a man you can’t trust and telling someone who seems to be falling for him that they are stronger than they know. Petty says the song was inspired by Once Upon a Time in the West, a spaghetti western movie she watched with Sides.

"There was a scene in that film where there's a gentleman wearing a belt and suspenders," she says. "There's just a line where the guy goes, 'how can you trust a man who can't trust his own pants?'" The line evolved from a joke to a serious song. "I think the last verse of the song kind of sums it up. It's really a song about two people that are lost in the world and they're damaged and they're both damaged in different ways," says Petty.

The Americana track "On the Line," deviates from Thunderpussy’s usual power rock song. Petty, who grew up in the south and has roots in country music says it’s her favorite track on the EP. "This song was like a little miracle," she says. "It was really cool the way that it came together. I had written the guitar chords and the progression many, many years ago, back when I was just sort of traveling around with my guitar and a backpack – when you’re young and fresh."

This song was co-produced by Mike McCready—the lead guitarist of Pearl Jam. He worked with Thunderpussy on a few songs off their first full-length album. They didn’t intend to make a stripped-down, acoustic song.

"We had so much fun that we had come back in, just Molly and I, to kind of wrap up a couple overdubs and we had the rest of the day and Mike [McCready] was like, do something. When Mike McCready tells you to do something, you're just like all right. So, I just started playing," Petty says. Sides adds, “We recorded it once.”

Sides and Petty say they’re currently working on their next full-length album and they hope more of their songs move in the direction of “On the Line.” "It does showcase another side of the band," says Petty. "That's a really important to Molly and I. And we absolutely adore acoustic music and we love to strip things down. I'm hoping on our next record, that we're currently writing, that we will have more songs in that vein and continue to diversify our catalog and explore even deeper into Americana."

While Thunderpussy works on that new album, they'll also be waiting for a green light to trademark their name. Earlier this year, they were caught up in a Supreme Court case that ultimately struck down a ban on trademarking words that are “immoral” or “scandalous.” That ruling came down in June, but Petty says they still must wait months until they hear whether or not they'll receive the trademark. "Seriously though we're waiting until February for our case to be up for review and we're just going to wait forever," says Petty.

Though it's been an uphill battle, Sides sees a bright side -- this is all good material for their next full-length album. "There’s a song about Sallie Mae," she says. "There’s a song about trademark. We got a lot of conversations happening on this next album." Meanwhile, you can check out their latest EP, it’s called Milk It and it’s out now.

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