The Return and Farewell of Killer Pussy

Lucy LaMode of Killer Pussy
Lucy LaMode of Killer Pussy
Glen Benson

By: Rich Kane "I don't really want to be singing these songs when I'm 60," says Lucy LaMode, who's just seven years shy of that mile-marking age. "I'm not the Rolling Stones, and it's not the way I make a living. But I'm still pretty slim. I figure I better play some shows before things change."

Back in 1980, LaMode, then a teenager slamming her way through the Phoenix punk scene, would have laughed at the thought of being a 53-year-old mother of two boys and still fronting a band named Killer Pussy, singing about herpes and dildos and masturbation and--perhaps on the menu at a hipster food truck near you--pepperoni ice cream. And yet, she is in the midst of one last road trip before retiring Killer Pussy forever, stopping Sunday in Santa Ana, part of the band's first California shows since the '80s.

In the summer of 1982, they broke out big on KROQ with "Teenage Enema Nurses in Bondage," which for a spell was the station's second most-requested song. A slice of the era's twitchy, keyboard-overdosed new wave, it's part satire on the travails of the working class ("They told me stick the nozzle in, there's really nothing to it/It's not a very pretty job, but someone's got to do it"), part pogo-till-your-pants-drop party anthem. At the time, Barry Goldwater country may not have been the best place for an in-your-face band with a controversial moniker and a penchant for provocation.

"We were lucky they would put our name in the newspaper," says LaMode. "It was difficult to get our name out, but we still got articles written about us. And I was a bit outrageous onstage, but I was always fully clothed. I was never some girl in a stripper outfit bending over and showing the cooch or anything. I was just a normal, innocent child singing crazy songs!"

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The band released one album, Bikini Wax, and continued to play shows throughout the decade before fading away in the early '90s. Still, Killer Pussy left some pop-culturally significant claw marks, if you remember seeing Slash wearing Killer Pussy T-shirts, or the Killer Pussy poster in background scenes of the old CBS sitcom Square Pegs, or when the band and "Teenage Enema" were name-dropped in Bret Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero, or the painting of the band Dennis Hopper did that LaMode didn't even know about until a friend told her, a painting that may or may not currently be owned by Julian Schnabel.

Ultimately, Killer Pussy's impact was enough to land them at a respectable No. 17 on an Arizona Republic list of the 100 top Grand Canyon State rock bands of all time. LaMode, who these days lives in Austin, Texas, decided to do this last Killer Pussy go-round because of incessant prompting from friends and fans. A final gig in Phoenix will happen this spring.

"On Facebook, everybody wants me to come here and there, but it's just not possible--it's too expensive," she explains. "I'm not even bringing my whole stage set with me for this tour; I just can't afford it. But we'll still put on a great show, no matter what."

One last question that needs asking: How have her boys been affected by their mom's glorious rock & roll past? LaMode chuckles.

"They're 24 and 17, and they know I've been in a band forever," she says. "They've never been to the shows, but they both saw the YouTube video of our Phoenix show last year, and they thought it was wonderful--they loved it. But then they told all their friends, and that's the part that's embarrassing for me, when their friends mention a song like 'Dildo Desire.' That's when I turn red."

Killer Pussy perform with Scorpion Vs. Tarantula, Problems With Dragons, the Silvers, Sick Eddy, and Aunty Trust at Malone's, 604 E. Dyer Rd., Santa Ana, (714) 979-6000; www.facebook.com/MalonesConcertVenue. Sun., 8 p.m. $10 advance, $12 day of show. 21+.

See also 10 Punk Albums to Listen to Before You Die 10 Goriest Album Covers 10 Most Satanic Metal Bands

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