http://www.rockwired.com/CapitalT.jpghe rah rah rah of punk music is just the thing that our country needs in these chaotic times marked by the threat of nuclear war, a serious divide and a President who think that white supremacist torch bearers are good. Given the shaky political and social landscape, why is a band like KITTENHEAD not more well know? The band's sound is rooted in the energy and spirit of punk, but there is a hell of a lot more than that on the band's raw and rambunctious debut album. Produced by PAUL ROESSLER (SCREAMING TREES, NINA HAGEN), the band's innate punk smarts illuminate on tracks such as TUESDAY and the politically charged TIN MAN, but the reach of this band is proved with the ballad (or power ballad if you wish) ENOUGH. Setting the band apart from other punk rock fair is the classical training of both vocalist KIVI NEIMI and bassist/guitarist DEE DEE LEE. Non-indicative of such classical training is the band in-your-face live show which has earned them raves up and down the Pacific Coast.

ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with KIVI NEIMI of KITTENHEAD regarding the band and their music. Here is how the interview went.

You LP has been out there for a little over a year now. After all of this time, how do you feel about the finished work?
"I love our music. I love rock music with loud guitars and entertaining people." says NIEMI. "Our music is high energy music with a positive message that people can get behind. I feel really positive about it. Not only is is a decent product but it translates well into our stage show. We can reproduce everything on the CD into a live show. People do things on CD these days that they can't do on a stage. I read this article about MUMFORD AND SONS and the first paragraph said  "And they play their own instruments!" I'm like 'Really?' Like that's a highlight. In KITTENHEAD, not only do we play our own instruments, but we put on quite the show. I love our stuff. It's fun a and contagious and everyone has a great time at our shows. You hear that in the music. We're having a great time when we perform  and we're inviting you along for the ride."

And who all helped you guys behind the recording console. Who helped put this thing together for you guys?
We recorded it at KITTEN ROBOT STUDIOS in Los Angeles with PAUL ROESSLER. He's from the band SCREAMING TREES and played keyboards for NINA HAGEN for years. He's such a cool dude. I call him the Wizard. He created such a positive space. It was so mellow and zero pressure and all about the creative process. He's a musician with years of experience. He'll come up with ideas for us  but they are only suggestions. He's not attached to them. We have this big eighties sounding ballad on the CD called ENOUGH. When we first played it we thought it was missing something. We asked PAUL if he'd put some keyboards on it. I was thinking piano but he wanted to put an organ on it. My first impulse was "Hell no!"  I couldn't hear it. But one of the things that happens in KITTENHEAD is we let the person who knows the instrument play the instrument and if you have a disagreement  afterwards, then say something.  I shut up and listened and thought it was fucking genius. It filled the space perfectly. It added texture and brought the guitar forward and didn't overwhelm the vocal. It was a perfect fit.

Have there been any reactions to the band's music that have surprised you?
People love the ballad ENOUGH. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that people like those kind of love songs. It's a hard thing to pin down because everyone likes a different song. We have the song ZOMBIE at the end of the CD. That song was  a jam that we threw together in 15 minutes. We weren't going to put it on the CD  but one of our friends heard it and said we had to put it on the CD. TO us it was just a jam. There was not structure to it. Reactions like that are surprising to me. TIN MAN is a very political song and we've gotten some push back from it but I totally expected push back for that. I don't take it hard when people say negative things about music. Everyone has their own opinion.  There are things that I don't like to listen to but that doesn't mean it's horrible. It's just not my taste.  As a band we don't fit into an easy box.

Bring me back to the beginning of KITTENHEAD. How did this whole thing get off the ground?
I graduated from law school and then realized that doing law wasn't something that I wanted to do. I had been in a band in Seattle years earlier and I had told some friends that in order to be a full happy human being, that I needed to start playing music again. I had gone for years without a regular outlet and I was going a little crazy. A friend of mine was friends with  this girl named DEE DEE who was in a band called WHITE TRASH DEBUTANTES. I remembered the band. Another friend of mine knew this drummer and we all started playing together. We had a tour throughout the Pacific Northwest before we even had a name. During our fourth rehearsal , we were like "Oh yeah! We need to write some music!" It happened really fast!

And talk about the other members of the band. Tell me who they are and what it is you think that each of them brings to the table that makes this thing work?
OWEN, the drummer, is Mr. Consistency. He's one of  the few drummers I've had who is always on time with his gear already set up and ready to go. Sometimes I can't believe he's a drummer. They can keep time in the band but they never show up on time for anything else. He's got a great sense of humor and he steadies the whole process. DEE DEE and VICTORIA switch back and forth on bass guitar. DEE DEE LEE is a huge STAR WARS fan. I'm not. She roots for the dark side. I don't quite get that. She's a classically trained guitar player. Very talented. She never played bass before this band. You can hear the classical training in her bass lines. She has the training and the ear to expand the sound of the band. And she's funny as hell. VICTORIA or VJJ, those really are her initials, is hyper creative. She's always bringing in new riffs into the band  and is always looking to expand. She's a super hard worker and not formally trained.  She works hard to catch up with DEE DEE who has had years of classical training. She's also the partial comic relief for this band.  Don't know if you could tell but we have a lot of fun together in this band.

What's the big idea behind the band's music that you would like for people come away with when they see you onstage or hear your music?
For me the message of our music is you've got to follow your own drummer. You have to follow your own beat and follow it. You've got to follow your passion and walk your own course. You can't follow the crowd. That's not going to make you happy. If we promoted that , we'd be doing this talky schlocky thing with a DJ throwing a beat down. You have to find your own way  in the world. You have to figure what's going to make you happy and have the courage to do it.


http://www.rockwired.com/OrangeRoundPic.jpg BRiAN LUSH (FOUNDER, EDiTOR-iN-CHiEF)
Brian Lush is a music industry professional and entrepreneur. In 2005 he launched the online music site Rockwired.com to help promote new music artists in conjunction with the weekly radio show Rockwired Live which aired on KTSTFM.COM from 2005 - 2009. In 2010 He launched the daily podcast series Rockwired Radio Profiles which features exclusive interviews and music. He has also developed and produced the online radio shows Jazzed and Blue - Profiles in Blues and Jazz, Aboriginal Sounds - A Celebration of American Indian and First Nations Music, The Rockwired Rock N Roll Mixtape Show and The Rockwired Artist of the Month Showcase. In 2012, Brian Lush and his company Rockwired Media LLC launched the monthly digital online publication Rockwired Magazine. The magazine attracts over 75,000 readers a month and shows no signs of stopping. Rockwired Magazine also bares the distinction of being the first American Indian-owned rock magazine. Brian Lush is an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe. Brian Lush's background in music journalism, radio and podcast hosting, podcast production, web design, publicity, advertising sales, social media and online marketing, strategic editorial planning and branding have all made Rockwired a name that is trusted and respected throughout the independent music industry.

CONTACT BRiAN LUSH AT: djlush@rockwired.com