Taime Downe is done with the past: he doesn't want to talk about lawsuits or former band members. Instead, it's all about the music. Bring Back Glam! recently spoke with the Faster Pussycat frontman about the band's first album in 14 years, the trouble with touring and the cure for the common hangover. Transcription follows.
Bring Back Glam!: Your new album is Power and the Glory Hole. It hasn't been out too long. Are you already working on new stuff?
Taime Downe: We're working on new stuff. Maybe just an EP. We've got a few other tracks we were working on for the record, they didn't make because they just weren't done. We didn't have time to get them done before we went into the mix and we're working on a couple new ones as well.
BBG: It took a long time to record and release Power and the Glory Hole.
TD: I just put out stuff when it's cool. That's the first studio record for Pussycat in fucking fourteen years. I've been doing different shit, like the Newlydeads stuff and when we decided to put together Pussycat again, we'd end up on tour. So every time we'd get working on it (the album) we go on tour for four or five months. Then we'd have to stop, regroup, figure out what the fuck we had recorded last. Every time you go back you think "This is shit" and you tear it apart. We work on new stuff…and it kept happening.
BBG: So you're a perfectionist?
TD: Well, when you have the access to do it. It's not like we're banging shit around in a rehearsal room, then running into someone's studio to record. We have our own studio. Me and Danny (Nordahl, bassist) just do everything.
BBG: Do you still like touring?
TD: As long as it's a fucking fun tour…if it's miserable. Shit, we had a fucked up bus last time and it was just miserable. When it comes to show time, it's fun. Then you have to get back on this bus with no AC -- it was the summer with no fucking AC, it kept going out every other day.
BBG: This summer?
TD: No, last. It was fucking miserable. Everywhere we went was 105 degrees. One time, the temperature on the bus was 119. From an hour outside of L.A. on tour, it broke down on the way to Vegas. It was shitty the whole fucking tour. That stuff about touring I hate. Like I said, when it comes show time…you have to block that shit out and have a good time.
BBG: Do you still prefer performing in the U.S. over Europe?
TD: Yeah. I like playing overseas, but dealing with all that different shit. It's fun to be able to travel and play. The States are just easier because you know the money, you know the food…just everything. The home comforts.
BBG: I want to know more about the new CD. Did you produce the entire disc?
BBG: And you wrote all the songs, too?
TD: Yes, me and Danny.
BBG: Do you want to move more into producing?
TD: Yeah, because I don't plan on prancing around the stage forever! I ain't no spring chicken.
BBG: You feel like you hit a certain age, and you should hang it up?
TD: I want to do it when it's fun. I don't want to go out and tour just to tour. As long as it's a fun tour, and it's good…I don't want to beat it to death. There's other things to do that are just as fun. I like to produce bands, I like new music. Who knows? I like to do different shit.
BBG: What do you think of the 80s bands - like Poison - who tour every summer?
TD: I think it's cool! They have a lot of fans. There were a lot of people that didn't get to seem them back in the day, it's good. A lot of fans were too young to see them back then. As long as they put on a good show - and Poison does that. Poison does a good job every year. We had fun when we went out with them a few years ago. 2002, 2003 whenever it was, we had a fucking blast.
BBG: They're a good party band.
TD: They put on a great party show.
BBG: I think Faster Pussycat is a party band.
TD: We're more of a party band, with the party show. The evil band!
BBG: Did you always want to be the evil band?
TD: Laughs. No, we never made it a point. We do what we do.
BBG: So you didn't think, way back when, "Let's turn the Strip upside down."
TD: We just wanted to have a good time. We wanted to play rock n' roll, go on the road. Drink a lot of booze and get fucked up and have a good time - and get paid to do it! That's all we wanted to do.
BBG: Faster Pussycat has a very evolved sound. I know you don't like it when people say you're goth or industrial…do you still like to be called sleaze or glam?
TD: To me it doesn't matter. To me, it's like…when I probably said that I was getting bombarded with it all the time. It's, uh…I had the word for it. I can't think of it. I haven't had enough coffee. I got wrecked last night… with friends from Toronto. Two hangover days in a row! Like I said, I ain't no spring chicken.
BBG: I'm sure you can hold your liquor.
TD: Those damn Jager shots…they kept giving them to me!
BBG: I can't drink that stuff. It tastes like cough syrup -
TD: I can't either! I had a hangover before I went to bed. I was like "Goddamnit, this better be over before I wake up."
BBG: Well, was it?
TD: No headache…just sort of sluggish. Lazy.
BBG: Do you have a favorite hangover cure?
TD: Usually, just the hair (of the dog, that is!). I'm like, no, not today. I saw some stuff on the counter and decided I would have coffee.
BBG: Well, at some point you have to just say enough is enough.
TD: Yeah, two days. Yesterday was the hair. Today is coffee.
BBG: Are you going out again tonight?
TD: I hope not! My friends are here until Thursday.
BBG: Your birthday is Saturday. Do you have any plans?
TD: I'm not sure. I might go to Arizona and visit one of my best friends from Seattle. He has a place down there. Plus, I'm supposed to go to Seattle to see my mom. I gotta find some stuff I have stored up there, and see my mom. I want to kill two birds. But I might go to Arizona with my car to bring some of my stuff back, I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee, so I can load some stuff, boxes and crap. That's this weekend…and maybe go with my friend back to Seattle. He might do the drive with me.
BBG: Does you mom follow your career?
TD: Oh yeah. I'm the boy.
BBG: But you're not an only child.
TD: No, I have sisters. They are younger than me. We all get along really good.
BBG: Tell me how your name became Taime?
TD: From my grandmother. She's Italian, she was in fashion and stuff. She was importing clothing from Italy and Europe to stores in Seattle. The floor of her business is where Sub Pop was. It's funny because my friend Dana who works for Sub Pop back when they were kicking ass and shit. I went home for Christmas, and he took me to a Sonics game. After the game, we went to his office and I was like "No way! This is where I used to come when I was little!" My grandmother's assistant was French, and Taime comes from . She couldn't talk French and it came out "Taime." My dad's name is Gustav and I didn't want to go by that. My grandmother hated my dad - this was my mom's mom. My parents split when I was four.
BBG: Do you have any contact with your dad?
TD: No, I haven't spoken with him in years.
BBG: Does he know you're famous?
TD: Yeah. It's been about 10 years since we spoke. He's in Cleveland, and it's weird because I record a lot in Detroit now. The next time I'm up there, I'm going to go see him. I don't want him to die on me without…you just never know.
BBG: You sound like you're becoming an adult.
TD: Why would I do that now! I'm 42. It hasn't kicked in yet. I can't. It's too late. I can't go to college now.
BBG: Can you imagine having a day job and wearing a suit?
TD: More like working at McDonalds. I want to go through the management training program. (Laughs).
BBG: Actually, I want to know how you had money to get the Cathouse going.
TD: I was a promoter…me and Rikki (Rachtman). I mean, I worked at Retail Slut, but that was a just a clothing store. I did lighting at the Troubador, but as soon as we started rehearsing, I quit the Troubador job. I was working there at night. Once I put the guys together (Faster Pussycat) that's when I quit the Troubador because we rehearsed at night and I worked at Slut during the day. I worked at Retail Slut and I would pimp the shit out of our band. We were brand new, before our record deal and we wanted people at our shows. I would pass out flyers at work…our early shows were packed. That's promotion. When you do a party, and you pack people in…do it at a club. You make money. Rikki had done clubs…like dance clubs, so we got together and did a rock club. We mixed rock with dance and that was Cathouse. It took off and kept growing and growing as we went. When we got signed, and our friends Guns n' Roses got signed, they played the club. All the bands pretty much played. It was fun.
BBG: Do you still want to release a CD and DVD from the Cathouse reunion?
TD: We're trying. We got a lot of footage that was fucked up. That's the main thing. The video footage. The live recording, there was some technical shit that went down on stage. Some songs you can't really hear. We go back to listen to something you want to put out …some of the tracks need completely recreated, so I don't even know. There might be…we might put a few of the songs out. Some are fixable, audio wise. Like one of the guitars went out, or the background: we can fix that. We figure we might do that, for maybe an EP. If we can get some of the footage working, we'll do an enhanced CD with some videos.
BBG: Was Full Effect Records created for Faster Pussycat?
TD: Well, it's Tony's (Scrock) label. He started it. I was going to do one (a label) for our shit. Doing it with a major label, you get nothing. Nowadays, we can promote just as well as they can. It's just getting exposure to people. We run our own ads. Plus, we'll make way more money on our CDs. With a major label you make nothing. I don't want to start a new deal. I want to be in charge.
BBG: Did you get screwed in your first deal?
TD: No. Elektra treated us really good.
BBG: Do you own your masters?
TD: No, Elektra does. We own our songs. I can rerecord them if I wanted to. That's part of why I need to go to Seattle. I need to go through some old contracts. Try to see what they're going to do with them. If the CDs are going out of print, then we'd like to figure out a way to remaster the shit. It's been 20 years. I'd like to do a remaster and a release.
BBG: Perhaps a boxset?
TD: Definitely. I just have to see what the dealio is with the original contract. I can go and rerecord the shit, but it's not what I want to do. I really want to remaster. We don't remix. We can bring up the bass, change it sonically. Make it sound a lot better. The technology today makes songs sound clearer.
BBG: You were supposed to be on tour this month. What happened there?
TD: I don't know. We're checking out different agencies. Until it's something worthwhile, I'm not doing. It's for everyone in the band: we want to go out and play, but we don't want to do it half assed. Then we had the whole Brent (Muscat, original guitarist) issue. We got that taken care of, but now we need to let that shit die down.
BBG: The lawsuit didn't stop you from touring. We're you afraid of confusing people?
TD: I'm sick of dealing with promoters. Give it a little bit of space and time. Just do it right. I don't want to go out half assed. It has to be done right.
BBG: Well, tell me how to "do it right."
TD: Booking it well in advance. Plenty of time for promotion. Picking the right bands that are available. Routing it right…just everything. If it takes us doing it ourselves…we're very capable.
BBG: Do you write for other bands?
TD: I don't necessarily intend to. When you have a lot of unfinished stuff around and people need help... They can take it, and put a whole new twist on it. I'm doing that with some people now.
BBG: Will you tell me who you are working with?
TD: Roxy Saint is one and Paulie Perrette from NCIS, that CBS show.
BBG: Last question: will you make any videos to support Power and the Glory Hole?
TD: Yes! We're working on ideas right now. Roxy Saint is really good at that. We might be swapping out some stuff. We might swap songs for her video work.
BBG: Which songs do you want to make clips for?
TD: I don't know yet. We actually might do a couple. Maybe with the same theme…maybe tie them in to each other. It would probably come out in January.