PISS ANT – interview by rick ellis
Piss Ant is wild–I’m talking “These girls are wild! Too hot for T.V.!” wild. Fronted by the all too glamorous wild child, Josi Kat, and backed up by another femme fatale, guitarist, Amy Brandt, these two vixens have the attitude and the “balls” to deliver a sexy, cool, fetishy, style punk rock. But what about the guys? Guitarist, Dave Foster and drummer, Jeff Duarte complete this provocative ensemble. Piss Ant usually make the rounds within the Hollywood circuit and believe me, Hollywood wouldn’t be complete without a band like Piss Ant. Influenced by a range of music–from punk rock to classic rock, Piss Ant execute a vamped up sound that goes well with Josi Kat’s bratty strut . Josi Kat shows off more than her “bare necessities” on stage, she shows you that she can rock harder and better than anyone out there. This is an act that needs to be heard and seen. They will appeal to all your 5 senses.
I met up with the girls at the Bigfoot Lodge in LA–a delightful place to listen to great rock n roll and have drinks, but completely not the local for an interview. I got nothing but background noise and Josi screaming random shit about porn. Fortunately, Piss Ant was cool enough to re-answer some of my questions.
The name Piss Ant–what is the significance behind the name?
We debated calling the band Body Paint or Dutch Oven, until someone made a comment to the effect of “You guys are just a bunch of piss ants,” and it kinda stuck.
When you’re on stage, do you feel you take on a different persona? How is it different from when you’re off the stage?
Amy: I kind of become the “musician character” I’ve created, which is usually high energy and showy. Off stage I’m pretty lazy.
Josi: Ya, I get to release all of my aggression on stage and occasionally kick someone in head when they are out of line, off stage I try to be polite.
What motivates you to keep playing music?
Amy: Performing live is a big thrill. Especially when the people in the audience truly appreciate the music and the show, and they let you know afterwards. That really helps me keep going.
Josi: Addiction to performing; my first time on stage was like a shot in the arm, I have been chasing it ever since.
Could you see yourself doing anything else-other than music?
Amy: I’ll always do music in some capacity. Whether it’s playing in a punk band, performing acoustically in a coffee house, or just writing music on the piano and making my own CDs. The songs are in me so they have to come out somewhere.
Josi: Music has been and always will be a part of my life, in some form. Eventually, I will a ruthless manager. My parents were in a band when I was little, which meant we traveled around in a school bus, like a dysfunctional Partridge Family and they had lots of parties. So, I was raised in this crazy lifestyle at a very young age. I’m also involved in other side projects like writing for rock magazines, modeling, TV and music videos. You know, your typical LA stuff. I love photographing other bands, my photos have been in magazines and used on several CDs. Not bad for an amateur photographer!
Has it been difficult to rise and establish yourselves as serious performers–in a male dominated scene?
Amy: It’s not so bad anymore. I’ve played shows in the past where as I’m wheeling my amp in, some guy will make a comment like, “How cute. Girl roadies.”
Josi: No actually I view it as an advantage. People LOVE seeing chicks that could rock hard. I think that it has been difficult to rise and establish myself as a serious performer because of VH1 exposure and only because we were featured on a show called “Porn to Rock”. Don’t get me wrong, VH1 was a very cool experience. Most “local” rock bands never get an opportunity to have such a large audience exposed to their music. The only problem with the VH-l special is the fact that I was perceived as a porn star which makes the band look like novelty act. We figured that it was a risk we had to take to get the name out there.
Do you get a lot of shit because you’re women and you’re playing rock n roll? If so, how do you deal with it?
Amy: I can’t really say I’ve necessarily had a problem with that.
What artist/band/person has influenced you the most to be a musician?
Amy: Geddy Lee from Rush for his bass playing, Ann Wilson from Heart for her voice and Lenny Kravitz for his attitude. That guy just oozes “rock star.”
Josi: Collectively we all have different musical influences so I could only speak for myself. I grew up in a family where music played a huge part in our lives. Both of my parents were hippies who owned a studio and played in a band together. Therefore, my earliest influences were bands from the 60 & 70’s like Henderix. During my teenage years I got into punk and listened to Sex Pistols, X and The Clash. As time passed I started listening to punk acts for the UK such as GBH, Exploited, The Damned and Vice Squad. I would have to say the artists I most adore are Joan Jett, Blondie, David Bowie and Iggy Pop. I like the last albums from Distillers and The Briefs.
If there was one thing you regret not doing or doing that has affected you musically, what would that be?
Amy: Maybe being a little more driven when I was younger. But when I was younger I was cockier and was under the assumption that I would definitely “make it.” Now I’m realizing it’s not going to come to me — I need to really work for it — and pray for an ounce of luck.
Josi: Some things I wish I would have done differently but I have no regrets for anything. It is all about enjoying “the process” and having fun.
What’s the most outlandish-outrageous stunt you’ve ever done on stage?
Amy: I’ll leave that one to Josi. She’s the outlandish one.
Josi: This band has had some crazy shows. We have played for Marines at the Base, we had chairs thrown around in Orange County, bottles smashed in Vegas where I got tipped $150 by a drunk. I’m always getting in trouble, I love to dance on the bar or antagonize people, it is usually the drunk men. But sometimes things aren’t always silly we played a show in Lake Tahoe and the cops came and told me to “tone it down” they had it in for me. Shortly after they left, someone got stabbed. Ugh, and the cops were worried about the noise levels.
I think however the biggest stunt pulled off was getting the band on VH1, I informed the producers we were on Playboy TV and they ran with it next thing you know, the whole entire country thinks I’m a porn star
What are you working on now?
Josi: Creatively, we are working on our second CD at the world famous Westlake Audio (where Rolling Stones, Ozzy and No Doubt have recorded) and looking for label support for this release. If you haven’t seen us or heard of us, I hope this interview has made your curious enough to check us out.