Wussy is a self described five-piece rock and roll band comprised of ex-Ass Ponys frontman Chuck Cleaver (guitar, vocals), Lisa Walker (guitar, vocals), Mark Messerly (bass, keys), Joe Klug (drums, keys) and John Erhardt (pedal steel).
The band, according to it’s own web site, is known for its use of “an army of alternately droning and jangling guitars” (Uncut 6/09) to offset the traditional three-minute pop format. Lyrics are typically split evenly between Cleaver and Walker. Their work has met with consistent critical praise from such sources as Rolling Stone, SPIN, NPR, Christgau’s Consumer Guide, New York Times, Village Voice, Washington Post, Pop Matters and Uncut. Rolling Stone gave the band’s last three albums four stars each, and critic Robert Christgau placed the band’s first two albums (Funeral Dress and Left for Dead) on his Best of the Decade list, while all four Wussy full lengths ranked in his end-of-year Dean’s Lists.
Shortly before SXSW 2012, Wussy added Cleaver’s former Ass Ponys bandmate John Erhardt on pedal steel. The band will undertake their first full US tour throughout summer of 2012, followed by a stripped down UK tour in September to support their newest release, Buckeye, on London-based Damnably Records.
To me, they’re a fine group of friends and artists. And while the band got off to a slow start, enduring and surviving many hard times since forming in 2005, of late they’ve received quite a bit of much deserved love.
In March 2012, legendary rock critic Robert Christgau wrote a lengthy piece on the band saying the following:
“Wussy has been the best band in America since they released the first of their five superb albums in 2005, only nobody knows it except me and my friends. Nevertheless, they remain dishearteningly obscure… I like or love just about every one of the 46 songs on those five albums. We’re talking Beatles-Stones consistency here.”
Of late, the band has been opening for the Afghan Whigs, another hometown favorite. That tour included a sold out homecoming at Bogarts on 10/25/12. Writing recently of the tour bassist and multi-instrumentalist Mark Messelry wrote:
“I have to admit I’ve been looking forward to these Afghan Whigs shows for months. We all love [Afghan Whig’s bassist] John Curley. He’s produced pretty much all our records. I love the Whigs. Most of the shows are sold out and we’re going to get to play some venues that are legendary.”
The photos in this post are from the Bogart’s show.