A Mannequin Pussy refresher

Katie Capri

Mannequin Pussy,

Kaleen Reading, Marisa Dabice, Thanasi Paul are Mannequin Pussy. Photo by Roxy Campos

We’ve been fans of Mannequin Pussy for a while. In fact, it’s probably our favorite band name ever. The trio—Marisa Dabice (guitar/vocals), Thanasi Paul (guitar) and Kaleen Reading (drums)—just got back from a month-long tour and are prepping the re-release of their first LP Gypsy Pervert, remastering their “gotta get it out there” version released on cassette this past February. With a new (old) record about to hit the streets, we wanted to catch up with the band and got the chance after they played a sweaty set at Shea Stadium this Wednesday.

After Krill wrapped up the humid show, we stepped outside into an industrial alleyway to get some relatively fresh air and talk about line up changes, Philly vs. New York as touring musicians, Pussy band names, and how The Sims prepared them for real life.

You guys are all from New York?

Marisa & Thanasi (in unison): No.

Thanasi: None of us are from New York.

Oh, so like the rest of New York?

Marisa: Yes, like the rest of New York.

Thanasi: Me and Marisa are from Connecticut and Kaleen is from New Jersey.

Did you all meet in New York?

Marisa: Thanasi and I have known each other since we were five years old. We both lived in New York at the same time for a little while and then we started the band. A few years later, we met Kaleen and now this is MP.

Was the band always Mannequin Pussy?

Marisa & Thanasi (in unison): Yeah, we were always Mannequin Pussy.

Thanasi: It was just me and Marisa at first. I played drums and Marisa was guitar and vocals. Then I switched to guitar and we had another drummer for a year?

Marisa: Yeah, it was just a year. It was a very good year.

Thanasi: And then we found Kaleen, was it three months?

Ago?

Kaleen (laughs): Yeah.

Marisa: Yeah, we played like three shows and then went on a month long tour together.

Kaleen: Great way to bond, ya know?

What prompted you to move to Philly?

Marisa: After our first tour in October of last year, we got back and I pretty much had a panic attack about how I could possibly continue to live in New York and go on tour ever again. It just took so much effort and I had to move out of all my apartments. Thanasi was a little more stable. He did it twice.

Thanasi: It’s hard to do a tour more than once a year living in New York.

Marisa: Yeah, and have a full time job and being able to leave that as we continue to tour more.

Thanasi: You have to have a really cool boss.

Marisa:Philly is so close to New York and cheap and everyone there is just so wonderful.

You guys mentioned online that this show and the one at DBA on Saturday were going to be your last show in New York for a while…

Thanasi: Well, we’ll see what happens.

Marisa: If there’s a really good show going on, we’re not going to not play it. But if it’s a wonky show, I’d rather just save the tolls to stay home and practice with these guys.

This question: Origin of the band name?

Marisa: That’s up to you. It’s not a good story. We just are Mannequin Pussy.

And you’ve been around for a while now?

Marisa: Yeah, about four years.

Oh shit, you’re like the OG Pussy.

Marisa: Oh yeah. OG Pussy, on the record. We actually had this big idea to do Pussypalooza, which gets all the past and present pussy bands together for this one show. Natural Pussy, Pussy Riot, Hairy Pussy, Pussy Galore, us and Perfect Pussy, of course. And it will be headlined by Rachel Leigh Cooke, Rosario Dawson and Tara Reid, the original line up of Josie and the Pussycats. We just have to put away like five percent every time we get paid to pay for Tara Reid. I imagine her rider is very expensive.

[Pussypalooza] will be headlined by Rachel Leigh Cooke, Rosario Dawson and Tara Reid, the original line up of Josie and the Pussycats. We just have to put away like five percent of every time we get paid to pay for Tara Reid. I imagine her rider is very expensive.

Until that comes to fruition, what other stuff are you up to? The new record, or re-release, comes out very soon.

Marisa: Yeah I mean, it is a new record. We remastered it and resequenced it. Me and Thanasi actually spent a lot of time on the order. We made sure to smoke a lot of joints and listen to it like a million times.

Thanasi: Also me moving from Chinatown [NYC] to Philly, either this month or on the first of October.

Marisa: Yeah, we have lived in different places for a while now it will be so great to be able to practice all together again.

You and Marisa don’t live together?

Kaleen: No, I still live in Jersey but very close to Philly. And I’ve never lived in Brooklyn.

Thanasi: Me either! That’s on the record.

I like to look at New York as a game.

Marisa: I like to look at life as a game.

Kaleen: The Game of Life.

Marisa: Honestly, I think The Sims prepped me more than anything. My Sims were always really well fed and always clean and really good at their jobs. There was some evil shit that I did too. Like I always made sure my Sims had a ton of affairs going on and then I would invite everyone over.

My Sims were always really well fed and always clean and really good at their jobs.

Thanasi: Like Melrose’s Place. I only played it for two weeks but I would just try to find ways to ruin my Sims‘ lives.

Marisa: Yeah! And everyone would get so pissed when they find out their significant other was cheating on them.

Kaleen: We should start playing it again.

Marisa: Right?!

Mannequin Pussy’s first full-length Gypsy Pervert will be back on cassette and available for the first time on vinyl September 9 via Tiny Engines. You can catch them live in Brooklyn at Death By Audio tomorrow (Saturday, September 6) and touring through the south this fall, dates below. 

October
23 Washington DC – TBA
24 Harrisonburg, VA – My Mansion
25 Durham, NC – 506 w/ Paint Fumes, Flesh Wounds
26 Nashville, TN – Pussy Palace (Olivia’s Basement)
27 Atlanta – 529 Bar
28 Savannah, GA -TBA
29 Miami – TBA
30 Tallahasee, FL – PRE-FEST 13 SHOW
31 Gainesville, FL – FEST 13

November
01 New Orleans – Circle Bar w/ Beth Israel
02 Houston/Beaumont, TX – TBA w/ Beth Israel
03 Mcallen, TX – TBA
04 San Antonio, TX – TBA
05 Austin, TX – TBA
06 Austin, TX – TBA
07 Tulsa, OK – TBA
08 Arkansas – TBA
09 Memphis -TBA
10 Kentucky – TBA
11 Blacksburg, VA – TBA
12 Richmond, VA – TBA

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