When GIRLSCHOOL visited Holland in 2008, we fell in love with one of their support acts right away. BUGGIRL is a twosome consisting of Clinno on drums and Amber on vocals and guitar. They sounded so tough, as if there were five people on stage. Their music is a good mix of THE RAMONES, AC/DC and ROSE TATTOO and their enthusiasm is really overwhelming and heartfelt. On their recent CD, they take us down to their own private ‘Rock’N’Roll Hell’ and a new EP is in the works right now. Amber of BUGGIRL was so kind to give us an update from Down Under - the land of Skippy and koala bears. There’s no escape, so let’s enter the world of BUGGIRL and be prepared for a serious dose of Australian rock’n’roll....
When was BUGGIRL founded and can you please introduce yourself to us?
Amber: “We’ve been a band for about five years. It’s me (Amber) on vox & guitar and my brother Clinno on drums. In this time we’ve released “Rock n Roll Hell” & our new EP “Blood, Sweat & Beers”. The last three years we’ve pretty much toured Europe, UK, Australia and USA non-stop... We stopped briefly in June to record the new album in California with the awesome producer Sylvia Massy. We’ve got some final mixes to complete before it’s ready next year.”
Who came up with the name BUGGIRL and why did you actually choose this name?
Amber: “As a touring band, you have to sleep in a lot of flea-ridden, bug-infested shitholes. We’ve slept in many. Ask any band... You’re always getting attacked by something... Bringing home filth and disease (haha) only to face the fury of your girlfriend or boyfriend. Spreading the disease, hehe. Our loved ones back at home are never impressed. I always prefer sleeping in the tour van.”
Did the two of you play in other bands before BUGGIRL and if yes, can you tell us more about that and did you also record something with these previous bands?
Amber: “Yeah, I was in a band, called PANCAKE DAY. We released an EP, called “The Inedible Adventures Of...”. I played slap bass and was really into the B52S and KORN at the time. Go figure??? We were all really young and still in high school. It was alot of fun. Clinno played drums for this freaked out prog rock band, called GENERIC. It sounded a lot like KING CRIMSON.”
How would you describe your music?
Amber: “No bullshit rock ‘n roll! We don’t like to fuck around. We just do what feels right. Just keep it simple and rockin’ and keep the beer and good times flowing!”
Is it still possible for a band to be original, in a time when there is an overflow of bands? And in which aspect does BUGGIRL differ from all these other bands?
Amber: “I think, the quest for originality is overrated. People are like: “You sound like AC/DC or KISS or whatever. Oh, it’s all been done before, you’ll never get anywhere”. I say: “Who Cares”? They’re totally missing the point of rock ‘n roll. Rock ‘n roll is about staying true to your roots and having a good time. It’s about celebrating your heroes and the music that you love. I’m not interested in changing the face of rock. I like the way rock ‘n roll is. Rock ‘n roll doesn’t need to change. Rock ‘n roll is just rock ‘n roll. We all have our individual voices, techniques, experiences, ways in which we express ourselves. We are all born unique. I think being true to yourself is all the originality you need.”
Who can we see as your musical influences and maybe you can also name some influences of yourself individually here?
Amber: “I am a big fan of classic rock and metal. I love KISS, TED NUGENT, HEART, FLEETWOOD MAC, BETTY DAVIS, JANIS JOPLIN, DEEP PURPLE, JIMI HENDRIX, MOTORHEAD, GIRLSCHOOL, CINDERELLA, AC/DC. WHITESNAKE, LED ZEPPELIN, THIN LIZZY, CAPTAIN BEYOND, SUZI QUATRO, THE SONICS, IRON MAIDEN, METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER, THE DATSUNS. I love Australian music like COLD CHISEL, ROSE TATTOO, THE DIVINYLS, TUMBLEWEED, AUSTRALIAN CRAWL, MIDNIGHT OIL, ICEHOUSE HYTEST, BABYMACHINE, NUNCHUKKA SUPERFLY.. Actually I really love Australian music of the eighties. This was a golden era for Aussie pub rock. Lyrically and atmospherically, the music of this time really conjures the landscape and culture of Australia. When I’m on the road and home sick, listening to eighties Oz rock really takes me home. Instantly, I’m at the beach or in the desert or in the bush or in a pub or in a back street in Kings Cross. Aussie music is definitely my heart. Australia is my heart and we definitely try to keep to our roots and maintain a sense of our home within our music. I think, it’s important for musicians to hold tight to their roots.”
What did you think, when we even dared to compare you with a band like the WHITE STRIPES? (obviously because of the two-piece outfit and the brother-sister link)
Amber: “It’s a boring, tedious comparison that we always get. I don’t really listen to WHITE STRIPES, so I dont know what our similarities or differences are. We are more like WHITESNAKE than WHITE STRIPES. There are also many great bands out there with the sibling link also, such as VAN HALEN, HEART, PANTERA, AC/DC, SEPULTURA, STRYPER, THE BLACK CROWES, SPLIT ENZ, THE STOOGES, THE VON TRAPP FAMILY. The WHITE STRIPES were married.. I think, that’s a little strange for siblings... haha!”
How did the press react towards your most recent album “Rock ‘N’ Roll Hell” so far?
Amber: “The press are OK. I always like to avoid reviews. They’re too subjective. I only care for my opinion anyway.”
Were there any negative reactions as well, and if yes, how do you deal with negative criticism in general?
Amber: “I get pissed off, initially. Then I get over it, drink a beer and say “fuck ‘em”. “Who are they anyway?” “They can go suck a big fat cheesy dogs dick, haha!” It takes a lot of personal strength to ignore bad press. In the end you gotta be true to yourself and your fans and friends. You gotta have a good sense of humour about it and not take yourself too seriously. I love the music we make. Our friends and fans love it. That’s the only thing that matters to me. If our friends, family, loved ones and fans are having a good time with us, then that’s awesome!! Everyone’s welcome to have a good time at a BUGGiRL show. Most people have a great time. The reviewers can stand in the back and complain about how shitty their lives are, I don’t care. The rest of us will be loving life, having a rock ‘n roll party to the break of dawn, hehe...”
Can you tell us how you created the songs/ideas for this album? Please
tell us about your writing process and its different stages.
Amber: “A lot of our songs are written on the road or in sound-checks whatever. Most of our time is spent on the road, so it’s hard to find time to write, you’re either driving or playing a show or too hung-over for writing songs. We had a great break over the summer period at home in Australia. We were on tour for most of the year. To come home for the Australian summer was such a reward. We spent the time in the sun, at the beach, at the pub watching bands, hanging out with friends and drinking lots of beer. It was great to be home. Most nights we were in the studio writing new stuff. So, the vibe was really great for writing. We were feeling great! Our chops were sharp, because of all the touring and we were just dying to write. Most of the songs come out of jam environments. Just getting psyched with a few beers. When the vibe is right, then good songs just come.”
Who writes the lyrics and what are they about?
Amber: “The lyrics are pretty positive. We’re all about having a good time.”
Maybe there are a few songs that you would like to explain a little bit
more? “Ian Astbury” would be a fine choice to explain a bit closer....
Amber: “It’s in the lyrics. I think it’s kinda obvious what I’m saying, hehe.”
Who was responsible for the great artwork on “Rock ‘N’ Roll Hell”?
Amber: “Me & Clinno. We like to be in control of our artwork.”
Where can people buy your CD? Please promote your album here for free!!
Amber: “Our CDs are distributed through Cargo Records in Europe/UK, MVD in the USA and Stomp in Australia. They’re available online almost anywhere. Our website is http://www.buggirl.net or http://www.myspace.com/thebuggers. And, if you’re still having trouble, just email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send one personally.”
What's your favorite BUGGIRL song and why?
Amber: “War & Fire”. It’s over the top and ridiculous.”
Is the first BUGGIRL CD “Looming Shadows” (2004) still available and where can people order a copy? . Does the music differ much from the powerful kick ass rock and roll songs on “Rock ‘N’ Roll Hell”?
Amber: “Looming Shadows” is no longer available and for a reason.”
And what’s the biggest difference between those two albums in your opinion?
Amber: “Rock ‘N’ Roll Hell” kicks its arse!”
How important is the internet for a band like BUGGIRL and where can people find you?
Amber: “Very important. The internet is really great for independent bands. It’s great for music lovers. Music listeners now have such variety and choices at their fingers tips. Everyone can now be their own A&R basically. We no longer need record labels. There is no need for a mainstream music now. Actually, I don’t even know why mainstream music still exists. I guess, there are still a lot of clueless fucks out there that need to be told what to listen to and how to live their lives.”
Do you handle all the internet business yourself or do you outsource this job?
Amber: “A bit of both. Any help is always more than welcome. We survive with a little help from our friends and fans.”
Do you have other hobbies or interests besides playing in a band?
Amber: “Not really. Rock ‘n roll is everything! Actually, I also really like drinking, hanging out with friends, smoking... Both Clinno and I love swimming. I love the ocean. I love driving, particularly in Australia. I love driving fast. I love the Australian bush and its wildlife. I love being at home with friends and family. BBQs are great, too. I love rollercoasters and waterslides. I love fast cars. Fireworks, storms and lightning. I love perving on motorbikes and bikers. I love sex. Tattoos. I love to get the adrenaline pumping. I love being with people. I love being alone. Boots are good. A good sleep is good. I love good beds and hot showers. I love taking codeine and anti-histamines and drinking bourbon on airplanes. I like making fun of people. I love a good belly laugh. I love a good feed and a good head job. A good meat pie and sauce. I am excellent at burping and really enjoy it quite a lot. I get upset, when people don’t appreciate this. I love sitting on the couch in a snuggy and huggies watching the Mighty Boosh. Animals are cool. Birds are the coolest. Aside from this, rock ‘n roll will always be king! I love my life. It’s excellent. Nothing beats it!”
What can people expect from the live shows of BUGGIRL?
Amber: “Hopefully, if things are going well, we’ll all have a fuckin’ good time. Lots of rock ‘n roll worship going on.”
Do you use any show elements during your live gigs?
Amber: “One day, there will be fireworks, walls of Marshalls, dancing girls, lions and tigers, free money for all and fiery hoops of death... One day. Until then, it’s just a simple rock ‘n roll show. Just me & Clinno making heaps of noise, drinking heaps of beer, sweating our tits off and hopefully, having a good fuckin’ time at it.”
On the “2005 Infestation World Tour EP”, you covered “Kickstart My Heart”, originally written by MÖTLEY CRÜE. Whose idea was it to use this song and why did you choose this particular tune?
Amber: “I thought, it really suited us. It’s a fuckin’ kick arse song and it really gets me pumped every time I hear it. It’s one of the best rock ‘n roll songs ever written. Clinno’s drum style is similar to Tommy Lee and I’m comfortable singing in the same register as Vince Neil. More than that, the song just fuckin’ rocks! We do play it with a more laid back blues vibe, though we don’t play it much these days.”
Same question here about the availability of this limited independent release of 2005. Is this five tracker still available somehow?
Amber: “No. That was a limited release for the 2005 tour only. There are plenty of copies floating around in the Netherlands though. Look in your local second hand music store.. You might get lucky!”
On your latest album there is a song, called “Get Picked Up”, which was originally written by Betty Davis. How did you get to cover this particular song, which is not really well-known to us? (Same goes for Betty Davis, by the way)
Amber: “Betty Davis is a huge influence. You gotta check her out!! I just love her. She’s one saucy seventies funk mama. Married to Miles Davis and had a wild affair with Jimi Hendrix. I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall for that. She is a total sex maniac. I definitely relate to her sexually. We do not do this song justice at all. But, I love this song and had to give it a go. I would like to try recording it again actually. This woman has the soul of a wild cat on heat. She gets me hot!! Such a sexy song writer.”
How did you get included on the sampler CD of the famous British rock magazine Classic Rock? We were very positively surprised to find you there!
Amber: “We have quite a good following in England. I think the Classic Rock fellas were at our London show. They’ve been really supportive. They’re so great. It was a real thrill being in that mag. Wow! What a high. I still have a copy wrapped in plastic. It cost me like $15. Ha!”
With which other bands did you share the stage already?
Amber: “DORO, DANKO JONES, GIRLSCHOOL, PETER PAN SPEEDROCK, V8WANKERS, TEXAS TERRI, PAPUL DIANNO, BENEDICTUM, TOURETTES, TRUCK FIGHTERS.”
Did you learn anything from well-known bands like GIRLSCHOOL for example?
Amber: “It was so great meeting GIRLSCHOOL Those chicks fuckin’ rock! I idolise these women. What a band!! Fuckin’ awesome! It was so exciting meeting them. I went into super fan mode and was really nervous. But they were so nice. It felt like we’d been mates for years. I was well impressed by their power and strength to rock. They’re such a tight rockin’ band with great songs. I was well impressed by how easy and friendly they were, too. No bullshit egos. That’s really awesome!! Another really exciting moment in my life.”
With which band would you like to go on tour, if you could pick any band of your choice?
What was your most important gig so far?
Amber: “Either playing with PETER PAN SPEEDROCK in Switzerland or the Wacken party in Berlin with DORO and GIRLSCHOOL.”
What do you like better: playing live on stage or composing new songs in the studio?
Amber: “I love it all. But nothing beats sweating it out onstage and getting smashed with a bunch of fun people, who are having a great time, too.”
Which other, well-known bands come from the area, where you live? Maybe you have some tips about good female fronted bands for us?
Amber: “Wollongong has some really great bands such as TUMBLEWEED, HYTEST, THE WATT RIOT, PINK FITS, MONSTROUS BLUES, RICHIE & THE CREEPS, PROTON ENERGY PILLS, ZAMBIAN GOAT HERDERS, NABILONE, LEADFINGER, THE UNHEARD and THE NICE FOLK. Some great female-fronted bands from Australia include THE DIVINYLS, BABYMACHINE, BRACODE, EVOL, TOURETTES, NAIAD, NITOCRIS, MATRIMONY, DAMNZAL, SIN CITY, BRIGITTE HANDLEY & THE DARK SHADOWS, BITCHSLAP, WHITE KNUCKLE FEVER, CHERRY 2000, VALENTINE, THE SPILLS, WALRORA, MAGIC DIRT, PRIMARY, TOKYO SPARES, KILLING HEIDI, CRACKWHORE, ANGELIK, BANG BANG BANGS and SPAZZYS.”
What are the future plans for BUGGIRL (long and short term, please)?
Amber: “To rock ‘n roll forever! Just more of the same good shit really.”
Do you think, that women in rock and metal still need the kind of recognition that 'zines like Metal Maidens give to them?
Amber: “Absolutely! Women are still totally under-represented in metal media. Not just in metal & rock. The world is guilty of still ignoring women in music full stop!! And there is such a stereotype for how a woman in metal/rock and pop should behave. I can’t believe the number of times that people come up to me and say “Wow, I’ve never seen a women play guitar like you before”. It’s unbelievable. Where the fuck have these people been? Locked away since the dark ages? I can’t believe that people have the assumption that, because you’re a woman you can’t play guitar. What the fuck is that! Are these people retarded? It’s a real shame that people are so stupid. I can’t believe, that these people have never seen or heard of the likes of Ruyter Suys of NASHVILLE PUSSY, HEART’s Nancy Wilson, Allison Robertson of THE DONNAS, THE GREAT KAT, LITA FORD, JOAN JETT, BONNIE RAIT, Kelly Johnson (R.I.P.) & Jax Chambers of GIRLSCHOOL, Michelle Meldrum (R.I.P.), MICHAEL JACHSON’s guitarists JENNIFER BATTEN & ORIANTHI, Jan Kuehnemund of VIXEN, Donita Sparks & Suzi Gardner of L7, Wata from BORIS, Liz Buckingham of ELECTRIC WIZARD. I was at a recording studio in the USA hanging out with some metal sound engineers and they’d never heard of SUZI QUATRO. Can you believe it? That is seriously a rock ‘n roll crime in the first degree. If the media, record labels and society in general were more supportive of chicks in rock and made us more visible, the world would be one hot rock ‘n roll party!! Metal Maidens is certainly a very much needed zine. Women warriors of rock ‘n roll, we salute you!! Great work. Thank you!”
Our online magazine is based in Holland (or the Netherlands, if you like). What else do you know about our country, besides the fact that we have colourful tulips and beautiful windmills?
Amber: “Frikadelles, Dommelsch, van Nelle, Herman Brood, Adrian Vandenberg, Dirk Hartog, Willem Janszoon, hash and shrooms, bestiality, the light globe, van Gogh, Gouda, Rembrandt, Abel Tasman, dykes, London City amps & PETER PAN SPEEDROCK.”
Are there any important gigs on the agenda for BUGGIRL?
Amber: “We are looking forward to a Netherlands tour in October with PETER PAN SPEEDROCK. To play with these guys is an absolute honour, but to be playing with them in their home-country is the greatest thing. We are looking forward to a few trips back to London. Berlin and Stockholm are always fun. It’s gonna be awesome to catch up with a lot of friends again. There are alot of good times ahead for sure.”
Do you have any plans of returning back to the European continent or is it still too early to tell?
Amber: “Yes, we sure are! From late August to early December we will be touring Europe!”
What's the best thing about being in a band? And maybe there is an inferior side too, that you would like to mention here?
Amber: “It’s a really great life. It’s hard at times, you know, car troubles, no sleep, hangovers, no money, no food, homesickness, bad shows. But the good definitely out weigh the bad. Having no money really sucks and we’re always homeless. But that can be fun, too.”
What are your plans for the next BUGGIRL album? What will it sound like and do you have to prepare ourselves for any major changes?
Amber: “We’ve just released a new EP “Blood, Sweat & Beers”. It’s more rock, more Australian... It’s dirty & raw. It’s available through Sonic in NL and Cargo in Germany and Europe. We’ve also just finished recording a new album in the US, which we will release when we finish the “Blood, Sweat & Beers” tour. Probably sometime next year. We’re pretty excited about it. Just more of the same old rock ‘n roll shit and we love it!”
Will BUGGIRL eventually develop into a band with more members than two, or are you both planning to continue as a duo for a longer period of time?
Amber: “Clinton’s thinking of going solo. I wish him all the best.”
Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
Amber: “Keep rock alive and support your local rock bands!”
The famous last words of this interview are for Amber and Clinno…
Amber: “Rock ‘n roll forever! Get a beer down ya neck!
Visit their official website at: www.buggirl.net
or go to their My Space site at: www.myspace.com/thebuggers