Risky business

Christy Kane doesn’t sound like you think she will.

What you expect from the leader of New Orleans neo-grunge trio The Hazard County Girls is the morning-after-Mardi-Gras rasp of a young woman who’s seen it all.

Or at least a hint of jadedness — Kane’s group, after all, is regularly compared to the likes of Hole, Black Sabbath and early Sonic Youth. Their debut album, Never No More (Wooden Wheel Records, 2002), was produced by Daniel Rey of Ramones and Misfits fame.

Yet for now, Kane is talking about cookies.

In particular, pumpkin-spiced ones — “[a] big hit,” Kane says brightly. “I highly encourage bands to bake, and to put baked goods on the front of your stage. It gets people to come up front. They don’t shy away in the back.”

As she talks, Kane laughs. A lot. She acknowledges that offering home-baked cookies at your shows isn’t exactly a hardcore thing to do.

“We always have people that wonder what’s in the cookies, you know, as if they’re spiked with something.”

And the secret ingredients are …

“Sugar and butter,” Kane reveals.

She’s gotten comfortable with preconceived notions about her band, whose Dukes of Hazzard-borrowed name suggests an all-girl novelty act — some sort of rockabilly-hybrid group sporting extra-tight jeans sawed off at the hips.

“I think that people assume that we’re going to be a gimmick band,” Kane says with mock exasperation, “and that we’re going to have Bo and Luke selling merchandise, and we’re all gonna be in short-shorts and be touring in a General Lee or something. That’s not the case at all. We took the name ‘hazard’ because of the meaning of the word.”

After a slight pause, she adds, “And because it sounded good.”

Obviously, Kane, along with co-founding drummer Sharon Heather, wanted The Hazard County Girls to break free of tired girl-group stereotypes.

But which ones?

Their first two bassists, Sean Yseult (of White Zombie) and KatieLynn Campbell (recently added to the ranks of Nashville Pussy) were hardly demure, modern-rock waifs. Even when Kane and Heather found a permanent bassist in Jen K., the group’s basic vibe — loud, aggressive and apology-free — stayed the same.

Then again, loud and aggressive has been done before, too — most memorably with female-dominated grunge groups like The Breeders, L7 and Hole (the group to whom The Hazard County Girls are most commonly likened). But even after nearly two years of somewhat unfavorable comparisons to Courtney Love’s group, Kane manages not to sound defensive.

“I kind of expected that entire thing to come out,” she says cheerfully, “especially with me playing guitar and being blonde and wearing a dress. If I had short black hair and black leather pants, maybe they’d compare me to Joan Jett.

“We’re not an ‘angry girl band,’ you know?” she continues, going on to list such unlikely influences as The Suplecs — a professional-wrestling-themed group also from New Orleans — and Cab Calloway. In fact, the trio’s unusual flexibility might provide a clue to their popularity: The Girls have opened for everyone from surf legend Dick Dale to Assjack, Hank Williams III’s metal project. One male fan even compared them to ZZ Top.

“We’re kind of aggressive, but I don’t scream,” Kane explains.

Even when New Orleans’ Offbeat magazine bestowed The Hazard County Girls with its “Best Emerging Rock Band” award, girlish modesty apparently took a front seat.

“We were totally surprised by that one.”


The Hazard County Girls play Stella Blue (31 Patton Ave.) on Friday, June 6 at 10 p.m. with Dixie Witch and Mindshapefist. For cover and more information, call 236-2424.

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