Shock or not, it’s gotta rock

Bassist Corey Parks was thrilled to see one of her musical heroes attend a recent Nashville Pussy concert — although Parks has already outscorched her fire-blowing predecessor in one crucial category.

“My flames are two or three times the size of [Kiss lead singer] Gene Simmons’ flames,” she says in a throaty drawl. That should come as no surprise, considering Parks’ 6’3″ frame (her brother, Cherokee, plays in the NBA).

“It is dangerous,” she allows about her hot onstage antics; “I get burned all the time.”

But that’s about the closest this old-school rock chick comes to a qualm. Joan Jett and Suzi Quatro were influences, she says, because “they f•••in’ rocked, while still being feminine.”

The band, which also features husband-and-wife team Blaine Cartwright (lead vocals and songwriting) and Ruyter Suys (lead guitar), plus drummer Jeremy Thompson, actually hails from Athens, Ga.; their name comes from an infamous lyric in an infamous song (we won’t mention the title here) from Ted Nugent’s Double Live Gonzo album. Yes, NP’s brand of roof-ripping, punked-out garage rock (it’s loud and played with an amazing, aggressively grandiose dexterity) definitely has retro roots, but their singular sound and outrageous live performances make them a bit of a modern-day marvel.

True to her highly opinionated nature, Parks puts it this way:

“Rock ‘n’ roll is at an all-time low. If you look back, there’s always been a popular genre, be it metal, pop, disco, back to classic rock. The last one was grunge, and because of the way grunge affected popular culture, now every college guy with a guitar thinks he can play music. As a result, you’ve got an overabundance of horrible musicians. Then the big labels sign these sh••y bands that you hear one song from and then never hear again. There are no [new] Rolling Stones today, no AC/DC, very few talented musicians that can actually play. I’m so f•••g sick of some [singer] staring at his tennis shoes and whining about how he can’t get laid. … There are certain people who were meant to be onstage, and others who weren’t. For us, it’s about putting on a show and giving people their 10 or 12 dollars’ worth.”

People need NP’s music, Parks insists. Because of the scarcity of what she calls “real” bands these days, established rock fans are starving, and young kids are ignorant of even the most rudimentary rock history. The band works hard to fill that first void, and as for the kids — let’s just say that learning begins at home, if NP has anything to do with it.

“My 13-year-old sister had never even heard of AC/DC,” fumes Parks, who took care of that in short order: “Now, ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ is all that she plays. I’m really hoping for the next generation.”

Parks realizes that a certain spectrum of NP aficionados is more attracted to the spectacle of the two women’s barely-there stage garb than to the music itself, but Parks maintains that the band’s supporters also include a good number of unlikely fans.

“I have ultra-straight girls coming up to me in the bathroom at shows all the time,” she reports. “They’ll say [in a mincing tone] — ‘I just had to take my boyfriend to see Nashville, uh’ … but that’s as far as they’ll get.

“It shouldn’t be such a big deal,” Parks continues. In fact, she can’t understand the shock over what she views as really just a traditional, hot-blooded rock ‘n’ roll band. There are plenty of real offenders out there, she protests:

“Marilyn Manson is what I consider just [shock rock] — he’s talking about [having oral sex with little boys] onstage. And they just play noise.”

But NP is one group that wouldn’t dream of faking it.

“Everything we are onstage is just an exaggeration of who we really are,” proclaims Parks. “Both Ruyter and I are very sexual girls. I’ve been having orgasms since I was 10 years old.”

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