|Interview by Burt Wolf with chief leprechaun/lead screamer, Drama & bassist, Raina of
SWITCHBLADE KITTENS. Interview done February 11th, 2002.
PLEASE GIVE ME SOME HISTORY ON SWITCHBLADE KITTENS & HOW YOU GOT TOGETHER?
Drama: Wait, I can't do this without coffee...hold on...(brings out huge latte cup)...OK! (Reads bands bio) "It
was odd. She was just sitting there playing bass in the rain oblivious to the world around her. Apparently, her car
broke down & she was waiting for some one to pick her up. So while she waited she just took out her bass &
started playing it on a bench in the rain" Drama & Pep walked up to her & explained that they had just lost their
bass player & asked her to join SWITCHBLADE KITTENS. Not a scaredy cat, the strange girl on the bench
agreed to join, & from that day the girl was known as Raina (the female form of rain). With the addition of a bass
player the band had a two bass combo like no other band.
Raina: Drama & Pep found me under a tree (no kidding!). I like trees.
WHY WAS THE NAME SWITCHBLADE KITTENS CHOSEN FOR THE BAND?
Drama: The name actually came from a short film directed by Jim Edwards-the founder of BARKING
WEASEL PRODUCTIONS (who will be directing SWITCHBLADE KITTEN's "My Dad's A Janitor" music
video). He made a really funny short film about this menacing cat named Switchblade Kitten that attacks & eats
green army men that a little boy leaves lying on the floor. I won't tell you the end, but it is quite humorous. So the
name of the cat was Switchblade Kitten. It was also a perfect name cause I wanted a "feminist, we are all grrls in
this together" name, but we are by no means those grrls. I liked the fact that Switchblade brings to mind
toughness & Kitten is a slur for female. So people would know we are tough grrls.
WHO OR WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR INFLUENCES IN MUSIC OR LIFE IN GENERAL?
Drama: Courtney Love & Eric Erlandson. "Teenage Whore" was the first song I learned on guitar. Carol Kaye-
the greatest bass player in the universe. THAT DOG, BLONDIE, MADONNA, George Sand-a French novelist &
poetess, QUEEN CLEOPATRA, & your mum (looks at interviewer).
Raina: My mom has most influenced my life. As for the past few years, I must say that Drama & Pep have
most influenced the music I am playing!
Drama: Ahhh! She likes me, she really likes me!
SWITCHBLADE KITTENS HAS A DEFINITE PUNK ROCK SOUND, BUT I DO HEAR SOME OTHER
INFLUENCES AS WELL. HOW WOULD YOU BEST DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE & SOUND?
Drama: If BLONDIE & BLINK 182 had a baby that had a lesbian affair with KENICKIE, but married the
cousin's niece of THAT DOG, named Carol Kaye. Then that is what we sound like.
WHO CAME UP WITH THE COOL SWITCHBLADE KITTENS CHARACTER?
Drama: Your mum!
Raina: No, your mom!
HOW WELL HAS YOUR CD "HEY PUNK! TRY HEROIN(S)" BEEN DOING SINCE IT'S RELEASE?
Drama: Fine thanks & you? No really, we sold close to 5000 copies. BUT we went with this one distribution
company called ORCHARD, they sold our CDs & NEVER paid us. Don't ever use them. Goddess knows how
many they sold?
Raina: ORCHARD! Booooooo, Hisssssss!
WHAT IS SOME OF THE LYRICAL CONTENT OF YOUR SONGS?
Drama: "Emily" is a series of Emily Dickinson stanzas put together & "My Dad Is A Janitor", is about loving
your dad, cause you gotta love your dad (unless of course he abandoned you & let your mum struggle), & "Solar
Plexus Kick" is about my guardian angel...
Raina: The song "You'd Be So Pretty If" is about the pressures girls have to be pretty... My favorite line from
that song is, "Your pretty looks like prison!"
I LOVE YOUR COVER OF CELINE DION'S "MY HEART WILL GO ONE (THE THEME FROM
TITANIC)". WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO COVER THIS SONG?
Drama: Many soundtracks have songs that give the wrong idea about sex to young women. This song did that.
The movie says to grrls, don't think about the future, just sleep with a guy. The song was an extension of the
film. What really annoyed me was that so many teenage grrls were into that song which was reminiscent of the
mores of the movie. Plus it HAD to be done, it just had to.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SONG ON YOUR CD & WHY?
Drama: "All Cheerleaders Die", because I wrote it about my experiences
in middle school. I didn't fit in & the other girls made fun of me & beat
me up. Everyone looked the same, all tan with blonde hair & blue eyes.
Middle school was like being attacked by the Malibu Barbie isle at a toy
Raina: I like "Solar Plexus Kick". It's fast & fun to play
YOU USE NO GUITARS ON YOUR RELEASE, WHICH IS ALL
BASS, DRUMS & VOCALS. ARE YOU ANTI-GUITAR & WHY THE
DECISION OF NO GUITARS?
Drama: Shhhh! There are no guitars. (Looks around suspiciously)
Bassorama? (She runs & shuts the door. Then sits very close to the
interviewer). The bassorama is a mixture of tuning & several effects
through the processor. So Pep had to play it everyday, so he tweaked it &
made the final effects, but much to the chagrin of Pep, I am taking apart
basses again. I inverted what I am calling the Bassola. It is a bass that
sounds like a viola. Hey if you don't like instruments, invert your own.
Raina: We don't need no stinking guitars!
IS THERE A NEW CD IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Drama: We are recording a CD right now, we will be releasing our 2nd CD in
April. It will be called "KITTY PORN".
IT SOUNDS LIKE YOUR MUSIC HAS A GOOD UP BEAT HUMOR TO IT.
DO YOU FIND THAT PEOPLE DON'T TAKE YOU SERIOUS AT TIMES?
Drama: Goddess, I hope not!
WHAT IS THE BEST & WORST THING ABOUT BEING A FEMALE
Drama: The best thing is that I can wear pink & not create a gay scandal, the
worst is that industry people are always concerned about everyone's weight, well
we are not fat & we don't intend to be, but I bet no one follows Fred Durst
around & asks him if he intends to diet.
Raina: The best things are the music, the fans & the possibility of being a positive
role model for girls. The most difficult thing for me is wearing makeup. Ugh!
HAVE YOU GENERATED ANY LABEL INTEREST IN SWITCHBLADE
Signing to a label is like a marriage & you are not going to marry someone just
because they proposed. I need to date a few & see which one will take care of
me best. Plus free dinners are nice.
A SWITCHBLADE KITTENS SHOW SEEMS LIKE IT WOULD BE A
VERY ENJOYABLE TIME, COULD YOU PLEASE DESCRIBE WHAT AN
AVERAGE LIVE SHOW WOULD BE LIKE?
Drama: Some people have said our shows are like BLINK 182 shows. We have
a lot of colour, a lot of jumping around & crazy props & jokes, not to mention the
Raina: Our shows are very colorful. Lots of pinks, purples, blues & greens. Pink
tends to be predominant, with the other colors streaking around in the
HAVE YOU SEEN ANY BIZARRE THINGS AT YOUR SHOWS FROM A
FAN OR A BAND MEMBER?
Raina: I think Drama can be pretty bizarre. I like to watch her, she's shiny!
WHERE WERE SOME OF YOUR MORE MEMORABLE SHOWS &
WHOM DID YOU PLAY WITH?
Drama: The one thing that will live in infamy is show"n"tell. Our rehearsal space
is situated directly behind a house. A five year old boy named Jessie & his family
live in the house. Jessie comes into the rehearsal space all the time. He tries to
play everyone's instruments. We have resorted to bribing him to keep him off
them. Candy, money, anything, just don't touch the drums anymore! Anyway,
this kid hangs around & we just give him earplugs & let him stay. So, he had
been telling his teacher at school that he had a band in his backyard. The teacher
& the other kids didn't believe him & some of the kids were calling him a liar. So
he comes into our rehearsal & says can you come to show"n" tell? And we
laughed at first, but then we realized the crap that Jessie was taking for talking
about our existence. So we packed up all our gear & went to class with him. We
played a few songs for show"n"tell in Jessie's class & then the whole school
literally, the whole pre-school came out to listen. Then all these 5,6 & 7 year
olds started dancing around. Then the teachers started dancing on tables. It was
really the best. Move over Elmo.
Raina: I really enjoyed our SXSW show in Austin, Tx. We played with lots of
great bands including HANGING FRANCIS, THE NUMBERS, JAPANIC &
WERE YOU SAD WHEN THE GREAT JOEY RAMONE PASSED AWAY?
Drama: We tried to get on a tribute CD, but there was much confusion as to
who was doing what. Pleather, (our RTE-Road Technology Engineer) wears a
pin everyday that has a picture of Joey that says "We Remember You". I
think that is how the whole band feels.
WHAT DO THE MEMBERS OF SWITCHBLADE KITTENS DO WHEN
NOT DOING WORK FOR THE BAND?
Drama: Is there life besides the band???
Raina: I try to stay active...I walk everywhere, do yoga & rollerblade. When it
comes to relaxation, I like to drink coffee or tea & watch old movies. I also
volunteer at a local school...maybe someday I'll be a teacher?
Drama: She's going to be a teacher when she grows up!
ARE YOU INTO ANY OTHER STYLES OF MUSIC BESIDES WHAT
YOU PLAY & WHO ARE SOME OF THE BANDS YOUR CURRENTLY
Drama: I mostly just listen to Punk & Country. Let's look at the pile of CD's by
my bed...hmmm...HOLE, KENICKIE, BERLIN, BLINK 182, THE GO-GO'S,
MxPx & JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS. That's it for now.
Raina: I enjoy most genres of music. I love Blues, Soul, Jazz, Rock, Metal,
Hip-Hop...lately I've been listening to HOLE & RADIOHEAD while I'm
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MOVIES OR TV SHOWS?
Drama: I like The Power Puff Girls & The Discovery Channel on the tele. I
loved Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You & Spice World.
Raina: The Princess Bride is one of my all time favorite movies, as well as
Sliding Doors. I love any movie with Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe.
When it comes to TV I like to laugh... The Simpson's!! Who's Line Is It Anyway? Skit comedies like The Kids In
The hall & Upright Citizens Brigade. I love Comedy Central, but sadly I don't have cable. Don't be surprised if
you wake up someday & I am watching your TV. I promise I won't take up too much room.
IF YOU WEREN'T PLAYING IN SWITCHBLADE KITTENS WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE
Drama: Well, I went to film school, so I would be making bad B-movies instead of starring in them.
Raina: Definitely surgery...(Did I forget to mention Spinal Tap is one of my fav. movies?)
Drama: She goes up to 11.
DO YOU REMEMBER WHERE YOU WERE & WHAT YOU WERE DOING WHEN YOU 1ST HEARD
ABOUT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK ON 9-11-01 IN NEW YORK? ANY THOUGHTS ON
Drama: Well, I am on the West Coast, so I was sleeping & then my publicist called me, woke me up & told me
to turn on the news. I am one of these people that remains calm during an emergency & my publicist has family
in New York, so she was a wreck. So I did publicist therapy & then started helping everyone else cope. Then
when I went on the SWITCHBLADE KITTENS board we had a few fans who's fathers, uncles & friends were
still trapped in the building. One grrl in particular I talked to a lot & her relatives never came out & still haven't
been found. So I wrote "My Dad Is A Name On The Wall" for her. It will be on our 2nd CD.
Raina: I have my alarm set to a news channel & it went of shortly after the second tower was hit. My mom
called about five minutes later & I turned on the TV. I was definitely in some state of shock. It was odd being so
far away. I was glued to the TV for days. When they started showing the personal stories, I had to stop
watching. It broke my heart. I think of all the children that were involved. The ones that were in school in NYC
that day, the ones that lost parents...I am so eternally grateful for all of the people that were there to help that
day, the days that followed, the people that are still helping....
Drama: When the tragedy settled (as much as it could) we recorded a Punk Rock version of "The Star Spangled
Banner" that we gave to a charity compilation & then for every CD we sold 10% went to the Red Cross
September 11th fund.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE FOLLOWING TOPICS: SEX, DRUGS, RACISM, RELIGION,
POLITICS & THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?
Drama: The band is straight edge. That means we don't do drugs or drink alcohol, or engage in promiscuous
unprotected sex. Racism-well everyone should have a token male in their band. I think all of us are liberal
Raina: My view on all of those topics
in a nutshell is that they all exist &
should be taken seriously.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT NEXT
FROM SWITCHBLADE KITTENS?
Drama: Pastel coated Punk fun with a
new & improved amp jumping.
Raina: Stay tuned for new music &
many live shows!!!
THANX A LOT FOR TAKEN THE
TIME TO ANSWER MY
QUESTIONS. WOULD YOU LIKE
TO ADD ANYTHING ELSE TO
Drama: Don't get pregnant & go to
college (my Irish Catholic mum said
Raina: Always refrigerate your milk!