By day, Jenny Juristo Morrison nurses stroke patients back to health as a
speech pathologist in Brooklyn, N.Y. By night, she, singer Cindy Wheeler,
bassist Mary Catherine Guidera and drummer Billy Orrico become Pee Shy.
The band, that is.
"It's P-e-e, S-h-y," said band co-leader Juristo Morrison, 33, snacking on nacho
cheese chips while at her day job in New York. "It's literally what it means. If you
look it up on the Internet, you'll get the Bashful Bladder Organization."
And 732,000 other websites, to be exact. "And pee shy isn't gender-specific,"
she said, explaining that for men, it's a visually triggered fear, while for women,
it has more to do with hearing. "It's an absolutely paralytic condition that you
absolutely cannot pee if you're going to be seen or overheard," she said.
As a band, however, Pee Shy are about to be overheard by an entire nation,
whether they like it or not.
Whisper"(RealAudio excerpt), the lead single from their upcoming
sophomore release, Don't Get Too Comfortable, has fast become one of
the most-added tracks at alternative radio stations. And that's nothing to be shy
Perhaps coming into their own as a band and as musicians, Pee Shy's "Mr.
Whisper" contains a slightly blissful style that melds a one-note, lo-fi sound into
a thin layer of complicated, jangly guitar hooks and beautiful vocal harmonies
between Juristo Morrison and Wheeler. "It's power pop with something smart,"
said Juristo Morrison, who holds a master's degree in speech language-
pathology from the University of South Florida, where she also hosted
numerous avant-garde radio shows on National Public Radio.
Adding to their pop sensibilities, band co-founder Wheeler is a national slam-
poetry champion. As a group, the band tackles everything from accordions to an
ebo (a bow designed for use on a guitar, which produces a sound similar to a
violin) to a Casio rhythm box on their latest LP, which hits stores Jan. 27.
The group formed five years ago in Tampa, Fla., as a two-person performance-
art project between Juristo Morrison and singer/songwriter Wheeler, who
hosted open-mic nights at her Three Birds Bookstore. By 1995, Three Birds had
closed shop, and the band had added bassist Guidera, signed to Blue Gorilla
Records and released its acclaimed lo-fi debut, Who Let All The Monkeys
Out. Three years later, Pee Shy becomes a Mercury act, and Juristo
Morrison says it's time to shake any residual modesty that she and her
bandmates may still be hanging on to.
"The reason we moved to New York was to prioritize," Juristo Morrison said,
explaining that Pee Shy feared getting dropped after Blue Gorilla's other artist,
Joan Osborne, broke big two years ago. "We tried to go about making a second
record by being near the record company, so we could develop some sort of
relationship and not get dropped. The reason we came to New York was for
Now, Pee Shy takes priority for Juristo Morrison and her bandmates who, aside
from their waitressing jobs, have been spending the past few Tuesday nights
performing in residence at Philadelphia's Cadillac Grill. This summer, the band
would love to play songstress Sarah McLachlan's popular all-women Lilith Fair,
she said. "It's so easy to say that our dreams have already come true. When we
made our first record, we could barely play our instruments," Juristo Morrison
said. "Cindy (Wheeler) and I could naturally sing, and I had a clarinet
background. So where does that take you? But to make and release a record
with a major label?
"The dream has already happened for us," she added. "So now, it's time for a
new dream. I go to sleep going, 'OK ... I wanna get on Conan O'Brien,' and all
that. But if the rug got pulled out from under us tomorrow, we'd know we already
accomplished something truly wonderful." [Mon., Jan.
19, 1998, 9 a.m. PST]