You probably won't find a more accurate and succinct description of Cadallaca than this
offhand remark from guitarist and singer "Kissy": "We're all about drama," she said.
Take the name Kissy, for starters. Behind that made-up moniker is the musician most
people know as Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker.
For the members of this Pacific Northwest three-piece -- Tucker, organist "Dusty" (the
Lookers' Sarah Dougher) and drummer "Junior" (the drummer for the Lookers, who
usually goes by the name STS) -- the pseudonyms are only a part of the stylish,
purposeful drama in which they wrap themselves.
From the ultra-swank Cadillac that graces the cover of their recently released album,
Introducing Cadallaca (K Records), to the extra-eerie sounds of the mod Farfisa
organ on each of the album's 10 tracks, Cadallaca touch all the bases to evoke an
inflated sense of 1960s girl-group cool, while at the same time -- from their vantage point
as modern indie-rockers -- implicitly critiquing the music industry that spawned girl
"Music itself is dramatic," Tucker said recently from the home she shares with Dougher.
"To really grab people's attention, which Cadallaca loves to do, we like to create a story
and convey some emotion that will draw people in to our own world."
"Part of that drama is creating characters, both within the songs and within our
performance," Dougher said. "Creating dramatic and fictional scenarios, both for
ourselves and others, is one of our favorite pastimes."
Cadallaca also pull people into their realm by talking about nothing but that realm.
During interviews, they strategically drop the band's name into sentences, as if extolling
the virtues of some clubhouse or cult. Sleater-Kinney and the Lookers are largely
referred to as "my other band," just as a politician refers to another candidate not by
name, but as "my opponent."
Introducing Cadallaca makes it quite plain, however, that all the affectation is in
the name of fun, even though it makes a point. Part of the enjoyment of the band's drama
is, after all, the fact that it's over the top. The most obvious example is
Vandals"(RealAudio excerpt), which envisions the bandmembers as cat
burglars. "June 'n' July" (RealAudio excerpt) plays up the theatrical
atmosphere with a frantic rhythm that calls to mind the verses of Queen's "Bicycle Race."
Of course, no band that boasts such conscientious lyricists as Tucker and Dougher
should be thought of as a joke outfit, and Introducing Cadallaca includes several
notably poignant moments, including the lyrics of "Your One Wish" ("I'm your one wish
that you'll never get") and the closing harmonies of "You're My Only One."
In contrast to the more rigorous creative process associated with the Cadallaca
members' "other bands," the songs for Introducing Cadallaca came easily, the
"It just works out," STS said. "Sarah set up an organ in my basement one day and
whipped out this really nice organ-riff, and I just started playing drums to it." From there
the band fell right into place.
"The lyrics and the music come all at once, which is really exciting," Tucker added. "With
Cadallaca, the lyrics are much more like 50 percent of what we're doing, because it's
more like story-telling, more silly, more fun."
While a song such as
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Cadallaca/Two_Beers_Later.ram">"Two Beers Later"
Later"(RealAudio excerpt) might seem to speak directly to the Cadallaca
members' experience -- it craftily describes a promoter more concerned with the money
an all-female band will make than with the music it creates -- Dougher is hesitant to chalk
the inspiration for that or any other song up to actual events.
"As a songwriter, it's really important to be able to fictionalize things," Dougher said, "to
be able to take real-life events or feelings and dramatize them. I definitely think that really
happens all over the Cadallaca record. Nothing is entirely truthful and nothing is entirely
What is undoubtedly truthful and sincere, Tucker says, is the band's appreciation
for the '60s vibe it evokes with its look and sound, and its appreciation for the '90s
indie-rock scene that made a side project such as Cadallaca possible.
"We're living in present times," she said, "not just doing it as this weird gimmick. We
actually love the '60s and the style of girl groups, but we also love the advances women
have made in the last 30 years. Being able to sing about our lives, singing about being
queer or being straight or all those things our band are is really important to us."