Abby Gennet - vocals, rhythm guitar
Pat Harrington - lead guitar
Ilse Baca - Bass
Charles Ruggiero - Drums
EPMS interviewed Abby Gennet of Repossession Records artist, Slunt. She is a former MTV2 and VH1 VJ, and currently hosts all AOL concerts. I had originally called Abby's cell phone at 10 AM.
SLUNT's current lineup began taking shape back in 2002, when Gennet & SLUNT drummer Charles Ruggiero went looking for a lead guitar player. That's when they stumbled upon NYC band Gaggle of Cocks (and their frontman/guitarist, Pat Harrington) at a club called Don Hill's.
"He was ripping it up on the guitar," says Gennet. "The stage actually caught on fire that night. They had to stop the show."
"Abby came up to me and said, 'Smoking show, dude. You guys rock,'" remembers Harrington. "I said, 'Well, of course, we just fucking set the stage on fire.'" Harrington was in.
Abby Gennet: Don't you know you're not supposed to call rock musicians before noon?
EPMS: Sorry, I just wanted to get the interview out well ahead of tonight's show.
Abby Gennet: That's OK, but we never wake up before noon.
EPMS: Who writes your songs?
Abby Gennet: Umm, we all collectively do. Originally, I was the sole writer, but now everybody's taking part. Pat's got a song he wrote all by himself.
EPMS: Are you still driving across country in a van, just the band?
Abby Gennet: Just the four of us, plus our road manager.
EPMS: But Charles doesn't have a license, right?
Abby Gennet: No, but we hope he can get it reinstated soon.
EPMS: How did you go from Miami Beach Senior High Prom Queen in 1989 to MTV2 VJ?
Abby Gennet: Slinging a lot of poo, seeing what sticks.
EPMS: I mean, what was the career progression? You got a job managing a photography studio, right?
Abby Gennet: Boy, you've really done your homework! Actually, I moved to New York to be a photographer. I met Mark Seliger, a photographer for Rolling Stone, and I ended up managing his studio. We rented the studio to others, and when it wasn't available, I was able to use it. I was taking photos of bands. I used to show a lot in galleries. I don't have time any more. One day, I decided that, instead of taking photos of bands, I wanted to be the band.
EPMS: Then you were doing stuff for Pop Smear, and you got censored? What is that all about?
Abby Gennet: We would take some disturbing thing in the news, and do photos of me depicting the act, including the New Jersey girl who had a baby at the prom and threw it in the garbage. When we sent it to the printers in Canada, they refused to print it. It was too late for us to get it printed anywhere else, so we ran a big page that said, 'Censored.' The next issue, we had a different printer, so we printed it then.
EPMS: You were doing re-enactments of news stories?
Abby Gennet: Pretty much. It was a kind of faux journalism....
(There are lots of problems with her cell phone)
Abby Gennet: Sorry about that. We're going through Tucson right now.
EPMS: Have you been to El Paso before?
Abby Gennet: (surprise at my being such a moron) Yeah, we played with Marilyn Manson in December. We had a great time, we're looking forward to getting back there.
EPMS: Is the message in the music female empowerment?
Abby Gennet: Somewhat. The main message is, have a good time, be yourself, rock the fuck out. A lot of the lyrics are female-oriented, since I'm a chick. It's OK to make the first move, fuck the taboo.
EPMS: Your mom's a financial planner. If you suddenly lost your career in music, would you be broke, or are you socking it away?
Abby Gennet: No, she taught me pretty good money-management lessons. I like to bargain shop. It was instilled in me at an early age. I like to save for a rainy day. You gotta know, one day you're gonna need something to fall back on.
EPMS: What's up with the butt-crack signings?
Abby Gennet: We hang out at the mosh booth after the show, and people will start to ask us to sign all different body parts. Plus we like to hang out, meet new people. It ends up that way.
EPMS: Do you charge for signing people?
Abby Gennet: No, it's free if you buy a CD.
EPMS: Whaddya think of The Mars Volta?
Abby Gennet: They're pretty cool, actually, we dig them. We're going to be playing next door to them in Philly, so we hope to see them there.
EPMS: How about Sparta?
Abby Gennet: We've never listened to them.
EPMS: Has anyone you've met took your breath away because they're so famous?
Abby Gennet: Umm, Jimmy Page. I met him once, and I was dumbfounded. He's my hero.
EPMS: Is it true you have a TV crew following you around?
Abby Gennet: I thought we were going to have that in El Paso, but I think it's going to be in San Antonio.
EPMS: If you met Ashlee Simpson in a dark alley, and had a chainsaw, a dirty knife, and a baseball bat, and you knew nobody would ever find out, what would you do?
Abby Gennet: I'd probably give her vocal lessons. I'm not into violence.
EPMS: Actually, I didn't think you'd bite on that one. On your site, it says 'Abby is the mommy of the band.' Does that mean the others are like, two years old?
Abby Gennet: No, it just means I take care of lots of things. We're a dysfunctional family. We have lots of funny uncles and weird nephews.
EPMS: What happened to (former bass player) Jenny Gunns?
Abby Gennet: She found Jesus. It's a crazy thing.
EPMS: What did you think of the Go-gos?
Abby Gennet: They definitely made their mark. They played a different kind of music. Females out there, rocking.
New hard-rockin' bassist, Ilse Baca, went through just ONE week of SLUNT bootcamp before she debuted on stage in front of a room full of screaming Britts. "Once she grabbed the bottle of Jack & started pouring it down people's thoats, we knew she was a keeper," says Gennet.
EPMS: How did you come up with Ilse?
Abby Gennet: You'll get to witness her tonight. We put the word out that we were looking for a bass player. A mutual friend passed the word to her; she's from the west coast. We were in England. We gave her a week of Slunt boot camp in New York.
We then went back to our rooms to prepare for the looming night ahead at Stringfellows, London's premiere gentleman's (and ladies) club! As usual, if you put SLUNT in a strip club - something is GONNA happen! When we got there, we met Mark from Kerrang TV who is responsible for getting our video played all over the UK - so you know we LOVE this guy! After multiple rounds of shots, pints, and lapdances, Abby got coerced into jumping up on stage with the pole! She was quickly joined by everyone's favorite stripper, Becky (can you say cockblock?!?) The two were putting on a great show until Abby got in trouble for spanking Becky & had to get down. No touching allowed in UK strip clubs!! (Girls too!)
EPMS: Are y'all going to any strip clubs here in El Paso?
Abby Gennet: You never know. When we were in Stringfellows in London, I told them I'd dance, but only if you play Led Zeppelin. I knew they didn't have it, but they did. Are there any strip clubs in El Paso you'd recommend?
EPMS: Well, Jaguars and Lamplighter are both near The Corral. Jaguars is south, and Lamplighter is north.
Abby Gennet: (to the rest of the band in the van): Hey, guys, we've got a couple of strip clubs to make tomorrow! We're off tomorrow.
EPMS: What is the smallest crowd you've played to in Slunt?
Abby We've definitely played to 20 or 30. We've had occasion to be the opener to the opener... Just a few weeks ago, we played an all-ages club, and there were some people, but they were all the way in the back, drinking, so there was nobody in front of the stage. It felt like nobody was there. The other band there, Corrosion of Conformity, came out in front to be our audience. They were great.
EPMS: How do you deal with playing before a tiny crowd?
Abby Gennet: It's tough because we feed a lot off the energy in the crowd. You just pretend like its a huge crowd. You gotta always do the same show. You gotta hook it up for them, because most of them have never seen you play before.
EPMS: How do you come down after a show?
Abby Gennet: Umm, usually have a beer or two, some Jack Daniels. That's when we meet the crowd. We still have adrenaline going for a while, but we're beat when we hit the hotel.
Slunt's going to have a hell of a show to come down from tonight. Come check them out, along with The Cantina Flys' desert-crowned, curandero-blessed, Dos XX-drinking, chiquita-chasing and tequila shot-taking power rock, and Gypsy Rose.
EPMS note: Slunt's show here was reviewed here.
- Charles Hurley