Wearing their hearts in their lyrics the trans-national hardcore rockers Pettybone take aim at targets all across society. “Pettybone is the voice of the voiceless. Pettybone is the voice of the oppressed…” reads the lyrics to the song “Pettybone” on the band’s blog. This manifesto is a call to arms, a call for change, enlightenment, respect and freedom for body and soul.
With their rhythmic bass, scalding guitars, and warlike drums all wrapped up in vocals tinged with indie one moment and pure hardcore rage in the next heartbeat – Pettybone is “The Sound Of The Revolt.” Pettybone are guitarist Ivona (Czech Republic), vocalist Amy (Germany), bass player Lianna (London) and drummer Zel (Cornwall). I recently talked to Ivona about the band’s triumphs, and following your own voice.
Please introduce yourself. Who are the members of Pettybone?
Ivona: Hi, my name is Ivona and I play guitar in Pettybone. I also play a little bit of drums and piano. Amy is on vocals, Lianna plays bass and Zel plays drums.
Could you tell me a little history of the band, and Pettybone’s members musical backgrounds?
Ivona: My old band broke up and I felt very disillusioned with my life and music so I decided to get in the game again and start a new band. I was looking for something different this time. I had a song and I just called up the girls that I knew from other bands and we took it from there.
How does music affect you and the world around you?
Ivona: Music is something that is part of my being and gets me through life. Music helps me to survive.
What brought you to your instrument of choice and what made you say; “I want to do that?”
Ivona: Hole’s video Celebrity skin. Courtney Love made guitar playing look so cool and easy so I wanted to do that. My sister’s boyfriend played a guitar, he showed me some chords and I practiced for hours until I could play well.
As Pettybone’s music has evolved, what do you think has been the most significant change and do you consider it a positive or a negative?
Ivona: I think we’re taking less inspiration from hardcore (whatever that means) now than in the beginning. We are more into the dark and bluesy sound and there’s a lot of Slint influence in the new songs.
Who or what non-musical influences have shaped you and your music? And continue to do so?
Ivona: I would say that my personal experience and struggles that I or my family has been through will always have an influence on me. The struggles for equality and freedom and the ups and downs of life will always shape my music.
Remembering back to your first time in front of a live audience, what comes to mind?
Ivona: Terror. I was shitting myself and I couldn’t see the dots on the fretboard properly because the light wasn’t on, it was too dark and I played really badly.
What has been your biggest triumph as Pettybone? Pettybone’s Greatest challenge?
Ivona: I would say our debut album. It’s always a challenge to make your ideas come true. It involves so much effort, sweat, blood, guts, bullshit that you have to deal with along the way and problem solving. The album came out great and we’re all really proud of it.
Also having a few girls coming up to me saying that they felt really inspired etc. feels like the biggest triumph and best reward for our efforts.
Let’s hear a little about your tastes not related to music — Could you name some of your favorite books or movies?
Ivona: My favorite books are: King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes, Living My Life by Emma Goldman, Bolivian Diary by Ernesto Che Guevara, The Potent Self by Moshe Feldenkrais, A Predator’s Diary by Lydia Lunch, Andel by Jachym Topol, The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, and anything by Henry Rollins.
Favorite movies are: Buffalo 66, Arizona Dream, Walk the Line, Fugazi’s Instrument, Times Square, Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, Baise-moi, Cadillac, and Telstar: The Joe Meek Story.
This is your chance to promote your CDs, bands, tours, websites & gear – what should fans be looking for from Pettybone in 2011/2012?
Ivona: Our debut album is called From Desperate Times Come Radical Minds. You can get it through Damage Done records: CD version (http://www.damagedonerecords.com) and LP version (http://emancypunx.com). We’re going on a UK tour with Retox this fall and we’re determined to write some new tunes.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans all over the world?
Ivona: Don’t take your life for granted, don’t take your health for granted, don’t seek anyone’s approval, don’t wait for anyone to make your life better, be true to yourself, make a difference by becoming a better person, work smarter not harder and most importantly don’t listen to me (smiles and winks).
I would like to thank Pettybone and Ivona for their participation in this interview.
~Denise Smith (interview 2011.10.15)