The clattering, shrieking din that was Harry Pussy spent much of the '90s as one of the most acclaimed sounds in the extreme noise underground, stamped with a seal of approval from the likes of Thurston Moore and Lou Barlow. Their brief, spastic, atonal freak-outs sat somewhere in between noise rock and free jazz, though they were actually much more planned out than improvised, to the disbelief of many who heard them. In addition to the expected Sonic Youth influence, Harry Pussy also echoed New York no wave, hardcore punk, the avant jazz of Sonny Sharrock, Japanese noise bands (Merzbow, Boredoms), early British industrial (Throbbing Gristle, Nurse With Wound, Whitehouse), British free-noise improvisers like Skullflower and Ascension, and their Siltbreeze labelmates from New Zealand the Dead C. For much of their existence, they rarely played outside their native Miami, but word of their volatile, sometimes literally assaultive shows spread, leading to tours with Sebadoh and the Dead C.
Formed in 1992, Harry Pussy was essentially the product of husband and wife Bill Orcutt (guitar) and Adris Hoyos (drums, vocals). Orcutt had previously played in the local Miami punk band the Trash Monkeys before teaming up with Hoyos, whose primal, screeching vocals and on-stage aggression quickly made her the focal point. Joined by second guitarist Mark Feehan (Orcutt's onetime Trash Monkeys bandmate), Harry Pussy debuted on record in 1993 with a pair of singles -- "Nose Ring" and "Girl Holding Frog" -- for local noise maven Frank "Rat Bastard" Falestra's Esync label. Their first LP arrived on the Philly-based Siltbreeze label in 1994; commonly known simply as Harry Pussy, it also sported the evocative alternate title of A: In an Emergency You Can Shit on a Puerto Rican Whore, which pointed up the band's confrontational attitude and off-color sense of humor.
A stream of singles followed on into 1995: "Please Don't Come Back From the Moon" on Blackjack, the double 7" "Zero de Conduite" on Audible Hiss, "Miami Flavor" on Planet, a split release with Noggin on Chocolate Monk, a cover of Lightnin' Hopkins' "Black Ghost" on Siltbreeze. Much of this material was collected on Siltbreeze's 1996 CD compilation What Was Music?, which also reissued the contents of their first LP. That was followed not long after by a full album of new material titled Ride a Dove, also on Siltbreeze. Toward the end of 1996, Feehan left his position as auxiliary guitarist, and was replaced by Dan Hosker. Hosker debuted on a self-released live album, Tour (alternate title: Fuck You), in 1997. That year saw the band's final concert performances; more singles followed in 1998, including split EPs with Frosty and Pelt, but by the release of their final album on Black Bean & Placenta, they had already called it quits. That album, Let's Build a Pussy, consisted of a brief snippet of Hoyos yelling, which Orcutt then stretched out for an hour using computer software. Following Harry Pussy's demise, Hoyos briefly moved to Chicago, then worked with Transmission and Monostat 3. Orcutt had already released a solo album in 1997. ~ Steve Huey
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