The She Things
Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: January 2015
Photo by Vince Latham
I can say with confidence that in my tenure at Synthesis, I’ve never interviewed a band who laughed more. The She Things, a babe trifecta of impressive composition, have recently taken Chico by storm with their high energy shows, and catchy songs with beats that would drive even the heaviest foot to compulsive tapping. Self-described as “stupid Ramonsian girl pop riding a howling wave of glitter trash,” The She Things are poised to be Chico’s new favorite band. Band members Chelsea Rose (drums), Christina Burnham (guitar and vox), and Kerra Jessen (bass and vox) recently met with me on the stage at Duffy’s to discuss their music, hate mail, and pizza.
Can you talk a little about how The She Things came about?
Kerra: It’s been a longstanding dream.
Christina: A long time.
Kerra: Like years. Me and Christina have talked about it for five years.
Christina: Kerra came up with the name, and we just envisioned the band. We heard the name and we were just like, this is the band, this is the idea.
Kerra: [laughing] It was either going to be The She Things, or The She Its.
Christina: It was a really longstanding dream, but we were just very busy with The Shankers and The Hambones, we just had other shit going on. We got together a few times, but it never really clicked…
Kerra: Lots of false starts. We had some cool covers, we were doing things like “Walking After Midnight,” and—
Christina: More country-type stuff. We didn’t really have a direction.
Kerra: We didn’t have a cohesive thing yet. Except for “Peach Comb” and “Make Out Monster,” those are two songs that were born all those years ago. And then it just gelled, because The Shankers started only playing once or twice a year, and The Hambones just sort of leveled out because Trent started his own band (Trox & The Terribles), so me and Christina were both freed up. At that point we were just like, let’s do it, dude! It was now or never.
Christina: And I found my guitar, it’s my guitar soulmate. I’ve been wanting to play guitar for a long time, and I picked up that guitar and it was like, this is the one. It had the right tone, the right feel, it was just like, this is The She Things guitar.
Kerra: So the name came together, and the guitar came together, and then we were like we need a drummer. Because it’s a girl band. Even though it might seem kinda cliche, that’s just always the way we wanted it to be. We just wanted to rock out with babes.
How would you describe the concept of the band?
Christina: I just want to play music that people want to dance to, and have fun. That’s major for me.
Christina: If I’m not having a good time, and people aren’t having a good time, then I don’t know what I’m doing there. [laughs]
Kerra: Yeah, we just want to play good rock-n-roll with that sixties flavor, and some surf-beach-ish shit. The concept is there because that’s our natural aesthetic anyway. It comes naturally. The songs kind of write themselves.
Christina: And we don’t really try for that sort of thing. We play, and it just happens. [laughs]
Kerra: Yes! We were talking about that, we were saying it’s really the only stuff that we canwrite. [They all laugh] It’s just what is in me, and what is in Christina and Chelsea.
Christina: It just clicks. I’ve been in lots of other bands and had lots of fun, but no other band has really clicked like this.
Kerra: Same. It feels like… nirvana. Not the band, the feeling. [They all laugh]
Chelsea: There have been moments when we play a song for the first time, and it clicks in this way that we’re all like, what?! It just feels like we’ve played it before. [Christina and Kerra nod enthusiastically] That’s not something that you get all the time.
Christina: It’s like a triangle. A magic babe triangle. [laughs]
Kerra: It’s how we fit together, we all just get along really well. And that’s another thing too: I don’t know if it’s a concept per se, but just, friendship. Just having fun with each other. It’s like a mojo workout, to quote the 126.96.36.199s. Every time we practice, even if I’m not having a great day or I’m feeling super down, by the end of practice I feel great. Just to get it out. [Christina and Chelsea agree]
Do you have plans to tour?
Christina: Yeah, we’re thinking of doing a little summer tour on the west coast, probably alongside Trox.
Kerra: It’s so convenient!
Christina: We share a lot of the same equipment, so that makes it easy.
Kerra: We’re like brother-sister bands.
Christina: Because our boyfriends are in that band.
Kerra: Brother-sister bands, in an incestuous sort of way. [They all laugh] That sounds really bad. They’re our brother boyfriends. They’re my bros. They’re your bros. [laughs]
What is the male equivalent of a groupie for you guys?
Kerra: Should we name names? [They all laugh] There’s a few people that come out to our shows, that I guess would be our groupies. They’re like cute, happy-go-lucky boys that come out and dance. They have a great time, they come out and just have huge smiles on their faces. You know. Cute boys. [They all laugh]
Christina: Cute boys dancing. We have a lot of girls too. We have tons of babes that come out. [Kerra and Chelsea agree]
Kerra: We don’t sexually discriminate. [laughs] We like all the groupies.
I think an all-girl band in this style might have been something that Chico was missing.
Kerra: Sure, I think we fill a niche in this town that hasn’t really been filled for a while. I mean, there’s Trucker’s Wife, and Hot Flash… It’s being done all over, everywhere, but not so much in Chico. One of my favorite bands that isn’t really around anymore, they’re out of Tucson; The Okmoniks, Justin from Nobunny was in that first [before Nobunny]. They’re such a party, vocal band… and they’re not an all-girl band, but it has a female vocalist. There’s definitely quite a few girl bands that we draw influence from that we feel like… we’re trying to bring to Chico. And elsewhere.
I saw on Facebook that you got your first piece of hate mail, can you tell me about that?
[They all laugh]
Kerra: That was so trippy!
Christina: I think it’s kind of awesome.
Kerra: Yeah, I opened it and spammed it, and then was like oh no! It went away!
Christina: Also it goes on forever.
Chelsea: You just keep scrolling and scrolling. I didn’t even read the whole thing.
Christina: It goes on forever. You could read that for an hour. And I was like, that is cool.
Kerra: It sounded really schizophrenic. It was crazy. Someone said it was song lyrics from some song, but I didn’t look it up. I think they may have been joking.
Was it someone local who sent that?
Kerra: His profile is blank.
Christina: But his name is David Allen. I think it’s kind of awesome. I don’t think we ever say on our profile that we love Satan… It’s kind of a joke. I mean, people take themselves so seriously.
Kerra: Yeah! You’re getting so worked up! It’s crazy.
Chelsea: The one photo where we played at that place where there’s a pentagram in the background.
Kerra: Oh! Yeah I remember that.
Christina: I wrote “All hail Satan, pizza, and glitter” on that picture.
Chelsea: Oh yeah, now it all makes sense.
Kerra: That long message wasn’t even his first one. First he wrote something like, “you ladies serve Satan?!” And we just ignored it, it sat in our inbox for five days.
Christina: And then he sent another one that was like, “Fuck you for Jesus!” [They all laugh]
Chelsea: We should write a song about it.
You could probably just use his email as the lyrics.
[They all laugh]
Chelsea: We could just scream the whole thing!
Kerra: We would have to project it in front of us, because there’s no way I could remember that whole thing. We’d have to do it karaoke style, it’s so long!
[A side conversation about Facebook stalking vs. real-life stalking ensues]
Kerra: Well anyway I invite him to come to a show. I want to see what he looks like. I wonder if he’s local.
Christina: Maybe it’s just a spambot. Or a troll.
Maybe it’s just an angry dude that has a Google alert set up for bands who love Satan, and he just copy/pastes that whole message into an email.
Christina: That had to have been copy/pasted, it was too long for him to just sit there and write that! But I’m glad we got some hate mail. It means we’re doing something. [They all laugh]
Have there been any other weird occurrences besides the “Fuck you for Jesus” incident?
Kerra: No, everyone has been really nice, the shows have all been really fun.
Christina: Except that one show where my guitar was possessed.
Kerra: That was so weird.
Christina: That was it. That was at our Duffy’s show, on this stage actually. There was just tons of feedback, it was going crazy.
Kerra: Yeah, our Duffy’s show was definitely a bit rough, but people still seemed to have a great time. We still got a lot of positive feedback.
Christina: And I got my guitar fixed.
Kerra: Oh, nice!
[A side conversation about Christina’s guitar breaks out]
Any upcoming shows you want to let people know about besides your show at Monstros?
Kerra: Not really, I mean we have that one house show lined up.
Christina: Do we have that lined up?
Chelsea: That’s not for sure yet. [They all laugh]
Kerra: We did get asked to do the Prince cover night.
Christina: Yeah, but I don’t really know how to play guitar yet. [laughs]
Kerra: Prince is a little ambitious. It’s a great idea, and we were flattered to be offered that opportunity, but we really want to focus on recording, hopefully we’re going to do the cassette tape project with Scott [Barwick]. And we want to book that tour, we need to sit down and really figure out what we want to do. We’re fine with slowing down on shows. We did those four in a row really fast.
Christina: Yeah, we don’t want to oversaturate Chico. It’s easy to do. And as much as we’d like to do a Prince cover, we have our own covers we want to do. There’s a few in the works that we want to work on.
Kerra: We might be playing the house party that’s after the Prince cover show.
Chelsea: That’s our ticket.
Kerra: If you have a house, and you want to have a party, house shows take priority. We miss house shows.
What do you charge to play a house show?
Kerra: They usually just ask for a little bit at the door, three to five dollars.
Christina: And some beer to drink while we’re there. Party supplies. [They all laugh]
Anything else you want to add?
Kerra: I don’t know, I guess maybe just bands that we love?
Christina: Not The Donnas.
Kerra: Not The Donnas. [They all laugh]
Christina: The bird from “Surfin’ Bird.” The Mummies and The Brentwoods.
Kerra: That’s some obscure, surf-garage shit right there.
Christina: Link Wray, The Ramones
Kerra: The 5. 6. 7. 8s. Definitely The Ramones and the Beach Boys. Just really fun, upbeat, beachy…
Kerra: Anything trashy.
Kerra: Budget rock.
Any final thoughts?
Kerra: Hail Satan.
Chelsea: And pizza! [They all laugh]
Christina: Fuck you for Jesus!
I think that’s a great place to end.
Come revel in the babeliness that is The She Things on January 24th, 8pm at Monstros Pizza alongside Trox & The Terribles, and Max Pain And The Groovies!