Raised by parents working in the Melbourne pub scene of the 1980s is going to change you. It is going to put something in your soul. Meet Bendigo’s Charlie Cole and her band, Cat City. Shit to Lose is their debut album, recorded in a single day in a local dry cleaner in 42-degree heat. It is meaty rock and roll that will have you packing your car, flipping off the boss and leaving town for a better life. And if you like your life just as it is, there is still room for the album.
We chat to Charlie in celebration of the release.
Hi Charlie, thanks for chatting! What’s the inspiration behind your debut record?
Being pissed off. I’m not going to lie, that’s how I cope. If something really bothers me, I can write some chords and lyrics and have a musical tantrum. It’s like an exorcism for me. Everyone processes their emotions in different ways and this album was my coping mechanism.
Where did you derive your influences from in developing the lyrics and sound for the album?
I love all music. But personally my musical influences are generally any tough women that have existed in the music industry since it began. I love Ronnie Spector, to Joan Jett, Lady Gaga to Dolly Parton. I worship the RAMONES as much as I idolise Motorhead. My influences in life are the people who face adversity and charge through it regardless of the odds. My heart belongs to rock and roll at the end of it all though. That wall of guitars and loud amps along with a good hook and steady rhythm section. Something you nod your head with and blow off some steam too. Lyrically, I like to spit venom. There’s not much difference between my personality in life or in music. I don’t suffer fools and I don’t fuck spiders.
How did ‘Shit to Lose’ come about?
I’ve been playing music for 14 years and always in bands with my friends. I like to be the boss, and I didn’t want to compromise any more. I realised I’d written a lot of music and I wanted to do it my way. It may sound conceited but I wanted to release music the way I hear it, feel it and write it. Having said that, I could never have done it without the guys in my band. Shit to Lose is an expression of everything I have witnessed in my life. Lust, loss, grief, racism, narcissism, insecurity, materialism and a love story about a Mexican.
Why is it important to you to celebrate women in rock and roll?
I think Everyone should be celebrated. But let this be known, it can be difficult at times being a woman with a backbone in the music industry. As soon as you put your foot Down, you can be labelled as difficult, a bitch, hard work or a diva. Many in our industry will write you off immediately because you’re a woman. I want the industry to understand that being a jerk to the ladies is nothing more than their insecurities being projected onto us. The reality is, music is for all people so it can be made by all people. I don’t have a chip on my shoulder about having to work harder at times because of my gender. I’m just as good as the next the guy, I don’t want a fucking trophy because of what’s between my legs. Let’s try to end the gender divide and acknowledge we are all doing our bit.
The music industry in Bendigo is looking a little dim. How do you think this fractured culture can change?
Well said. Firstly, we need to get behind the venues. Venture out and watch a band you’ve never heard of and take a chance. Bring back Australian pub and live music culture. In Bendigo we have a large metal and hard rock scene that can only be supported by basically one venue and we are in fear of losing said venue. If it goes, we are about to isolate a very large community of musicians who need a place to play. What happens to them and their ability to have creative expression? Secondly, we need to support the youth of our city in pursuing their musical ambitions. More youth programs, access to instruments and music equipment, areas for them to play and practise to foster their talent. Lastly, I want the people of our city to embrace creativity as a way of life and stop writing off the artist’s dream. You weren’t put on the earth to pay bills and mow lawns. Music is a gift – whatever floats your boat. Don’t be told it’s a wasteful dream because if it fills your soul, you’re heading in the right direction.
Release: Shit to Lose is out now.