Nashville P**sy's Ruyter Suys & Blaine Cartwright on the Atlanta Braves & why Canadians love hockey
As based in Atlanta, Georgia, Nashville P**sy has been active for over 20 years. Once referred to as "America's last great rock 'n' roll band" by Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, the band -- which includes singer/guitarist Blaine Cartwright, lead guitarist Ruyter Suys, bassist Bonnie Buitrago and drummer Ben Thompson -- has been flying the "sleaze rock" flag loud and proud since day one. Its latest full-length album is Pleased To Eat You, as released by earMUSIC last month.
I had the pleasure of doing some Q&A with both Cartwright and Suys about their local Atlanta Braves and more. Beyond Pleased To Eat You, you can enjoy some Nashville P**sy in-person as the group is touring Europe for the rest of 2018, then returning to the States for touring alongside Danko Jones in early 2019. Tour dates and other info can be found online on the band's website.
When did you first become a fan of the Braves?
Blaine Cartwright: It was a very big deal for me. My family followed the St. Louis Cardinals almost religiously. We lived in a small town in Kentucky, but our family vacations were trips to St. Louis Cardinal games. I saw Bob Gibson get his 200th win in 1971. My grandfather played briefly and even knew Dizzy Dean.
But when the band moved to Atlanta in 1997, I loved the city so much. I didn’t want to be in my new badass hometown wearing a Cardinals hat to a Braves game. It seemed rude. And this was the era of [John] Smoltz, [Tom] Glavine, and [Greg] Maddox. It was exciting, inspiring, actually.
How often do you go to Braves games?
Blaine Cartwright: I was going quite a lot there for a while, like it used to be cheaper when the stadium was downtown. Also, scalping was legal in Atlanta, so I’d hop in my hot rod by myself and go get a single ticket from the scalper, cheap! They always had single tickets left over. Now it’s a new stadium and it’s more expensive and complicated, but we try to go when we can. Me and our drummer Ben went last week. It was great!
Do you have a favorite Brave?
Blaine Cartwright: Chipper Jones. He played his whole career here. God bless him.
How do you feel about the current Braves season?
Blaine Cartwright: It feels good to be back in the playoffs! I know Atlanta sports teams are kind of a joke, but these guys might change that. One national championship would erase a lot of bad memories. The team this year is younger and faster. Faster is important. The Braves lacked that for years. They’d have a great record, then get beat in the playoffs by a younger, faster Wild Card team on a hot streak.
Has your Braves fandom ever crossed paths with your career as a musician?
Blaine Cartwright: We have had our song, "Going Down Swinging," played during a hockey fight in Toronto and that song would be the perfect song to hear when it's RALLY time! We also have a song called "Atlanta's Still Burning" where Ruyter plays the Braves "Tomahawk Chop" song in her guitar lead. They haven’t acknowledged our cool hometown band yet. That would be great, though.
We have made it a point to visit as many baseball stadiums across America as possible. We've been to at least half of them. For a few years, Ruyter and I took our vacations at spring training in Florida because we were touring most of the actual season. Other than that, I saw a couple Yankee games paid for by record companies! Tom Zutaut, who signed Guns N' Roses, took me to a World Series game.
It was [the New York] Yankees and [San Diego] Padres, and our old record company Eagle Rock had box seats at Yankee Stadium. I’m one of the few hillbillies that likes the Yankees. Most people around here hate them. I reserve my hatred for the [Boston] Red Sox.
Do you play ball outside of watching a lot of Braves games?
Blaine Cartwright: I used to. A lot. A whole lot. The batting cage was a daily event for me for many years. I got really really good. People would watch me hit. Dads would make their kids watch my form. I’m serious. We still carry gloves and balls with us on tour, playing catch around the world. Europeans would watch in fascination because they don’t learn to catch and throw, they learn to kick.
One time at a festival, we were playing catch, then a British tour bus driver came and handed us a bat that he had for protection for us to use to hit balls. I knew this was trouble. I was pitching to our old bass player Tracey. She started hitting them a little harder each time. Then she hit one that smashed the blinker on one of The Offspring’s semi trucks. We ran like little kids and hid. Eventually, we paid for it.
I also remember being drunk in France and throwing apples at streetlights. We also kept a near-useless roadie on the payroll for years because he had a good throwing arm, until he nearly broke my hand, but that's another story. The sad ending to this is that I hurt my right hand and arm a couple years ago. I have a repetitive sprain. Sucks. If I go to the batting cage it could damage my guitar-playing hand and screw up a tour, and I can’t let my fantasy get in the way of my dream job. Just being responsible.
Are there any teams you feel close to as strongly about as you do the Braves?
Blaine Cartwright: It would be cool if the [Atlanta] Hawks would be more of a consistent powerhouse in basketball. This city deserves it. It sucks to go to a Hawks game and sometimes see half your hometown root for the visiting team if it’s the [Los Angeles] Lakers, [Boston] Celtics, [Cleveland] Cavaliers or whoever’s hot at the moment. Ruyter wants to add that we miss our hockey team, the [Atlanta] Thrashers. They were a light at the end of that sad loser walk back to the car whenever the Braves blew the playoffs.
Ruyter, word is that you are also a hockey fan. How do you feel about the stereotype about Canadians all being into hockey?
Ruyter Suys: It’s true! 100%. As kids, we're trained to play in every kind of weather.
How's your skating?
Ruyter Suys: I’m really good at going fast and terrible at stopping.
Career-wise, what is coming up for your band within the next few months?
Blaine Cartwright: We get to entertain Europe for the rest of 2018 promoting our newest classic album, Pleased To Eat You, starting in Greece and ending in London. Then we finally return to the U.S. West Coast with Danko Jones in February 2019. Maybe we'll catch some spring training [MLB] games on the way out there.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Blaine Cartwright: Go Braves!