- - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Smelling of sex, stale beer and too much hairspray, Faster Pussycat attacked the music scene during the glory days of 1980s hair metal, quickly developing a fan base due to lead singer Taime Downes’ sleazy good looks and hits “House of Pain” and “Bathroom Wall.”

Unbelievably, three decades later, through personnel changes and shifts in musical tastes, the band continues to rock audiences around the world, including an appearance at the M3 Rock Fes at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, this weekend.

Mr. Downe discussed his old pals Guns N’ Roses reuniting, the longevity of his own band and what fans can expect when they come to see Faster Pussycat at the M3 Rock Fest.

Question: What is your pre-show ritual?

Answer: Drink Jack [Daniel’s]. Maybe some beer to get in the mood. Get our groove going. Rock out to some tunes. Then I start putting on the face paint.

Q: Does the face paint take a long time?

A: No. Now that I’m like, 50, I’ve got it down to a science.

Q: Do you have to make any adjustments when you go from playing a club date to a festival stage?

A: We’ve played M3 before. We played the first one. It’s easy. When we play the club, we play close to an hour and a half. We play M3, we probably play a half-hour. You get up there, and as soon as you start, you’re done. It’s easy.

Q: In that half-hour, do you have to play certain songs?

A: My philosophy has always been that I play what I wanna play. If it feels like if I’m playing the songs I wanna play, then it comes through more slammin’.

Q: But if you don’t play “House of Pain” or “Bathroom Wall,” do people get pissed?

A: Oh well, then they’ll have to come see us next time. We’re out there on the road playing a lot. I do what I want. “Why didn’t you play this song?” You can’t play it all. I’m not playing a [expletive] four-hour set.

Q: When the band started your music was called “sleaze rock.” What does that mean?

A: We just play dirty rock ‘n’ roll — kinda nasty and sexual. Stuff like that. We were kind of a sleazy band, but I never really coined the phrase “sleaze rock.” People just tried to put a moniker on us. We’re a dirty rock ‘n’ roll band.

Q: Has that changed at all now that you’re 50?

A: No, I just don’t … ever mature. Still the same. I think if you mature, you kill rock ‘n’ roll. Kinda makes it a little boring. The coolest [stuff] about rock ‘n’ roll is when it’s a little more nasty.

Q: Thirty years on, what has changed for Faster Pussycat?

A: Everything has changed. The music business is completely different. We’ve changed. But it still boils down to dirty, hard rock, going out there, kicking ass live and having fun doing what we do.

The music business is nothing like it was in terms of labels and all that [stuff]. CDs were new when we started. “Whoa, a disc this big with everything on it!” Now it’s files. I haven’t bought a CD in forever.

Q: Do you miss CDs?

A: Not at all! I’ve been a computer guy since ‘89. I’ve always welcomed it. Having piles of empty, broken jewel cases laying around. I had crates and boxes of CDs.

When I started DJ-ing, I had books of all my CDs. That stuff used to take up so much space.

Q: When you play the festivals with other bands from the era, does everyone get along.

A: Yeah, for the most part. Then you get the couple of bands where someone doesn’t get along. Usually we never know until we get there. “Oh, they got a problem?” Someone says, “Yeah you [had sex with] his girlfriend back in 92.” Really? Whatever.

Q: Did the bands hang together on the Sunset Strip back in the day?

A: We still had our buds. Like Guns N’ Roses were our buddies. They helped us out. We were together 10 months and got a deal because [GNR rhythm guitarist] Izzy [Stradlin] and Axl [Rose] would come down and hang at out shows. Izzy would come up and play with us. Just helped us. They brought us to tour in Europe on our first time over there.

Q: What do you think about the fact that Guns N’ Roses is reuniting?

A: I think it’s awesome! But I’m curious to see who is playing. I guess Izzy isn’t doing all the stuff. That’s what I heard. I heard something about [original drummer Steven] Adler too. I’m just hearing things.

Q: How has the lineup of your band has evolved and changed over the 30 years?

A: This current version of the band has been together since 2002 for the most part, except for a couple guitar players. The four of us have been here for 14 years, where the original guys only lasted six years.

Here’s the reality, I started the thing. I wrote the songs. I put everyone in the band. So ….

Q: You’re notorious for not rehearsing or going to sound checks. Why?

A: I know the s***. I wrote it. I don’t need to rehearse it. I’ll go to sound check if we are doing something we haven’t played in a long time, just to make sure [ the band] got it. [laughs] If I forget the words, I’ll just make up new ones.

I wrote the song. I can change them as we go along. Tell the audience, “New version. Especially for you guys.” [laughs]

Q: Do you ever see a time when Faster Pussycat will end?

A: I wanna keep going. We still go out and kick ass. I can’t ever see me wanting to put an end to it. I love rock ‘n’ roll. I’ll do it till I’m dead.

Faster Pussycat plays the M3 Rock Fest at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, this weekend. For tickets go to Ticketfly.com.

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