We had the opportunity to sit down with Joe Klug, the drummer from Wussy, and ask him about his work with Cincinnati’s most beloved indie band, the role of indie music, and being a stay-at-home dad.
How did you get your start playing with Wussy?
Some years ago there was a benefit at the old Southgate House (I believe it was for Donna Jay’s dog “Bunny”) where there were like fifteen to twenty bands, and we all had to play one song that had something to do with a dog.
I was playing in Staggering Statistics at the time, and Lisa Walker walked up to me and said: “Our drummer’s not here and we play in like 20 minutes. Will you play with us if she doesn’t show?” I was like: “Shhhuuure I guess. What are you playing?” She hands me a CD that says: Nazareth – Hair of the dog. So I went out to my car and listened a few times to refresh my memory, came in and played the song. It must have been a great rendition, because years later when the time came and they needed someone, they asked me. I was thrilled! I always secretly wanted to be in the band.
In Spin magazine, Lisa Walker described Cincinnati as “weird as fuck.” Would you describe Wussy as having a sound weirdly specific to Cincinnati?
In some ways. Lyrically Chuck and Lisa write about their lives and their experiences being from, and living in, the Midwest. Sonically we’re kinda all over the place, and I think that has a lot to do with where we live. There’s so many different kinds of music here, and I can’t say that it doesn’t affect us.
Why is it important to support local and independent labels like Shake It Records?
Most indie label owners are just music nerds who love to put out records. There’s so much great music that wouldn’t get heard otherwise if not for them.
I know personally that Wussy probably wouldn’t be a band without the help of Shake It through the years. It’s really hard to do everything on your own, and if you want to exist anywhere besides your hometown, you need a little help.
Congrats on being a new stay-at-home dad to a baby girl. How has your life in the music scene affected your parenting, do you think?
There’s not a whole lot of parenting yet. It’s mostly changing diapers and warming bottles, but I can tell you that it’s great that I’ve been able to travel and do a bunch cool stuff so I’m not sitting here regretting anything.
What is the role of indie music today? What is the role of women in rock today?
Indie rock is a melting pot of styles. If it’s hard to define, it’s indie rock. I think it encourages bands to do something different or weird that isn’t mainstream and isn’t treading over the same ground. While I certainly enjoy listening to throwback bands, or bands that are closer to a specific genre, I feel like indie rock is the one really pushing the boundaries of sound.
I think things are getting better for women in rock. Especially indie rock. There’s still a lot of dude solidarity for sure, but I keep seeing more and more women in bands all over.
Do you see music (or your work with Wussy specifically) as being capable of effecting progressive social change? Or are music and politics two different worlds?
To my knowledge there’s never been anything political in Wussy’s lyrics. I think we’re more of an escape from all of that.
Who is your current favorite woman in rock?
We’ve had the privilege to play with Thalia Zedek a couple times. She’s really great. She has a record out on Thrill Jockey right now.
**Check out Wussy at the Woodward Theater April 22nd!