Faster Pussycat is an American hard rock band from Los Angeles, California formed in 1986. The group was most successful during the late 1980s with their albums Faster Pussycat and 1989 gold album Wake Me When It's Over that sold 500,000 copies.
Roots of Faster Pussycat
Faster Pussycat was formed in Hollywood by Taime Downe during the Glam metal boom of the late 1980s, the earliest incarnation of the band featured Downe and Greg Steele along with Brent Muscat. The name of the band, "Faster Pussycat," is derived from the Russ Meyer film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!"
After several more member changes, Faster Pussycat soon morphed into the band's most well known line-up, consisting of Taime Downe (vocals), Greg Steele (guitar), Brent Muscat (guitar), Kelly Nickels (bass) and Brett Bradshaw (drums).
Before recording their debut album, Nickels left the group and was replaced by Eric Stacy (ex-Champagne).
Rise to fame
The band released their debut album Faster Pussycat in 1987, the same year Guns N' Roses released Appetite for Destruction. Although Guns N' Roses would overshadow Faster Pussycat in album sales, the band managed to build a cult following and put out several promotional videos from the first album for songs such as "Cathouse", "Bathroom Wall" and "Don't Change That Song". In the United States the band toured with Alice Cooper, David Lee Roth, and Motörhead in support of the album.
Also in 1987, Faster Pussycat appeared in the Rockumentary film, The Decline of Western Civilization part 2 - The Metal Years. The band was interviewed at some length and performed live versions of "Cathouse" and "Bathroom Wall".
Two years later, Faster Pussycat would record their most successful album Wake Me When It's Over. The album received gold status; its sales being largely boosted by the hit single, "House of Pain". Music videos were also produced for "House of Pain" and "Poison Ivy". While the band were touring for the album in 1990, drummer Mark Michals was arrested in Omaha, Nebraska for trying to mail heroin to his hotel room and was subsequently kicked out of the band. Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot filled in as drummer for the remainder of the tour, then Brett Bradshaw became Faster Pussycat's new long-term drummer. Tours with KISS and Mötley Crüe followed.
In 1990, they recorded a cover of Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" for a compilation called Rubáiyát: Elektra's 40th Anniversary. A video was also filmed for this track. It featured Taime for the first time with dark hair. The song was also later included on the 1992 Belted, Buckled And Booted EP, which served as the single for "Nonstop To Nowhere" and also included two unreleased tracks.
In 1992 they released their third album, Whipped!, which peaked at #90 on the charts. This album was a more mature recording than their previous material and explored some new musical territory. However, it was released just as the grunge music explosion was happening and like many other 80s hard rock acts they suddenly discovered their audience vanishing and both MTV and the labels rapidly losing interest in the band's style of music.
After Faster Pussycat broke up, the members went their separate ways into various projects.
Taime Downe was involved with industrial musical act Pigface before expanding on the darker themes started on Whipped!, by forming his own industrial rock act with Kyle Kyle of Bang Tango called The Newlydeads.
2001 - Present
In 2001 Faster Pussycat reformed featuring original members Taime Downe (vocals), Brent Muscat (guitar), Greg Steele (guitar); alongside Taime's former Newlydeads bandmates Xristian Simon (guitar), Danny Nordahl (bass), and Chad Stewart (drums). Danny Nordahl had also played in The Throbs, and Danny Nordahl and Chad Stewart both also play in Motochrist.
A remix compilation Between the Valley of the Ultra Pussy was released the same year by the band, featuring industrial rock remixes of their classic tracks, along with a bonus cover of KISS' "I Was Made For Loving You". This divided fans as many of the band's older fanbase who enjoyed standard hard rock, were not familiar with industrial rock.
Steele would leave the band half-way through the band's 2001 tour with Poison and Cinderella. Tracii Guns filled in as guitarist for the rest of the tour, but once the remaining dates were completed, Faster Pussycat continued as a five piece. After Brent was unable to tour in 2005 having been diagnosed with throat cancer, Eric Griffin from Murderdolls filled in as the guitarist for their United States tour.
In December 2006, three former original Faster Pussycat members; Brent Muscat, Eric Stacy and Brett Bradshaw alongside The Underground Rebels vocalist Kurt Frohlich began performing under the name Faster Pussycat, creating two versions of the band both claiming to be the 'original'. Brent's claimed purpose for this was to allow fans to hear Faster Pussycat tracks played in the way they originally recorded, as opposed to the Industrial rock-themed version he said Downe continued to front. Brent also made a legal claim to the name 'Faster Pussycat'.
They played the AVN Awards after-party at the Dive Bar in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to a press release, this version of the band — which did not include vocalist Taime Downe — will perform "all classic tracks, no remixes, no B.S."
Taime sent out a bulletin on MySpace saying Faster Pussycat was not playing in Vegas and Brent's version was a 'tribute band'. Brent responded by stating that he donated all his money and planned to donate a portion of any future earnings to cancer research. In various interviews Taime disputed Brent's version of events and indicated the issue was being dealt with via the courts.
In February 2007, Brent issued these statements on his MySpace blog:
"In 2000 Taime made an awful remix cd. It was not until Greg Steele and I threatened him with legal action that we were paid and invited to join our own band. In 2005 I was diagnosed with oral cancer. The band which I had been part of for 20 years all of a sudden replaced me and lied about my condition. I was very hurt that Taime never bothered to call me once. As a result of Taime's drunken and erratic performances, the price for Faster Pussycat live performances plummeted and fans have voiced their displeasure. I decided I would attempt to reunite the band to commemorate our 20th anniversary. I invited both Greg and Taime, (which is more than he did for me) but neither responded."
In March 2007 Brent did an interview with an Italian publication which he stated:
"I love Taime but I believe he is caught up in a dark, fake and lonely place, where the people around him kiss his ass and then talk shit behind his back..They use him for his drugs and ride his coat tails...Hollywood has been dead for a few years now... I'm so glad I got away from there and moved to Las Vegas. What is most sad about this, is the fact that I'm one of Taime's only real friends and he is too messed up to see it."
On April 21, 2007, Muscat circulated via MySpace an open invitation to Taime Downe and Greg Steele to reunite with him, Stacy and Bradshaw. There was no response from Taime. Brent's version of Faster Pussycat toured Europe in Spring 2007 with Kurt Frohlich replacing Taime on vocals along with Todd Kerns on guitar.
In July 2007, Brent Muscat decided to drop the battle to use the name Faster Pussycat. Brent Muscat has since started a band called Sin City Sinners. Brent has stated in an interview "Faster Pussycat is dead".
Taime has continued on with the name 'Faster Pussycat' and this band performed at Rocklahoma July 2007. During their set, Taime Downe went on a tirade to the crowd referencing Brent Muscat's cancer, wishing he would die, which received a poor reception from both the crowd and journalists. He then cut their set short and left the stage without playing several of their biggest hits.
Faster Pussycat toured the Summer of 2008 with Tracii Guns' version of LA Guns. Taime Downe recently stated in an interview that he is planning on recording a live CD for the new tour and release it later this year.