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Reglar Wiglar

An Interview with Cincinnati band

Fairmount Girls

Interview by by Tim from Toledo

Published in Reglar Wigar #14, 2000

Fairmount Girls

The Fairmount Girls are a five piece rock group from Cincinnati, Ohio. They've got true grit, charm and a pinch of moxie to boot. The sound is a wave of Distorto! Guitars chunking up a mean background of lush multi-layered vocals while a murky farfissa slinks its way through yer kitchen cabinets.

Quite frankly, they sound like Ohio and my god that is a glowing review! Their new CD, Eleven Minutes to Anywhere, is out now on Deary Me Records and I recommend that you purchase it immediately. In fact, I command you to, you dirty pukes! Seriously though, it's in your best interest.

Shannon: His name is Tim/ He is a dork/ He's doin' the interview/ So check him out.

RW: Strike that. Let's please go around and introduce ourselves to our faithful readers.

Chris: Chris Fairmount. Special Agent 008.

RW: And what do you play?

Chris: Guitar and bass and I do a mild amount of singing.

Shannon: My name is Shannon and I play bass and guitar.

RW: What is your last name, Shannon? Let's be formal here.

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Shannon: McGee.

Dana: Dana Hamblin, I play drums, 004, and I sing a bunch.Jane: Jane McQueen, I play black the guitar and I'm 001.

Melissa: Melissa, 002, and I play the organ thing.

RW: Do the double O numbers signify importance? Why are you number one?

Jane: I'm number One because it was my impetus that started the band. And as the numbers grew that's how the other members got their number.

RW: Please describe the Fairmount Girls' sound.

Melissa: Chris, I think you have a good term for this, if I recall.

Chris: I stole a quote and the quote was, "post pop that sticks in your ear like a tongue."

Melissa: Kinda like if Martha and the Vandellas actually played their own instruments . . . really loud.

Jane: I think we have a really big sound. We have three vocals and two guitars. We've had three guitars on a lot of our recordings.

Melissa: The organ.

Dana: Simple songs that are catchy.

Chris: More melody based.

RW: Ok, and you guys are from?

Jane: Cincinnati, or more properly, Fairmount.

Chris: Don't trash the 'Nati.

RW: And Fairmount is a city or a neighborhood.

Jane: It's a neighborhood. It's actually the gateway to the West and the first four original members all lived in, and owned houses in, South Fairmount.

Melissa: So therefore that's how it just kinda got started. It was so we could find our way home kinda thing.

Dana: And our fifth member, this one guy who moved away, was actually the one that cemented the name, because I was sort of doubting it. But he said, "I like it!"

Melissa: He liked it.

RW: It was very smart of him 'cause it's caught on like wildfire.

Chris: It may be wise to note as well that the band Fairmount Girls are the polar opposite to the band Indigo Girls.

Jane: The Indigo Girls are Jesus and we are the Anti-Christ.

Dana: Although, I did smoke pot with the one.

Jane: I just want to say that Chris Fairmount is actually a boy. He just doesn't have a husky voice.

RW: We are going to address that situation later on in the interview. For now though, please tell me a little bit about Fairmount, what's it like?

Jane: It's an old German and Italian neighborhood. It was built for cheap housing for a lot of immigrants that worked on the railroad. The pinnacle of Fairmount is what they call Bald Mark Hill but the locals call it (faux southern accent) Pancake Mountain. Originally all the people that lived there worked on the railroad. They chopped off the top of Pancake Mountain to back-fill Union Terminal, which is a famous Deco building.

Dana: Lots of cute Gummo white trash kids.

Shannon: Also, the train yards are right there at the very beginning of Fairmount.

Melissa: You can hear it at night.

Shannon: It's an eerie screeching of brakes.

RW: Tell me about being a band in Cincinnati.

Shannon: It's pretty cool because there's less people in general so you can get more focus as a band. There are only so many bands in Cincinnati and pretty much everybody knows who they are even though not everybody knows goes to see every different band. It's easier to get a name.

Chris: It's also easier to stir drama.

Shannon: Yeah, that's a downside.

Jane: And of course, we have a really nice practice space that is relatively inexpensive, and three or four venues that we love to play, so we have a good base of fans who come to see us.

RW: What about CMJ? You played there?

Jane: It was a good experience. It was our first time up there, playing New York City. We were very excited, such a vibrant town. And the club we played at, The Meow Mix, was a small club. It was a ladies/girls club and we felt very comfortable there. We were really happy to play there. Everyone was extremely nice to us.

Dana: We had a great response.

Jane: We had a great response from the audience and we were coming in cold. People hadn't heard of us. People hadn't seen us before. And we rocked their pants down!

Melissa: We did.

RW: How did you guys get that show? It seems like it would be difficult to get a show at CMJ without a CD.

Chris: There were like 50,000 applicants this year. A thousand bands played. We just sent an application.

Dana: It seems like this year more than others, they picked a handful of unknowns.

Jane: I suppose we got in on the basis of our demo recordings.

Melissa: And our little package.

Jane: We felt like getting in was a really good pat on the back. We feel strongly about the recording now. Someone did pay attention and listened and felt that is was fresh and new.

Melissa: And worth checking out.

Shannon: There were a few bands from Cincinnati and Dayton area that got in and we were the only ones that were able to make it out.

Jane: One thing about Cincinnati is that it was extremely supportive of our trip to CMJ. In fact, they threw a party benefit for us with a hundred free pizzas, free sound, a huge video screen, a fashion show by a really hip local clothing store. And we made pretty much all our expenses that way.

Chris: That's right.

Melissa: It was really nice of everybody.

Dana: Paid for our hot tub.

Jane: And another band, Throneberry, very kindly loaned us their deluxe Autoline Extend-O-Van.

Melissa: It was a very fine trip.

RW: And did you return it to them in good shape?

Melissa: As good as we coul.

Jane: It's better than it was before, 'cause we tuned it up. We worked it out. We washed it out with a hurricane.

Shannon: The sliding door ended up breaking.

Melissa: But they didn't seem to worried about that.

RW: And what about this hot tub experience.

Melissa: We can't talk about that, right?

Jane: On our way up we had to stop. We chose a town just on the other side of the border in Pennsylvania, and of course we had to ask for the honeymoon suite.

Melissa: We we're aching from the road and we needed to adjust our bones.

Dana: It was the grimmest country kitchen.

Jane: It was equipped with a two person hot tub, which of course helped.

Melissa: We were all pretty grumpy.

Jane: The furniture was country kitchen-style as hewn out by a chainsaw. There was a waterbed.

Shannon: A king-size waterbed.

Jane: But the tide was out.

Melissa: The tide was completely out.

Jane: And there were mirrors on the canopy. So to sweeten it up a bit we went to the local store and got a few beverages and a giant gallon job of Bubblesaurus bubbles.

Shannon: Which Jane proceeded to pour, almost in its entirety, into the Jacuzzi. There were bubbles four feet high at least.

Shannon:: It was like that Brady Bunch where Bobby poured the whole box of soap into the washing machine and they go into the room and it's all filled with bubbles.

Dana: We had a continental breakfast in this weird lunchroom and it was full of Baptists.

Melissa: A Baptists convention was in town. Seven o'clock in the morning . . .

Shannon: And the preachers and their wives.

Melissa: They were dressed, we were not.

Jane: We were quite in favor of their fur-trimmed collars and large hats.

Melissa: And they were afraid of us.

RW: Did you do any networking with the Baptists? Bounce any around any ideas?

Shannon: A couple of them said they would pray for me so I consider that networking on some level.

RW: That was on they way to New York City?

Jane: Well, we hadn't gone through Hurricane Flyod.

Shannon: We arrived in New York City at precisely the same time that Tropical Storm Floyd did.

Jane: We were terrified. All the cars were pouring out of New York City.

Melissa: There was nobody on our side.

Jane: We were skating on an inch and a half of water.

RW: My goodness!

Shannon: The Captain guided us safely through.

RW: Would that be you, Jane?

Jane: Yeah, I'm the Captain of the Shuttle.

Chris: Captain McBrain brought safe passage to us.

RW: Does that mean you always drive?

Jane: I like to drive.

Melissa: She dominates the driving wheel.

Jane: I do dominate the driving.

Melissa: But you like it that way.

Jane: It's my job to deliver the band safely from place to place. I'm not a good navigator though, so someone else has to be Magellan.

RW: Speaking of your travels, I heard something about an infamous cab ride.

Dana: Oh my god.

Shannon: OK. We're going from the beginning straight to the book ending of the trip. The last night we went out there were only a few FGs (Fairmount Girls) left: me, Chris and Dana and a couple of people we were with. We went to this gay bar, featuring gay porn on the televisions with really bad dance music. Dana, Dance Queen that she is, found a groove and danced anyway. Me, I couldn't do it. We we're on our way back home in a cab.

Jane: I would put it this way, Dana danced herself until she was foaming at the mouth.

Dana: You know what a New York cab ride is like? The minute we got in I was in the middle and . . .

Melissa: The cab driver is going crazy. Dana in the middle, I'm sitting by the window. All of a sudden Dana makes this really strange noise.

Chris: Kind of a gurgle really.

Melissa: She had to climb over me to get to the window.

Chris: So basically we ended our trip with Dana puking out the window.

Dana: And that was fine.

Melissa: Start off with a hot tub bath, bubbles, champagne ended with vomit.

Dana: That's how it always goes.

Chris: Kind of a final catharsis.

RW: You are a Fairmount Girl but you are not a girl at all are you? Please discuss.

Chris: That's right, I'm not a girl, but I am in heart and spirit. I'm here with the girls. I have all the physical characteristics of a man. I guess that the Fairmount Girls have always had a token boy in the band. I'm the third and also the last (newest) member. That's why I'm 008. There is no 009.

Dana: Yet.

RW: Do the other FGs ever pressure you to dress in drag?

Chris: Dressing in drag would be just one of the millions of things they try to get me to do.

RW: On a scale of one to ten, please rate to what degree your band is rebellious.

Jane: I'd say I'm a little rebellious. I mean, I'm thirty-five, I have a little baby girl and I'm out there rockin'. I'd call that rebellious.

Melissa: I'd say we are rocking the boat . . .

Chris: Maybe six or seven.

RW: Excellent. OK, feminine.

Dana: Nine.

Jane: Yeah, I'd say nine. Chris

RW: Angry?

Jane: I don't feel very angry, I mean things may make me angry, but that's not the direction of our music.

Dana: I would say pain more than anger.

RW: OK, punk rock?

Jane: We're true to the punk rock ethic, I think. We're people that taught ourselves how to play and I think that's punk rock for sure.

Dana: I don't want people to say we think we're punk rock.

Jane: I guess it's how you define it.

Dana: Right, but I associate a negative with it now. To me punk rock, that's like hemline bands. Jane: I think punk rock to me comes off as a band, like before punk rock all you could see was the fuckin' stage with all 20 keyboards and now we're out there doin' it ourselvles. That's what punk rock taught me, that you can do it yourself.

RW: Pop.

Dana: Ten.

Chris: We're like eight parts pop, two parts punk.

Dana: More pop than punk.

RW: Bankable.

Jane: Oooh, bankable.

Dana: Melissa would scale that higher. She's always saying, "They like us."

Chris: I think that Melissa, for bankable, she would give us an eleven.

Jane: I think we would be very good for any indie label to have in their stable. You know, I think we put on a great show. We're hardworking.

Dana: And we're into it.

Jane: We're into it. Yeah, I think we're bankable. I think we look good. And we sound good. People will buy it. Yeah, I think we're bankable but I don't think . . . we're not going to be on MTV.

RW: All right, one last one, British.

Dana: I would say a seven or eight on British.

Chris: There's five of use. One fifth is Brit.

Dana: I was weened on Brit pop too, though.

RW: That would make you a two right? Twenty percent.

Jane: Twenty percent true Brit.

RW: Do you have a rival band in Cincinnati? Who's band there who's ass you want to kick the most?

Melissa: Wow! I would enjoy kicking the Wolverton Brothers asses on any occasion and of course, The Ass Ponys. I don't think we could kick Ditchweed's ass.

RW: Melissa, who is your inspiration as a keyboard player?

Melissa: Lenny Bruce.

RW: Who is the better keyboard band, Mike + The Mechanics or Flock of Seagulls?

Melissa: I always like the Partridge Family better than any of those bands.

RW: Very good.

RW: Chris, do you get a lot of action since you've joined the Fairmount Girls? I mean, are women more sympathetic now that you're the only boy in a girl band?

Chris: We'll I haven't really gotten any action as a result of sympathy. But there has been, maybe an increase in interest as a result of being in a band that's popular.

RW: Shannon, since you have joined the Fairmount Girls rock group, have the boys been clamoring all over your body?

Shannon: Noooo.

RW: And what have you done to get some action?

Shannon: Play fuckin' rock and roll. What more do I need to do?

RW: I don't know.

Shannon: I'm tellin' you right now, if you see me up there and you think, "God damn, that chick is hot," don't be a chicken shit, ask me out. Chances are, I'll say yes.

RW: Is it that boys are too slow on the take?

Shannon: I will not have anything to do with a boy that is a chicken shit which is mostly all of them because if any of them aren't they don't say anything.

RW: If a fella were to approach you what would be a good way to do so?

Shannon: The straightforward approach, "You rock. I wanna hang out with you. Let's do something.:" Then we can take it from there.

RW: OK. So show me your dance moves and I will describe them for the reader.

Shannon: Yeah, it's really fun to dance while under scrutiny.

RW: So Jane, what does Chris do?

Jane: He's the unknown factor. You never know what he's gonna play or do. He may not play the same song the same way, you never know.

RW: The girl here in the white shirt.

Jane: I think . . .

RW: It's disgusting. It's pornographic . . .

Jane: . . . phony pointy rubbish . . .

RW: I hate her.

Jane: Yeah, I think I hate her too.

RW: She should be killed.

Jane: She's a bit bubbly.

RW: What about this kid here with his sleeves cut off?

Jane: I think the whole Flashdance look has gone out now.

RW: Are his jeans stone washed? I can't tell.

Jane: I think they're stone washed, relaxy fit.

RW: It's embarrassing . . . what about his ass?

Jane: It's a bit droopy.

RW: What about this gentleman over here? His shirt should certainly be tucked in, but it's not.

Jane: Well, I'm not into the tucky-tucky thing. This girls got her pajamas on ready to go.

RW: Yeah, she's out in public, I mean—

Jane: Shake it, baby.

RW: She's got people lookin' at her, she's not dancing in front of the mirror in the bathroom, ya know what I mean? You gotta turn it up a notch when you're out.

Jane: I like the Ricky Lake chick.

RW: Which one?

Jane: The Ricky Lake one, the one with the wavy curls. She's cute, she's classy.

RW: She was sitting here for quite awhile. Her friend was trying to get her to get up and dance. I'm glad she finally did.

Jane: I gave her the eyeball. I gave her the nod.

RW: You did?

Jane: The "get up, baby, I want you to dance." Did you notice that girl?

RW: She's pretty. Did you notice her shoes?

Jane: I did notice her shoes.

RW: They're like slippers, look. In a bar this crowded? That's scary walkin' through here. You'd get your feet stepped on. That's lookin' for trouble.

Jane: It's crazy.

RW: She pulls it off very well. Let's focus our attention on Chris, your guitar player here.

Jane: Chris and Shannon are the Lieutenants.

RW: Really? And what are you?

Jane: I'm the Captain.

RW: You're the Captain. So they're your subordinates.

Jane: They're not subordinates really, but—

RW: You tell 'em what to do and that's that, right?

Jane: No, it's not like that, it's a democracy.

RW: They step out of line and you straighten them out right? If he screws up you bite him and make him bleed?

Jane: No, it's not a bit, it's more of a toothing, like this.

RW: Ouch!

Jane: One chopper, not both. I'm trying to establish a pecking order here. They can tooth me and I can tooth them.

RW: Right, but he is a Lieutenant, you're the captain.

Jane: That's correct.

RW: What about Dana, what's her rank?

Jane: She's the Queen. Usually the band follows Dana's creative direction.

RW: So if the Queen came to the Captain and said sit yer ass down! Would you do it?

Jane: I can't imagine Dana saying that but in terms of the creative ends of the band, I would quickly. But if she said anything to do with the Shuttle, care of the Shuttlecraft operation, I think she would have to sit her ass down.

RW: I agree. It's a tangled web.

Jane: It certainly is.

RW: And what about Melissa? Where is she in the pecking order? Is she at the bottom of the barrel or is she the cream of the crop?

Jane: On, no, no, no. She is the one that handles all the fundage of the band, she is the social director. She is also the caterer. She makes sure we are all fed. And she also makes sure we get home at the end of the night.

RW: Who's ranked the lowest?

Jane: I would have to say that it would be those that are no longer in the band.

Well, that's all from the Fairmount Girls, kids! Don't forget to check your local listings for upcoming shows and check your local record stores for their new CD. Eleven Minutes to Anywhere.

Reglar Wiglar

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