Sound logic

Nov 2, 2005 at 12:00 am

Watch out, mystery chick, Quintron would like to take a piece out of your Detroit ass.

The last time the New Orleans-based musician — who performs with his wife, puppeteer and percussionist, Miss Pussycat — was in Detroit, he got into a fight with a stranger in the crowd.

The man enjoys a good fight at shows.

“But I didn’t punch her. We just wrestled around,” Quintron says. He’s talking from his home in the 9th Ward, a New Orleans neighborhood in long-term recovery from floods brought on by Hurricane Katrina. “I get so much adrenaline when I am playing, I think I could probably beat up all of Wolf Eyes and Andrew W.K.”

Seeing Quintron and Miss Pussycat perform might awaken your violent inner child. Or it might fill your heart with love. The pair is on the road that links art and madness, heaven and hell. It’s a bumpy ride through the imagined landscapes of the new American Gothic: scary, fun, dangerous, erotic, borderline biblical.

The music is a delirious mix of rock, soul and funk, laced with spiritual and street rhetoric, filtered through homemade electronics. On stage, the multi-instrumentalist rocks behind a custom-built organ-synth that he’s fused to the front end of a car; the headlights beam at the crowd. He also plays his self-invented “Drum Buddy,” a weird 40-pound analog gadget activated by light and touch. It scratches and warps music, much like a DJ mixing in real time.

Welcome to their mad, creative life: Quintron and Miss Pussycat run the Spellcaster Lounge in New Orleans, create records, puppets and clothes in their home studio and tour the world spreading sonic and visual weirdness.

Asked what he’s working on at the moment, Quintron says, “A new black denim suit with emerald green rhinestones. But rhinestone prices have risen with fuel costs. The kind we use are cheap compared to diamonds, but they are flown in from either Austria or the Czech Republic, so jet fuel is a big factor with our outfits.”

What’s it like outside his doorstep, in Katrina’s aftermath?

“New Orleans is amazing now; it’s like the Wild West,” Quintron says. “I was working on our roof and I would eat once a day in this five-star restaurant and everyone eating in there was really dusty and dirty. Lots of cops and military and strippers and even one drug dealer: guns everywhere. It looks more like Detroit now. I wish it would never change. Normally this restaurant is full of tourists and wealthy people. Now it’s like some crazy top-shelf Cajun chow line. Our house is still kind of fucked up, but they’re not going to rip it down.”

Quintron and Miss Pussycat are touring behind his ninth album, Swamp Tech. He describes it as “a combination of swamp-pop and ghetto-tech,” his own “Detroit and South Louisiana” genre.

The highlights are huge: “Swamp Buggy Baddass” and “Witch in the Club” — each with a “clean” and “dirty” version — a noise-disco remake of Kiss’ “God and Thunder,” and the confrontational “French Quarter Faggot.” Paired with the CD is a DVD (Electric Swamp), a showcase for Miss Pussycat’s bizarre, sexy and whimsical puppetry.

As for Detroit, where he and Miss Pussycat are well-known, Quintron circles back to his physical encounter the last time here: “I hope she can come to our show, this mystery girl. I like to fight onstage very much.”


Friday, Nov. 4, at the Bohemian National Home, 3009 Tillman St., Detroit; 313-737-6606. With Harry Merry, and DJs Steve Kenny and Dave Shettler.

Walter Wasacz is a freelance writer. Send comments to [email protected]