For almost 20 years, the Gore Gore Girls have combined the attitude of ‘60s girl-groups with the powerful rock ‘n’ roll the Motor City is known for. Think the Ronettes meets Iggy & the Stooges. And while the band earned a following in Detroit’s legendary garage-rock scene throughout the late 1990s and 2000’s, the outfit actually got its start in Lansing at Mac’s Bar back in 1997.
Coming up in the same circuit as the White Stripes and the Dirtbombs, the Gore Gore Girls have performed around the world, scoring a cult following and critical praise along the way. USA Today said the Bloodshot Records-signed band sounds like the “gum-popping, guitar-toting granddaughters of Chuck Berry and the Beach Boys.” For the first time since 2008, the Gore Gore Girls return to Mac’s Bar Thursday. Opening is Choke Chains, a snarling rock outfit lead by guitarist/vocalist Thomas J. Potter, formerly of the legendary Lansing-based blues/punk duo Bantam Rooster.
Vocalist/guitarist Amy Gore chatted with City Pulse about her band’s revival and its days on the road with the Cramps.
What do you recall about your earliest gigs? How do they compared to now?
The first Gore Gore Girls show was actually at Mac’s Bar. The second show was at the Gold Dollar opening for the Detroit Cobras. The early shows were beer-soaked, amateurish, full-of-attitude performances. I could barely play my instrument. Now I play either sober or with one beverage that I barely finish. It’s more exciting to feel everything raw, not numbed. The rush — the power of my band behind me and the connection with the audience — is the best feeling.
Why has it been so long since you've been to Lansing?
Gore Gore Girls took a nap from 2008 until recently. The band never broke up, we just stopped playing. I did a project with Nikki Corvette called Gorevette. We toured Japan and then did some dates in the U.S. with Blondie. I released a solo album in 2012 as Amy Gore & Her Valentines. I'm thrilled to play with Gore Gore Girls again, my first love.
How many tours have you been on?
The first tour the band did was opening for the Cramps. We toured as their direct support from 2003 to 2005, depending on what shows they needed us for. Then we toured over 200 shows in support of our album, “Get the Gore,” between 2007 and 2008. We did tours in the U.S., Scandinavia and Europe. The band has also toured with Eagles of Death Metal, Southern Culture on the Skids, Reverend Horton Heat and even opened for Sugar Ray, which was surreal and hilarious. They are fun guys. We just returned from playing Mexico City for the first time in years and the shows were packed.
Touring with an iconic band like the Cramps must’ve been unreal. How was that?
Lux and Ivy (of the Cramps) were like the band’s cool aunt and uncle. We loved them. I was in awe the entire time. The Cramps tour shaped me as a performer and a business person. I remember in New Orleans I was arguing with the sound man about having a sound check. Ivy took me aside and told me, “Put having a sound check on your rider.” I didn't know what a rider was. We didn't have an agent or anything. I rented a minivan for us and we drove cross-country with our boots and guitars. Lux took photos of us every night and sent them to me as 3-D slides with 3-D glasses after the tour was over. It was a magical experience. I miss them dearly.
Gore Gore Girls at Mac’s Bar
with Choke Chains, Narc Out the Reds and Sidewatcher
8 p.m. Thursday, May 5
Mac’s Bar 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing
(517) 484-6795, macsbar.com