1811 14th St. NW
Washington, DC, 20009
Wussy formed spontaneously in 2001 when Cincinnati, Ohio stonemason Chuck Cleaver (Ass Ponys) and Lisa Walker (The Magic Words) began playing together as a result of a dare, and a shot or two of Jaegermeister. Cleaver felt inspired after a run of U.S. tour dates the Ass Ponys shared with friends The Handsome Family, which renewed his long-held love of iconic rock and folk duos. Walker and Cleaver’s first performance, though totally unplanned, went without incident. Mark Messerly was recruited on bass shortly thereafter, with Joe Klug on drums and John Erhardt on pedal steel in the years following. The band has become a cult favorite of fans and critics alike, both for its songwriting and varied sonic palette, often drawing comparisons to admitted heroes Television, John Prine, Velvets, Crazy Horse and Yo La Tengo. Co-bandleaders Walker and Cleaver share songwriting and guitar duties, swapping lead vocals and arguing in harmony, with each side of the story sung either in tandem or as traded verses.
On their 2018 album, What Heaven Is Like, the band continue their longstanding tradition of combining supernatural tales and workaday anthems, with inspirations that range from the monsters of urban legends to late-night public television viewing. Heaven builds on the momentum of their prior two releases Attica! and Forever Sounds, with sonic and melodic nods to Springsteen, Mercury Rev, Unrest, Neu! and The Replacements’ Pleased to Meet Me, with songs at once devastating and hopeful. Highlights include a ballad for a beloved television heroine, a pair of Kath Bloom and Twinkeyz covers and a three-song suite inspired by Charles Burns’ brilliant and ever-timely graphic novel Black Hole.
In all of this, Wussy continue their evolution as forerunners of Midwestern Psychedelia, dubbed accurately by critic Robert Christgau as “an articulated drone” and noted by AllMusic Guide as “one of the most celebrated independent bands in the American Midwest”. Wussy have previously been featured in live sessions on CBS This Morning, KEXP and BBC 6Music and have performed at festivals including SXSW, Nelsonville and CMJ. They have supported several tours for Ohioans Afghan Whigs and Heartless Bastards, as well as proudly shared the stage with fellow travelers Yo La Tengo, Mark Kozelek, The Breeders, Schwervon!, Mudhoney, Shonen Knife, The Mekons, COME, Jeffrey Lewis and Wreckless Eric. Beyond the new LP, the band’s 2018 schedule includes U.S., U.K. and European tour dates, a Marc Riley BBC 6Music session, a split single, a new EP, a solo release or two, and a special Wussy Duo appearance at The Oxford American’s “50 Years of True Grit” Charles Portis festival along with such luminaries as Eddie Pepitone, Iris DeMent and The Paranoid Style.