by Dave Schwartz
Photos by Keith Durflinger
Lo-Ball is a band that teases sexuality but doesn't want to be labeled by
it. In arranging the interview, the band graciously announced that there would be no
restrictions, all questions were open-- an early Christmas gift for me, but then what do
you ask five women that run around a stage and fall down a lot? These ladies bash out
four-chord screamers with all the enthusiasm of schoolgirls and want you to know
that they are not just a "look." This isn't marketing or some 40-year-old's wet
dream, this is rock and roll. Over the course of the hour, questions ranged from the
esoteric to the obnoxious; political to pubescent, but then it's not like I would ask a
lady about her knickers would I? Read on my friend.
Pauley P. - lead vocals
J.C. - rhythm
guitar/ background vocals
Lissa - lead guitar
Katie - bass, background vocals
Claudia - drums
Web site: www.LoBallRocks.com
We prefaced this interview with an e-mail questionnaire. It's always important to get a
feel for all the members of the band. Today I'm with Pauley and she aptly opens the
interview by commenting, "This is really strange. I mean, doing an interview without
the rest of the band. You put five of us into a room and then you're in for some
I wish that we could've interviewed the entire band, but it was just out of the realm
of possibility. Let's start this off easy, how long have you been together? How did the
"The band concept was started by J.C. and Claudia a couple of years ago,"
Pauley begins. "They wanted to build an outstanding all female rock and roll band to
prove that girls rock just as hard as boys. Lissa came next, then Katie and me."
With the addition of Pauley on vocals, the Lo-Ball line-up was completed in April 2000.
It wasn't long after that the band was back out on the road and turning some heads, but as
Pauley explains, Lo-Ball had a history before she came along.
"Katie the bass player used to sing vocals. She is a one-woman rock and rolls show
on bass and they wanted Katie to do her thing so they decided to add a vocalist. They were
a four-piece band; we are now a five-piece," she says.
I spent a bunch of years working in bands and I know first hand that it's always
difficult to add a new member to a pre-existing group because you have established that
vibe, after all, a band is all about the vibe. Did the dynamics of the band change much
after you joined?
"It was, dare I say, magical that we
all came together because the personalities all fit together so well," Pauley laughs.
"The rest of the band are just incredible musicians and are totally into their own
thing. Katie is a great singer and she still sings back up, as does J.C., the rhythm
In my e-mail I asked the band if their music is all
about the product or is there still room for self-indulgence? The bands reply
was somewhat evasive when they commented, "Don't know, we just play what we
love, the way we love it." I asked this in the sense that there are bands out
there that just write whatever comes to their heads, it's almost a
seat-of-their-pants approach. While there are others that take a very pointed
marketing position. They target an audience, they establish their look, they do
everything they can to brand their band's identity into the minds of the public.
Where does Lo Ball fit into this picture?
"I think that we
are more in the seat-of-the-pants camp.
There is always an element of our
performance that we know our fans are
really going to love" Pauley explains.
"We may add something funny into a song
or a part of our show, but we are very
aware of our fans. We have a pretty
specific sound and I think we are a fun
band to watch."
your band been playing around town?
Pauley began an
impressive list, "We play at The
Dragonfly, The Playroom, Goldfingers. In
fact we're doing a New Year's Eve show
at Goldfingers. We played up in San
Francisco several weeks back at the Cat
Club. They asked us to come up and it
was absolutely packed. We really didn't
know what to expect but it was a great
show. We played in New York a few months
back at the Mercury Lounge."
Really, what led
you to play in New York?
"We were invited
to go to the Bryant Park show, you know
the runway show?" She continues. "Well,
there is a company called Girls Rule
that manufactures really cool and hip
clothing, they invited us to go to that
show. So we were trying to decide if we
could afford to go out to New York and
we decided that if we were going to go
that we would have to perform, so we
booked a show at the Mercury Lounge and
it was great. I don't know how a person
found out about the show, I don't even
think that there was an ad in the paper,
but we sold it out. Now we're trying to
figure out a way to save our money and
go back there to play again.
"We have also
played the EATM festival in Las Vegas.
It was about my second performance with
the band and it was so much fun. We
loaded up the girls into a van and just
went. That's where Hits Magazine found
us and now they have done six or seven
articles about Lo Ball. This is where we
built much of our fan base."
That's a fairly
important gig to be playing so early on,
did you feel comfortable with the set?
"We all have our anxiety dreams.
Luckily things in life are so much scarier in theory then they are in practice. People
tend to worry about some crazy things, I mean we all worry about forgetting the words to a
song and I'm always afraid that I'm going to have to go to the bathroom. I've never
understood Bruce Springsteen for that. He plays four hours, doesn't he have to pee? And
what about the rest of his band?" Pauley laughs. "But you know that in reality
none of that ever happens. The reality here is that none of us are going to die on stage
and short of that, whatever else is just fun. I mean, who cares. It's just music."
Since this interview is being conducted right after our presidential election it seemed
fair to ask a political question, boxers or briefs? (Why waste time with the politics of
I guess I got more than I expected when, in their e-mail, the band replied, "Only
one wears boxers occasionally, two wear thongs, the other two prefer plain cotton
While one should never underestimate the importance of a woman's undergarments,
naturally I meant the question in a less literal sense. Aside from the question being a
hard-core MTV rip-off and, what with this ridiculous election that the world was left to
endure, I wanted to test the politics of the Sunset Strip. So now with complete certainty
I can faithfully report that when you open a can of worms, you find worms.
"The only reason Gore is not in the White House right now is because Clinton got a
blow job while in office." Pauley asserted.
Sound the trumpets, mount your horses and let the jousting begin. Well I guess that
would make Monica a very powerful woman then, I countered. I mean it shows that she had
the ability to profoundly alter the course of history. In fact, more powerful then the
First Lady I would imagine.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
After all, despite all the First Lady's attempts to, for instance, muscle health care
reform through Congress and the House, she just couldn't get it done.
I have never found myself a Clinton supporter, but I do recognize the First Lady's
personal tragedy. Instead of the high profile self-empowered role she may have imagined
for herself, she was relegated to a more traditional position and later left to suffer
through the indignation of a world leader's (AKA her husband) very public indiscretions.
"We wrote a song about all this", Pauley starts. "It's called 'Sex in
the White House.' The song is not about sex in the White House, it's just the hook that
ties everything together."
Pauley takes the time to read the lyrics to me and I must admit that they hit the nail
right on the head. The song is all about the many tragedies that were facing America
during the Clinton sex scandal, but were overshadowed or forgotten by a media that were
feeding on the sensational account of a President and his cigar. I will comment that the
poignancy of this song surprised me. It's easy to dismiss any rock band's reach for
lyrical credibility when, in fact, most have nothing to say. This time Lo-Ball showed a
depth that was unexpected.
is constantly changing. What changes have you seen? Where do you think music is
"Hopefully a resurgence of rock and
roll-- real guitars, real drums, rock
stars. Front rows that have cool chicks
too, not just a bunch of guys beating
each other up." She adds, "The Internet
is causing music to redefine itself in
every way. Because of the Internet you
may find that music becomes absolutely
It seemed to me that it was more the
record companies that are taking a
watching-and-waiting attitude. I think
it's the smaller bands that are pushing
the envelope and most often the record
companies or larger bands that are
trying to hold back technology.
Pauley points out, "I'm not so sure that
history has proven that you can stop
technology. I don't know if people have
taken the right approach to all this. I
mean technology is inevitable. Remember
when people tried to stop VCRs? Well, we
all have them now and people still go to
the movies. It seems that people spend
so much time fighting technology rather
then figuring out a way to use it."
In the music business or more
importantly for a band, how far is too
Clearly Pauley had spent some time
considering this question, "I think that
limits should be defined by the moment.
It depends on where you are, what you're
doing, who you're playing to, wouldn't
you agree? As far as 'too far,' the
limits are a dynamic not a static. But I
also think that people should be aware
of the limits, but not constricted by
them. There have been many things that
may have been considered 'too far,' but
were incredibly necessary. Whether it
was politically or socially, there are
times where there is need for people to
push the envelope. I heard Fred Durst of
Limp Bizkit say in an interview, and I'm
going to paraphrase, he said, 'Although
everybody wants to sell records and
everybody wants to be a rock star,
certain things aren't worth selling a
record'. I think he was talking about
doing things or saying things on a
record that is blatantly homophobic or
racist. These are things that I just
can't fucking stand."
It sounds, and I'm guessing, but it
sounds like he was commenting on the
latest Eminem CD.
"He was," she agrees. "And I thought
that the comment was not only smart, but
I think he was saying personally, like I
would be saying personally, that some
things just are not worth it. I just
don't think that you have to be cruel to
be cool. I support everybody's right to
say things, but there are things that I
will not do. I just know that I would
never want to be responsible for
someone's actions against humanity."
What is the craziest thing to ever
happen to your band on stage?
This was the
band reply from the e-mail
questionnaire, "OK, a couple of months
ago, Lo-Ball played a show with the
Bangles, their first performance
together in like 14 years. The venue
asked us to do the show, play after them
and we were like, 'cool.' We got to the
gig before their set. Their set was like
2 1/2 hours long. By the time we were
supposed to get on stage, it was almost
closing time. Lo-Ball was trying to get
stuff on stage to play for the people
that had come to see us hours before.
The Bangles' crew HATED us for trying to
set up quickly and were super rude. To
make things worse, while waiting so
long, a few of the Lo-Ball members had
consumed a few too many cocktails. By
the time we took stage, the remaining
Bangles fans, who had just been
serenaded by a lovely sweet set, I don't
think were quite ready for Lo-Ball's
huge guitar sounds, kick your ass drums
and loud, drunk lead singer. At that
point, after waiting for hours, enduring
the meanness of the Bangles' crew (not
the Bangles' girls, their people) and
trying to set up all our gear super fast
so we could play before the venue
closed, we were like 'fuck it.' We
ripped out our songs louder and faster
than ever, J.C.'s amp and guitar blew
out, so she played an ASTOUNDING set of
pure air guitar. Everyone in the band
fell down at some point, except the
drummer. Pauley fell face first into a
pile of beer bottles. We ended our set
with a cover of
'Bad Reputation.' People got up
on stage to sing it with us. Nobody knew
the words, it ended up being a lot of
'no, no, no, no, no, no, noooos,
not me, me, me , me, me, me, meeees.'
Someone from the Bangles' camp called
the next day to complain about us."
"They called up
and asked: 'Who do those girls think
The answer: "They think they're
"For those that were there to witness
the pandemonium, it was a great fucking
This is Lo-Ball.
In many ways they are a
contradiction of terms but then so is
rock and roll.
girls are just living the life that is
placed before them, one day at a time.
They are neither a look nor a
marketing ploy but any time you put five
women on a stage it is a 40-year-old
mans wet dream.
Is it fair?
Of course not.
It just means that they have to
work harder and play louder until
someone finally hears the music and
understands that there is more going on
here than a short skirt.
I would like to thank Lo-Ball for this
interview. Months back we had reviewed a
live performance and were less than
gentle with the band. Chalk it up as a
bad night. It took some balls to step
back into the fire, some real Lo-Balls!