I N T E R V I E W
'Only Stopping for Blood or Food': An Interview with ‘5 Girls’
By Ian Duggan
After being active in the early to mid-1990s as a rock/punk band, and well-remembered for their early Greg Page claymation video 'Food', ‘5 Girls’ reformed in November last year with more of a country vibe. We talked to guitarist Vicki Greetis about performing together again, the band’s split-personality, and advice she would give her early-1990s self.
HUP: How have the four of you come back to be playing together again? Have you kept in close contact since you stopped playing as ‘5 Girls’ in the mid-1990s?
Vicki: As a student at WINTEC, I was asked to play at a girl’s night performance, and Kat (drums) and I had already been mucking about with some songs I had been writing. So we managed to lure the girls into playing the gig! So yeah, we have always kept in contact with each other. Just so much easier now that we are all in the Waikato!
HUP: What led to the breakup of ‘5 Girls’.
Vicki: Originally, Renee (guitar, vocals) left first, as the remaining three of us wanted to head in a more hard-core noisy direction, which we played for a couple of years before deciding to go our own ways with life as you do. We were only 17 years old when we started on the scene. We played nearly every weekend for a few years, before wanting a break to explore the world I suppose.
HUP: The reformed band has changed in style considerably from the first incarnation. What was behind changing from the rock/punk style to having a more country feel, and were you tempted to change your name with the altered direction?
Vicki: Amy (bass) will kill you when she hears us being described as ‘country’. Haha! I guess the country influence came from spending time in the States, and falling in love with the story-telling of the more alt- punk- country artists such as Shovels & Rope and Tapes ‘n Tapes. So yeah, it’s all my fault really. We recently played our own gig at the Yot Club in Raglan (with Pop Squad), doing all our ‘country-ish’ songs first with Renee, then another set as just a 3 piece with our dirty noise-rock songs. We really enjoyed going back to our roots, and are definitely going to be adding more old 5 Girls style noise tunes to the set. We are really two different bands at the moment, and have considered changing the name of the newer set. But that is up for argument, as some of us agree, and others believe it to be a part of the 5 Girls package that we play all kinds of genres. Will report back on that one in a couple of months!
HUP: What are your aspirations for the reformed band?
Vicki: Recording is top priority. Continue writing new songs, and growing our sound as the new us.
HUP: Are you still playing any of the songs from your early releases? Are there any thoughts of playing ‘Food’ or ‘Dr Ruth’, old Contact 89FM favourites, in an altered style?
Vicki: In the 3-piece we are playing Food and Dr Ruth again, in the original style (maybe a few altered words…). Plus a few of our oldies have been churned up and reincarnated, and we are super excited about that. Feels great to crank the feedback and noise again, and let rip! (continued below)
HUP: What have been the highlights for ‘5 Girls’, both from the early days and since reformation?
Vicki: Well there is nothing better than playing music with your best friends. I think we would all agree on a highlight being the time we did a tour as four different bands so we could be our own support bands. We were Floppy Nostrils (Hip Hop), Nancy’s Crab-Apple Jelly (Grunge), White Lightning (Bogan Rock), and ourselves, 5 Girls. The best part from the old days, was the people in the underground scene. It was a family. It still is all these years later, and we are so grateful people from all those years ago still want to come to a 5 Girls gig! We are really lucky that all our families get along, and the kids are part of band practice now, usually only stopping for blood or food.
HUP: Looking back, is there any advice you would give your early-1990s selves regarding the band?
Vicki: Stay in School. Haha!
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