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Take Five with Nikki Corvette

Submitted by RamonLP4 on August 29, 2008 – 2:02 amNo Comment
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If you dig your Rock & Roll poppy, energetic, and fun then the classic eponymous Nikki and The Corvettes album (Bomp 1980) is likely in your collection and if not, you may want to go back and grab the Bomp Re-issue. If you’re not familiar with Corvette and her pioneering work, let me try to make the most shallow and simplistic analogy for you - picture the Ramones with 60’s girl group vocals and a lot more twang and energy or how about let’s just say it’s the perfect soundtrack for your hottest sweatiest summer party. Still don’t believe me then download and dig the classic He’s a Mover. If that doesn’t make you want to jump up and down, god knows what could.

Lucky for us though the story just doesn’t end with the band disbanding in the early 80’s. Instead Nikki Corvette has in the past few years jumped back in the ring with a new band - The Stingrays - and released some new material that is just as energetic and fun as the Corvette’s stuff (check out Back to Detroit) . if that isn’t great enough news, this Sunday she’s playing the Continental Club with Paul Collin’s Beat and the Boss Martians as part of the Labor Day Weekend Power Pop Festival.

Earlier this week, we sent Nikki five questions and she was good enough to return them to us with answers. I, for one, couldn’t imagine a better way to inaugurate this new occasional feature.

1) Why after all these years return to making music and playing live?

I always loved playing live and really missed it when I stopped but the music business was making me hate music and it wasn’t worth it anymore. When I started to play again, it just sort of happened (like so much of my life!). After Bomp re-released the 1980 Nikki and The Corvettes album on CD in 2000 I did a lot of press stuff. Someone who had interviewed me asked me to play 4 or 5 songs at The Bubblegum Ball. I found a young all-girl band called The Pinkz and when we played the show, I remembered how much I loved to perform; it had been so long I had forgotten. We did a few more shows and then Travis Ramin called me to play a festival he was putting on in Minneapolis. It turned out so well that we decided to put a band together and have been playing together since 2003.

2) My understanding was that Peter James (who went on to chart success with The Romantics - the classic “What I Like About You” and the unforgivable “Talking in Your Sleep”) co-wrote all the material with the original Corvettes and for all intents and purposes was the other half of the band. Given that he’s not in the new band (The Stingrays), what is different in your approach, interaction, and songwriting with the new band in comparison to the old band?

Pete and I did start the band together and co-wrote the songs. At times we had a very different vision for the songs and the band in general but we played off of that and it worked. With The Stingrays, its much more of a band, writing and working on stuff together, as opposed to 2 people running everything, but it works too. Plus, these are people who grew up listening to my music and it put a new spin on it.

3) When you hear a band like The Donnas sing “”I wanna be like Nikki Corvette”, I’m going to guess that makes you feel a bit proud of your legacy. Were there any challenges that you faced back in the late 70’s and early 80’s that you feel no longer exist? Or, to put it another way, how do you think that women such as yourself have cleared the path for the women who followed? Also what do you think that women, particularly women who write and perform their own music, bring to the Rock and Roll vocabulary?

When I realized that not only did people know my band and its music but it had inspired a whole new generation of female musicians, I couldn’t really believe it. Although I had heard a few covers of my songs, The Donnas song put it much more into perspective. It was much harder to be a girl in the rock world when I started out, guys didn’t want to play with girls and I got thrown off of more than a show or two when they found out there were girls in the band. I ignored all of it and just forged ahead doing what I loved and not worrying what anyone else thought. I am proud to be one of the women who helped today’s female bands rock today.

4) You’ve put out one album on since returning to music back in 1996. Is there a new album in the works and if so how is that process going?

I was so thrilled to be able to record again especially with Back To Detroit in 2006. It was my first album of all original material since the Nikki and The Corvettes record 26 years earlier (yes, that’s right, 26 years between albums!!!). I felt it was a good representation of who I was now, maybe a little more grown-up but still that crazy Rock ‘n’ Roll wild child. Although in Japan I have also released 3 new records - Wild Record Party 1 and 2 in 2004 and 2005. They are mostly covers with a few new songs (my version of Pinups) and a 7 song EP of new originals called Rebellious Love Emergency released in the fall of 2006. I am hoping to do some new recordings with The Stingrays but everyone is busy with other projects so hopefully soon. In the meantime, I will be recording next month in Detroit with my new side project, a band called Gorevette with Amy Gore from The Gore Gore Girls.

5) You said in an interview that one lesson you learned was that you should take every opportunity, find the money and the time, and make it happen. Care to elaborate?

When you’re young it seems like the opportunities will always be there and I found that is not always the case. I missed out on chances to record with some great bands and musicians like The Clash, Ramones, Cars and several others because I didn’t have the time or money or whatever. If you get the chance to do something great, DO IT!!! No matter what it takes!

See you all in Houston!!!!

Links:

Nikki Corvette (Link)

Nikki Corvette on Myspace (Link)

Nikki Corvette on Dollar Records (Link)

Nikki and the Corvettes on Bomp (Link)

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