Where were you when you were a teenager? Picking your zits, chess club, whacking off to pictures in your mom’s Cosmo? Sisters Morgan and Mercedes Lander were touring the world with their band, Kittie. Their 1999 debut CD "Spit," was a qualified hit that thrust the band into the spotlight. Before they were in their 20’s, (drummer Mercedes turned 20 last month) they had been through lineup changes, hostility from their hometown and were sued by their record company. But Kittie kept plugging on, playing in just about every town, city and burg in North America, giving them the freedom to hone their chops, write new songs and have a good time. (see below for Midwest Tour Dates!)
Maximum Ink: Where you at?
Morgan Lander: I’m actually at home. We’re just preparing for the tour that starts on July 7th. We’ve just been practicing for the last couple of weeks and just getting ready for the album launch and all that good stuff.
MI: What do you think of your hometown or better yet, what does your hometown think about Kittie?
Morgan: There is not too much love, unfortunately. We actually had to leave the city to really get any sort of attention and backing. I think that because we were young and got lucky, there are a lot of musicians in London that were very mean to us because they thought that we didn’t really deserve it (the fame).
MI: Probably because you are all females.
Morgan: Exactly, and I mean we were young and we had only been a band for about three years. But the way I feel, we were at the right place at the right time. I don’t know, I think that London is kind of a conservation, closed-minded boring kind of place.
MI: It’s not a good idea to diss your hometown in print, you know.
Morgan: (laughs) We are in between Toronto and Detroit so we have the best of both worlds because it is only about an hour drive either way.
MI: You guys had a quick rise. All of the sudden, boom the CD was out, the DVD that was filmed in Madison was out.
Morgan: Oh yeah! Everything happened really quickly once it started to go. From the time from when we formed the band until the time that we were signed was three years. The first three years we just played in the basement. We didn’t really play a show until early 1998. I think that no matter where we signed to it was going to be pretty crazy, but we really didn’t have no idea. We printed 8,000 copies of our first CD and we were like, ‘Cool if we sell even half this many we’re going to have a great time.’ All the sudden it was like the first week the CD came out it sold 8,000 and then it just kept growing and we couldn’t keep up with the demand. It was completely insane.
MI: What is the new album like? ("Until the End," Kittie’s third full-length, will be released July 27th by Artemis Records.)
Morgan: Definitely a lot more musical and mature.
MI: Is it heavy?
Morgan: Well of course! Of course it’s heavy. Obviously the new lineup and combination of musicians is just right. Internally, the band is really working well together. The productivity level has gone through the roof. I think that we have definitely found our sound, in terms of a lovely blend of completely brutal and heavy riffs with melody.
MI: You guys were teenagers when your first album came out.
Morgan: Exactly! I think that that really reflects in the music and the lyrics and the maturity level of who we were back then and now it is definitely different. The different thing about this album is that we had three years to write it. But between "Oracle," (2001) and this one ("Until The End,") there were three years in between and pretty much what we did was tour for two years straight. It was a really desperate time for us because of all the legal stuff that was going on. We had no idea when it was going to stop and if we were ever going to release another album or continue as a band. There was a lot of uncertainty, but at the same time we had no deadlines. We could write music for ourselves and go back to the beginning and enjoy instead of trying to produce. We were really glad to be able to kick it and be like we’re going to write a great album but that is the beauty of it.
MI: I saw that you guys were touring all over the place without having a new album out.
Morgan: Oh yeah, we played in every nook and cranny in the fucking United States. Every shitass bar. We were playing decent venues, and we have a great following but it was getting kind of old because we didn’t have a new album out.
MI: Do you think that it is because of your youth that you have been able to persevere through all the disappointments and heartbreaks and lawsuits?
Morgan: I think that we have been able to overcome a lot of stuff just because of our age. Mercedes just turned 20 this past January. I think that we have lived a great deal in the small time that we have been a band and been in the music industry, but because we’re still so very young that I think that it is amazing to see the potential in five years down the road that this band can possibly have. We feel like a brand new band again. We’re young, having a great time and everything is perfect now.
MI: You did Oz Fest Europe in 2000?
Morgan: It was like heavy metal summer camp. We grew up with them. (The Osbourne’s) It was a lot of fun. It was really cool. Great memories.
MI: I heard a rumor that there is a ballad on the new album?
Morgan: A ballad? No, actually. I don’t know where you heard that.
MI: I read on a discussion board that you have a rock ballad on the new album.
Morgan: A rock ballad? You know what is really funny about that? On our last album, ("Oracle") we actually did have a fucking ballad on it. It was just me and a piano. People didn’t complain about that, but let me tell you when you hear the new album you are going to be like where the fuck did they pull this out of their ass. This is seriously the most heavy technical stuff that we have ever done. No Extreme impersonation.
MI: That’s good because you guys are too young to be doing that kind of stuff.
Morgan: Oh god, a rock ballad! That is so funny.
MI: Got any good road stories?
Morgan: We have so many of them.
MI: So lets hear one.
Morgan: When we were in Reno, I believe it was last summer and there was this groupie chick who was a middle school teacher and she was there with some of her kids who were like, twelve. She wanted to get with some of the bands and she ended up pretty much giving herself to all of the bands. Everyone was like fucking her with beer bottles and writing on her ass with sharpies. It was just horrible! [Laughs] She was this schoolteacher and then she just went back to her fucking kids and it was really crazy. It was Mercedes who fucked her with a beer bottle and put a sharpie in her ass. It was all in good fun. Funny stories and bad luck seems to follow us, but it is stuff that you can laugh at. You look back and say, wow, we’ve had quite a life so far.
Log on to www.kittierocks.com, the official site for up to date news, tour info, photos, and more.
Midwest KITTIE Tour Dates...
***with support acts Candiria, 36 Crazyfists, and Twelve Tribes
July 7th, 2004 - Chicago Illinois House of Blues
July 8th, 2004 - Milwaukee Wisconsin The Rave
July 9th, 2004 - Minneapolis Minnesota The Quest