If space travel, mythical creatures and doom are three of your favourite things, then this band is exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Purple Rhinestone Eagle, formed in Portland, Oregon, have taken over where Black Sabbath left off. With their ear raping riffs, sludgy tempo and psychedelic space rock undertones, this band is guaranteed to blow your mind straight into another galaxy.
How did each of you meet and start playing music together?
Andrea: Morgan and I knew each other from back in our university days. We went to different schools but we had mutual friends. Anyways, we both ended up inPhiladelphia after that and we met Ashley at a potluck. We heard she played the drums and asked her to jam with us. After being a band for a while in Philly we all packed up and moved to the West Coast. We live inPortland currently.
Ashley: I started talking to Morgan at this potluck specifically because she was wearing an all girl summer fun band t- shirt. She said she had a drum kit in her basement so we naturally decided it would be a good idea to start a band.
Morgan: What they say is true. It’s not usually my style to invite people I barely know to play music with me, but something about Ashley must’ve seemed right… a decrepit railing almost ended our band before it started, it’s all worked out!
What influenced each of you, musically, as children?
Andrea: The first music I got into was metal at the age of 5. I have a cousin who is 10 years older than me and she was a total metalhead. She’d come over and play Metallica, Megadeth, and Iron Maiden tapes for us. My brother and I would grab brooms and pretend to play guitar. I’m still doing the same thing and I’m still into those bands! Later on, I got into jazz and soul from my dad and I got into 60s psych music from my mom.
Ashley: As a kid i was really into Michael Jackson, and the Beatles.
Morgan: My mom loves the Beatles, so that was played a lot when I was a kid. Mostly though, it was my dad… he has a pretty impressive record collection which extensively covers rock and doo-wop from the 50’s and 60’s and then tapers out in the 70’s. I listened to his records a lot. We both really like Buddy Holly and the Ronettes. And Queen.
I must say, the minute I heard the name of the band, I knew I had to check you guys out. Where did it come from?
Andrea: Ahhhh…. the name.
Ashley: Morgan has a way with words none can compete with
Morgan: Alright. The long answer: The series of words we chose for our name conjures images of both beauty and ferocity. Purple is a regal color, often used to represent royalty and wealth, and in contrast a rhinestone is a cheap imitation of a diamond. While diamonds are coveted symbols of status or love, they actually are mined in really destructive ways, whereas no blood is spilled over rhinestones.. The eagle has been usurped as a symbol of patriotism and warfare, but the bird itself is noble and beautiful while also brutal. The juxiposition of these reclaimed images seems to always conjure a reaction of some kind, and I like that about it. The short answer: I saw a girl wearing a shirt with an eagle made of rhinestones on it and the words popped into my head.
You have been around for over 5 years now. Do you have any memorable gigs or experiences you would like to share with the readers?
Andrea: There have been so many! We’ve must have played hundreds of shows at this point, if not close to a thousand so there are a lot to choose from. I don’t know, what do you guys think?
Ashley: i think playing on a boat inFrance, or maybe that time we played in the hair salon inConnecticut were some stand out shows. honestly, every time we play to a crowd of people who are really feeling it, like loosing their shit, dancing and sweating and headbanging, i get reminded of why i love being in a band so much, like the time we played in a living room in savanah ga, or last week when we played a bar here in portland.
Morgan: Some of my favorites: playing for the Rock Camp for Girls inNew York, playing atGilman St., which is one of my adolescent meccas, and anytime we get to play with some new band that blows me away… but Ashley makes a point that I fully agree with, whenever the energy is there, it’s a good show.
How has the Portland music scene treated you?
Andrea: Pretty awesomely in general. Portland is the type of place where you don’t have to work a ton to survive. We have been able to focus a lot of time and energy on music because of that. Also thePacific Northwest has such a rich history of ladies, queers and progressive people making excellent music for the past 20 years. We feel really accepted here in a lot of ways.
The Nice n Sleazes gig in Glasgow was amazing. I was totally blown away by the whole night. How did you come across the chance to come to the UK?
Andrea: Yeah, that was a fun night. Em Ledger was our UK booker. She is one fantastic lady. She and Andy Brown of Divorce booked our Glasgow show.
Will you be returning soon?
Andrea: God I hope so!
Morgan: Next summer?
How do you approach song writing within the band? Is it a solo effort or a full band thing?
Andrea: Generally speaking we come up with material together. Sometimes we’ll will work on a riff or a part at home and bring it to the practice space but most of the time we figure out song structures together as a band. We usually write our parts individually during sessions but we’re always open to hearing suggestions from each other. We’ll jam on something for a while until something awesome emerges. I do all of the lyric writing. I love writing and I got a lot of opinions so it comes pretty easy!
Do any of you have any interesting hobbies aside from music?
Andrea: Making collages out of found art, writing, yoga, bike riding. I’m a huge book nerd and I’m always reading something. Although I wouldn’t call it a hobby I’ve djayed a Ladies Metal Night before and had a lot of fun with that.
Ashley: fixing drums, making mix tapes, drinking coffee, watching fantasy and sci fi movies, building microphones, crafting, home recording
Morgan: Altering clothes, collecting bizarre and inadvertently disturbing ceramic animals, reading graphic novels, eating pie
Put your IPods on shuffle, what’s the first song that plays?
Andrea: “Ready for Slaughter” by Hellhammer.
Ashley:Deciever by judas priest
Morgan: “Release The Bats” by The Birthday Party
Any bands from Portland we should look out for this year?
Ashley:Burials, Sie Hexe, Lord Dying, Fucking Lesbian Bitches, only to name a few.
Morgan: Mean Jeans, Stag Bitten, Psychic Feline, Eternal Tapestry, Forever… I could go on.
What does 2011 hold for Purple Rhinestone Eagle?
Andrea: We’re currently writing songs for a new album. Also we’re going on a couple of US tours. Hopefully by the end of the year we’ll be recording again. We’re trying to get our next release to be on a rad label with really good distribution. Send us those good vibes gentle readers!
Let’s hope Purple Rhinestone Eagle grace our shores again this year. Head bangers of Glasgow, UNITE!