High Heels Lo Fi sounds like if Joan Jett was kicked out of the Ramones’ Rock n’ Roll High School for being drunk and acting like the class clown. High Heels Lo Fi is a madcap cocktail of rock, booze, and hilarity.
Want to hear brilliant rock music? Go see AC/DC. Want to be bullied into singin’ along, drinkin’, dancin’ and laughin’ yer arse off with your friends? Come see High Heels Lo Fi. They’ll probably buy you a beer.
Musicmuso caught up with the band at The Littlest Hobo annual convention in Toronto, Cynthia 'C', Mandy 'M' & Doug 'D' were getting involved in a conversation about the Hobo's origins, motivation and ultimate destination which were never really explained on the popular TV show. Before they got too drawn in, we sat down to ask them a bunch of questions, here's how it went....
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence....
Hello! We are Cynthia Gould, Mandy Wells, and Doug Lea - collectively we transform into High Heels Lo Fi - a good band, but a GREAT TIME that’s a madcap cocktail of rock, booze, and hilarity.
You’re called High Heels Lo Fi, how did you come about choosing this name?
C - I wanted to mix glam & grunge, rock & roll, visual appeal with the sound. The music is always the most important thing, but if people have come out to a club, they deserve a SHOW. Something worth texting to their friends, “You suck for not having come out tonight - you’re missing it!”
How did you all meet?
C - I met Mandy at an event I run called the Toronto Tinfoil Hat Contest. Months later she purchased her way into the group with cheap liquor and a bucket of saucy attitude. We poached Doug from one of our favourite Toronto bands, Slave to the Squarewave.
D - I was crusin the I101 through Ventura when I stopped to pick up a couple of hitchikers along the side of the road. Both had guitars slung over their backs and I had to drive them to their gig. Turned out the hitchikers were Nelson, and I met Cyn and Mandy at the show trying to “work” their way to Nelson’s dressing room!
M--Pretty much what Cyn said. I have no idea what a Nelson is. Doug hits himself in the head a lot.
Can you please explain the Show Rider?
C - The “Write our Rider” contest should be fascinating - we are very curious what people think we need before and after a show! To be honest, we really just need a snack, a Red Bull, and a shot of tequila. Everyone should Google “band show riders” for a really good laugh. Also, for educational purposes, Google “Van Halen show rider M&Ms”.
D - Give us what we want and nobody gets hurt. Not that we’d hurt anybody, without permission. P.S. the safe word is “asparagus”
M--Those show riders for big stars are INSANE--Google Mariah Carey and kittens. So we wanted to know what kind of crazy our friends could come up with for us, whether we’d need cabana boy, roller coasters, or cocktails mixed by a kraken.
And ignore what Cynthia said. She’s trying to make us sound all normal and low-maintenance. We are not. I must be surrounded by flying baby unicorns at all time, or I can’t perform.
You can’t lose with Booze, errrm is there a story behind this song?
D - I think it’s about alcohol, and the love of it, and how we embrace it until it convinces us that we can rock as hard as AC/DC no matter what. Sometimes the amplifiers aren’t even on!
M--There is a story behind most of our songs. We like to think that our band is educational as well as entertaining, and we’re all about the teaching moments, even if we’re not so much the good example, as the horrible warning kind of teaching.
What is a High Heels Lo Fi live show like?
C - Have you ever eaten too much candy and gotten sort of hyper, dancing around your living room like a freak? Hopefully pantless? Perhaps we’re the rock & roll version of that. With GoGo dancers.
D - If you’ve ever been to the circus, realized you forgot to wear pants and the horses were all unicorns that served tequila in pint sized bowling trophies! The dancing bears were all hot and in pink booty shorts and striped crop tops. The lion tamer…
M--We actively harass the audience into having fun with us, we have cute gogo dancers and then recruit more from the crowd, we make people get in touch with their inner stadium-rockin’ cheerleader, sometimes we actually play a few tunes.
First gig you ever went to?
C - Okay, I’ll admit that it was Gowan, but I won’t admit which tour it was, for fear you might find out I’m over 21.
D - KISS the Dynasty Tour.
M--I snuck into a bar (well, I thought I was sneaking) to see a friend’s metal band, but it was so not a life-changing experience. Weirdly, I also saw Gowan. Cyn and I might have been at the same show.
How and when did you decide that you wanted to be in a band?
C - I have dated musicians since I was 16 - Musicianitis is a disease that doctors and scientists are finally taking seriously. It eventually dawned on me that it would be more fun on stage than in front of the stage, and I was always performing spoken word poetry… it’s practically the same thing, but louder and with some chords thrown in.
D - When I realized that girls started dating musicians around the age of 16!
M--I never even thought about being in a band until long after I should have known better. Best mid-life crisis ever.
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
D - Never gonna happen, dude! (from Cyn and Mandy)
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
C - Are we truly outrageous enough to say JEM? Or are we more like Voltron - sort of okay individually, but AWESOME when we snap together?
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released?
D - Kate Bush - The Kick Inside
M--Ah man, unfair question. And Doug’s clearly trying to up his sensitive guy status with that answer. I’m going to go with Blondie’s Parallel Lines, because that’s the first album I bought for myself, and those tunes still rock hard.
C - We haven’t released it yet. Until then, it’s a three way tie - NIN’s Pretty Hate Machine, Chris Whitley’s Livin’ with the Law, and, obviously, AC/DC’s Back in Black.
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
C - Trixie Whitley, Slave to the Squarewave, Steel Panther, Marcellus Wallace, Glass Apple Bonzai, Kraken Not Stirred, Nanochrist.
D - define “look out”
M--Yojimbo, and The Local Skank, two of my favourite bands from New Orleans; The Alcohollys and The Anti-Queens, two bands we play with regularly and always have a blast with, State Shirt if you’re in the mood for gorgeous mellow.
Where can you be found in and around Toronto?
C - We love to hang out at Cherry Cola’s Rock & Rolla Cabaret, the Bovine Sex Club, and anywhere our friends’ bands are playing.
D - Anyplace not associated with class and structured functionality!
M--Frequently, at the circus. No really. We know a lot of circus people.
Your cover of Maybe tomorrow (Littlest Hobo) is that a story close to your hearts?
D - We all... Well, I grew up watching Littlest Hobo. Maybe the girls watched it in syndication 20 years later. Is that how you wanted it phrased? I’ll have my $5 now, please.
M--We started playing it because it’s a TV show that every Canadian who didn’t have to go outside to play knows from their childhood, and it’s easy to play. We added the crazy bass solo because...well, we do ridiculous things sometimes.
Tell me a fascinating fact about you or one of your band members?
C - Doug was born a woman. Shhh. But that’s why he likes housework and can cook so well.
D - Mandy’s the only band member to eat a scorpion...more than once!
M--Please note-it was an actual scorpion, not a member of the hair metal band.
Have you had any ‘Spinal Tap’ Moments? If yes, please share!
C - We were getting slightly electrocuted from the mics once. Distracting! Another time my guitar strap was pulling my top down on one side while I played. I asked, “Hey - why didn’t you lot tell me?” Someone at the back hollered, “We like tits!” Fair enough. Another time I was in the middle of singing a verse, and was suddenly half choked by a bottle of tequila being poured down my throat by a zealous friend & photographer. I think I managed to finish the set. I think there were lots of roller derby boobs being flashed. It’s all a bit blurry.
D - I have not spontaneously combusted on stage, but my clothing has.
C - One more! I was setting up for sound check - tuning my guitar, adjusting my amp. When I hit my distortion pedal, a Korean radio station suddenly came through my amp, clear as a bell. Weirdest thing. It was far too hot & humid to deal with that sort of wicked tech sorcery, so to the relief of the sound guy, I just played without distortion that night.
You have a five track EP coming out soon, what can your fans expect from this? Is there a name?
D - Fans can expect to have their socks rocked, asses shaken and minds guttered! I think the word is “FUN”?
C - There is a name. Mandy, Doug, should we let these nice UK people be the first to know? Okay then, it's 'Fishnets & Diesel Fuel', there's an exclusive for you!
People can expect the newest High Heels Lo Fi music to always be better than the last. We grow, we progress, we fine tune. Strangely though, there is much less cussing in these five songs. It wasn’t an attempt to get more radio play or anything, just a strange fluke. We promise the next song we write will be all F-this and F-that!
The conversation about the Hobo's origin, motivation and ultimate destination was taking longer than planned, Doug seemed to think that in a past life, Hobo was a bad man and he had been born onto the earth to 'do good' amongst children, special needs adults and the general needy. Prior to hearing what 'C' and 'M' had to say about it, we threw in some quick fire questions....
Coffee or Tea?
C - both
D - Gin
M-- Yes please!
Coke or Pepsi?
D - Gin
M--neither, thank you.
Drum machine or the real deal?
C - real whenever possible.
D - Pffffft...I am a machine!
Mac or PC?
D - Politically InCorrect at all times
M--I’ve recently converted, but I’m fairly atheist.
C - Like it says on the bathroom wall, I swing both ways.
Taco or Burger?
C - Thanks, now I’m hungry.
D - Either...As long as it’s trimmed!
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
C - Lemmy. He still has a clue, and some personal style, whereas Ozzy doesn't seem to even know where he is.
D - I’d wait for the Neilson Ratings on this one
M--David St. Hubbins
CD or Vinyl?
D - Mixtape
C - Soundcloud
Car or Motorbike?
C - Neither. Good boots & the subway
D - Tricycle
M--ALL OF THE WHEELS!
Acoustic or electric?
C - Electric
D - Erectrical
M - Either as long as it only has four strings.
Massey Hall or Bovine Sex Club
C - Bovine - the bartenders are HOT. (Does Massey Hall even serve booze?)
M--Hmm, marginally more Bovine than Massey Hall, because the booze is cheaper and the bands less shoe-gazey.
Shower or Bath?
D - That’s like asking Jam or Jelly
M--Anything that’s more effective than a baby wipe.
C - I miss having time for baths.
Tattoos or Piercings?
C - both
D - name the body part
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino?
D - These are 2 different people?
M--I’ve never seen them together. I think they are the same person.
C - They were together in a movie called Righteous Kill, but these days it could have been CGI
God or Google?
C - Google is real.
D - Both bring in a shit tonne of money, but one has better ads. I find it harder to God myself online as well!
M--Google answers all the questions god can’t.
You've read this far, that's good, want to earn a few more brownie points with the band? If so (and even if you don't) please check out the links and embedded treasures that lie beneath this text, you'll be so glad you did !!
Musicmuso would like to thank High Heels Lo Fi for sparing their time to answer our questions and to advise us of the name of their new EP 'Fishnets & Diesel Fuel' that will be landing soon.
We wish them all the very best in the future and look forward to seeing our inboxes full of news of forthcoming tours,platinum selling albums and front page tabloid rock n' roll debauchery....
Interview by Mark Wincott