An Interview with The Worsties

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The Worsties are a Nashville based rock band. The Worsties are: Anna “Madame Worsty” Worstell on vocals, Jesse “Worsty” Worstell on guitar and bgv’s, Jairo “El Guapo” Ruiz on bass, Nathan “Four to the Floor” Shelton on Drums.They are gaining steam across the South and the Midwest with a very energetic live performance style and two successful EPs featuring songs like “Kitty Litter” and “Drop Your Panties and Roll” gaining national acclaim through airplay and other forms of media. They are played the MOTR Pub in Cincinnati at 9:00 on Saturday April 23rd. You can see photos from the show here.

CityBeat: I don’t know if people in Cincinnati know a lot about you. Do you want to tell us a little bit about what the band is about and coming to Cincinnati?
Jesse: We have never been to Cincinnati. This is our first show there. I’ve been there before with other bands and I’ve always loved the city. I’m excited to bring this band there and just show what I’ve been talking about because we always hear about how awesome the scene is there in Cincinnati. We are a straight up rock band from Nashville, Tennessee. There’s really no frills or anything too fancy in what we do. We like to put on a good show and get the crowd into a good mood and maybe help them party a little bit, dance a little bit.
Anna: Give them what they pay for. Perform on stage and have a good time.

CB: You guys are pretty known around Nashville I know and other places for high energy performing. I saw it for the first time in Chicago opening for Kid Rock and Bon Jovi. Can you talk to us a little bit about what that experience was like and how that all came about?
Anna: Yeah, totally. We actually won a competition to play that show. We put our music on this site called Ourstage.com. Ourstage has been real good to us. They were fans of our music. We had a couple songs that were number one for a few weeks. Then they put on this competition where people could vote on getting the opportunity to open for Bon Jovi. I remember we were in Georgia on the road and Jesse came across the contest and was “Hey dudes I am going to sign us up for this.” And we were all joking “It’s gonna be killer when we open for Bon Jovi.” And not really thinking of it but being positive anyway. And it came true. So we got a phone call that we won the contest to open for Bon Jovi at Soldier Field in Chicago. What was cool for me is I had never been to Chicago before. So my first experience going to Chicago was playing a gig at Soldier Field with Bon Jovi and Kid Rock.  So that was sort of surreal. The experience was awesome but it was a little bit of a tease for us all because it was one show. We wanted just to do our best and kill it. I feel we all acted very professional about it. Everybody backstage and Bon Jovi’s manager told us how professional we were. It felt very natural. I’m just glad we have that experience under our belt and hopefully there will be many more to come like that.

CB: It was a great show. Very high energy. You have a video and a song called “Kitty Litter” that has gotten a lot of play. I saw an interview that the concept behind the song was “Girls can be bitches” and I thought that was the best line of the week. Can you tell me a little bit more about the song?
Anna: Yeah, sure. I mean that is sort of the basis of the song. Unfortunately from a little bit of experience. I called it “Kitty Litter” just because that is the nastiest thing. People call girls catty. What’s the nastiest part of the cat? That’s just how “Kitty Litter” evolved. I use a line in the song that it’s a pretty little ribbon that’s tied to a fatal disease. I write metaphorically, and that just sort of means that girls can come off as really pretty and friendly but once gossip gets involved, it can become deadly. It can bruise someone’s ego or friendship or that sort of thing. That’s basically what the song is about. Not all girls are like that, just some.

CB:  I’d say most, at one point another, we are all guilty I think. You guys just had a song featured on TV as well right?
Anna: You can barely hear it but it’s so cool. It was on Burn Notice..

CB: What song was it?
Jesse: It was “Drop Your Panties and Roll” from our first EP Put Your Babe On.

CB: And again, another song that I like. Can you tell me a little background what that song is about?
Anna: Oh yeah, that song was inspired by celebrities and paparazzi and how people are coming out of clubs and posing for cameras. It’s how things can get crazy or dirty. It was written around the time that there was the Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan scandals wanting to show their coochies for the camera for exposure. That’s why I say in the song, “Filthy is as filthy does/ Don’t forget to pose for the camera/ Raise your glass to the writer” because the writer is basically gaining you fame for all of your bullshit. We weren’t originally going to call it “Drop Your Panties and Roll,” but our witty bass player Jairo, I don’t know, the most random shit comes out of his mouth. So I said, “Jairo, what do you think we should call this song?” And within two seconds blurted out “Drop Your Panties and Roll” and we started laughing so hard and just kept the title. It was just convenient that that title was what I was writing about.

CB: You guys have a fairly new EP out right?
Jesse: Yeah, it came out March, just a little three song EP. Amy: What are the three songs on there?
Anna: We feature “Let’s Go,” “Party Dress,” and “XOXO.”

CB: Do you guys write your stuff?
Jesse: Yeah, the guys usually write all the music and will have a full song figured out or Jairo will have the song musically figured out or if we don’t we’ll kind of jam on it, a rift that either one of us has come up with. Then once we get that solid, we’ll bring it to Anna and just jam on it til she gets some words and melodies flowing. So everyone contributes musically, then we let Anna do her magic lyrically.
Anna: That, and then they come along and cut parts out here and there and turn it into a beautiful song.

CB: Do you guys have anybody you run it across. Do you ever co-write with anybody?
Anna
: No. But we have a friend of ours here in Nashville who has approached us and has offered to help co-write with some stuff. My first reaction to that kind of stuff is pretty defensive. But this guy, he gets me and my writing style. I don’t know, I give him a lot of credit for that. So he has been coming to some of our practices. We haven’t written a song together from scratch. But he has been taking a few of our songs and sort of upping the game making it a little more “poppy” and making it a little bit more placeable as far as movies and radio are concerned. So, I am sort of working with somebody but in general we don’t at all.

CB: What’s your favorite song to play live?
Jesse: Good question. I can tell you mine. We are always writing so we have a handful of new songs that aren’t recorded yet. So mine right now at this moment is one of our newest songs called “March.” It’s got a bit of a different sound than we have recently recorded. It’s going in a little bit more of a “what’s hot right now” direction and got a lot of the dance feel but it’s pretty rock and pop. That one is fun for me because I get to play a little bit of a solo. So it’s a different kind of arrangement too.
Anna: Yeah, I actually agree with Jessie. That’s not necessarily my favorite song right now but when any song is new and fresh, you have fresh energy with the song. I’m not saying that always goes away but I’m pretty pumped about that song. Otherwise, we have a song that isn’t recorded yet called “Hey Kid” that is about the downfall of the music industry and it’s very anthemy. It’s one of those I can jump around a lot. I really like that one. “Let’s Go” is fun because it has the cheerleader chant to it but it’s not cheerleader at all which is awesome.  I like “Sugar Cookies” because it’s all balls to the wall and crazy and I can jump into the crowd with that song and people can get into it and just want to dance. I try to write all of our songs to be fun to perform.

CB: What are you guys listening to right now. What’s in your Ipod or your car?
Anna: Right now in my car I’m listening to Iggy Pop’s Greatest Hits.

CB: Who are your influences when you perform or written in the past? I hear a No Doubt “feel” to your music.
Anna: Oh yeah if you mention No Doubt it’s totally cool. I have quite a few influences. Non-female anywhere from David Lee Roth to Freddy Mercury, even a little bit of Kurt Cobain. But as far as females are concerned, Chrissy Hines, Joan Jett, and Gwen Stefani for sure. I grew up in a really super religious home where MTV was blocked from the television. But when No Doubt came out, my parents actually let me listen to that CD. I listened to that CD until my ears were on fire. I admired her stage presence and I think her power sparked something in me and I woke up one day and I said that’s exactly what I’m going to do with my life. Everybody in my high school knew that I would do that one day. That dream is coming true. So yeah Gwen Stefani is up there but not my only influence.

CB: You brought up being raised in the religious household. I mean Nashville has a great music scene and I love to go to Nashville but one of the things that bothers me is the ultra-conservatism that is around town. Do you have to deal with that or has that ever been a problem for you?
Anna: I don’t hang out with those people.
Jesse: Well speaking of Nashville having a really good music scene. I’m not sure if you saw the Rolling Stone article but they just named Nashville the best.

CB: I did and I just read it last night and saw the article.
Jesse: Yeah that’s huge and I got really excited when I saw that.

CB: I think it’s true. I always tell people that I find Nashville to be an awesome place but also a frustrating place because I have seen people on the street or working at Trader Joes that I feel are awesome singers or musicians that are never going to make it, better than a lot of the people out there.
Jesse: That is kind of frustrating to see that. I think, with what we’re doing, there is a really strong rock scene going on here. Of course you have country, you have Americana, you got folk, got blues, whatever. But we find more success when we play shows out of Nashville. We love living there, we love playing shows there. But everyone is a musician and everyone is a critic. You’re a dime a dozen. You’re like everybody else in town.
Anna: Right, like everybody is a music lover but if they come to see you, they never want to show it. It’s either everyone is jealous of everyone else or everybody is trying to copy someone else. Nashville is a tough crowd as a lot of big cities are, but Nashville in particular. When we go out of town, it’s night and day. We have fans who are putting their hands up and trying to get as close to the stage as possible. When that kind of energy happens, that’s when they get the better show and that’s when I’ll jump into the crowd with them.

CB: So are you guys originally from there?
Jesse: I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Anna: I’m sort of a mutt but I grew up in Montreal in my childhood and then moved to South Florida for high school and college.

CB: How did you guys all come together and form the band?
Jesse: Funny story. Anna and I actually met on the internet.
Anna: Before it was cool.
Jesse: Yeah before it was cool to meet someone on the internet. I was living in Indiana at the time and going to school there and I was in a band there and really tied down. So when I met Anna on the internet and saw that she lived in Florida, I was like “long distance relationship, okay.”  And we had a really strong connection. Then we started visiting each other all the time and sparks flew. So she decided to move up to be near me when I was still in my other band. As time went on, that band fizzled out. Then we started writing together, and I realized that “Holy crap! This is really good. This is the best stuff I’ve ever done.” We couldn’t hack it in Indiana anymore, we wanted the big time and the closest option that seemed like the right place was Nashville. So we moved here about six years ago and we met the other guys when we got here. I worked with our bass player Jairo. We met Nathan via Craigslist when we were looking for a drummer. So a very unique come together of how it all started.

CB: So are you and Anna together-together?
Jesse: We are together-together.

CB: Does that cause any problems? That’s a lot of togetherness.
Anna
: Oh for me and Jessie? No, every relationship has its problems but I think what’s really awesome about our marriage and being together is the fact that we have a common goal. So it’s not like I want to have babies and be a stay at home mom, it’s like “F that, we are going to do this together.” We actually have a lot of fun with it. Jesse and I are best friends first. When we’re on the road, we feel that too. I don’t know, it’s really unique, we get along really well honestly. We’re all really different people but it just happens to work.

CB: I think you have to get along to be in a band together for long periods of time. It’s a tough situation but if you’re good friends, you just kind of let things go.
Anna
: Yeah for sure. I would love to spread the rumor that we are real rock stars that cause trouble, drug addicts, burn out all the time, real crazy, but we’re not, we’re actually super business-minded. And don’t get into any trouble, the worst thing we do is play dirty mad-libs in the van for like eight hours straight.

CB: You guys do this full time right?
Jesse
: No, we all work 9-5’s and the band is like another part time job.
Anna: But we’re working on it to be full time. That’s our goal.
Jesse: That’s our goal to make a living at making music.
Anna: You really have to believe you are going to do it. It can get really discouraging. For example, all the guys do work 9-5 jobs. I used to. I’m more of a night person and I just started waiting tables and making more money doing that. I’m working at a higher end hotel in Nashville where all the musicians come through and all the main songwriters come through. And here I am wanting to make a living for The Worsties and overhearing shit bands getting signed and things are happening for other people.  I am pouring their sparkling water and wanting to throw up in their food. It’s discouraging because you see things coming together for other people. But at the same I’m super positive because every goal we have set we have surpassed so far. We’re going to get there. Our time is coming. It’s hard.
Jesse: It sounds very cliché but there is a lot of power in positive thinking. If you will it, it will happen.

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