PING PONG BITCHES: "Punk is here to stay!"
Interview by Erkki Rautio / pHinnWeb
25 September 2002 -- Ping Pong Bitches (UK) are Emily Hell, Louise Prey and Mandy Wong, who released their five-track debut album for Alan McGee's Poptones label last year. They got their name from a pissed-off ex-boyfriend, who called them "ping pong bitches and ping pong tarts", as the story tells. They like to incite riots at their gigs. Steve Jones played guitar on their album. Their manager was Malcolm McLaren. Sounds familiar? It should... Disco sleaze meets electro trash meets punk attitude -- Mandy Wong, the kung-fu expert of Ping Pong Bitches gave pHinn a pretty good whacking while talking to pHinnWeb. Ouch....
[click pictures below to see full-scale images]
- So what's now happening in the life of Ping Pong Bitches, any news?
Concerts in NYC... new album coming.
- Tell me something about the backgrounds of Ping Pong Bitches: how did you start making music together?
Going to studio, mutual interests: sex, drugs, rock'n'roll... making it funky.
- How would you describe your style of music?
- Are there any role models or influential artists for you?
Li'l Kim + Missy + Ramones + Iggy + Stooges.
- And what current artists are you most into yourselves?
So Solid Crew and Oxide & Neutrino.
- What about your live performances, and any interesting anecdotes about them? Your UK tour was cancelled due to riots at the Bournemouth gig - has it been like that elsewhere? And what have been the best and worst places to play alongside that?
Coachella festival, Palm Springs was the BEST YET! Peaches / Ping Pong Bitches in Concorde2, Brighton was also BRILLIANT! NO BAD GIGS. NO ANECDOTES!
- Well, OK... Then for some obligatory name-dropping -- you've worked with some "names", it seems... Marco Pirroni of Adam & The Ants has produced you; Steve Jones of Sex Pistols and Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music also play on your album. Has working with famous people like this been easy or has there ever been any artistic or other clashes between you?
Our famous name collaborators just happened to be around when we were recording. Phil Manzanera in a studio next door... Steve Jones we met in LA and sent him a DAT. Marco rang and asked if he could play (he's NOT producing us). No artistic clashes so far.
- Which takes us to your ex-manager Malcolm McLaren who you said tried to turn you into (another) "karaoke group" of his? What is he like otherwise?
Malcolm is BEST described as an "excellent drinking companion".
- And your experiences with Alan McGee and his Poptones label? You're still with them or...?
We done well out of Poptones BUT it's time to move on.
- I heard Mark Moore of S'Express fame calls you his favourite band, and he has also remixed your 'Rock Action'?
Mark Moore has impeccable taste!!!
- How's that collaboration with Ron Asheton of The Stooges coming along? Is he still in shape these days?
Ron Asheton's still rocking!
- And any other famous collaborators?
- Your collective Top Ten for the moment/all-time?
Firestarter - Prodigy
J'taime... moi non plus - Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin
I Love Rock'N'Roll - Joan Jett
Flashlight - P-Funk
French Kiss - Li'l Louis
Up Middle Finger - Oxide & Neutrino
Cheree - Suicide
Bad Boy for Life - P Diddy
Baby One More Time - Britney Spears
- You're going to play at Larry Tee's Electroclash festival in New York -- so, what's your take on this "electroclash" hype? Do you feel you're part of any "movement"?
Seems all the electroclashers LOVE the Ping Pong Bitches, and recently we've been invited to play by Larry Tee who has been a fan since the first release.
- As a trio of three women combining punk and electronic styles you're inevitably compared to such acts as Chicks on Speed, Le Tigre or Lolita Storm? What's your relationship with those? I think also someone like Peaches might come close here...
We met Peaches when we supported her at the Concorde2; she's cool 'n rocks! We ignore girl group comparisons. We're doing our own thing.
- Do you have any sort of "agenda" behind what you do with your music, stage performances and so on? Which of these your consider yourselves mostly like: art or provocation or entertainment?
WE ARE PING PONG BITCHES! WE ARE ENTERTAINMENT! WE ARE NOT A BUNCH OF ART SCHOOL WANNABE PROVOCATEURS. WE ARE THE REAL THING!
OK, I think I got it... Do you subscribe to similar feminist ideas as some of those acts mentioned above? What does "Riot Grrrl" mean to you, for example?
We've no agenda OR manifesto. We're into music & making music.
- CoS has a song called "We Don't Play Guitars". Does punk rock still have a place in the 21st century?
Punk is here to STAY!
- Your own future plans now?
- Your favourite question they never ask in interviews?
What are you going to do with all that cash coming in?
- Anything else to say?
Keep the faith 'n rock on!
- I will. Ouch, now I have to find a paramedic somewhere...
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