06880: Where Westport Meets The Music World

Mannequin Pussy continues to draw raves.

Rolling Stone is the latest to take note of the Philadelphia-based punk rock band — half of whose 4 members are from Westport. Marisa Dubice and Thanasi Paul graduated from Staples High School in 2005.

Marisa has “the kind of voice you can’t ignore—a punk yowl with a soul singer’s flair for raw passion,” the magazine says. And the band’s new album, “Patience,” is “one of the year’s most cathartic rock statements.” “

At 15, Marisa — whose idols were Amy Winehouse, the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs — was diagnosed with cancer. “Any free will I was supposed to have was suddenly taken away—nothing was in my control,” she tells Rolling Stone.

I was going through experiences none of my peers could relate to. I used to be very goofy and strange and it really sobered me up. Growing up in the Connecticut suburbs, it’s an environment where there is a set way to live your life. Then once that happened I just felt like, “Just just burn down all this shit. Clearly I’m not on the same path as everyone else.” So it allowed to me to rip up that script.

Marisa Dabice (center, bottom) and Thanasi Paul (far right) are Westport’s contributions to Mannequin Pussy.

Thanasi was a childhood friend. During Staples he played in bands, at venues like Toquet Hall. Marisa watched him. But she didn’t perform until she was 23.

My mom had a stroke, so I moved back to the east coast to take care of her. All of a sudden I was at the hospital every day. So I just called him and said, “I feel really lost. Would you play with me?” That became my cathartic outlet—just screaming onstage.

They became Mannequin Pussy with the addition of 2 other musicians. (Click here for the full story.)

Rolling Stone is not the only outlet to take note. The website Stereogum just named “Drunk II” — a song from their new album — the #2 “Song of Summer.” It was beaten out by Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road (Remix),” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus.

Meanwhile, here are 2 other musical Fun Facts:

Chelsea Cutler is gaining notice, for her blend of indie-pop and electronic music. Her single “You Make Me” made Billboard’s viral chart. She opened for Quinn XCII, has toured internationally, and played at Governor’s Ball in New York.

Chelsea — who has nearly 5 million listeners on Spotify — grew up in Westport, and attends Amherst College.

However, she is not a Staples alum. She graduated from the Pomfret School.

And how about this, Senor Salsa fans: Garry Dean, owner of the popular Post Road West restaurant, is Jimmy Dean’s son.

This marks the first time in history that Mannequin Pussy, Chelsea Cutler and Jimmy Dean have all appeared in the same sentence.

(Hat tips: Catherine Walsh and Jaime Bairaktaris)

One response to “06880: Where Westport Meets The Music World

  1. Jim Honeycutt

    In the 20 years that Zito and I ran the Media Lab at Staples High School, the most prolific band to record at the studio was headed by Richard McGowan and Nasi Paul. As I recall, they recorded a total of 8 CDs of original music; they even recorded an album on a snow day when the school was technically closed. Boy, these two kept me busy and I loved it. After graduation from high school and college, Rich took took a run at the music business for a few years; he was a good performer, good singer and a good song writer. But the magic alluded him. But Nasi has apparently had more success with his band. Continued success Nasi!