Tag Archives: Marisa Dabice

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)

The Girl Bands Of Westport

I’m not sure how I missed this story. Maybe I was listening to music, instead of reading.

But last week the New York Times featured 25 female bands “making some of the most acclaimed, urgent, politically relevant music around.”

Three of them — fully 12% — include Staples High School grads.

Charly Bliss is an all-Staples group. Three are guys — Sam Hendricks, Spencer Fox and Dan Shure — but the Times singles out lead singer Eva Hendricks.

Her “gooey croon tops ’90s-style power-pop songs that slide from major to minor, sweet to sour,” the paper says. Click here to listen.

Palehound features Ellen Kemper. The singer-songwriter “builds songs out of everyday details, with music that can whisper or roar,” writes the Times. Click here to listen.

The quartet Mannequin Pussy, meanwhile — with Marisa Dabice — “captures all flavors of emotional torment in short bursts that range from ferociously thrashy to delicately melodic.” Click here to listen.

(Photos/New York Times)

And you thought the fact that the Doors, Cream and Sly & the Family Stone played at Staples was cool!

(Hat tip: Katherine Ross)

Mannequin Pussy Is #3!

Beyoncé is #1. David Bowie is #2. Leonard Cohen, #4.

mannequin-pussy-romanticAnd there, nestled at #3 — on Rolling Stone reviewer Rob Sheffield’s list of the Top 20 albums of 2016 — is Mannequin Pussy’s “Romantic.”

That’s quite a coup for the bizarrely named quartet whose music NPR calls “brawny funk with a fuzzy pop streak.”

Sheffield writes of the band’s 2nd release:

“You’re my favorite but favorites always fail” is the greatest lyric in any love song this year, or at least it’s impossible to think of any others while a Mannequin Pussy song is playing. Especially since Marisa Dabice clobbers every word with her savagely funny scream.

These Philly punks won my sick heart with their 2014 debut Gypsy Pervert, but Romantic is an even hotter knife, 11 tantrums in 17 minutes, an album about self-destructive mood swings and why they’re excellent.

Favorite moment: Dabice takes a deep breath and yells, “I was miles away when you needed someone to sit on your face screaming, ‘Keep me,’ and I am not ashamed to be lonely but I’m afraid to feel it so deeply,” which takes her just nine seconds. Jesus, what an exhausting band to fall in love with.

So yeah. Mannequin Pussy is based in Philadelphia. But half of the members are from Westport.

Marisa Dabice and Thanasi Paul are 2005 Staples High School grads. They were involved in bands as they grew up here.

Marisa Dabice and Thanasi Paul (left and 2nd to left) make up half of Mannequin Pussy.

Marisa Dabice and Thanasi Paul (left and 2nd to left) make up half of Mannequin Pussy.

It hasn’t been a straight path to stardom — or at least, this very cool shoutout from Rolling Stone. They got together 6 years ago. They’ve paid their dues — and mainstream media is taking notice. You can read and listen to an NPR feature about them by clicking here.

Read all about them here too, in a lengthy interview in another music magazine, Impose.

There, Dabice was asked about the band’s unusual name.

She replied: “That’s up to you. It’s not a good story. We just are Mannequin Pussy.”

Fortunately, when she grabs a mic she conveys a lot more than that.

(Hat tip: Cathy Walsh)