Liza Graves - Civet - Interview Exclusive Print E-mail
Written by Attila Timár   
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 05:00

Californian punk rockers Civet are certainly keeping up the great traditions of female fronted bands, making us happy with their dirty, sexy, brand of melodic punk rock.  In the midst of their European tour one of the wild cat sisters of the band, Liza Graves (singer-guitarist) took some time to talk to Über Rock's tattoo-less new writer Attila Timár about her idols, the chemistry between the band's new two girls and two guys line up and Courtney Love's impact on the music industry..

 

Civet_bw_group

 

 

First of all, let me tell you that I am a big fan of your 'Hell Hath No Fury' record, which I think is a fuckin' great mix of passion, punk rock attitude and excellent song-writing. I think you definitely managed to redefine the female fronted band standard. What has been the biggest obstacle in your career to get to this point?

 

Thank you soooo much! It's been a really long road. I think the only obstacle we've encountered along the way has been lineup changes. As long as you believe in what you do and never take no for an answer no one or nothing can be that big of an obstacle in your career!

 

Who have been your biggest influences? I know that you always mention the Runaways and you love saying that you are more into 'guy bands' so which ones were the most inspiring to you?

 

I've actually always been into female artists! I love Joan Jett! I love Pink & Courtney Love....Veruca Salt was actually one of the first girl fronted bands I ever saw. I am inspired a lot by writers who happen to be artists as well,  such as Kathleen Hanna. As far as the boys go of course the Clash & Motorhead....I am also a huge fan of anything 90's (that's my guilty pleasure!)

 

Civet_4How has not being an all girl band anymore changed the inner dynamics of Civet?

 

It has actually made everything so much cooler...(laughing)...no but really....it was a great evolution for the band. We have a really fun time on tour now, as opposed to everything being all about business. Boys are definitely a different breed and after 10 plus years of being in a band with girls it's totally exciting and new to be on the road with the opposite sex!

 

How does if feel being on tour with Roger Miret and his band in Europe and how was the audience response up to now?

 

This tour has been awesome so far. It's our first time in a Nightliner 'big' bus and it really allows you to get to know your bandmates. Roger & his band are all really nice & we love hearing their songs every night. We've also been really into karaoke in the dressing room before shows. The audience response has been pretty good, I wish we were able to take this tour all across Europe and even the world.

 

Do you find the time and circumstances to do your yoga exercises when you are on tour?

 

It is so tough to find time to exercise on the road because you are always torn between getting enough rest so you don't get sick and also being sure that you make time to explore the city.  I love to see all the cities we play in. That usually takes precedent over everything else. I try to eat healthy on tour and Suzi (Liza's sister and  Civet's awesome guitarist/backing vocalist) and I are vegetarians.

 

Civet_Love_and_WarThe cover of your new record has quite a resemblance to the cover of Rancid's 2000 self-titled record (which, by the way is probably the most kick-ass Rancid record to me). Did Hellcat Records boss Tim Armstrong notice this, and if yes, how did you get him accept the cover? (laughing)

 

It's funny you mentioned this cause the label & Tim never did! We never even put two and two together! I guess it's true there's "nothing new since rock n' roll"!

 

Are you still completely satisfied with Hellcat?

 

Hellcat is a great label & an awesome family! We will always be proud to have been a part of that!

 

Your music did not seem to change too much with your new record 'Love & War'.  Which songs do you consider the highlights of the record and why?

 

Some of my favorites on the record are the ones that really pushed our songwriting. I absolutely love 'Come On (I Wanna Be Your Girl) because of the structure and it's Iggy Pop feel.  Another favourite would be the ballad 'It's The Truth' because it just deals with people believing in whatever they may believe and everyone having that right as individuals. It was a tough song to put out there and I feel like I did a good job making the point I wanted to make.

 

What can your fans expect from your Budapest gig? (which will be on a ship; you may not have known this.)

 

That's so awesome! We had no idea! This is so cool because Roger was just telling us a story about how the first time he saw Adam Ant he actually was slated to play a festival and while everyone was waiting for him to hit the stage a boat floated down the Hudson River & Adam Ant started playing and everyone turned around in shock! Roger says it was the most amazing thing he's ever seen! Hopefully our show can rival this.

 

Civet_2Which one of your songs (lyrics) sums up the essence of Civet best and why?

 

Oh that's such a tough question!!!!  I would say maybe 'Alibis' because it's a classic example of the "woman scorned" or even 'Hell Hath No Fury'...And off the new record maybe 'Summer of Hate' because it talks about the struggles of being on tour and just being in a band in general.

 

You have pretty impressive tattoos. How was it being on 'LA Ink'? Would you ever consider dating a guy with no tattoos? (laughing)

 

Thank you. 'LA Ink' was an awesome experience! My artist Kim was AMAZING & I have a great tattoo with great memories of getting to do the show. I would definitely consider dating a guy with no tattoos. I do prefer them, but it's not all about image. I really have to be with someone who has an awesome personality, drive & the ability to make me laugh. That goes a lot farther than some ink.

 

OK time for a little fun so please, rate the following singers on a scale of 1-10 (1 being one who cannot sing to save her ass and 10 being the bomb). Please, also explain why you think so.

 

Joan Jett - 10 - Shes's amazing.

Debbie Harry - 5

Wendy O. Williams - 10 - Scary as fuck!

Inger Lorre (ex-The Nymphs) - Not really familiar enough to rate

Exene Cervenka (X) - 8

Brody Dalle (ex-The Distillers) - 9 - Epic, but kinda mean

Donita Sparks (L7) - 9

Courtney Love - 10 - Did a lot to help and hurt women in music

Brijitte West (ex- N.Y. Loose) - never heard her sorry.

 

So who is the sexiest person in punk rock today?

 

Oh shit! Who is even in punk rock today? Male I would say Frank Carter (Gallows) ....Roger Miret gets an honorable mention!!!!.... Female would be me & Suzi (laughing loudly)....we try.

 

And finally where do you see yourself and Civet in 10 years' time?

 

I will definitely still be playing in this band...hopefully bigger and better than ever. Music is something that doesn't give up on you, so I won't give up on it!!!!

 

Liza_and_Suzi

 

And there you have it folks, Attila Timár's introduction to the Uber Rock fold, and what a fitting introduction it is (you can contact Attila on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).  Civet meanwhile are just about to finish the European leg of their 'Love & War' tour so we'd just like to thank Liza for taking the time to talk with us.  If you've yet to check out the band's awesome new album then do yourself a favour and click on the Myspace link below.

 

http://www.myspace.com/civet