Song of the Week – Joke, Chastity Belt


Being provocative is a cornerstone of rock and roll. Pre rock and roll R&B had salacious lyrics imbued with sexual innuendo. Elvis shook his pelvis, Little Richard was a gender bender, and Jerry Lee married his 13 year old cousin (once removed). The MC5 preached revolution, Alice Cooper used a guillotine and snakes as props, and Johnny Rotten spit on his audience.

chastity beltOne of today’s most provocative bands is an all-woman quartet out of the Seattle area called Chastity Belt. If the name itself doesn’t leave you uneasy, how about their early publicity shot with band member Julia Shapiro lifting her skirt to expose a raw steak covering her private parts?

The band met at Whitman College and formed a group to write songs that celebrate the rights of women to party and have casual sex. Their first album, No Regerts (sic), included song titles such as “Seattle Party,” “Pussy Weed and Beer,” “Giant Vagina,” and “Nip Slip.”

Their second album, Time to Go Home, is a little tamer lyrically though it does have a song called “Cool Slut” (Ladies, it’s OK to be/OK to be slutty). But they’ve compensated with more sophisticated music.

Today’s SotW is “Joke.”

I’m not quite sure if this is an ode to pyromania or a simple story about getting stoned and crackin’ up. Either way, it’s not the lyrics – it’s the Television-like (Richard Lloyd & Tom Verlaine) guitar interplay that really makes the song work. It nimbly straddles the line between indie pop and jam band.

This is a band to keep your eyes on in the next few years.

Enjoy… until next week.

3 thoughts on “Song of the Week – Joke, Chastity Belt

  1. Yes, Television, up to a point. One thing I notice about girl bands is that they rarely go for virtuosity, or any kind of instrumental rave-ups. Am I missing something? This has its good side for sure, indeed as a despiser of self-indulgence I usually prefer it. But I’d like hear them really go for it, as Verlaine and Lloyd did.

  2. Stupid me doesn’t know Television that well. I hear Feelies and Violent Femmes and especially early Cure. A little too twangily for my favorite stuff, but three cheers for “Giant Vagina” (a love song from Jolly Green to his wife).

  3. I’m not fucking with a band called Chastity Belt.

    This tune has lots of dynamics and that is really good. I’m going to listen more.

    Note to Steve: Listen to the two real Television albums. That’s all.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.