Kittie, an all-female heavy metal band from Canada that has sold more than 1.2 million records, is wrapping up a month of recording at RetroMedia Studios in Red Bank this week.
Though redbankgreen is eternally stupefied by heavy metaland not in a good waywe were intrigued to learn that Kittie had chosen a studio upstairs from the placid Eurasian Eatery to record songs described on the band’s website as being about “death of one kind or another, be it literally, figuratively, or emotionally.”
Of course, they mean “literal, figurative or emotional,” but never mind that. It turns out that the Monmouth Street studio, owned by John Noll, was selected by Jack Ponti, a former bandmate of the guy who now calls himself Jon Bon Jovi. Ponti lives in the area and is producing Kittie’s fourth album. The as-yet-untitled record is due out next March.
Still, knowing what brought the band here wasn’t enough. We wanted to meet this Kittie. It is, after all, our job.
Gender aside, Kittie embraces all the cliches of metal: The comic book iconography of skulls, flames and cutlery-like typefaces. The sludgy, out-of-the-dungeon sound. The strangled vocals that call to mind Linda Whats-her-face from “The Exorcist.”
Yet it seems there is growth happening there across from the Count Basie Theatre, a trend toward nuance amid the sounds of the apocalypse. Here, from Kittie’s website, is how 23-year-old guitarist/vocalist Morgan Lander (she’s at the far left in the photo above) describes the textures of the album-in-the-making:
The harmonies are huge and lush, and the guitars are crushing and complex all at the same time. The bass is smooth and complimentary to the ridiculously fast and precise drums and allows the song to just open up. There is so much more going on now musically rather than two guitars playing the same riffs.
“So much more going on now musically”what an optimistic phrase for a band whose muse is Death.
But what really caught us off guard was this: the black-clad, mascara-loving kitties who make up KittieMorgan and her 21-year-old sister Mercedes, who’ve been putting out metal for a decade, as well as newcomers Tara McLeod and Trish Doanhave become softies for our little burg.
And after chatting with them for a few minutes, it’s hard not to return the feeling.
“We’ve really grown quite fond of Red Bank,” says Morgan, with way more sincerity than we expected. “The charm is that you can get everywhere you need to get by walking, which I think is really cool, and there’s just all kinds of cool people. It’s very different from where we’re from (London, Ontario, a city of about 300,000). Its got that small-town charm with the added bonus of being very cool and very hip.”
Morgan also tells redbankgreen that Kittie has had “many adventures in eating” around town. So has the band been recognized while strolling and dining out? “There’ve been a few occasions where people have been like, ‘I know you guys from somewhere. Are you, like, in a band?’ ” says Morgan. “We definitely stand out on the streets of Red Bank.”
And you’re welcome to do so again, Kittie. In fact, here’s hoping you sell out the Count Basie on your next pass through town.