The situation I'm spending a recent Monday evening at Captain Black's on Capitol Hill sharing drinks and fried cheese curds with the girls of the punk quartet Chastity Belt--guitarist and lead singer Julia Shapiro, guitarist Lydia Lund, bassist Annie Truscott, and drummer Gretchen Grimm. The four met at Whitman College in Walla Walla, where they all graduated last spring before moving to Seattle. Things they miss about Walla Walla: cheap booze, cheap rent, house parties, the record store Hot Poop, and a townie scene with "the kind of dudes who take their pants off at shows and always have a water bottle full of rum and Coke," says Lund.
How They Got Here Chastity Belt was an attitude before it was an actual band. "[It] started with me and Lydia just wanting to fuck shit up," says Shapiro, who looks like a Girls Just Want to Have Fun-era Helen Hunt with permed hair. "So we'd go to frat houses and flip over tables and yell 'CHASTITY BELT!' " A jokey musical group was eventually formed, one that performed covers of hip-hop songs like Soulja Boy's "Kiss Me Thru the Phone," before the current incarnation of Chastity Belt--tough, raucous punk rock--was finally settled upon.Shop Talk The move to Seattle has already changed the band. The girls say they're transitioning from the sarcastic joke songs found on their first EP, Fuck Chastity Belt, to slightly more straight-faced lyrical content. "I think part of it is the audience we're playing for, because before we were playing for drunk college kids, so it was like 'Let's just yell as many swear words as we can,' " says Shapiro. They enthuse about a new song they just wrote, "Seattle Party." Says Truscott: "It captures the immediate post-graduation feeling, like 'What do I really want to be doing right now?' "
BTW: Chastity Belt's most notable quality might be its members' adventurous spirits. A couple of months ago, the girls went on a band retreat down in the Key Peninsula, where they spent time picking blackberries and plums, rowboating, and drinking wine. "We went skinny-dipping in the phosphorescence [in the Sound]," says Lund. "It looks like you're swimming in stars."
"It's not the only time we've done things naked together," says Shapiro, slyly.
Last year, Chastity Belt set up in the middle of Whitman's quad during the school's annual naked Beer Mile and played a show completely in the nude. The runners rushed the quad and started a naked dance party; one reveler had to be pushed away for thrusting his crotch too enthusiastically in Grimm's face. "When I'm really depressed, and I remember that we did that," says Lund, "I instantly feel better about my life."
Chastity Belt is busy this week. They play the Vera Project this Wednesday, November 7, opening for La Sera. The show is at 7:30 p.m. and there's an $11 cover. Chastity Belt also plays UW's Parnassus Cafe with Dude York and So Pitted this Thursday, November 8 at 8 p.m. ($5), and again on Saturday, November 10 at the Blue Moon Tavern with 199999, Neighbors, and Blooper. (9 p.m., $6.)