If you find yourself looking for a band to play your radio show’s 10th anniversary party, you would be lucky as hell to find one the likes of Holly and the Nice Lions, a savage rock-n-roll trio from Green Bay. Yes, said fortunate SOB was indeed me, and I couldn’t be happier that they are coming back to Milwaukee on Friday, Feb. 28 at Circle A to play with the Northside Creeps. Frontwoman Holly Trasti recently talked to me about her band’s music and history, and she revealed the one member who bites.
What brought Holly and the Nice Lions together? Were you really named by a four-year-old? Yes, we were named by a four-year-old. I was a music/preschool teacher for many years and also at a loss for a band name. One of my younger students found out about my double life and told me that she knew my band was called Holly and the Nice Lions, which she made up, so here we are. As far as how we got together, this incarnation has been steady for 5 years. Before that I had a rotating cast of characters. I knew both Travis (Pashek) and Steven (Spoerl) from playing out with their previous bands. I was lucky enough for them to express interest in being permanent fixtures and when we played together, everything just clicked both musically and personally. With Steven in Madison we also have a local bassist, Chris, to make playing locally easier. Travis suggested him and I am glad he did.
Your band is known for putting on wild, sweat-drenched shows of the memorable sort, but what have been your most memorable shows personally? Do you have a favorite place to perform? We do have an abundance of memorable shows due to our enjoyment of performing together and playing with so many amazing bands. Personally, some of my most memorable shows include the first show Travis played with me because he brought a new energy and really played off each other’s chaos. Also being able to play with personal heroes like Corin Tucker, The Muffs, and Shonen Knife and the time Steven bit me.
You’ve put out three albums and a few singles over the last decade – what song (s) do you most look forward to playing? Let me nominate “Foxes” and “Depression in French.” Are there any songs you hate playing or that have changed for you somehow over the years? Honestly, when playing live, I love to play songs like “Your Boyfriend’s Dead,” “Skull Splitter,” “Undone,” and “Noble Trouble.” They have more of an element of variability to play with between song structures. We can ride a little controlled chaos until the next part or end a song with something wild. We have been incorporating that in the new material we are writing as well. I have found that a good amount of our old songs don’t have the same energy and can change the mood of a high energy show so we pick and choose older songs but “Depression In French” and “Foxes” pop back in every so often!
Are you working on any new music? Yes! We are working on new music. We have about three quarters of a new album hammered out, and we are excited to get back to recording.
What do band members do when not delivering the previously mentioned sweaty rock-n-roll? We all have jobs. Travis is a metal fabricator and a dad. Steven works for a photography company, freelances music journalism writing, and is a cat dad. Chris just had twins and works for USA Today. I do science in an environmental analysis lab, manage the local record store with Timebomb Tom, and eat chocolate. We all enjoy kissing and eating all the food.