#19, SUMMER 2006



by B. Edwards

photos by Rocky

Sixteen Bitch Pile-Up is a group of ladies—and I use that term (ladies) loosely here—based in Ohio who get together and make sounds; sometimes the sounds are like porcupine car wrecks recorded underwater, sometimes they’re like slow glacial drift. At one point there were five of them, but two were sacrificed and cannibalized and aren’t spoken of in polite conversation anymore. The remaining ladies, sarah, sarah, and shannon, are soon to be undertaking a tour of the united states, wherein they will eventually park their shells in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. A tour itinerary follows the interview so you may track them down and witness their cathartic seizures live. Until then, behold: undistilled 16 Bitch Pile-up.

Since 16BP is a small army, or perhaps more accurately a highly disorganized battle of pheremonal explosives, maybe you best present your name and what sounds you make as part of the pileup.

sarah bernat: i make dirty sounds.
sarah cathers: you SMELL like dirty sounds.
sb: YOU smell like dirty sounds.
shannon walter: you are retarded.
sb: it’s a miracle we make sounds at all.
sc: i often make farting sounds with my hands.
sb: i like to draw cock and hairy balls.
sw: i am so happy to be alive.
sb: did we answer that?
sw: precisely.
sc: shannon plays the heavy shit (dark cave drippings) i play the OTHER heavy shit i.e.: car crashes, and sb is like when you are stranded in the desert and you hear that shrieking flying carrion beast.
sb: or like when you’re in seventh grade and fighting with your parents.
sc: i'm totally goth.
sw: no, I'M totally goth.
sb: no, you’re more like IDM.
(sc high-fives sb)
sw: (indignant) have you EVER listened to me? i'm insulted.
sc: have you ever really (sc, sb, sw in unison) looked at your haaaand?

Wonderful; I expected nothing less from you skirts. I have no idea to what the “hand” reference refers, and I’m glad for it. Let’s try something more concrete: Bernat, I know you’re a biking kinda gal. Are you all avid bicyclists? Any moments of bike and idiot driver vengeance worth sharing?

sb: bicycle!
sw: when i am not wearing heels.
sc: too true!!
sc: i abandoned my car in detroit cause i'd rather ride.
sb: i don't know about angry drivers (sc: yes she does) but i got in an accident and got maced and got put in jail for the night, does that count?
sw: a greasy spitball in a wifebeater called me a cunt blowjob and nearly killed me so i threw an open and full beer bottle directly at his face and the car exploded.
sc: oh, you mean there's rules? ohhh i'm sorry officer (bend over, put tits in cop face) they don't teach you that in riding school….

Getting maced definitely counts re: bad interactions; what had you done to warrant the macing? (I am, of course, assuming your guilt here.)

sb: well i had already been handcuffed and left to rot in the back of the cop car, when after about an hour they dragged me out of the back seat to formally arrest me. like anybody, i've seen too much TV, so when they don't read me my rights i get all WTF and say to the 2 cops who are on me: "well aren't you going to read me my rights?" they respond, "NO" and i'm all like, "what? why not? read me my rights!" to which they respond, "NO shut the fuck up" and i'm not happy, and they're not happy, and even though i'm still in handcuffs and there's 2 cops on me, apparently i'm some kind of a threat, so i get maced. that shit lasts forEVER, like 6 hours. when we get to the station one of the assholes tells me i can wash it out with water, which i do, but if you know anything about mace, which i didn't, putting water on it just makes it flare back up like it just happened. this was total bullshit and the worst experience of my life. how did this happen to begin with? well i ran a red light and hit a pedestrian, gave myself and probably her too a concussion. it had been bad day -- a real bad day. In fact it was probably already the worst day of my life before all that shit went down, so getting arrested was just the icing on the cake.
sc: i must say, she is no cupcake when it comes to dealing with the cops, or any authority for that matter...

And here I was thinking bicycling might steer us into puppy dog and flower territory. So, back to the band. Do you ladies have a trajectory for 16BP? The split cassette with Sword Heaven was like a steamroller going over kids and bigwheels, and the split LP (also with Sword Heaven, you incestuous vipers) was more, shall we say, mellow. Is there a transition in your sound interest, or are you just bipolar and do whatever the hell you want?

sb: mental illness is no joke.
sw: what does a fish say when it swims into a wall?
sb+sc: what?
sw: dam!
sc: but seriously, you think we're mellow?

Well, that LP is pretty, shall we say, “restrained” in comparison to the cassette.

sb: we prefer the term harsh ambient.
sc: we do what the voices tell us to do.

Point taken that you dredged up “do what the voices tell us to.” What's one of the most entertaining shows you've done?

sb: well, at first i was gonna say that show in Denver at Monkey Mania when shannon was dragging me around by the jump rope, but then i thought the show in Albuquerque, but probably for all the wrong reasons -- as soon as our set was over we got into a very nasty almost break up fight, screaming at each other all the way from the house into the middle of the street...
sc: as far as i was concerned we DID break up…
sb: then the cops came.
sc: called on domestic violence.
sw: we roll up to newark, ca expecting to be playing a house party and it turns out to be this kid’s grandmother’s house and she asks us if we can keep the volume low and sing diana ross songs. so we covered "where did our love go" in her back yard.
sc: entertaining to whom?
sb: yeah, the audience or us?

Either one, really. But what about the cops this time?

sc: oh yeah -- and then the cops came.
sb: i think they were called on domestic violence or something.
sb: they've all been entertaining in their own special (sc: “ed”) way.
sw: like when sb is standing outside of bourbon street yelling at us "what are we? just masturbating!?!??!"
sc: was that the night we were mooning traffic and yelling “pink pussy”?
sw: no, but close.
sc: our first entire year was very...interesting.
sw: and blurry.
sc: there used to be a lot of big sheets of plastic and…
sb: quote unquote ART involved.
sw: schtick?
sc: whiskey? shit used to get crazy!
sb: but we are feeling better now.
sc: we even practice now.
sw: we practiced then too!
sc: what, getting wasted?

You’ll never get the straight edge crowd at this rate. Are you all born and bred midwest girls, hence the fleeing to the west coast?

sss: what’s round on the ends and high in the middle?

Admirable harmony. Anyway, since Ohio’s apparently boring you wild young things, you're relocating to CA; are you all moving, as a cohesive unit, or will the band be shifting around due to said move?

sss: names that begin with the letter s are the names of snakes.

I’ll just transcribe that as an emphatic “yes.” Do any of you do solo audio?

sb (in computer voice): yes i have done solos as weird habit but don't have many releases to date. just one "happy birthday" 3" completed in england in 2004.
sw: sssolossss. drowned drone. shark attack!!!
sc: it depends on which persona you are asking about. actually we made a box set of five solo tapes (of the original 5 bitches) last fall. other than that its just boxes of tapes under my bed. (they all sound the same......)

Who’s the most diplomatic among you? who's the fascist?

sb: i can hear both of you saying "sarah bernat is the fascist!"
(sc+sw: toooo true!)
sb: sarah cathers is most notably acknowledged as the diplomatic one although i think shannon is the easiest to get along with in EVERY situation: shannon is the nice one.
sw: i'll be over here eating cheetos…
sc: we are a democratic unit and make all decisions as a group. we pick boyfriends for each other and no one is ever angry EVER! or else!!!
sb: …and sarah cathers never approves of our boyfriends.
sc: shannon had a good boyfriend once and i have like two of sb's.

Bonus round, part 1: you get to start a cover band. name the band you'd want to be a part of representing and how you'd accomplish it.

sb: ELO, go on a lifetime karaoke tour featuring hit single telephone line. "HOT SINGLE LIFETIME KARAOKE TOUR"
sw: first i would build a ship. and then i think i would be a SLEEP cover band and start smoking a lot of pot.
sc: even though she already employs (in unison with sb) "stoner logic."
sw: (flips the bird and blows the horn; hoooonk!)
sc: does this mean i am supposed to learn how to play an instrument? i am already busy with full time job of being sarah cathers.
sb: maybe someone needs to start a cover band of you.
sc: reality tv show. stunning soundtrack. real life true hollywood stories!

Bonus round, part 2: I've seen (and heard tell of) some excellent baking you ladies have done; the battered torso of the Black Dahlia being but one “festive” cake. What's your favorite item to cook?

sb: tacos!
sw: corndogs!

Do you actually prepare the corndogs or just throw pre-made ones in the microwave?

sw: microwaves? We didn’t have a TV til like last year. farm life is rough...have you ever really looked at my hands? they are calloused by years of corn dog-making.
sc: i am an excellent cook.
sb: i am the idea girl!
sw+sc: pffffft.

live photos from 16 Bitch "Archive"

16 Bitch Pile-Up tour dates:

OCTOBER MOVING ====SIXES teen bitch pile up
All dates are SIXES and 16 bitch pile up = (sss+ sharki from tarantism!!)

Wednesday Sept 28th – COLUMBUS Ohio – High Five
Friday Sept 30 – BOWLING GREEN OH - the church 205 sand ridge rd.
Saturday Oct 1 – DETROIT- green door
Sunday Oct 2 – MILWAUKEE venue tbd
Monday Oct 3 – CHICAGO – Empty Bottle
Tuesday Oct 4 – CHAMAPIGN – venue TBA
Wednesday Oct 5 - ST LOUIS – venue TBC
Thursday Oct 6 – KANSAS CITY Hassle Castle > 1409 West 11th St. 4th Floor
Friday Oct 7 – DENVER Monkey Mania
Sunday October 9 – LA – Il Corral
October 14 or 15 – OAKLAND -- Stork Club