(This article and many of the YouTube links in it feature profanity, impropriety, and half-naked girls rocking out. If you are under 16 or just averse to inappropriate things, please consider exiting the webpage.)
I must admit, when I first saw Ruyter Suys (pronounced “Rye-ter Sigh”) play, I thought I was in love.
The lead guitarist of the highly inappropriate Southern rock band Nashville Pussy graced my computer screen in a marvelous YouTube recording of the song “Go to Hell.” She played riffs that were loud, in your face, and simply badass. Her stage presence rivaled that of Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page. I truly wish I’d discovered her when I was first learning to play guitar—then again, my seventh-grade self might not have appreciated a band with song titles such as “Struttin’ Cock” and “Go Motherfucker Go.”
One of the wonderful things about Suys is her ability to play in her underwear and look all the more awesome for it. It remains far too easy for many people to look at stars like Katy Perry and disregard them as serious musicians because of their apparent hatred of clothing. But Suys’ fiery mastery of her instrument makes her impossible to write off as just another tart-of-the-month. Even when she solos in nothing but a leopard-print bra and underwear, she is impossible to disregard. She is sexy in the way Robert Plant was in his Led Zeppelin days: blonde, tanned, undeniably skilled, abundant with talent, and untouchable. When I first saw her, I felt as though I’d waited my whole life to find a guitarist like her: a woman who rocked the way that the cock rockers I grew up on do, but had her own style.
But I don’t want to portray Ruyter Suys as a woman first and a musician second. You cannot deny that she’s a woman working in a man’s industry, but too much emphasis on her gender could downplay her playing, which is the last thing I want to do. I simply feel that she’s the role model I never had when I was learning the ropes as a guitarist, and I think many other girls (and guys!) would also find her musicianship to be inspiring.
Please check out Nashville Pussy; they have a new album out called From Hell to Texas, and you can hear some of the songs for free on their website. Or you can just click on a few of the links below.
(Suys is actually fully-clothed in this one in a badass leather outfit. No wonder she stripped down—she must have been roasting underneath the stage lights. The band has wonderful energy. Blaine Cartwright–the lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and Suys’ husband–seems to enjoy watching his wife rock out.)
(Ruyter Suys and Karen Cuda [the bassist] are really badass in this one.)
(This is the one where Suys plays in her underwear, if you’re interested in that. It also happens to be an awesome song.)