Material Grrrls

The women of Cub aren't as cuddly as you think.

To their surprise, the members of Cub have encountered concertgoers in the South who have somehow never managed to see an all-girl band before. For the most part, these greenhorns have been gracious--but there have been exceptions. "Someone did give us some trouble one time in Houston," Marr remembers. "The drummer that was playing with us at that point just got off the stage at the end of the show and punched him out. You show that you can take care of yourself and that women do belong up there as much as any guy."

The three Cubs haven't needed to engage in fisticuffs in British Columbia; their home base has been a genuine haven from both a fan and a financial perspective. "The Canadian music scene is self-protective to some degree," Marr points out. "There is a lot more government funding for the arts in general. Specifically for music, you can get grants to tour, record, make videos, advertise, press--all this stuff. It's kind of a double bind, though, because you are getting all this attention because there are laws that have to be upheld: 20 percent Canadian content on the radio all the time, every day. But I think it's good, because it does nurture a supportive atmosphere. We were really well-embraced in Canada early on. Now it's starting to change; most of the people joining our fan club and most of the positive response we're getting is from the States."

Government subsidies have hardly engendered laziness in this case--Cub has crossed the border swinging. "We're pretty ambitious and well-organized. We do everything ourselves: We book our own tours and we do our own merchandise and our own accounting, so we don't expect to get anything and we know it's going to take a lot of work. We've been really lucky in the States; U.S. college radio has always been great to us. In fact, the new album hit number six on the CMJ [College Music Journal], which is pretty incredible for an independent band. There are a million bands in America, and sometimes you have to push a little harder."

These efforts have helped force marketing monikers and sexist condescension into obsolescence, leaving the members of Cub time to concentrate on other matters--such as making a living. Besides working day jobs, they've been known to answer the phones at Mint, which is run by Lisa G's ex-boyfriend and Iwata's brother. "Sometimes we get really tired of having to do everything ourselves and not being recognized in the industry," Marr sighs. "But the tradeoff is that we've always done everything the way we've wanted to do it, and that's a real luxury you don't realize until you give it up." Still, Marr concedes with a laugh, they'd hardly turn down a hand-up from a certain female record-company mogul.

"We'd like to go to Maverick," she says. "We want the big money. We want to hang with Madonna. We want to get flown to New York, wined and dined. Now that's what we need."

Cub, with the Queers and Smugglers. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, September 21, Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, $6-$7, 443-3399 or 830-

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