I swore to everyone in my circle of friends that the future of rock music could be found on an album named Spit. Kittie, a feminine word that belied a decidedly loud band, were the new Hole. They would bent and bash inflexible Metal into exciting new shapes; they were IT and I loved them. They looked like my friends. Then again, that wasn’t so unusual: all my favourite people of the early millennium took their style tips from (Doom Generation) Rose McGowan and Fairuza Balk rather than Rachel from Friends. But it didn’t quite go the way I wanted. The initial promise of Kittie didn’t quite materialise for all the boring reasons that usually get in the way of my favourite bands.
Kittie were Morgan Lander, Mercedes Lander, Talena Atfield, and Fallon Bowman. I say this because Kittie became legendary for self-sabotaging their line-ups by replacing them with other girls, a rotating array of new faces that we didn’t get an opportunity to enjoy because they would soon disappear. The initial iconic line-up, the one that publicly launched the band, looked like they could take over the universe. Everyone had a favourite; I thought Talena was the cool one, but Fallon had a large following of fans too. That doesn’t and shouldn’t detract from Morgan and Mercedes, who both kept the band going years afterwards. Personally, I prefer the Spit line-up. They’re *my* Kittie.
First came Brackish. It was a pop-metal song, the kind loathed by boring old metal heads, those tedious gatekeepers of music. Brackish was the perfect song for me during that period in time; it was loud enough to seem aggressive, but melodic enough to have on repeat. The CD artwork showed four girls sitting on a football stand, looking perfectly gloomy, their hair rebellious red or bleak black. Snatching it from the Singles stand in Virgin Megastore, I immediately bonded to this band. The promo video came on the CD too (limited multimedia edition!) which meant I could watch it on the college PCs.
The second single from the album was even better than Brackish. Charlotte used a familiar formula of the Loud-Quiet-Loud delivery. Loudness has more potency if mixed with thoughtful quietness, like a horror movie with a bit of comedy. Written after Morgan read a book about a serial killer, it belies its origins to be one of those songs that you could listen to during a breakup or breakdown.
Touring with Slipknot, Kittie seemed poised to be a huge force. Oh, I expected it. Which made my disappointment upon reading the news in Kerrang that Fallon had quit even more palpable. Ah, you never forget those moments when your favourite member of a band leaves. Talena remained with the band for their second album Oracle which gifted us with another quietly iconic single What I’ve Always Wanted. Talena left during the second album campaign. Eventually, I lost interest. I struggle to invest in a band that constantly shape shifts line-ups.
Imagine my surprise when I learned of a documentary about Kittie. Well, I thought, this should be interesting. Better still, it was a reunion documentary! The various line-ups played a live career-spanning show, a celebration of this band. At least the first segment would appeal to me, once more seeing *my* line-up back together. Well, I had to watch it. Blessed be Amazon Prime. Watching the documentary gave me a chance to catch up on some old friends, or that’s how it felt. But the best thing about seeing Kittie together again was that it made me want to listen to Spit again. Kittie might not have been the future of rock, but they still sound great right now, here in the present.