Robert Bush 4:20 p.m., May 17
RIYL: Kitten’s Pharmacy
Upcoming Local Shows
- Musician Interviews: "Pharmacy, No Kittens" · Sept. 14, 2011
- Blurt: "Ch-ch-changes" · Dec. 15, 2010
- Blurt: "Here Kitty" · April 14, 2010
Influences: Megadeth, Kitten’s Pharmacy, Stone Temple Pilots, Black Flag, Jane’s Addiction, G.F.I., Madonna
Kathleen “Kitten” Johnson of Pharmacy co-founded the power-pop band Kitten’s Pharmacy with bassist Sean Siever. “Sean had a lot of music history and was good at networking; plus, working at Carvin Guitars for over ten years didn’t hurt. But then someone else in the band went out of their way to cause problems between us, and for years [Sean and I] weren’t communicating.”
“We opened for bands like Bow Wow Wow at Brick by Brick and Third Eye Blind at Canes, but by 1998 the band wasn’t getting along and we all went our separate ways.”
After the split, Siever worked on various projects involving members of the Beatles’ onetime Apple protégés Badfinger, as well as playing and recording with Arigon Starr. “We finally reconnected,” says Johnson, “and I’ve been booking us at the Chico Club and around town.… I think this time we have the right chemistry.” Shortening their name to Pharmacy, the two new members were guitarist Michael Fairchild and drummer Jayden Fullerton.
Just before Easter weekend, 2010, Pharmacy played the local strip club that employs tattooed temptress and reported Bullock/James home-wrecker Michelle McGee. “After we played a set, our drummer Jayden wanted to get a lap-dance from Michelle. While most of the girls there only command about $20 for the tease, Michelle’s fee is now $80.”
Johnson (whose day job involves working in real estate) also reports that “the bar was slow due to the holiday weekend, but more people came in when she [McGee] went onstage. She looked really nervous.… There were even more people hanging around outside, and everyone was saying it was the paparazzi. Sean thought some of them might be religious freaks, being Good Friday and all.”
Between songs, Siever addressed the holiday/stripper mashup from the stage: “Jesus was naked on that cross.”
Siever left the band later in 2010, to begin working with Mark Todd (ex-Radio 1) and Nick Peters (drummer for Hector Penalosa’s band, the Baja Bugs). Around the same time, guitarist Michael Fairchild also left the band.
The duo’s replacements were Jonny Vee from Social Spit and Eric Lucero from Gravitorium. Their album Drugs Not Included was released in summer 2011. “Nowadays we sound like a cross between the Beatles and Alice in Chains,” says Johnson. The current roster includes guitarist Jonny Vee (from local punkers Social Spit), drummer Jayden Fullerton, and new bassist Ramon “Ramones” Silva (who did not take part in this interview).
“When I lived in San Francisco,” says Vee, “I was part of the death-metal scene with a band called Vile Under Vile. After I got to San Diego, I saw [Pharmacy] at the Chico Club last year and ended up sitting in with them. That went well enough to get me into the band full-time.” He describes their music as “Solid rock, sex rock, pot rock, heroin rock, and revenge rock. No emo or pretentious rock allowed.”
Pharmacy’s Drugs Not Included, recorded in Johnson’s garage, was released in August 2011.