In 2001, Lisa Walker was consoling her friend Chuck Cleaver as he was preparing himself at the bar for a pending “dreaded” pre-show performance as part of the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.
Cleaver — a former member of the popular Cincinnati band Ass Ponies — didn’t like performing alone, Walker said, so she kindly offered to come up with him.
“I was familiar with his work,” she said. “I didn’t know all the words, but I knew how the songs went. I just wanted to cheer him up, but to my surprise he said OK.”
So Cleaver wrote some lyrics on a napkin, and (little did they know at the time) Wussy was born.
“It actually went over pretty well,” Walker said, “so we immediately started talking about doing it again — maybe even rehearse.”
The downside was that Walker had just moved to Columbus, so it didn’t seem like a good situation to start a band, but Cleaver kept calling her to sit in on gigs he had, so they “met in the middle” to practice.
“I felt like I left too soon,” she said, “so I moved back after a couple of months.”
The rest of the band just sort of came their way.
“We saw (bassist) Mark (Messerly) while we were out and about one night and Chuck said, 'I think Mark’s supposed to play with us,’” Walker said. “And another night out of the blue Dawn (Burman) came up to us and said, 'I’m supposed to play drums for you.’
“So we said we better learn how to play together because a band has formed. It really was that spontaneous.”
Cleaver already had a name picked out.
“He seemed to know what it was going to sound like before we even played,” Walker said. “I don’t doubt him anymore.”
Wussy started forming — probably — before it was really ready, operating under the principal that the best way to learn is to fall on your face in front of a crowd.
Now with the upcoming release of “Left for Dead,” Wussy will have three CDs and glowing national reviews in Blender and Harp magazine, Village Voice and RollingStone.com, among others.
WHAT: Wussy with the Kyle Sowashes
WHERE: The Comet, 4579 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati
WHEN: 9 p.m. Oct. 12
COST: No charge
MORE INFO: (513) 541-8900; www.cometbar.com