Maurice and the Stiff Sisters play energetic rock ’n’ roll with singable hooks and no shortage of showmanship. Think Elvis Costello, Jonathan Richman and Nick Lowe’s Stiff Records (no relation) paired with gritty Stax Records horn stabs and Bob Pollard’s high kicks.
The songs range widely from catchy pop and cheeky sambas to 6/8 soul ballads and jet-takeoff psych-rock. Audiences are treated to a showcase of airtight, danceable rhythms, the crack horn duo of Bryant Byers (trombone) and Aaron Mattison (tenor saxophone) and a heavy dose of wailing 12-string guitars and flying hair provided by Maurice himself.
Join is as we chat with the group, for the latest instalment of our “Introducing..” series of interviews.
What does the band name mean to you?
A good band name is simultaneously deeply seeped in meaning and entirely meaningless. Done correctly the words transcend their origins and become symbolic representations of the music they now represent. Maurice and the Stiff Sisters was snatched kicking and screaming from the dreamworld and now represents something that is both fun and sad, an eye-catching performance of joyously upbeat, darkly humorous songs.
Also, Maurice is my first name.
Where is the band based?
We call the Pacific Northwest our home. Been seeing a lot of derisive comments about the Portland area online lately, what’s up with that? Let me be clear: There are no roving bands of homeless, or antifa, or polyamorous gender fluid miscreants beating and raping good God fearing taxpayers. It’s actually pretty nice, and there are several good places to get coffee and Thai food. Good yarn-bombing scene, too.
How long have you been together?
Long enough to know our strengths and limitations; short enough to still feel hungry.
What style of music do you play?
We play the kind of music where lyrics and melodies hold center stage, and the rhythms give you something to dance to. The kids love it. But the kids also love EDM, Chinese synthetic drug analogs and hotdogs with ketchup so who’s to say? Don’t trust THOSE kids.
Give us the story of the bands formation.
Laud Maurice and the Stiff Sisters, the chosen priests, ministers of sacrifice, the hotar, lavishest of wealth. They are worthy of being praised by the living as by ancient seers. They shall bring hitherward the Gods. Through Maurice and the Stiff Sisters listeners may obtain wealth, waxing day by day, most rich in heroes, glorious.
The band, the perfect sacrifice which one encompasses, goes to the Gods. May they, sapient-minded priests, truthful, most gloriously great, come hither, whatever blessing the Stiff Sisters wilt grant unto their worshippers, they are indeed your truth. To you, dispeller of the night, O Maurice and the Stiff Sisters, day by day with song bringing you reverence, they come ruler of sacrifices, guard of Law eternal, radiant One, increasing in your own abode. Be to us easy of approach, even as a father to his son: Maurice and the Stiff Sisters, be with us for our weal. Also, the band got together via Craigslist.
Tell us about your influences.
We like songwriters that can tell an interesting story in a unique way with a melody that gets stuck in your head and a head that becomes the perfect earworm, boring into your brain and infecting your most precious memories with the new soundtrack of your life. We mainly like underground pop-rock from the late 70s and 80s, and soul music from the 1960s and early ’70s. Jonathan Richman get me dancing every time. And anything by The Pogues 😉
Tell us about your latest release.
Maurice and the Stiff Sisters spent the end of 2018 and all of 2019 recording in Portland, Oregon at Destination: Universe!, releasing singles each month. The resulting album “Welcome To Love” has melodies for days, gorgeous horn arrangements, one particular fuzz-guitar solo that is unmistakably on fire, and eleven songs written with the best intentions for people who listen for lyrics and have (or desire) love in their hearts.
What are your goals for the bands future?
To raise enough money to hire a programmer to create a computer virus that effectively takes all crowdfunding platforms off the internet forever. Visit our Kickstarter page for more information.
If you could share the stage with any other band or artist, who would you chose?
Jesus of Nazareth. What a performer! Just legendary.
What can you tell us about your live shows?
Maurice and the Stiff Sisters puts on a ripping live show. Landing somewhere between a carnival barker and a tent revival preacher, Maurice leads the five piece band with rope-a-dope swagger and brings audiences along for a joyful ride.
The bands to remember are those that provide a live experience — not just a show but an honest to goodness ‘happening.’ With a mercurial, ministerial presentation Maurice and the Stiff Sisters practice music as one practices a religion. Fuzzed-out 12-string guitars, soulful ‘60s pop-infused rhythms and a pair of horn players in lockstep melody help create a state of waking-dream for intrepid listeners. You really should just experience it for yourself the next chance you get.
Do you have any upcoming gigs to promote?
Here are a few on the books:
4/24 at The Space in Salem, Oregon
4/25 at Alberta Street Pub in Portland, Oregon
and Maurice and the Stiff Sisters will be on the Haute Garbage Podcast sometime in April. Maurice himself will be touring with Ezra Bell in March and April for the release of Ezra Bell’s “This Way To Oblivion” album on Dutch Records.
What do you think sets you apart from other bands?
The songs are upbeat and melodic, powerful and unafraid, and crafted with lyrical intent that ranges from heartbreaking sadness to heartrending optimism…either way they go straight for the heart. Yet it’s the way the band performs these songs that sets the group apart from their peers.
Explain why you think a new listener should give your music a go.
Because the days are short, the nights are long, and you’ll need every drop of what we have to offer to make a real go at living this life to its fullest. Pure pop for now people!
What has been your biggest achievement as a band, so far?
Together, we found religion.
Then we promptly lost it again. Oh well!
What else do you hope to achieve?
We hope to tear down the current system and replace it with one more equitable to all of mankind, to end our reliance on finite natural resources, unite humanity under one world leadership and explore the universe in peace for eternity.
That and I hope to sell the 216 vinyl records of “Welcome To Love” that we just pressed.
Where can fans find you online?
Thanks for joining us!
Thank you for having us!