Meet Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu’s ‘Satanic’ Kitties
The lowdown on Calvin and Nurse
The black one is Calvin and the white one, appropriately, is Nurse. They told me Calvin was a boy, but he has really pronounced nipples. I don’t know what that means. Calvin is incredibly affectionate; almost anybody can pick him up and carry him around and pet him — but if you’re doing something other than petting him, he’ll sit on your lap until you start. Nurse is almost the exact opposite: She has a negative expression on her face; it’s unbelievably blank. She seems kind of like a really super-weird goth high school girl.
I spend a huge amount of time alone and I work at home. So frequently they will be the only ambulatory earthlings I see until I finish with work and go out after midnight. If they weren’t around, it would be somewhat like being under house arrest. This will sound pathetic, but they are among my closest friends.
There are basically two very tiny spots in the home studio that they’re not allowed to go: on top of the hard drives and behind the computer where it’s ventilated. So those are, of course, the only places they want to go. About every other day I will let them in and see how they behave. Half of the time they’re fine and just walk around and sit on my amps, but half the time they immediately try to fucking destroy my life by sitting on top of the hard drives and overheating them. It’s a point of contention between the three of us.
This is really fucking heartbreaking: My grandpa was a merchant marine and he sailed all throughout the Pacific Rim. He used to smuggle people from Asia to the United States. To avoid taxes, they would pay him in antiques. So when he died, I inherited several of the antiques he acquired in this illegal fashion, one of which was this green ceramic bowl from Japan in the 1600s: my favorite one. I was on tour and they apparently knocked it over and shattered it into a hundred pieces. I’m still a little fucking raw.
I have had other cats in the past, and they seemed completely horrified by loud or aggressive noises. For some reason, these cats do not care at all. That either means they’re deaf or they’re just amenable to industrial music. There’s one song on our new record [Always] called ‘I Luv Abortion,’ which is one of the most aggressive and unhinged songs we have ever done. I had this really big speaker set up with this horrible, horrible repeating square wave going ennnnnhhhh. It was so shrill it was even freaking me out. I remember wondering why they weren’t dead. They were sitting on top of the speaker cleaning each other. It was super weird, or great, or Satanic. … I think for the sake of maintaining my dignity, I don’t want to talk about my cats anymore today.