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The fun-loving, soul-eating, heart-stealing horror rock of Pigmy Death-Ray

For all the noise and in-your-face angst of punk, there's still nothing that quite embodies rock's spirit better than a sultry, feisty frontwoman. Like Cherie Curie of the Runaways and CBGB's goddess Debbie Harry before her, Pigmy Death-Ray's Luci Furr takes the stage with a coy swagger and seductive confidence that's a little bit magical, making "PDR" live gigs just about unmissable.

The four-piece Tucson punk band has come a long way since their beginnings as the stripped-down brainchild of Furr's husband and partner, guitarist Hank Oblivion.

"In [the fall of] 2010, Hank wanted to start a new music project, with just guitar and drum machines, a sort of minimalist thing. He had some songs, but he didn't want to be the vocalist this time, he wanted to be more behind the scenes for once, so he needed a partner in this crime," said Furr.

The band recorded a four-song demo in the summer of 2011 and played their first gig, a house party, the following October.

After a while, according to Furr, the duo "grew tired of arguing with the drum machine" and in 2013 added Wallace Book on drums, adding a heavy percussive attack to Furr's snarling, teasing vocals and Oblivion's intricate but aggressive guitar lines. The band played as a three-piece until the fall of 2016, when former Texas Trash and the Trainwrecks drummer Ricky Bailey joined the lineup.

Furr: "Rick came up on stage with us just for kicks and played drums on a cover at a show that we were playing with the band that he was in at the time. Shortly thereafter, we were recording our new album, "Friction, baby!" and Mr. Book decided to add bass to the recording. That's when Hank realized that if we were to ever add a live bass player to the band, the only person he'd want to do it would be Mr. Book."

"As fate would have it, Rick became available a few months later and he came and jammed with us a few times, with Book on bass, which brought a whole other facet to the music, not only because of the addition of bass, but because Rick and Book are two very different drummers, each with their own very distinct style. There was no turning back after that. Rick stayed with us, Mr. Book stayed on the bass, and a whole new chapter of Pigmy Death-Ray was beginning. Since then, Hank's playing, and songwriting have also evolved, as have my on-stage antics. We've become a tighter, more confidant band," she said.

"It's nice to be the 'new kid!," said Bailey. "I started off sitting in on the occasional cover song, then this became a full time thing. I didn't realize that Wallace [Book] was such a great bassist this whole time! I'd been playing in Texas Trash and the Trainwrecks prior to this, and it was really great to get back to rocking, having a blast!"

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Texas Trash and upcoming gig-mates Gaza Strip are among the many local punk and rock bands with which PD-R has found affinity, with many cross-band friendships forming over the years. But perhaps the most enduring of these is the relationship between the band and horror punk/B-movie-inspired local legends the Mission Creeps.

"Pigmy Death-Ray definitely occupies our own little space in the Tucson music scene, but as to the subject of other bands in town, we'd have to say the Mission Creeps have been our closest bond," Furr said. "They were the first locally established band who brought us on for a gig a few years back and it's been a reoccurring partnership ever since."

With a newly fleshed-out line up and seven years worth of collective material to draw from, PD-R's sound has definitely evolved over time. But the biggest tranformation may be that of Luci Furr herself.

"Other than being the frontwoman of an awesome band in my teenage day dreams, I have never been in a band before Hank asked me if I'd want to 'vocalize' for his newest music project. It's been a long road that started off with my eyes closed, holding on to the mic stand as if it were my only link to safety and security, which led me to faking it on stage completely, and now I think I'm much more at home with the idea of being on stage and I'm more confident in my ability as the front woman for Pigmy Death-Ray," Furr said.

"My life started out vastly different from the person who I present to the audience. I have to say that being 'Luci Furr' is a liberating thing that differed from my everyday personality in so many ways at the beginning. Me: shy, insecure and pretty much scared of being around people vs. 'Luci' who wants to be the fun-loving, soul-eating, heart-stealing center of attention. Over the years, the lines separating the two have blurred a little, the two somewhat merging together. I feel like 'she' has given more security to the otherwise insecure individual that I had always been. Though I am still shy and socially awkward, when we play, I feel liberated!," Furr said.

According to Furr, Oblivion has a ton of new musical ideas brewing and the new lineup of Pigmy Death-Ray will likely hit the studio in the next year to record another full length album. In the meantime, they plan to keep having a blast at live shows around town.

Furr: "Come out and burn off some those holiday calories while rocking for free with us and Gaza Strip this Saturday the 25th at Sky Bar!"

Pigmy Death-Ray plays Sky Bar with Gaza Strip on Saturday at 9 .p.m at SkyBar, 536 N. 4th Ave. (Downtown)

Also happening this week (and beyond)

Whether you're fighting the post-Thanksgiving shopping crowds, working in retail servitude this week, or merely recovering from the holiday onslaught, somewhere this weekend there's live music to cure your holiday season ennui. From the messy, gritty punk of Texas Trash and Great American tragedy to the Velvets inspired rock of The Gunrunners to the soulful blues of The Sinners, the Old Pueblo music scene has got you covered.

If you need to split town entirely and reset your compass, you can head to Bisbee this Saturday with Miss Olivia and The Interlopers and if your spirits start to flag midweek, check out a couple of fabulous midweek gigs, like the upcoming return of The Rifle to Bar Passe on Wednesday.

Thanks to our donors and sponsors for their support of local independent reporting. Join Marcia Spark, Christina Walker Rowden, and Heidi Rowley and contribute today!

December looks equally fabulous, including upcoming album releases from Juju Fontaine, the 25th anniversary of local acoustic showcase the Wooden Ball and the long awaited return of the Great Cover-Up in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Check your local listings...

Friday, November 24

  • Bordertown Devils, 222, Bryan Thomas Parker, The Gunrunners, Robber's Roost - 9 p.m. at The Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. 4th Ave. (Downtown)
  • Texas T. Trash, Dirty Magic, Great American Tragedy - 8 p.m. at 191 Toole (Downtown)

Saturday, November 25

  • Ryan Sambol and Casey Golden - 8 p.m. at Exo Roast, 403 N. 6th Ave. (Downtown)
  • Pigmy Death Ray and Gaza Strip - 9 p.m. at Sky Bar, 536 N. 4th Ave. (Downtown)
  • The Sinners - 9 p.m. at Saint Charles Tavern, 1632 S 4th Ave. (south of Downtown)
  • Tbe Sole Pursuit, Bryan Thomas Parker - 8 p.m. at The Loudhouse, 915 W. Prince Rd (North Tucson)
  • Miss Olivia and the Interlopers - 9 p.m. at The Quarry, 40 Brewery Ave. (Bisbee)

Sunday, November 26

  • Natty & Jamz - 7 p.m. at Agustin Kitchen, 100 S. Avenida del Convento (Mercado San Agustin)
  • Birds and Arrows w Katie Haverly and The Aviary - 6:30 p.m. at Che's Lounge, 350 N. 4th Ave. (Downtown)
  • Dead Inception, Abhorrent Contagion, Summoning The Impaler - 8 p.m. at Flycatcher, 340 E. 6th St. (Downtown)

Wednesday, November 29

  • Natalie Pohanic - 7 p.m. at Public Brewhouse, 209 N. Hoff Ave. (Downtown)
  • Bryan Thomas Parker, Half-Broke Town, Brokedown Palace at Flycatcher, 340 E. 6th St. (Downtown)

Thursday, November 30

  • Keli and the Big Dream - 8:30 p.m. at Tap & Bottle, 203 N. 6th Ave. (Downtown)
  • Mik and Scott - 9 p.m. at Skybar, 536 N. 4th Ave. (Downtown)
  • The Rifle with The World's Greatest Sinner - 9:30 p.m. at Bar Passe, 417 N. 4th Ave. (Downtown)
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