“Fucking love South Florida!!” That’s Chase Lombardo, drummer extraordinaire of cumgirl8, the NYC post-punk band that’s one of the headliners at Bumblefest 2022. The band was in Miami for New Year’s, and as Chase told PureHoney, “I was wearing a giant stuffed Pink Panther and underwear from our first fashion collection. It was amazing lol…. I didn’t really know it was going to be like that. Our friend Dani [Miller of Surfbort] invited us down and all of a sudden we were in this whole production. It was also just so nice to spend the beginning of the year together and go swim in your beautiful ocean.”
Altogether, cumgirl8 are Lida Fox (bass), Veronika Vilim (guitar), Avishag “Avi” Cohen Rodrigues (guitar) and Chase. They all sing. And they’re all superstars. They’re fashion designers and models, they’ve been in other amazing bands, they have solo projects. They’re funny. It’s easy to see they’re kindred spirits making art that’s both intentional and intuitive. Lots of spectrums are being traversed in the cumgirl8 universe.
The description on their latest track “dumb bitch” includes a quote by Lida that “gender and sexual politics are the overarching point of the song, but it also gets into how these dynamics play out in a society ruled by capitalism.” Personal, sexual liberation is obviously important to their philosophy. As Chase explained by e-mail, “[I]t’s very fun and meaningful to create a style that reflects our sound, our politics, and helps connect us to people in different ways…like the bands before us[.]” But it’s not only about self-expression. Like Vivienne Westwood’s SEX boutique, sustainable fashion, and support of Wikileaks, cumgirl8 get how activism and art have always been entwined. They retweet unions, demand budget cuts to the NYC police, and do telethons with money going to orgs that support Black trans youth and the unhoused and immigrants’ rights groups trying to abolish ICE.
I’m not trying to overstate this — you only need to come see them perform at Bumblefest to see what I mean; for instance, Chase shared a story about one of their first shows where “Lida chucked a cake at the audience like a baseball and then Veronika threw Avishag into them right after…but Avi started to fall while she was crowd surfing so Veronika jumped to save her and got caught on the barricade! Veronika sprained her foot saving Avi. So the whole tour she had crutches. But honestly it was a serve.” — I’m just trying to share what this band can mean to us. It can mean finding out about ourselves and breaking down barriers so we, too, can traverse this world in comfort, safety and style.
For good reason, they’re compared to The Slits, Kim Gordon and the ’90s club scenes that empowered women, the feminine, and Black and Latinx LGBTQ people, but for some reason when I was getting into them, I thought about Pete Seeger. I think it’s because in one interview with cumgirl8, Lida responded to questions about their being censored by media platforms: “we were banned from Instagram, YouTube, and restricted on our website for being too sexual, even though we censor ourselves constantly.” I recalled Seeger — one of America’s greatest protest singers and activists — said something about being blacklisted by the U.S. government in the ‘60s that was like, self-censorship is necessary, but state-imposed censorship is unethical.
The Internet, as cumgirl8 see it, is an extension of ourselves. It is the State as well as a state of being. The spectrum of personal, political, private and public is ever shorter. So the band wisely considers the cumgirl8 in us all. Through their web series, “the 1-900”, their music, their whole vibe, they’re showing us we can express our humanity (and our horniness) in our own beautiful ways. cumgirl8 express their humanity in a particularly absurdist way, full of nostalgia (furbies), reimagining the future (alien vibrations) and emergent strategy (neon), that’s also been uniquely cultivated by classical dance and music.
Chase expanded on their last time here: “I feel like South Florida is electric in the same way NYC and New Orleans is. Like, one second you want a Cuban coffee and the next, you’re getting incredible life advice from someone’s abuela while she brushes your hair…. Very meaningful.”
cumgirl8 play Bumblefest Friday, Sept. 2 in downtown West Palm Beach. bumblefest.com ~ Carly Cassano