Mike Polizze of Purling Hiss on guitars, tunes, and what he wants you to bring to his show


As a member of Philadelphia-based blooze-jam unit Birds of Maya, Mike Polizze spends a lot of time getting his faux classic rock ya-yas in drums-gtr-vox-bass format style. By his lonesome, as Purling Hiss, Polizze gets to stretch out - way out - and go in for wildly self-indulgent bouts of showy soloing, gratuitous shredding, and fretboard fondling. No vocals, no percussion, no tamed pop songcraft: just a lone dude with a punch of distortion-generating devices chasing dragon vibes. Polizze will blow your socks off without trying.

In a recent email exchange, he took some time out from gearing up for an extensive touring run to answer a few questions for Gimme Noise.

[jump] Your new album is titled Public Service Announcement. What does the title mean for you? What are you announcing with this record?

Umm, I dunno, really! I'm not sure. I thought maybe it had a nice aesthetic along with the music.

Do you have favorite or preferred guitars for recording? If so, what are they?

I only have one guitar. It's any old Mexican Stratocaster that I've had since I was fourteen. I still play it, to this day. Oh, there are a couple acoustic tracks on Public Service Announcement; [for those], I borrowed an acoustic from my friend.

Were any guitars harmed during the making of Public Service Announcement? If so, how many?

No, just the Strat; I bang it around sometimes, but it's still intact. It knocks out of tune a lot. I use really thin strings, really kills the tone.

Since last year's Purling Hiss album, you've moved away from these 10-minute long epics to shorter, more concise pieces that are anywhere from five-minutes to 40 seconds long. Was this a conscious choice?

No, it just happened that way; not a conscious decision. Some of those tunes on Public Service Announcement were actually written and recorded before the long jams on last year's album, so I kinda go back and forth.

What are you planning to crank on the road on this tour?

Hmmm, There will probably be some Funkadelic and Skrewdriver in there. Maybe some Alice Cooper.

Are you perpetually inspired, songwriting-wise, or in fits and spurts?

I always write and record whatever ideas are floating around my head. Usually there's always some new riff or melody I'm working on. Maybe the key to staying inspired is to always be listening.

Should people bring anything special to the Minneapolis show? Canned goods? Professional ear protection?

Maybe people can bring me some ear protection. I'm sure by the time I get there, my ears will be hurting. But yeah, the show will probably be on the louder side. A place to crash that night would be nice, too!

The Purling Hiss play the Triple Rock Social Club with the Soft Pack and Kurt Vile and the Violators on Monday, November 1. 18+. $12. 8 p.m.