When I meet Lissy Trullie, it's not so much of a formal introduction as much as me accidentally running her over as she comes out of the bathroom. She's playing on a miserable Tuesday night at the Khyber, a small venue in Philadelphia, and it's debatable how many in the venue are here for the band and how many here for the beer. But even for people who have no idea who she is, Lissy stands out: a six-foot-in-heels willowy redhead who looks like she was ripped out of the coolest place you haven't heard of yet.
Its undeniable that Trullie's reputation precedes her. The epitome of It Girl, she has—and this is a short list—been on the cover of Jalouse's New York issue, walked the runway for Luella, stood next to Chloe Sevigny in Sevigny's lookbook for Opening Ceremony, and was also in Paper magazine's 2008 Beautiful People issue. The weird part is you're going to end up liking her (and her music) in spite of all this.
Lissy Trullie refers not just to Lissy, but to the band as well, which includes drummer Josh Elrod, guitarist Eben D'Amico and bass player Ian Fenger, and their first release, the Self-Taught Learner EP, is brief but juicy and has fans and critics alike excited to hear more. Fronted by Trullie's androgynous vocals and Debbie Harry swagger, songs such as "Boy Boy" and the cover of Hot Chip's "Ready for the Floor" are buoyed by the band's punchy pop and crooning back-ups. It's garnered tons of attention from blogs and high-end magazines alike (though, strangely, search Pitchfork for mentions of Lissy Trullie and you'll find none). "It's nice but I don't know how it happened," Trullie says. "It means a lot to have the support." The band are currently in talks with labels to release an LP, and in May, will start a busy tour schedule, throughout the US and Europe with the Virgins, with whom they have toured before.
"It's great being out on our own, but they [The Virgins] are my friends," Trullie says. "We're like a team and it's more fun touring with friends."
The dichotomy that plays out between Trullie and the band on their songs is evident in person. Trullie is calm and controlled and far from a diva—their manager reveals that she often is the one who ends up driving the van—where as the band, specifically D'Amico and Elrod, have the rapport of a collegiate comedy troupe. Trullie sips tea while they scarf cheesesteaks, and in the space of 10 minutes the conversation has darted around to D'Amico's girlfriend's run-in with a foot fetishist, the economic benefit that would go along with D'Amico's becoming a foot pimp, getting wasted, hangovers—and as they just returned from playing gigs in the UK—the British, the Brits being wasted, the Brits antagonizing people while wasted, British TV... And here it gets stuck on British TV, specifically a small obsession with a BBC documentary, Addicted to Yorkshire Puddings, about a guy whose entire diet consisted of, yes, Yorkshire Puddings. "The guy was so frail and grey!" says Elrod, astonished. "He'd freak out when he tried to eat anything else and would physically gag. He kept saying 'Has it got bits in it?' The kid didn't even understand what a grape was! 'What does that taste like? It's got bits in it...'" Soon, they have decided they should have the kid join the band, and Elrod is shouting, in an English accent, "AS IT GOT BITS INNIT?" and beat-boxing.
I haven't laughed this hard in ages, and Trullie's cool is melted as well. She's cracked up, laughing hysterically, and for a minute, she's as goofy as the rest of us.