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Wussy at MPMF09.JPG
Cleaver, Walker, Klug, Messerly (left to right)
Background information
Origin Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Genres Indie rock
Folk rock
Alternative rock
Country rock
Years active 2001–present
Labels Shake It Records Damnably
Associated acts Messerly and Ewing
The Magic Words
Ass Ponys
Website wussy.org
Members Chuck Cleaver, guitars & vocals
Lisa Walker, guitars & vocals
Mark Messerly, bass
Joe Klug, drums
John Erhardt, pedal steel
Past members Dawn Burman

Wussy is an American five-piece indie rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, formed in 2001.[1] The band consists of Chuck Cleaver (vocals/guitar), Lisa Walker (vocals/guitar), John Erhardt (pedal steel), Joe Klug (drums) and Mark Messerly (bass).[2][3] Cleaver and Walker write most of the songs and either alternate lead vocals or sing them in harmony.[1] Live performances feature the two vocalists having a "combative rapport".[4] They have released six albums, one live album, two EPs, one mini LP and a number of singles. The group has received critical acclaim from Rolling Stone,[5] Robert Christgau,[6] Chicago,[7] and SPIN.[8]


Wussy formed in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2001 while Chuck Cleaver had just released the last album with his previous group, Ass Ponys.[9] He met Lisa Walker and asked her to perform with him in at a local awards show in Cincinnati in 2001. Following the performance the duo decided to form a band together.[2] Walker is originally from Muncie, Indiana, who attended Cedarville University and has worked in marketing.[10] They were joined by Messerly on bass and Dawn Burman on drums in 2002.[11] Burman had not yet mastered the instrument but joined as "I loved their sound and wanted to be part of it".[12] Cleaver finalised his previous band with a compilation in 2005 leaving him to concentrate on Wussy.[10] They made their recording debut in 2005 with the album Funeral Dress (album) on Shake it Records,[13] the label of a local record store of the same name.[14] The record was produced by John Curley at his Ultrasuede Studios,[15] where the band would continue to record future albums.[16] While making the album all four band members suffered some personal hardship that inspired much of the 2007 record Left for Dead.[17] Contrary to other releases it relied heavily on Walker's writing,[17] and was described by Spin as doing "relationship songs right".[18] It was followed by a self-titled album in 2009. The same year drummer Burman left and was replaced by Joe Klug.[11] In late 2010, the band recorded an acoustic version of their debut as Funeral Dress II live at Ultrasuede that was released for Record Store Day 2011.[19][20]

The album Strawberry was released in November 2011 and was described as "driven by an unpretentious, rust-flecked honesty and a warped worldview".[2] Former Ass Ponys member John Erhardt joined the band before recording started.[13] The band embarked on a three-week headling tour in support of the album.[21] In 2012 they released the Europe-only seventeen track compilation Buckeye on Damnably Records,[22][23] their first international release.[24]

In 2014 they released the album Attica!, the title inspired by the film Dog Day Afternoon, while the single and The Who tribute "Teenage Wasteland",[13] received some airplay. The album was released in the UK through Damnably Records.[11]

In March 2016 the band released their seventh album, Forever Sounds, which reached number 20 on the Billboard Heatseeker album chart.[25]

The band's eighth album, What Heaven is Like, was released in May 2018.[26]

At the beginning of the band Cleaver and Walker were a couple but separated in 2007.[2] On the band's name, Wussy: Cleaver joked that "I think it looks good on a t-shirt."[14]

Critical acclaim

The band is a favourite with some rock critics.[27] In 2012 Robert Christgau wrote that "Wussy have been the best since they released the first of their five superb albums in 2005",[28] and he has called them his "favorite band".[29] Two albums later, Charles Taylor said the impact of Wussy's poetic lyrics and evocative sounds "brings you immediately back to the way we received rock and roll as solitary adolescents, as if the songs were radio transmissions from a resistance we hadn't dared to hope existed."[30]


  • Chuck Cleaver – Vocals, Guitar
  • Lisa Walker – Vocals, Guitar
  • Mark Messerly – Bass, Keys
  • John Erhardt – Pedal Steel, Guitar
  • Joe Klug – Drums




  • 2008: Rigor Mortis EP (Shake It)
  • 2013: Duo mini-LP (Shake It)
  • 2015: Public Domain, Volume I (Shake It)
  • 2018: Getting Better (Damnably)

Singles and splits

  • 2009: "Fly Fly Fly" / "No Apology" – Wussy / The Fervor (Karate Body)
  • 2012: Dangerous Highway Volume 3: "Got Down Last Saturday Night" / "Breakfast in Bed" - Heartless Bastards / Wussy (Shake It)
  • 2016: "Dropping Houses" b/w "Folk Night at Fucky's" (Shake It / Damnably)
  • 2016: "Ceremony" b/w "Days and Hours" (Damnably)


  • 2012: Buckeye (Damnably)
  • 2013: Berneice Huff and son, Bill sings… Popular Favorites (self-released)

Live album

  • 2011: Funeral Dress II (Shake It)


  1. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (22 June 2009). "Wussy: Strong Work, And Not Without Pain". Fresh Air. NPR. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Lannamann, Ned (14 June 2012). "If You Ever Gave a Damn: For Wussy, the West Coast's Waiting". Portland Mercury. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  3. ^ Deming, Mark. "Wussy - Biography". www.billboard.com. Rovi. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  4. ^ Harvilla, Rob (2009-06-24). "On the Cheerfully Combative Midwestern Noise-Pop of Wussy". Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  5. ^ Hoard, Christian (20 May 2009). "New Music Report: Wussy, Plus Of Montreal Performance". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original (Video interview) on 25 May 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Wussy". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  7. ^ Moser, Whet (22 August 2012). "Wussy, 'the Best Band in America,' Plays the Bucktown Arts Festival". Chicago. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  8. ^ Young, Jon (29 April 2009). "Wussy, 'Wussy' (Shake It)". SPIN. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  9. ^ Chuck Cleaver-Lisa Walker on Outsight Radio Hours (2001, 2006, 2009, 2012). "Outsight Radio Hours" (Audio interviews). Archive.org. Retrieved 19 July 2014. Check date values in: |year= (help)
  10. ^ a b Cohen, Jason (December 1, 2009). "The Ballad of Chuck and Lisa -". Cincinnati Magazine. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  11. ^ a b c "Wussy bio". Damnably Records. 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  12. ^ Bergantino, Matt (2008-01-01). Wussy Rising. Cincinnati Magazine. pp. 26–28.
  13. ^ a b c Melnick, Jeff (July 23, 2014). "Fuse Music Interview: "I Can't Admit Defeat" — Wussy Carries On". artsfuse.org. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  14. ^ a b Mason, Anthony; Nair, Vinita (29 November 2014). "Critically acclaimed band Wussy going strong" (Video interview/feature). CBS This Morning - Saturday. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Brian Niesz". Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  16. ^ Cohan, Brad (March 2, 2012). "Q&A: Wussy's Chuck Cleaver And Lisa Walker On The Cincinnati Scene, Playing Music With Your Ex, And Shaking The "Critic's Band" Tag". villagevoice.com. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  17. ^ a b Lindblad, Peter (December 21, 2007). "Wussy is 'Left for Dead' as former Ass Ponys leader, bandmates leave turmoil behind". goldminemag.com. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  18. ^ Kandell, Steve (November 2007). Wussy - Left for Dead. SPIN Media LLC. p. 126.
  19. ^ "Funeral Dress II, by Wussy". Wussy. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  20. ^ "Wussy - Funeral Dress II". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  21. ^ Bobbitt, Melissa (July 2, 2012). "Interview - Wussy". The Occurrence. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  22. ^ Lo, Chris (July 5, 2012). "Wussy – Buckeye". thelinebestfit.com. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  23. ^ Jonze, Tim (2012-07-12). "Wussy: Buckeye – review". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  24. ^ Kulpa, Dan (September 9, 2013). "Interview with Wussy". After The Show. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  25. ^ "Wussy - Chart history | Billboard". www.billboard.com. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  26. ^ "Wussy Announce New LP With 'Fargo'-Inspired Single 'Gloria'". Stereogum. 26 February 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  27. ^ Burlingame, Chris (June 20, 2014). "TSB interview: Wussy's Chuck Cleaver talks to the SunBreak about his great, "word-of-mouth" band". The SunBreak. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  28. ^ Christgau, Robert (16 March 2012). "The Many Reasons to Love Wussy". Barnes & Noble Review. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  29. ^ "Guitar Rock Grooves: Expert Witness with Robert Christgau". NOISEY. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  30. ^ Taylor, Charles (20 May 2012). "Support Your Local Wussy: The sad transcendence of Wussy's 'blue-collar bohemianism'". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 19 July 2014.

External links

  • Wussy.org (official website)
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