The Percocettes


One fine day in early 2006, a determined Cole Della-Zucca picked up a guitar, and told her friends she was going to start a band, eventhough at the time she couldn’t sing or play the guitar. A bit later, Toothless George was playing Cole’s guitar at a party in her apartment. She grabbed the guitar out of his hands and played a song she had written. He was instantly blown away by her raw talent, and fell in love with her sound. Over the next six months, George gave her personal guitar and vocal lessons. They rearranged her song together, and were both stunned by how well it turned out. George made a call to his former band mate, Matt Fester, to see if he wanted to drum for this project. Once they heard the songs with his drumming, they knew that this band was going to be way better than they ever expected. For a year and a half, they rehearsed in secret, perfecting their craft, before going into the studio to record with the most respected engineers they knew: Nick Rotundo (None More Black, Boy Sets Fire, The Huntingtons) and Donnie Switchblade (The Queers, Teen Idols, The Eyeliners). On Friday the 13th of July 2007, they made their live performance debut (their C.D. release show) on one of the most coveted stages in Philadelphia; The Trocadero’s main stage! The Percocettes are enjoying their first year as a group. They continue to travel and perform, making new fans, loving what they do, and doing what they love...isn’t that what roc’ n’roll is all about?

I got to sit down with the Philadelphia based band at their show with Rancid at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, PA, to discuss their highs, lows, and being females in the male dominated punk scene.

Who's in your current line-up?

Cole: I'm the vocalist, Vita Stolichnaya is our bassist, Toothless George is our guitarist , and our drummer is Matt Fester.

How’d you get started?

Cole: Me and our old guitarist, Kristan something, started out to see how we'd do as a band. Then we saw George randomly this one night and he said, "You guys really have something here, you just need to work on it." So he started coming over every day, for like three hours a day, just going through vocals and guitar –just making our songs awesome. And that’s how it built into something bigger and better than we had expected. It was an old guitarist. Vita came in only a couple of months ago.

George: I think May was Vita’s first show. It was the Tritones show, and it’s been awesome ever since.

Vita, could you tell us where you’re from and how you got involved?

Vita: Well I was born in Estonia, which is Northern Europe; obviously I speak Russian--everyone seems to emphasize that. I moved here about eight years ago. George contacted me on myspace saying, "Hey we need a guitarist." Then I came to one of the shows and was like, "Yeah, I want to be in the band!" So I started practicing with George and going over songs and learning them. Then we had a whole band practice, and after a while, they said, "Yeah, you’re in." Then we played a show and went to Florida. And it has been awesome ever since.

Is there a big punk scene in Estonia?

Vita: Actually, no. It’s a very small country.

So you got more into punk when you came to America?

Vita: Yes, definitely.

Cole: Is Estonia where the Flintstones are from?

Encino Man!

Vita: Yes, Estonia is from the stone age. No.

Have you encountered any adversity with you being a female singer /guitarist? Is there anybody saying that you can’t cut it when you’re a chick?

Cole: The main reaction we get after we play is, "woah, you guys are actually decent. I thought you guys were going to suck" – thinking that we’re chicks and that we can’t do this shit at all. But that’s good, because if they have low expectations of us, it's easy to exceed their expectations. Other than that, it’s been pretty cool, and I get a lot more help with my equipment than I’m sure these guys do. That’s about it.

Vita: I think chicks in a band is hot.

But punk music is so dominated by males.

Vita: I don’t think it’s just punk, but rock music in general. There aren’t a lot of female rock chicks.

Are you inspired by Joan Jett?

Cole: Totally. There are a couple that I look up to, like Joan Jett and Marissa Awesomeheart. But then you got Courtney Love, she’s awesome, but probably not the best role model.

What is it that inspires you?

Cole: I just look for challenge, challenge inspires me. I like the idea that Vita and I are females, starting a punk band in a male dominated world. I think it’s awesome.

Why do you think the rock industry is so dominated by males.

Cole: When you think of punk, you don’t think of butterflies and rainbows. You think of blood, guts and sweat. When you go to a show, you get roughed up. God, my hair never stays in place!

George: I think that a lot of girls are afraid, because they don’t think that they can do it. They think that oh people are going to think that I’m a girl. I don’t know. I think anybody can do it. Music is non-sexist. I was going to say non-sexual--but that's not entirelly accurate. I think that a lot of girls think that they have to be a certain way because of society standards--but that’s bullshit.

Matt: Punk rock’s all about breaking social norms.

Do you have anything to say to girls who are trying to break into the punk scene?
Cole: Fucking do it! I love seeing sexy girls in my audience. It’s such a turn on. Like just now I got approached by some punk chick saying, "You guys fucking rule!" And I was like, "You rule. You rule." So yea, let me tell you, join us. I think it’s awesome to see more punk rock women musicians playing on stage and really going for it.

Do you Skate?

Cole: I skate, but when I go to FDR, there’s just a bunch of dudes--no girls. And I first I think that they’re going to try and scam on me, like it’ll be easy conversation. But no, you see them eyeing you and judging you, thinking that you can’t do it. Thinking: "Hey, what’s a chick doing over here." So, it’s intimidating--I think a lot of girls think it’s intimidating to skate or do anything 'male dominated' around so many males, but I encourage it.

Philly local, eh?

Cole: I’m not originally from Philly, but I live in South Philly now. I’m from Stanton Island.

George: I live in South Philly now, but I’m originally from West Chester PA. I skate, too.

You sound like you have a Southern accent when you’re on stage.

George: My mom and her side of the family are from the south. I don’t know why, because my brother doesn’t have it. And with me, it only really comes out when I’m drunk. I mean it really comes out heavy when I’m drunk. So if you heard it when I was on stage, then yeah… I wasn’t drunk, but I had a few in me. But it gets works. But yeah, I’m from South Philly. The South, haha.

Matt: I’m from Lancaster PA. It’s about an hour and half outside of Philly, depending on traffic; today it was about three hours because of the rain. I lived in Philly for about five years, and I always come down to Philly, so this is where I consider my roots.

You're touring with Rancid?

George: No, we’re just playing this one show with them. They may say later on tonight, hey we want you to do the rest of the tour with us, who knows, but that hasn’t happened yet. So as of right now, as of this interview, we’re not on tour with Rancid.

What’s it like opening for Rancid?

George: For me it’s a huge honor. First time I saw them, I think in 93, they were opening up for Fugazi. I had no idea who they were, and I was just like, "Wow, these guys are amazing." Yeah, so I’ve been with them from the beginning. Hopefully there’s some kid in this audience that sees us as the opening band, didn’t know who the hell we are, came to see Rancid, and are like, "Wow, I love that band!" And hopefully ten years down the road, or fifteen I think since they’ve started, they’ll be some kid that’s like, "Yeah, I saw you when, and they’ll open for us, and the cycle will keep going. It’s a huge honor to share the stage with Rancid.

Cole: When I walked out there and seen three thousand people looking at me, it was amazing. Like I’ve been nervous this whole week and all the nerves just went away just because it was such a beautiful moment. I didn’t want to be nervous, I just wanted to take every single second in. It was awesome.

How long have you been playing? How does this show rank in the shows you've played thusfar?

Matt: I’ve actually been doing this for a long time-- I’m thirty-two and I’ve been doing this since I was like fourteen. This is the crowning moment in my punk rock career. This is the best show that I’ve played with this band. This was probably our best show overall and at the same time to be doing this with one of my favorite bands that got me into punk rock in the first place is a pretty good honor.

George: It’s definitely amazing. Everything is very new to us.

What are your recording plans?

Cole: We are in the studio right now recording an eight song cd. It’s taking a little longer than expected. But we just want to make it perfect. It’s our baby, and we just want to make sure it’s not an ugly baby with a big head. We’re just taking our time with it, because I’ve seen some ugly babies, and that's never good.
Interview by Roya Butler