3 Kisses - Still Flying High
Jennie Rutherford, Tony Meeks & Letitia "Tish" Meeks
It's an honest enough question: What preconceptions might people have of this band with two young blond women in the power positions (lead guitar and drums)? "I think they're expecting us to be a little more 'girly' than we actually are," laughs lead singer and guitarist Letitia "Tish" Meeks. "Lots of times people, when they come to see us, they're like, 'Wow, you guys are really edgy, and intense!' We're very friendly people and on stage we interact with each other a lot, and I especially use a lot of facial expressions in songs, like songs that are kind of funny or whatever, so we definitely win fans a lot of our fans from our live performances."
The foursome of Tish, her husband, Tony Meeks (guitar), Jennie Rutherford (percussion), and bassist Ed Hale have been playing together in their home-base of Austin, Texas, since 2003. "Actually, Tony and I started writing in '98," explains Tish. "We got married in '99, my son was born in 2000, and my daughter was born in 2001, so we were quite busy there for a while. But during that time, before we even officially started 3 Kisses, all we did was write, so we have a large repertoire of songs already together from that." She adds, "We probably have enough songs for five or six albums! And we are still writing new stuff all the time. Being in a band with my husband, though - it is awesome! It is incredible! I mean, being part of a couple and being able to do what you love to do and share it with one another - it really makes our marriage a lot stronger, and we get to share our passion in life together. So it's been a great experience for both of us."
Recently, they released their first self-produced album, called Wings. The album is a pleasant combination of dreamy pop music with catchy guitar hooks and lyrics, with songs about destiny and hope and overcoming great obstacles successfully. The title track, "Wings," begins on a melancholy note-literally, because the music itself is the melancholy part - but the lyrics themselves are a mantra of redemption. "Take my breath away/shoot me high into the sky/Wash all my fears away/you make me want to fly-you give me wings," sings Tish, and it sounds so honest and true that you can't help but be happy for the narrator in the song.
Tish's favorite song of the day - because I made her pick out a favorite, despite her protestations that it was impossible - is the eighth track, "Wandering," a happy little song featuring some cool modified guitar riffs that also happens to be the very first song that Tish and her husband wrote together. "We just picked eleven songs that we thought really flowed well together and gave a good representation of what we're about overall for our first album," says Tish of Wings. "All of the songs have been chosen for our second album now, too, and we're about to begin recording on it. We're going to take our time on it, though, and probably release it at the end of this year or at the first of 2006."
As well as being an at-home mother of two small children and a full-time musician, Tish decided for this album to take on the role of producer/engineer as well. "I did all the engineering at home, with no experience at all," says Tish, sounding a little too sheepish and modest considering what an impressive first effort this album truly is. "And having said that, our first CD is doing really well, so that's encouraging in a sense. I think I failed in the recording to put a lot of the energy our live show has. But the good thing is, it seems like those who aren't 100% won over by our record are back on our side when they see us live!"
With their positive message of hope and own personal philosophies, it's no wonder that 3 Kisses has been invited to perform at so many family-themed functions and benefits, including the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the Motive Bison Stampede to benefit the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. They're also perfectly at home on some of the harder alternative rock stages as well, such as this year's South by Southwest showcase in Austin.
"I lost my mother to breast cancer in 1989 and we have really taken that on as our cause," says Tish of all of their benefit work. "A while ago, I wrote a story about how losing my mother to breast cancer changed my life, and I have chosen to be empowered by the loss instead of being victimized by it. The story that I wrote was published in the most recent installment of the Chicken Soup books, the "Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul." My story 'Legacy' appears in that. We donate a portion of our CD sales to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the National Breast Cancer Foundation. We play a lot of benefits. [We] really try to bring a lot of awareness to getting regular cancer screens and being aware of detecting the problem early on, and getting the proper treatment and education. We really want to do music to make a difference, to do something beyond ourselves.
"But basically, we kind of write songs," she finishes. "Sometimes we write silly stuff, but almost everything we write is inspired by something or someone in our lives. We write a lot of songs that are inspired by our own experiences. We try to write songs that people in general can relate to, no matter what level they're on in their lives."
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