Without much warning yesterday, Northampton guitar-rock trio Potty Mouth tweeted a rock band board game with the caption, “y’all wanna play a game?” The answer from us and about a hundred other of their Twitter followers was a resounding “yes.”
But as our eyes scanned the game’s snake-like corridor landscape, poking fun at the positives and negatives that come with being a young band trying to navigate the modern music industry, we began to see some unfortunate truths that come with the territory.
For every advancement — like the addition of new fans via a well-timed feature in VICE or NPR, or the buzz from a sweet SXSW or CMJ showcase — there are, like anything in life, a handful of pitfalls. Some of those landings will only dock you a turn (from bassists unable to get off work to play a gig or… well… being a woman!), but some will force you to start over completely, like when it turns out your band name is racist (oops).
With the the peak board-game-playing time of the holidays right around the corner, and with the news today that the design will soon be featured on one of the band’s new t-shirts, we asked Potty Mouth singer/guitarist Abby Weems about the game she designed, and just how much of it is rooted in Potty Mouth’s reality.
Jennifer Usovicz: I thought it was interesting you put “Be a woman lose a turn” — do you think that’s set you girls back as a band in real life or was that just there to fit the game?
Abby Weems: I put it specifically to highlight the setbacks of being a woman in music because of not being given equal opportunities/exposure as men.
Usovicz: Is this all based upon Potty Mouth’s beginnings? For example: Play a house show, put out mix tape, play Silent Barn?
Weems: Some of it is definitely based on our career. The rest [are] just observations of peers’ experiences. The cool thing about the design is you can actually play it with a dice and different paths still kind of make sense when they play out, it’s not necessarily meant to go one square at a time.
Usovicz: A favorite square is “Negotiate deal with major label lose a turn.” Is that commentary on signing with a major label, or indicative of a certain negative experience with a label?
Weems: The major label thing is a funny little stab at how long it takes to negotiate with big companies. I think that kind of thing goes under the radar cause no one wants to talk about it until it’s official, but that shit takes months and months of back and forth just grasping for leverage.
Usovicz: Are you going to play board games over the holidays? Would you play this game with your family?
Abby: I don’t think I’m going to play games over the holidays because I’m going to be on a cruise with my family for Christmas! [laughs] But maybe I would play this game with them; it would be kind of a fun way to help explain what I actually do with my life.
Print it out and play it at your own risk, and check out Potty Mouth’s latest video, “Creeper Weed,” which premiered earlier this month via High Times.