Published on March 1st, 2023

A self-described “gang of salty broads revving the engines of garage rock,” Tracy City from New York, New York by way of South Florida are a punch in the nose of anyone who ever thought, in the band’s own words, that “women over 40 can’t f*ck things up.”

Frontwoman Katrina del Mar is best known as a photographer and underground filmmaker, often described as the lesbian Russ Meyer. But something about, well, everything, that’s gone on in recent years pushed her toward band formation. “I feel like we’re living through a collective PTSD nationally, just coming out of a federally abusive arranged marriage that very few of us wanted,” del Mar tells PureHoney in an interview. “So it’s like watching a riveting disaster film playing out in super slow motion.”

She recruited guitarist Monica Falcone, bassist Betsy Todd, and South Florida legend Genny Slag — of Slag and Pank Shovel fame — on drums. Tracy City is del Mar’s first band — one she sort of formed for one of her films.

“It’s kinda crazy after all this time,” del Mar says. “When I was younger, it seemed like practically everyone I knew was in a band except me. I went to see bands, I photographed bands, dated women in bands. I took the band photos, made the flyers, made the music videos.”

All this experience has boiled down to del Mar being a formidable lead singer, even if she’s too humble to admit it or claim her band is kind in tolerating her. “I know I’m not a good singer, but I have a little bit of style and performing is fun for me. I recognize it as a form of generosity to give a good show,” she said.

Another part of del Mar’s ease into performing can be traced to Florida and meeting drummer Genny Slag. While living in Delray, del Mar was fresh out of rehab and Slag was her entree into South Florida’s thriving underground.

“I’d been to the hardcore matinees at CBGB‘s, copped drugs in Tompkins Square Park, drank with Joey Ramone, so you know, they all thought I was hard as fuck, but these kids scattered around West Palm went really hard,” del Mar says. “I was like, I’ll keep up the front that I’m a cool badass from the East Village, but you people are truly hardcore. My experience living [in South Florida] taught me if you want to make something happen you do it yourself.”

Slag, who’s been performing since she was 14 and was a fixture of South Florida’s scene back in the day, has had a resurgence from the Gen Z punks rediscovering a demo tape of her hardcore namesake — from a time she recalls a little hazily.

“I’m not sure if the rumors are true about opening for the Dead Kennedys and GBH, but then again I’ve seen flyers for shows I played that I don’t remember at all,” Slag tells PureHoney. “I was on a lot of drugs in the 80’s but I know for sure we opened for 7 seconds!”

Random access memory aside, Slag recollects performing with just about everyone down here, rattling off a long list of greats including LOAD, Chickenhead, the Livid Kittens, Postface, and the Grooveniks, among others – even a side project with Marilyn Manson’s dearly departed Scott Putesky called Medical Experiment. “South Florida’s always had an amazing and diverse music scene,” Slag says. “There are a lot of cool people making cool music and no one sounds the same.”

For this musical chapter, both del Mar and Slag appreciate how they’ve arrived. Del Mar is thrilled to “begin” at this stage and to move past crippling perfectionism and Slag is happy to not feel the pressures of making it in the industry. “For me now, there’s no other agenda than making music for the sake of making music, for the love of it, and how cool is it to play music with my friends?” Slag says. “I feel very lucky.”

Slag and del Mar cop to some recent age-related slowing of pace in band life, owing to both nightlife environments in New York City and increased family commitments.

“We just pretend to be a younger band,” laughs Slag. “We don’t really feel that different from a younger band, I don’t feel like I know any more than anyone else. We do try to be supportive and let them know they’re doing something cool.”

Turning to del Mar, she says, “Kat don’t you think being in a band is like the great equalizer? It just reduces everyone back to being a kid.” Del Mar interjects with a dose of new reality: “We go on at 8 p.m. and we like it cause we are old!” Slag concurs with a laugh, “We’re the early bird special.”

For del Mar, being in Tracy City is kind of a sanctuary in an ever more chaotic world. “The lunatics are running the asylum and it’s probably too late to turn things around,” she says. “But I’m trying to lead with compassion and to have as much fun as possible, because I’m pretty sure the end is near and it’s going to get much, much worse. I fiddle while Rome burns, so to speak, and I try to be kind to everyone on the way.”

Tracy City perform 9pm Friday, March 3 at Respectable Street in downtown West Palm Beach with Thelma & The Sleaze and Hijas de la Muerte; and 9pm Saturday, March 4 at the Poorhouse in Ft. Lauderdale with Cool Hand Luke. ~ Abel Folgar