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Kittie is a Canadian heavy metal band formed in London, Ontario in 1996. All of their material has been released through independent record labels, which to date includes six studio albums, one video album, four extended plays, thirteen singles, and thirteen music videos. “Kittie” was chosen as the band name because the name “seemed contradictory.”
Kittie formed in 1996 when Fallon Bowman and Mercedes Lander met in gym class. Morgan Lander became the lead vocalist and one of Kittie’s guitarists and Tanya Candler completed the band’s lineup on bass. After signing to NG Records, Kittie released their debut album Spit, which was certified gold by the RIAA and sold at least 600,000 copies in the United States. The band released Oracle in 2001 and Until the End in 2004. In 2005, Kittie parted ways with Artemis Records and created their own label. The band released Funeral for Yesterday in 2007 and signed to E1 Music in 2009. The band released In the Black in 2009 and I’ve Failed You in 2011. In 2014, a documentary, Kittie: Origins/Evolutions, chronicling the history of the band was released in co-ordination with its 20th anniversary.
Kittie has been categorized under multiple heavy metal subgenres, including death metal, nu metal, and alternative metal.
Kittie was formed in 1996 when drummer Mercedes Lander and guitarist Fallon Bowman met in gym class. Mercedes’ sister Morgan Lander became the lead vocalist and guitarist after weeks of Fallon and Mercedes jamming. Tanya Candler completed the lineup by joining as the bassist. Kittie made demos and started playing concerts in 1998. The band played concerts at Call the Office and the Embassy and signed up for Canadian Music Week in 1999. Kittie approached Jason Wyner, a person who was second in command at NG Records. The band went up to Jason and made him see them play live and Jason and the rest of NG Records signed Kittie in the summer of 1999. Kittie got signed to the NG Records-distributed record label Artemis Records and producer Garth Richardson acquired Kittie’s demo. NG Records was bought out by Artemis Records. Therefore, Kittie ended up on Artemis Records. Kittie released their debut album Spit on Artemis Records and toured with the band Slipknot. Although Kittie’s album Spitwas finished in August 1999, it was not released until January 2000, due to the departure of original bassist Tanya Candler. The album is the band’s most successful album, being certified gold by the RIAA. Spit has sold at least 600,000 copies in the United States and at least 40,000 copies in Canada.
Their debut album and supporting tour earned Kittie coverage in Metal Edge, whose readers voted Morgan Lander for “Female Performer of the Year” and Spitfor “Home Video of the Year” in the magazine’s 2000 Readers’ Choice Awards. The band was also voted “New Band of the Year”, “Who’s Going to be the Next Big Thing”, and “Most Underrated Band”, earning them a total of five Metal Edge Readers’ Choice Awards that year. On July 11, 2000, Kittie made a home-video called Spit in Your Eye which featured interviews of the band and the band playing shows with the band Slipknot.
In August 2001, Fallon Bowman left Kittie. Bowman explained why she left the band, saying: “I was unhappy with some things in the band so I felt that maybe it was time for me to depart. I think it was for the best”. On October 30, 2001, Kittie released their second album Oracle. Sounding more aggressive than “Spit”, the album features elements of death metal and thrash metal. Morgan Lander noted how the band members were only 14 years old when writing their debut album and said “We haven’t written in 4 or 5 years.” She acknowledged a change in influence from their early days, stating, “Then we listened to bands like Nirvana, Silverchair, and Alice in Chains. Now we listen to stuff like Cannibal Corpse and Nile.” However, the band would continue to write in the same fashion by first composing the music and then using that “as the backdrop behind the vocals.” The album Oracle was recorded with Morgan Lander as the sole guitarist. Fallon’s position as guitarist was filled by Jeff Phillips who worked as Kittie’s guitar technician. In 2002, Talena Atfield left the band and was replaced on bass by Jennifer Arroyo. In 2004, the group added guitarist Lisa Marx, and Jeff Phillips went to work full-time on his side project, Thine Eyes Bleed. On July 27, 2004, Kittie released their third studio album Until the End.
The title track from Kittie’s debut album, “Spit,” is about how people expect the all-female heavy metal band to play terrible, soft music. “We’re intense, and a lot of people just don’t expect it,” drummer Mercedes Lander explained to the Washington Post. “That’s why ‘Spit’ is my favorite song in the world – people expect us to suck, then we get on stage and blow them away. One minute they’re just standing there, then their mouths drop open and their dicks feel small.”