Think mink

Local chick-rockers re-introduce the electric guitar.

by Sally Hedberg

The Twin Cities music scene, diverse as it may be, operates in cycles.

Often reflecting the cultural spirit of the era, the collective of noise created by our city’s talented musicians tends to have some notable similarities. Sometimes the over-arching vibe is rough, sometimes it’s folksy and sometimes it’s super-synthesized. For a while now, the scene has been producing a fair amount of acoustic/alternative pop, much of it markedly impressive.

 However, cycles inevitably change and so does the sound. With a new wave of local musicians infiltrating the scene, many will prove to be hype-worthy but it is the girls with guitars that have come to reclaim rock ‘n’ roll in its most abrasive, glamorous form — Pink Mink.

Leading ladies and long-term friends Arzu Gokcen and Christy Hunt are no strangers to the local scene. Both were actively involved long before their recent collaboration. Gokcen played with Lefty Lucy, Selby Tigers, Spider Fighter and Strut and Shock, while Hunt formed Ouija Radio in the ’90s and for the last two years toured as a rhythm guitarist with Detroit punk revivalists, the Von Bondies.

Gokcen said that their long-anticipated collaboration has been more or less an issue of timing.

“This is like my eighth band that’s played shows,” she said. “But I would have loved to have been playing with Christy four or five bands ago.”

 Together at last, along with drummer and bassist Charles Gehr and Jacques Wait, all of the musicians approach this new venture on a similar wavelength of focus.

“Everyone in Pink Mink is involved somehow in music, with their jobs, with their actual resources,” Hunt explained. “So it makes sense that we’d be together at this point.” Hunt herself books shows for local venues and Gokcen owns her own karaoke business.

Having played their debut show in early May, the group has gained popularity in a relatively short amount of time. They’ve spent the summer building a wildly enthusiastic reputation throughout the cities, shredding it at staple Minneapolis events like the Pizza Lucé Block Party and consistently delivering fiery live sets.

Pink Mink has been really spoiled this year,” Hunt said. “We’ve already been asked to play many wonderful shows, and we don’t even have a T-shirt.”

The T-shirts, as well as an album, will undoubtedly come throughout the year. Capitalizing on the demand for live shows, they simply haven’t had the down time to spend in the studio, but they will soon.

“Come October, November, December,” Hunt said. “I really believe we’re going to be working on a record and have that record out in time for a spring tour, maybe [South by Southwest.]”

Until then, these brazen rock starlets will continue to capture club audiences with their ferocious dynamic, one that challenges current norms of female musicians in Minneapolis, in a good way.

“I love all that stuff,” Hunt said, referring to the more lo-fi spectrum of local rock. “But for me personally, I’d like to go out and see more people throwing a fit and having fun.”

Fun is clearly no mystery to Pink Mink, and neither is fashion. Adding to the splendor of each live show is a blast of sartorial flair manifested in the complimentary rocker-chic getups of Gokcen and Hunt, usually the result of a pre-show phone call. Both women turn to local vintage and thrift stores such as Lula and Rewind to achieve their dauntless and glam-ified, CBGBcirca ’75 look.

While their visual appearance is undeniably fabulous, it is the inherent musical skill and collective passion that sets these local rockers one above the rest. It’s only a matter of time before the town is painted pink.