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Kittie Drives Sound Home at Jaxx

Emerging from jaunts on the Oz Fest, the all-girl band "Kittie" is proud to be pierced and tattooed in the metal genre, screaming out "metal is still quite alive."

Those were the words of drummer Mercedes Lander, who, along with sister Morgan Lander on guitar and vocals, and Jennifer Arroyo on bass, are far from MTV and proud of it. To Kittie, MTV is "the establishment."

"They want to see bands that aren't being shoved down their throats by MTV," said Mercedes Lander. "A lot of that stuff sounds the same."

Arroyo wanted to make it clear that there is other music besides what's on the radio.

"That's not the only music out there," she said.

The Kittie shows, July 2 and 3 at Jaxx in Springfield, are all-ages shows, typical of Kittie's road shows. The band has played Jaxx before and finds that the all-ages aspect opens the doors to fans that might not get a chance to hear Kittie elsewhere. In the D.C. area, they've played at the 9:30 Club and Nations in the past.

"We do have younger fans, they deserve to come too," Mercedes said.

Kittie is based in Ontario, Canada, and travels the country in a bus, playing shows such as the Oz Fest 2000, as well as the Whiskey Go Go in Los Angeles and the European Oz Fest, and Reinventing the Steel tour with Pantera, to name a few. The Lander sisters hale from Canada, but Arroyo is from Fairfax, which she still considers home. Her mother follows their travels from Fairfax.

"She's been supporting me since I was 14," Arroyo said.

WITH A HEAVY metal label, it's not hard to picture hair bands of the '80s with gut-wrenching lyrics that are a parent's nightmare. Kittie's latest album, "Oracle," may seem along that line with songs such as "Mouthful of Poison," "Severed," and "In Winter," but band members insist that's not the case. Between curse words during the interview, they swore that there was not one dirty word on the whole album.

"I think our music is actually positive," Mercedes Lander said. "We all write the songs, but Morgan takes care of the lyrics. We have to please ourselves before we please anyone else. It all comes from the heart."

Kittie's publicist, Chris Bade, agreed on the band's musical description.

"They have some more melodic metal, but most of the stuff, she's [Morgan] screaming her lungs out," he said.

Recently, they've come out with "Safe," a compelation of live songs with DVD concert footage.

The band's name is a shot of irony to the hard sound they deliver.

"When you hear our music, you wouldn't think that was our name," Arroyo said.

They even do a version of Pink Floyd's "Run Like Hell."

Opening for Kittie at Jaxx on July 2 is Stuck in Kaos, Kilfast Sake and Fail Safe. Opening on July 3 are Reva, 20 oz. Nothing, Mod Flanders Conspiracy and In the Dark. After Jaxx, Kittie has a July 4 date at the "Hellfest," at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, and another show at L'amour, in Brooklyn, N.Y.