Saturday, August 2, 2014

Q&A With Kim Shattuck (The Muffs)

Q&A With Kim Shattuck of The Muffs & Noreen Sobczyk First off full disclosure: As a teen I wanted to recreate the Stop Pretending era Pandoras so bad that a friend bought me a pink paisley guitar to form my own garage rock band. Are you and Melanie (Vammen) currently friends? Kim: Yes! Melanie and I are buddies again. We finally kissed and made up after 17 years of not speaking. I love that girl. She's amazing. We have so much in common and have a similar sense if humor. Reconnecting with Melanie is the best! I was looking for a picture of you with the band where you cheekily (no pun intended) lift up your dress and it sent me to links I never want to visit again. Although I did appreciate seeing the line “fertile fun bags.” Where and for what was that photo taken? Kim: I don't remember that photo. I believe you about that though. I used to lift my dress a lot. I actually just did that at the Burger Au Go Go. I was showing the crowd how I wear mens underwear under dresses now. You always seem free spirited. Not like mugging for cameras, but authentically free spirited. Have you always been that way? Kim: I am a big goofball a lot of the time. Definitely not pretentious or self important! Speaking of that, the song “Cheezy” - any comment about whom this song was written? Kim: I probably shouldn't out the recipients of my ire. That would just be mean. As a weirdo I’ve always kind of used that word positively is there a reason you used that word for ”The Boy Next Door” and is it based on truth? Kim: It's a truthful song about something that happened. And when I say 'Weird' in this song I mean it as the bad weird. I was sitting down in my house to write lyrics for a cool song I just wrote the music to. I literally sit down with my guitar and paper and all of the sudden I hear banging and shouting from next door. It's scared me and my dog. I tippytoed out the back door and peeked over the fence and saw our neighbors weird son hitting his garage with a baseball bat and screaming obscenities. I locked all the doors and shut all the blinds and sat down and wrote the lyrics to the song in literally 3 minutes. Thank you to the dick neighbor for inspiring one of my favorite songs. My favorite lyric at the moment is from that song. I like “He’s an empty vessel made of cotton candy,” both the line and the delivery. Do you have a favorite lyric from this album? Kim: I kind of like "and no smarter than a wooden floor" from “Weird Boy Next Door” and The second verse of “Up and Down Around” which is "I don't care what I'm saying half the time. Are you scared when all I do is rhyme?" Because that actually happened once when I was at a buffet where they had an espresso machine and a chocolate fountain and I was so jacked up from overindulging on caffeine that I literally couldn't say anything unless I was rhyming. I also was talking very very fast. You write some of the most snarky intimidating lyrics and pair them with upbeat hooky pop. How do you decide which melody gets the angry or happy lyrics? Kim: I don't think about it at all. If you think when you write lyrics your lyrics will be stupid. Thinking is bad. I’ll make a note of that! Courtney Love stated a while ago, and I’m paraphrasing, that she’s “the only one still doing it.” Meaning (I assume) being a rock n roll woman. I immediately thought of you. What do you think about that sentiment? Kim: Courtney says stuff like that all the time. It's very entertaining. Indeed it can be entertaining. Speaking of entertainment what are your 5 favorite rock movies? Kim: A Hard Days Night, That Thing You Do, Charlie is My Darling, Don't Look Back, and Loudquietloud. As a fan of both I was disappointed in how The Pixies touring slot ended for you. Anything you would care to comment upon now that time has passed regarding your experience? Kim: It was actually a fun thing to do for the most part. The shows and the audiences were amazing. Charles (A.K.A. Frank Black or Black Francis) was super nice to me. He's a great guy. Really smart and funny. We had great spirited conversations about art and music and I will forever be grateful that he was trying to have me in his band. He was my advocate practically the whole time. I love a lot of those songs. I still do. Just because it ended abruptly doesn't mean my taste changes. I still like what I liked. Did Whoop De Doo come to fruition after the incident or was it already planned? Kim: The album was finished in Jan 2013 when I was asked to be in the Pixies. But we had a hard time deciding on a title. We put the album on hold until I could have a break or the Pixies tour was done. But when Charles said his “Whoop Dee Doo” comment (Black Francis said in the press, I think to Yahoo, that "changing bass players was no big deal, woop de do"), we all three decided that would be an amazing title. Is it frustrating to be a band that consistently delivers the goods but never really achieved huge commercial success? (Save for the "Kids in America" cover for Rock Band 2). Kim: I try not to worry about stuff like that. I just want to be happy with the songs I write and if I love the album we make then nothing else matters. You have the best growling scream in rock n roll rivalled only by Kat Bjelland. How do you do that? Does it ever affect your singing? Kim: It's the easiest thing in the world. To scream and then to immediately sing pretty is like driving. You floor it and go fast. Then you slam on the brakes. No big deal as long as you take care of the car. I became friends with a friend of yours Bill Bartell (A.K.A. Pat Fear from White Flag) only a year or so before he died and didn’t have a ton of time with him, but he’s still missed. I wonder if you have any stories or memories of Bill you would like to share? Kim: Bill was nuts! We had some funny times for sure. He bribed me to sing that stupid Jefferson Airplane song. I didn't want to do it but he wore me down. Then he gave me $10.00. I sang it. I felt like a whore!! Haha. “White Rabbit”? Kim: Yeah, “White Rabbit.” How did you come to be associated with Burger Records? I like so much of what they do. Kim: Ronnie and Roy started hearing about them. I just found out Ronnie and his gal and Lee and his gal went on a double date once. Where did you find the album cover art? Was the back sleeve shot a nod to The Monkees old radio booth gag or just a coincidence? Kim: I was studying photography in 1984. My boyfriend and I went to the zoo and I think he was sketching people and I was photographing them. I spotted a cool looking old couple looking at the gorillas and ran up behind them to get a shot. I love photographing people from behind because it makes them look so much more poignant. I didn't know our back cover looked like the Monkees. Our new video does though. Have you ever done an exhibit of your photographs? Kim: I was in a couple of group shows before, but I'd love to have an exhibit. It's on my bucket list. Do you enjoy touring? Do you prefer studio to touring? Kim: I love doing music for a living. I adore being in the studio. Playing live shows is amazing. Writing songs in my bedroom is the coolest thing ever. Get The Muffs amazing album Whoop Dee Doo (Burger Records/Cherry Red Records) and stay tuned here for any video or tour news.


rocknpunkdad said...

Such a great band!
Great interview!

K. Telle said...

Thank you for reading and for the kind comment!

Barb Aura said...

This was such a great read! Part Two: Q&A with Roy and Ronnie? :)