Kim Shattuck and The Muffs have been kicking ass for a long time, longer than some of your lives if we're being honest. You might not be familiar with The Muffs, but maybe you've heard of The Pixies? Kim spent a stint touring with them as their guitarist, but her true talent lies in her dedication and passion for her craft. Shattuck has been a member of the punk scene since the '80s- touring, making music, writing songs, and paving the way for women in the industry, intentionally or not. The Muffs been on hiatus, musically, for about a decade, and their new album Whoop Dee Doo is out on July 22nd on Burger Records. Shattuck was kind enough to chat with me on her busy Friday afternoon to talk about it all.
So to start out, what prompted new music after a decade? You guys have been super busy, you’ve done tours, you’ve played with The Pixies.
Kim Shattuck: Well, we took our super long break, and on breaks, I still write. After our 2004 tour, we were all kind of burnt out so we took our little break. We didn’t talk that much for about a year, but it wasn’t a big deal… Our friend Jim Lostiza? Who was on tour with us in ’94 and 2000 wanted to get us all together for like, a dinner party. He called a Muffs dinner party…it had been a long time since I’d seen all those guys. I said, “I wrote this really cool song..” I’d been dicking around with finding my roots again, to figure out why I wrote songs in the first place.
Are the songs on Whoop Dee Doo a collection of everything that has happened since then? Are they more recent?
KS: There are a small amount of songs from right around 2006, that’s when the dinner party happened and they realized I was writing. I sent them some of the demos and they were like, “Oh my god!” and they were really into it.... In 2008 I got on a big song writing tear, all these good songs started coming out of me. Once I’m on a roll, I start to roll! But then I get pooped. Up until 2010 I was writing a bunch and not rejecting songs. By 2010 we were rehearsing a lot and going on tour again. We went to Japan, Spain, and Italy. We’d gone through the whole process of recording, mixing it, and then I was asked to be in The Pixies, and that put it off another year.
How did that come about? It was an interesting situation.
KS: It was definitely interesting. When I found out they were asking me to audition, and then asked me to be in the band I told Roy but didn’t tell Ronnie (bass). When I finally told Ronnie it was right before The Pixies announced it. They were all cool with it. It worked out fine, everybody was super nice to me, until they weren’t. But no, it was a really good experience. I jumped on it.
So I’m 25 and right now on our current “scene” we’ve seen a lot of discussion of feminism and sexism in the music industry, and some of the struggles of women in the industry. For you, when you were pumping out the albums, it was the height of the third wave feminism movement and I was wondering if you ever felt you had a part in that, or did you not see a lot of that?
KS: You know, I was never really that worried about sexism. Sometimes it’s annoying obviously, but anybody that’s annoying around me, it’s like “It’s your loss” or “You’re a dick”. I never feel bad about myself. When I encounter it, not so much now, I’m more impervious to it… I consider everybody to be equal, I just go through life the way I see it. I think people have a tendency to be outraged a lot. The internet perpetrates an “outrage” factor- the outrage du jour. I turn a blind eye to the internet in that way- I don’t use it to see what other people think.
It’s definitely awesome that people are concerned about sexism, and concerned about being nice to one another.
Do you feel that being female has been a road block for you at all?
KS: Nooo. I guess I’ve always gone it thinking everyone should do their thing. I’m not sensitive to it I guess. I’m not insensitive to it; I notice when some one is being sexist toward others, but I’m sensitive to it in that it’s bullshit, but I don’t pay attention to it.
What is your advice for women in music today?
KS: Do your thing. Don’t worry about what other people think- what they think is not the point. Don’t let anybody put you down. Worry and thinking too hard about how you're wronged is a ruiner. If you feel drawn to write songs and sing, do it your own way, don’t copy some body else. Use your inspiration to do your own creative thing. Don’t worry about what people think.
I think that’s a great way to live in general. Because you guys have been making music for so long, there is a new generation of kids listening to punk and pop punk music. Did you change the way you did anything for Whoop Dee Doo to try to reach that audience?
KS: Nothing has really changed. We don’t ignore opportunities, we grab them as they come by. Were really proactive right now about doing everything we can to get the album out there.
What do you guys have coming up with Whoop Dee Doo in particular
KS: We’re going to have a few singles, and a video is being released this week for a song called Weird Boy Next Door., it’s the first track of the album. It’s a fun, cute, goofy- not a stupid serious video. We’re in it as a band and I really like how it turned out.
Tour wise I only see a few dates? Are there more coming? This is a selfish question because I would kill to see y’all here in Austin!
KS: We’re trying to do them in little spurts. We’re not doing a long drawn out tour. We’re going to Japan, the West Coast, and eventually the East Coast, Mid West and the South. We’re really concentrating on the West right now, but those dates are trickling out.
Awesome, well I really hope to catch you in Texas soon then, and I loved the album! Thanks so much for chatting.
KS: Of course! We love Texas, we’re two thirds Texas as a band. Thank you!