INTERVIEW: Rock Queen Super Group The Coolies Talk New EP & Fighting ALS

The Coolies

After being friends for decades, former members of The Muffs, The Pandoras, and The Friggs, Kim Shattuck, Melanie Vammen, and Palmyra Delran, finally decided it was time to start their own band together. Kim and Melanie first played together in The Pandoras and went on to form The Muffs, meeting The Friggs’ Palmyra on a Pandoras tour. The uber-talented trio is now known as The Coolies—a female-fronted super group backed by decades of rock stardom, who are using their platform to combat ALS.

The Coolies dropped their self-titled debut EP earlier this summer and have donated 100% of proceeds from record sales to support research for the ALS Association. Living in different cities, the six-track EP was recorded at both West and East Coast studios and mixed by Grammy Award-winner Geoff Sanoff.

From the very first track, “Uh Oh!,” bubbling down to “Yeah I Don’t Know,” The Coolies dabbles in fizzy pop, punk, and pure rock—an essence that’s perfectly captured by its psychedelic 3-D vinyl cover.

Here, The Coolies talk their new band, The Coolies EP, upcoming music, and why ALS research is important to them.

AF: Why is combatting ALS and the ALS Association important to The Coolies?

K: Because it runs on my dad’s side of the family and I am super sick of seeing it take down my relatives without a cure!

M: It has affected us all by knowing loved ones enduring this horrific disease. It’s time to find a cure!

AF: Do you plan on continuing to raise awareness and funds with your next project/s?

K: I’m always gonna do a lot more work with The ALS Association – I will always do it!

M: I will always want to help in whatever way I can.

P: We’re committed to raising awareness and donations to find treatments and a cure for ALS. Diseases can be cured, and ALS is such a mystery. It’s time.

AF: How does it feel coming together at this point in your career and being able to form The Coolies?

K: Pretty crazy dammit! I love these chicks with my whole heart and soul, and we have some tales to tell! We are like peppermint pirates!

M: It’s incredible and so special! I love these badass chicks and it means everything to me.

P: It’s actually pretty hilarious how this whole thing happened out of three old pals having a laugh about a picture of Paula Pierce’s ass! We figured, why not? And it’s been a mind-blower how fast it all fell together. I love these dames!

AF: Are you planning any future shows / touring?

P: We are scheming!

M: We’re figuring it out! I can’t wait for people to hear Coolies songs live!

AF: What are you currently working on / planning next?

K: Pretty cool things that we have planned!

P: We’re already working on the next batch of songs.

M: A full-length album!

AF: Your EP is available on vinyl with a 3-D album cover, which is awesome. What gave you guys that idea?

M: I think Palmyra and Louie (the artist) suggested it.

P: Everything comes out of the three of us sitting around laughing! Kim would sign her emails as “Kimba,” which sounded like a cartoon character to me. I started signing my emails as Palimba, and not missing a beat–Melanie became Melimba! The whole thing morphed from there and ended up on (Art Director at Wicked Cool) Louis Arzonico’s desk, who came up with the illustration.

AF: What was the trans-coast recording experience like?

K: It was a hoot! Hey, it should be that easy all the time. I’m so happy! The best thing is recording with them. And we did it!

M: It was so easy! First time I’ve recorded like this and we got to be just as creative this way like if we were all in the same room together. It worked amazing!

P: This definitely proves that anything can be done these days!

AF: How has your current sound been influenced by each of your musical backgrounds?

M: You know, we all do our thing with our signature styles and sounds.

P: It’s what comes out naturally from within each of us. It just so happens to fit together really well.

AF: Anything else you’d like to add?

M: Take time to laugh in life! Be yourself and don’t doubt your abilities! We love our record. Hope you love it too!

The Coolies

LIVE REVIEW: The Muffs @ Del Monte Speakeasy, Venice CA

The Muffs reunion


These days, it seems no one is impervious to nineties nostalgia, least of all Burger Records, who release Whoop Dee Doo on July 29th, the first album of new material from grunge-pop aficionados The Muffs in ten years. The three-piece, consisting of lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Kim Shattuck, bassist Ronnie Barnett, and drummer Criss Crass, is scheduled for several West Coast Burger-sponsored bashes, including this past weekend’s Burger Beach Party USA at the Del Monte Speakeasy located in the heart of Venice.

Arriving a bit late for sets from labelmates Audacity, The Tyde, The Aquadolls, and Collen Green, my peers and I descended into the dimly lit bar decorated with twenties style lamps and red leather couches. The crowd consisted of people of all different ages, sporting every style from summertime surf grunge to bohemian fifty-year old mom swag. Once The Muffs took the stage it became clear that they’re touring veterans; you could tell immediately that they have been performing together for years. Perhaps best known for having had their cover of “Kids In America” (originally by Kim Wilde) featured in one of my most favorite movies, Clueless, the band has gone through numerous lineups and released five records via Warner Bros. and Reprise Records, but have always retained a bouncy, feel-good vibe.

Kim had a huge smile on her face the whole show, aggressively singing upbeat surfer rock songs to a crowd of moshing admirers. Their new material, much in the vein of their early catalogue, is comprised of perfect riffs made with power chords we all know and love, hard hitting bass lines, and drum beats that make for some truly inspired head-banging. Though The Muffs’ set was about 45 minutes long, it felt like only fifteen minutes in which both the band and their audience had a blast. Kim’s banter in between songs consisted of making fart jokes and recalling times on past tours where she “made out with a lot of girls.” Their onstage presence perfectly accompanied their clever, humorous, and emotion- driven songs, which made for an incredibly enjoyable and satisfying show. There’s no word yet on whether a national tour will happen, but The Muffs are playing a few more Burger shindigs, listed below. In the meantime, check out lead single from Whoop Dee Doo, “Up And Down Around.”


Sunday, July 6 – Oakland, CA @ Burger Boogaloo (Mosswood Park)

Saturday, July 26 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah

Saturday, Aug. 2 – Santa Ana, CA @ Burger a-Go-Go (The Observatory)