In the last number of years, music fans have lost their treasured idols. From David Bowie, to Chris Cornell, Prince and Ric Ocasek. Regardless of the circumstance surrounding their demise, the mourning and loss continues to vibrate through the industry. Of these rock stars to leave our plane of existence, none more resonated with a shock wave than the tragic passing of Kim Shattuck. On October 2nd last year, the news filtered that Kim had succumbed to an illness that had dogged, but not defined her life. The ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as motor neurone disease she had fought against had overpowered her, and the world lost another effervescent artist.
As the mourning began, the mood switched to celebrating, encompassing the very spirit of strength that Kim projected. The gentle flowing electricity began in 1985 as she joined The Pandoras, lasting with that outfit until 1991. It was in that year the Kim along with Melanie Vammen, bassist Ronnie Barnett and drummer Criss Crass. With The Muffs Kim became a dominant force in music. The calm in the eye of a storm who could deliver raw noise with the intensity of a nuclear strike. With The Muffs came acclaimed power-pop punk across eight albums starting with their self-titled blast from 1993. And finishing with the swan song No Holiday last year. Although Kim invested in side projects, one such project I witnessed personally, as during the 2013 Pixies European shows, where the lady filled in on bass and backing vocals. Bringing a new dynamic through her smiling, animated presence on stage. A short-lived stint but one that introduced the name Kim Shattuck to a new audience.
Last year, we witnessed her final project come to fruition with The Coolies Ep. Released in July, 2019,Uh Oh! It’s… The Coolies, Shattuck took the step of not revealing her own illness, as it was already prevalent on her father’s side. Instead, using that as a reason for this charity release and the reason to form a supercharged supergroup. In a way the music is always the best form of tribute, a reminder of how the woman Kim Shattuck should not be remembered for the condition that took her life, but rather the noise-art she created. This is a solid release that deserves investing in, if not for the charity aspect alone. Kim Shattuck will be remembered for a lot of things, and a lot of music through all the various projects she lent a dimension to. But, this act of releasing a non-profit Ep in a time when artists struggle, shows the unselfish nature she possessed beneath the wild exterior. The actual reality of the tribute here is keeping her wishes and her humanity alive.
The six tracks blister with some of her finest work, acting as short, sharp, shocks of distorted power, driven by an all-female war machine. A Ramones idealism clashing with a cause and the emotional fired passion of all three members. Opening with the garage-rock splendor of “Uh Oh!”, moving with a detonation of alternative joy with “Ignoramus”, the six strong set is unrelenting. With no subtlety, the songs are aimed straight at the head, even the softer “Pathetica” has an edge of menace with the delivery. The highlight is “Blueberry Crumble”, with the added theramin courtesy of label owner and E-Street maestro Stevie Van Zandt. Closing out the set with more garage rhythms with “Yeah I Don’t Know”, an ending like the life of the lady, comes far too soon. This record has already sold out three vinyl pressings and raised over $15,000 for ALS research. To order, and find out more about The Coolies Ep: Bandcamp
In a further step, it is only fitting that her memory and mission statement continues on a live stage. As on Sunday, March 15th at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. They will be joined on stage by Annette Zininskas (The Bangles) and Roy McDonald to play tracks from the group’s recently released six-song benefit EP, Uh Oh It’s… The Coolies. The benefit concert begins at 3PM and will be hosted by Kim’s longtime bandmates The Muffs’ Ronnie Barnett and Roy McDonald, who will also be performing, along with Redd Kross, Vicki Peterson, Kathy Valentine, Rob Zabrecky, Veruca Salt, That Dog (and friends), The Pandoras, Kay Hanley, honeychain, and other surprise performances throughout the show. All proceeds will be donated to The ALS Association Golden West Chapter, whose mission is to discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the full.
To Order Tickets; Tickets
To Find Out More About ALS Golden West Chapter; Website