KIM: What happened was we were thinking that we wanted to maybe use another producer. We wanted to improve on the sound we got before.
RONNIE: I thought Nick Lowe would be good.
STEVE: Really you guys thought about Nick Lowe? I remember Jeff suggested Nick Lowe to the Pandoras.
KIM: Well, we were talking and we were thinking I wonder if Rob [Cavallo] is thinking he's gonna be doing it again? Which is okay, but we were thinking maybe not, but he brought it up before we did that we should go with somebody else too. And we couldn't think of anybody that we like the record sound of, and I didn't want to fight with anybody this time. I didn't want to have to justify everything. So, I spent probably two hours on the phone with Roy, and maybe an hour on the phone with Ronnie convincing them it was the right them to do. They didn't trust me! They just figured I was an idiot.
RONNIE: Well, it's scary. We're responsible.
STEVE: So, Rob Cavallo must have been a huge security blanket for you guys?
RONNIE: Oh yeah.
KIM: Ronnie and Roy both wanted him to be there for the basic tracks, and I said No, No, No, if we're doing it ourselves we gotta do it ourselves. So, he came in one day, like the first day when we got the sound set, and he said 'Sounds great to me' and he left! It was really cool! It was cool!
RONNIE: He was supposed to be the executive producer, that's how we got the go ahead to do it.
KIM: Executive produce! What does that mean? Nothing.
STEVE: I think it means they have a pager, and they're at The Rainbow.
KIM: (laughing) Exactly! So, anyway, we just plugged along. We got two really good engineers. One we used for basic tracks and mixing, and the other we used for guitar overdubs, and then I did vocals at HOME!
ANNA: Now, that's great.
KIM: I don't know if I'm going to do that again. It was so hard to do, and I did a lot of things wrong, like I would have the microphone right on my mouth, cause 'No one's gonna stop me!' and I really liked the way it sounded. Then when we were mixing [the engineer] said, 'Did you have your mouth right on the mike?' and I said, 'WHY? WHY?' He said, you're getting this thing called proximity effect. It's just too close, and it's all muddy. Of course, through the headphones it sounded great. What do I know. It was so hard. When I was in here doing all the refixes, I mean, this is an apartment and I was like (singing) 'Honeymooooooon' FUCK! 'Honeymooooooooooon' FUCK THAT! I swear I sang 'Honeymoon' like 500 times, oh it was so hard. I thought I was gonna die. I would wake up in the morning not wanting to wake up. I'd be like, I don't want to get up. I'm gonna watch cartoons today.
RONNIE: We couldn't play that song live during that time, too.
KIM: I was so freaked out. I got so paranoid.
ANNA: That's a problem with producing yourself. I've always had that problem until I worked with a producer.
KIM: So, you're able to separate yourself from it?
KIM: (laughing) That's why maybe we won't produce ourselves next time. We proved to ourselves we could do it, so maybe next time we won't.
ANNA: Do you feel like you caught the right mood?
KIM: I was worried about that. I was worried I was gonna be too lax and too sluggish, but most of the time I thought it was actually good. The one thing I didn't like was doing it digital. I think digital is just a little cheesy.
STEVE: But that's how you were able to do it at home. With a digital 8-track.
KIM: (pulling back a sheet to reveal her digital home recording setup) Volia!
KIM: This is the setup.
STEVE: Maybe we should explain to the reader that what you did was record the album in a real studio, but for the vocal part you mixed it down to a digital 8 track.
KIM: And I had two of these 8 track machines. One for play back, and one I was singing on.
STEVE: So, you had a professional studio style microphone.
KIM: (pointing to her microphone above the 8-track) It was this. Howard Stern does all his interviews on this.
STEVE: What is it?
KIM: A Shure SM-7
STEVE: So, if you're looking for that Kim Shattuck 'Happy Birthday To Me' sound, it's the Shure SM-7.
KIM: (Laughing) I know. I was worried it would come out sounding cheesy, but I think it came out okay. I'll never do vocals in the home again. Maybe harmonies cause I'm really embarrassed to sing harmonies in front of anybody.
KIM: Because I always think I'm singing it good, and they're like do it again, and I say NO! I like that.
STEVE: I noticed at the show you were singing quite a bit more harmonies.
KIM: I'm trying to get them to do it, cause you guys have such beautiful harmonies. I feel so jealous, cause I want harmonies so bad.
RONNIE: I had to do it by default.
KIM: He was told when he was young that he was a terrible singer by some mean fucking idiot kid at school.
RONNIE: It's true.
KIM: (laughing) and IT'S RUINED OUR BAND!!
RONNIE: So, yeah, I had to do it because no one else would do it. We got Roy, and he doesn't sing.
STEVE: Yeah, I seem to remember Roy being completely tone deaf.
KIM: No, no! Roy sings.
RONNIE: Roy does sing on one track.
STEVE: Okay, I apologize. I apologize!
KIM: He sings on Outer Space on the low part. It's mixed way down. He started off singing sharp, but then I just showed him the pitch and he got it!
KIM: I don't know if he'll be able to sing live.
RONNIE: He can't sing and play at the same time. That's what he says.
STEVE: He's a pretty energetic drummer. It would be very very hard.
KIM: I don't know. I just remember Kris Krass having a mic and talking CONTINUOSLY. That was the nightmare in my mind for anyone to have a mic except for Ronnie and me. Sometimes Roy tries to sell t-shirts on the microphone, and I'm like, "NOOOOOOO!"
RONNIE: He's always trying to get us to make announcements.
KIM: (laughing) It sounds so embarrassing.
KIM: So, what was it like having Roy in [Redd Kross]? Was he different back then?
STEVE: He's like an ex-wife or something. No, we were just younger then and people were still trying to find out what they wanted to do.
KIM: Then he kind of retired from the drums.
STEVE: I know, when The Muffs originally started, Roy was your first choice.
KIM: We asked him and he still wasn't into it.
RONNIE: He was living in Dallas, and that ex-Pandoras thing was a big hurdle in the beginning of our band.
KIM: He thought that we would be like the Pandoras.
RONNIE: A lot of people were actually turned off to us.
STEVE: So, you guys really had to live down the Pandoras.
KIM: We did and I was lucky enough to say I never wrote songs for the Pandoras.
RONNIE: It didn't exactly help except for our very first show which you were at.
KIM: Cause that was a curiosity factor.
STEVE: I never really thought about it like that.
RONNIE: Yeah, by the end of the Pandoras they were playing to like 10 people, and I was like one of the ten because I was going out with Kim.
KIM: Yeah, there was like four boyfriends in the crowd and then six GBGs.
STEVE: What I remember about the Pandoras is they made some incredible records.
KIM: I like the one I was on Stop Pretending and the one before I was in the band. That's a great record.
STEVE: Yeah, so is Stop Pretending. I think what got bad about the Pandoras is Paula got into this sexual double entendre.
KIM: That was a little too much.
STEVE: It was embarrassing.
RONNIE: The worst, if I can comment on the worst, was when she said, 'This song's
about getting raped and loving it. It's called Forced His Lovin' On Me.'
[STEVE CRACKS UP]
RONNIE: and it was to the exact tune of Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard!
KIM: (laughing) Exactly! Exactly!
STEVE: (laughing) Ok...that's vaguely genius!
KIM: (laughing) That's so embarrassing though!
STEVE: Oh my god! Were you guys freaked out?
KIM: Remember when Rita was in the band, little Rita, she was really cute. She threatened to quit because of that. She said, 'I CAN NOT be in a band that says 'Raped and Lovin It', and we all agreed.
STEVE: That's kind of an invitation cause of the whole GBG factor.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: GBG (Girl Band Geek) Someone who likes only all girl bands. Identifying marks being shoe print on forehead from trying to look up someone's dress.]
KIM: GBGs LOVED it, oh my god!
STEVE: They're gonna get the wrong impression.
RONNIE: Yeah, at the beginning of The Muffs we shook all those GBGs.
KIM: We meant to.
STEVE: Yeah, you use to kick people.
KIM: I would kick the GBGs on purpose, cause they'd try to look up our dresses and stuff. Melanie played up to it a little cause that was her act. But I was consciously trying to do the opposite of that, and to just like ((BOOM!)) and I would kick them in the chest or in the face.
STEVE: Now, do you guys feel you have successfully ridded yourselves of the GBGs?
KIM: Definitely. Even Arlen won't come see our show anymore. He doesn't like us. He thinks we're too pop.
STEVE: He was original hardcore. I remember there was a period there where you'd hear about every Muffs show, Kim, you know, would kick someone in the face -
KIM: It was just GBGs mostly or jocks or something.
RONNIE: Or else me and her.
STEVE: Now, do you guys still fight on stage?
KIM: We haven't in so long.
RONNIE: We've only fought once on stage since Roy's been in the band.
STEVE: That's like two years.
RONNIE: And it was at Club Babyhead in Providence where you said Redd Kross had a big fight.
STEVE: That was our last fight on stage too!
KIM: Do you know why? Do you know why?! Because it sounds so terrible there and all you can hear is bass, so the bass player gets picked on. Right? Is it true?
STEVE: (laughing) Oh my god!
KIM: Is it true? Did Jeff get mad at you for having the bass to loud?
STEVE: I'm sure he probably yelled at me about my bass.
KIM: Cause Ronnie had made a coupe of mistakes and all I could hear was bass, so all I could hear were these big mistakes.
RONNIE: So, she comes and pushes me off the stage. I let her push me off cause that was fair, but then she pushed me again.
KIM: Then he pushed me really hard and I fell, and cut my leg open on the monitor. And then all these people ended up beating Ronnie up afterwards -
KIM: - saying he's a wife beater.
RONNIE: And you weren't helping.
KIM: I was SAYING he's a wife beater! I was mad.
RONNIE: I heard that it closed down anyway.
STEVE: Is there anything that inspired this new record influence wise? Were you listening to anything that inspired your writing.
KIM: When I was writing it, I was listening to that Amps record a lot.
STEVE: You guys covered an Amps song!
KIM: Yeah, that's why. I was listening to that Dayton, Ohio shit too. I just wanted the songs to be more complicated pop songs rather than simple simple songs. I want some substance, but I wrote shorter songs. I don't know how it happened.
ANNA: Really really short.
KIM: Shorter but more complicated I don't know how I did it. It's really compact.
RONNIE: It seems full to us.
KIM: I thought, oh my god, did we play everything way too fast, but we DIDN'T!
STEVE: Well are there guitar solos on the record?
KIM: Yeah, they have every part.
STEVE: Is there a double chorus modulation?
KIM: I think one song might have one. We did a lot on the second record - modulations. We were kinda geeky about it. I felt very Freddy and the Dreamers about it.
STEVE: Well, the one thing that I thought was cool about you guys doing The Amps cover is that no one does that nowadays, covering -
KIM: Contemporary songs!
STEVE: Contemporary songs!
KIM: I mean how many people used to cover Louie Louie when it first came out.
STEVE: And how many people covered Dylan songs in the sixties?
RONNIE: Yeah, you guys did PJ Harvey.
STEVE: Yeah, we covered PJ Harvey like three years ago.
RONNIE: It's a lost art.
STEVE: Well, what do you guys hope to accomplish with this record?
KIM: A little dough would be nice. You know, we put out two other records and we didn't make a ton of dough out of it.
RONNIE: Plus, it's the third album so it's kinda like the crossroads album.
KIM: No, it's NOT! Everyone says that!
RONNIE: No, but it's like how long can we hold on without selling records.
STEVE: Look at my band.
RONNIE: You guys are on different labels all the time.
STEVE: Who cares! Go to another label. Just keep moving East. You guys can go to New York next time.
KIM: Where's yours?
STEVE: We're in ENGLAND now.
RONNIE: So, keep going East.
STEVE: Next time we're going to have to go to Russia! At least you guys are still on the continent! But this is something I always thought...well, how do I want to say this,
KIM: Oh, oh.
STEVE: It's hard to do. We really get sick and tired of people saying to us are you guys bitter because you're not as successful as...Oasis?
KIM: Oh, that's such a weird question! I don't like that question either.
STEVE: Because we make records and we get to survive off making our records, and get to BE musicians. We're in the one percentile of musicians that get to do what we get to do.
KIM: Yeah, I know, you get to make a living with it.
RONNIE: Yeah, everyone was calling us the next big thing, "you should be bigger", but we can't complain. We can fill a club with people who like us - a lot.
KIM: It's more of an underground thing.
RONNIE: Doug Fieger at The Viper Room last night said that "Pop is back!"
KIM: (laughing) Well, if he says it is then it is!