Admittedly, Kim Shattuck is a gearhead. You’re far more likely to find her wandering the halls of an auto show than among the throngs of cosplayers and gamers in town for Comic-Con. But that doesn’t mean the gravelly-voiced frontwoman isn’t excited about playing during the massive convention.
Shattuck and her band mates, L.A. garage-punks The Muffs, are about to release their first album in a decade. And after a 2013 that found Shattuck hired, and subsequently fired, by iconic alt-rockers the Pixies, it’s long overdue.
“Finally this album is coming out!” she told DiscoverSD recently. “I’ve never had my own baby or anything, but I’ve been likening it to being nine-and-a-half months pregnant. It’s just like ‘Get. It. Out.’ Get it out already. I can’t take it anymore.”
Relief will come on July 29 when the trio releases “Whoop Dee Doo” on Burger Records. The album was started in 2010, but suffered a string of delays.
“It’s been a long time,” said Shattuck. “I worked on it in earnest for months. Then it stretched out and took some time to finish. Time just slips away, especially when people are busy doing other things. But as soon as I said, ‘I love the mix, let’s go master,’ I got the Pixies gig.”
Infamously, she was booted for stage-diving at a show by the band’s manager. But in the long run, it just meant that “Whoop Dee Doo” was released faster.
And it’s a doozy. Album opener “Weird Boy Next Door” showcases Shattuck’s trademark growl while keeping tempos up and production tight.
“My whole intention with that song is to make you feel like you got hit in the face with a pie,” said Shattuck. “Bam!”
But that could easily describe the entire record. The band’s last offering, 2004’s appropriately titled “Really Really Happy,” had a far sunnier disposition. Whether the Pixies debacle had anything to do with it or not, the band’s 10-year hiatus has allowed the vinegar to seep back into the mix.
“The songs of ‘Whoop Dee Doo’ are angry again,” Shattuck said, laughing. “I got some of my old aggression back.”
With longtime members Ronnie Barnett and Roy McDonald (Redd Kross) in tow, the band starts a tour to support the new album with a record release party at the Casbah on Saturday. And at least in North America, they’ll be trying something new.
“We’re doing it a bit differently this time,” said Shattuck. “We’re going to pick our spots and come in and out of tour. We’re older. We all have lives. So we’re going to strike and then go home. Strike, and then go home. But we’re also going to Japan and Europe. And you obviously can’t do it like that over there. (laughs)”
Wherever the tour takes them, the trio is ready to deliver on the promise of an album 10-years in the making. And while the band isn’t getting ahead of themselves, the time between records will be far shorter next time around.
“We’re living in the moment right now,” she said. “But I already have an album’s worth of songs that are pretty awesome. They’ll basically be all about the Pixies and those that have wronged me! (laughs) No, but once I do start writing lyrics, who knows what will come out. I just always write about what I’m feeling.”
The Muffs play The Casbah’s “4 Nights at the Con!” on Saturday. The Loons, Aquadolls and The Touchies support.
Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to firstname.lastname@example.org.