- by Tom Dumarey
Uh oh! It's The Coolies! Remember The Muffs, The Pandoras and The Friggs? Well, Kimba Coolie (Kim Shattuck), Melimba Coolie (Melanie Vammen) and Palimba Coolie (Palmyra Delran) have been BFF’s for a long time and have now taken their friendship to the next level by joining forces in The Coolies. They just released their debut self-titled EP through Wicked Cool Records. That's six songs worth of fuzzed up power pop with all of the proceeds benefiting the ALS Association Golden West Chapter.
PRT: You just released an EP with all of the profits being donated to The ALS Association Golden West Chapter. Was that cause the main reason you started The Coolies?
Melanie: It was time for the three of us to be a band! We’ve all been affected by knowing someone battling ALS. We want to help!
Palmyra: It was definitely time for The Coolies, and it took about 3 seconds for us to agree to donate the proceeds to ALS.
PRT: Is ALS something that you have been confronted with in your personal lives?
Kim: ALS runs on my dad’s side of the family and the disease is horrible to be a part of, either way! Caretaker or diseased it is not something I would wish on anyone, even Trump.
Melanie: Yes, knowing people battling this horrific disease. You are my heroes!
Palmyra: It’s time for a breakthrough.
PRT: Being spread out across two coasts isn’t as much of a hassle now as it used to be with all of today’s technology, but I can imagine it’s still not the most comfortable way of working. How did you like that way of working?
Kim: It was so much easier with The Coolies because we’re all so agreeable!
Melanie: We’re so close it felt like we were together!
Palmyra: I think we inspired each other to work this way. We really didn’t have a choice, but it seemed very natural. It was fun to open my email and find a new idea to add to - almost like having a conversation or shooting the shit with each other. Like, hey did you see that movie blah blah blah, or hey what do you think of this guitar part…
PRT: You have all been friends for a long time. Which made me wonder, is it a different vibe to be friends first and then start a band together compared to starting a band and in the best case become friends?
Kim: I am so happy to be in the band with Melanie and Palmyra because they are my besties. It is also nice that they are great musicians who have great taste in music, too. But the fact is I am super happy with it and I totally trust them to do our songs the way I was envisioning!
Melanie: The thing is these two are just so badass! We all think alike and dig the same music! So, added bonus that we were already great friends!
Palmyra: I think a lot of the coolest bands began as friends. I feel like it’s an extension of our friendship, and almost a lucky coincidence that we happen to be on the same page musically. But that’s why it’s working!
PRT: The EP is out on Wicked Cool Records, a label that more than lives up to its name. How did you end up with them?
Kim: Palmyra really recommended Wicked Cool Records and they have been the most amazing label.
Melanie: Palmyra puts her albums out with them. They’re amazing! So supportive and made this happen for us!
Palmyra: I’ve been a part of the Little Steven’s Underground Garage family for years. I have a radio show on the station called Palmyra’s Trash-Pop Shindig, and Wicked Cool Records released my most recent album Come Spy With Me. They are the coolest and most creative team I have ever worked with, and I knew that they would understand The Coolies’ vibe! The fact that they were totally up for donating the profits to ALS is incredibly generous, and we’re grateful.
PRT: Steven Van Zandt even contributed to the song ‘Blueberry Crumble’. Whose idea was it that that song needed some theremin?
Kim: It was Palmyra’s.
Melanie: Palimba has a good story about that.
Palmyra: It was totally spur of the moment! I saw a theremin in the studio (I record at Little Steven’s studio), ran into him in the next room and blurted out the question, ”Do you play Theremin?” and he answered, “Does ANYone play Theremin?” We both started laughing. And then the aliens landed in the control room!
PRT: You have all been in bands since the late 80ies/early 90ies… is there anything fundamentally different about being in a band now?
Kim: It is easier to record right now and then we will have an eternity to get it done. But the fact is that we did it the fastest that I have done it for years.
Melanie: You can really record from anywhere now. You can fly in somewhere, rehearse and play live too. It’s awesome!
Palmyra: It’s quickly becoming my favorite way to work! It’s allowing us to have a band together!
PRT: Is the EP a one time deal or do you already have more plans with The Coolies?
Kim: We have the best songs and I want to do it again and I think it will be a full-length record.
Melanie: Oh, we have more plans!
Palmyra: Why stop now!
PRT: Ever since you had The Kinks, The Animals, The Zombies and so on, there seems to be a 9 out of 10 chance (I exaggerate!) with rock n roll, garage and power pop bands that the band name starts with The and then one other word. Why do you think that is?
Kim: The nouns plural is the best way to get the point across! It was the first thing I said to the future Muffs. I want a ‘the,’ and I want a noun and it has to be plural!
Melanie: I like how it sounds with ‘The’. Every band I’ve been in has a ‘The’.
Palmyra: Yeah! I have The Friggs, and The Doppel Gang. And of course… The Pandoras