Kim Shattuck, Roy McDonald, Ronnie Barnett
|Origin||Los Angeles, United States|
|Labels||Warner Bros., Sympathy for the Record Industry, Sub Pop, Reprise, Oglio, Five Foot Two, Honest Don's, Burger Records|
|Associated acts||The Pandoras, Redd Kross, The Leaving Trains, The Beards, The Pixies, Visqueen, White Flag|
The Muffs were an American punk rock band based in Southern California, formed in 1991. Led by singer and guitarist Kim Shattuck, the band released four full-length studio albums in the 1990s, as well as numerous singles including "Lucky Guy" and "Sad Tomorrow", and a cover version of "Kids in America". After a long hiatus beginning in 1999, the band released a fifth album in 2004 but thereafter effectively disbanded. Almost a decade later, the three core members of the band reunited and started performing again. Their sixth album, Whoop Dee Doo, was released in 2014.
Kim Shattuck died on October 2, 2019, following a two-year battle with ALS. On that same day, the Muffs confirmed that they had disbanded.[circular reference] Shortly after, The Muffs released their seventh and final album No Holiday.
Formation and early years: 1991–1996
The band started as a collaboration between guitarists Kim Shattuck and Melanie Vammen, both former members of the 1980s all-female hard rock group, The Pandoras. The Muffs started performing and recording after the addition of bassist Ronnie Barnett and drummer Criss Crass.
The Muffs released their initial 7" EPs and singles – "New Love" and "Guilty" (1991), and "I Need You" (1992) – on the West Coast independent labels Sub Pop and Sympathy for the Record Industry. Based on the public and critical response to these early releases, the band was signed to Warner Bros. Records. They established a reputation for "straightforward pop punk". In the words of musician and critic Scott Miller, the Muffs had "an uncommon flair for simple, catchy melodies" which, he noted approvingly, were always delivered in "Kim Shattuck's almost comically sneering adolescent rasp".
The band released their self-titled debut album in 1993. Crass left soon after its release, and drummer Jim Laspesa filled in during the subsequent tour, with Roy McDonald (formerly of Redd Kross) taking over the position permanently in 1994. By the time the tour was over, Vammen had decided to leave the group as well, eventually joining The Leaving Trains.
As a trio of Shattuck, Barnett, and MacDonald, The Muffs recorded their second album, Blonder and Blonder. It was released on Warner's subsidiary Reprise Records in 1995. The album included the college radio hit single, "Sad Tomorrow".
Subsequent releases and hiatus: 1996–2005
The Muffs contributed a cover of the 1981 Kim Wilde hit "Kids In America" to the soundtrack for the 1995 film Clueless. Their version of the song is also used in the music video game Rock Band 2, and was later reissued on The Muffs' 2000 compilation album, Hamburger.
The band made their third album, Happy Birthday to Me, in 1997, and it proved to be their final release through Warner Bros. Moving to independent label Honest Don's Records, they released Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow in 1999. This album includes "I Wish That I Could Be You", featured on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Freshman". Also in 1999, the band contributed the song "Pimmel" to the compilation album Short Music for Short People on Fat Wreck Chords.
Towards the end of 1999, the group went on hiatus, and didn't create any new material for five years. Their fifth album, Really Really Happy, was released in 2004. It presents a distinct departure from the Muffs' signature style, with many of the songs sounding softer than previous work, "mellower" and "definitely happier".
Final years and death of Kim Shattuck: 2012–2019
In 2012, the Muffs appeared at the "Girls Got Rhythm" fest in St. Paul, Minnesota, along with Ronnie Spector, The 126.96.36.199's, Nikki Corvette and L'Assassins. Shattuck credited former member Laspesa as being instrumental in bringing about the reunion of Barnett, McDonald, and herself.
The Muffs' first album in a decade, Whoop Dee Doo, was released by Burger Records in July 2014. Shattuck wrote all 12 songs, and handled production and engineering of almost the entire album.
As conveyed by its self-deprecating title, Whoop Dee Doo was a return to form for the Muffs. Its sound is "rough with punk edges", and it keeps a "heavy emphasis on humor and brevity". A positive review of the album on Pitchfork notes: "They haven't slowed down or softened their attack, or lost their way with tune-construction. Even Shattuck's voice remains barely touched by time... There is scarcely a more consistent band in all of American pop-punk".
In October 2019, The Muffs released their album No Holiday. It comprises tracks spanning the beginnings of the band in 1991 to 2017. Lead singer Kim Shattuck died on October 2, 2019, after a two-year battle with ALS.
Covers and tributes
Punk rock band The Queers covered the Muffs song "End It All" on their 2007 reissue of the album Don't Back Down. British indie band Silver Sun covered the Muffs song "I'm a Dick" on their Too Much, Too Little, Too Late EP. American punk rock band The Huntingtons covered the Muffs song "Big Mouth" on their Rock 'N' Roll Habits For The New Wave LP. "Big Mouth" was also covered by American punk rock band Off with Their Heads on the Art of the Underground Singles Series Volume 9.
- The Muffs (1993) (reissued with bonus tracks by Burger Records in 2015)
- Blonder and Blonder (1995)
- Happy Birthday to Me (1997)
- Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow (1999)
- Really Really Happy (2004)
- Whoop Dee Doo (2014)
- No Holiday (2019)
- Hamburger (2000)
- Kaboodle (2011)
- "Guilty" (1991)
- "I Need You" (1992)
- "Big Mouth" (1993)
- "Lucky Guy" (1993)
- "Everywhere I Go" (1993)
- "Sad Tomorrow" (1995) (#29 Canadian RPM Alternative Singles)
- "I'm A Dick" (1996)
- "Outer Space" (1998)
- "Happening" (1999)
- "No Action" (2000)
- "Really Really Happy" (2004)
- "A Lovely Day Boo Hoo" (2019)
|"Kids in America"|
|2000||"Rock & Roll Girl"|
|2004||"Really Really Happy"|
|"Don't Pick On Me"|
|2014||"Weird Boy Next Door"|
- Shattuck, Kim. "The Muffs".
- The Muffs. ""No Holiday"". You Tube.
- Deming, Mark (2016). "The Muffs Biography". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
- Whiteway, David (2014). "The Muffs Are Not Going Away". Hhhhappy.com. Happy. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
- Miller, Scott (2010). Music: What Happened?. Alameda, CA: 125 Books. p. 167. ISBN 9780615381961.
- Blonder and Blonder at AllMusic
- Smith, Ethan (August 18, 1995). "Music Review: Clueless". Entertainment Weekly.
- "Kim Shattuck Interview done 10/05/07". Potatogibberish.com. Potato Gibberish. 2007. Archived from the original on February 16, 2009. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
- "2012 Line Up". Girlsgotrhythmfest.com. Archived from the original on October 10, 2014. Retrieved 2015-08-14.
- Lanham, Tom (August 11, 2014). "The Muffs: Big Whoop". Magnet. Archived from the original on August 12, 2014.
- Deming, Mark. "Album Review: 'Whoop Dee Doo'". AllMusic.com. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
- Martens, Todd (August 2, 2014). "Maturity and the Muffs Don't Mix". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
- Wolk, Douglas (2014). "The Muffs: 'Whoop Dee Doo'". Pitchfork.com. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
- "The Muffs announce first album in five years, 'No Holiday'". BrooklynVegan.com. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
- "The Muffs' Frontwoman Kim Shattuck Dies at 56". Billboard.com. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
- "Off With Their Heads – Single Series Volume 9". Artoftheunderground.com. Art Of The Underground. 2016. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
- "Image: RPM Weekly (1995)". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
- "The Muffs-Kids in America". YouTube.