Now you can read us on your iPhone and iPad! Check out the BTRtoday app.
Have you ever met a trio of girls who are not only the most well-mannered and sweetest southern belles in the world, but are also so painfully cool that it’s scary? Look no further than The Coathangers.
They’re a punk rock band 10 years in the making, consisting of Julia Kugel (a.k.a. Crooked Kid) killing it on guitar, Meredith Franco (a.k.a. Minnie) going hard on bass, and Stephanie Luke (a.k.a. Rusty) slamming it down on the drums–with all three contributing to the vocals.
BTRtoday was able to chat with Kugel, the Crooked Kid herself. She spoke with a sweet and slightly high-pitched voice, uncharacteristic for a woman in a musical group that stirs up rowdy mosh pits and dangerous stage dives in the darkest and dingiest of environments.
The Coathangers’ sound seems to encompass every type of punk rock. The rawness of their catchy melodies and lyrics lend them a hardcore, yet somewhat pop-punk sound, which also oozes with classic punk rock influences to the likes of Bikini Kill or even some early Clash records.
While the members might be activists, they don’t preach political views in their songs like Bikini Kill did for the feminist movement, or The Clash did for humanitarian rights. Kugel claims they never sought out to be radical musicians.
“We never wanted to be a political band, because no one likes to be preached to,” Kugel explains. “So it was a way, like everything else we do, to be tongue-in-cheek about it, but to know where we stand.”
That being said, they convey strong political views that they are not afraid to stand up for. Kugel tells BTRtoday that they came up with the group’s name, The Coathangers, while driving back from an anti-Bush rally in Washington D.C. back in 2006.
One political view they especially fight for currently is reproductive rights, which fans can immediately pick up on through the obviously pro-choice band name.
“It’s crazy,” Kugel passionately expresses. “It’s still relevant now, so many years later. We’re still being threatened and it feels like even more important now than ever to stand up [for reproductive rights]!”
These girls will fight hard for what they believe is just, but that does not mean they don’t know how to let loose on stage and make sure to have a great time! They’re not the exclusive revolutionaries that so many punk musicians claim to be. With some of The Coathanger’s most popular songs titled, “Nestle In My Boobies” and “Don’t Touch My Shit,” you can’t blame them.
“That’s the song that will never go away… which I love!” Kugel laughs about the ever-popular “Nestle In My Boobies.” “At least we got one that really stuck, but it’s like the dumbest.”
She recounts the scene in which the inspiration for the song blossomed. The band was in Las Vegas during a tour and Franco, the bassist, was upset at Kugel for some forgotten reason. Franco, nicknamed Minnie, is recognizably tiny. She stands about chest-high to Kugel.
To diffuse the heated situation, Kugel embraced Franco and said, “don’t be mad at me, just nestle in my boobies!” Franco responded to by saying, “they’re just so comfortable!” and there you have it; more than half of the lyrics to the song were created in that moment.
Album cover courtesy of the band.
Many of their songs are crafted in this way–as a reaction to a moment the trio experienced together.
“That’s the only way you can be real about it,” Kugel confesses. “Every single song is based on an event, a truth. That’s why we can freak out on stage.”
Their album “Suck My Shirt” is also attached to an entertaining happenstance.
Kugel recalls that record, in particular, was difficult to name for some reason. One night, Franco, Kugel, and Luke were having a moment together passing around a bottle of tequila. Unfortunately, the booze was dwindling quickly and something dreadful happened… the bottle was spilled. However, someone came to the rescue and shouted, “don’t worry! Just suck my shirt!” insinuating to suck out the tequila that had soaked into the clothing.
After many failed attempts at naming the album, The Coathangers finally, collectively said, “who fucking cares, it’s a record. We’re just going to call it Suck My Shirt.” A beautiful story.
Their newest album, which will be released April 15th, entitled “Nosebleed Weekend,” is named after the titular song. It was written about the absurd amount of nosebleeds the band member Franco gets. This is not only the first time a Coathangers’ album has featured a title track, but it’s also the first album written completely in California. They decided to isolate themselves from the rest of the world in order to finish the record in the small window of free time before their tour.
“It’s really hard to write at home; you don’t want to miss out on any more life,” Kugel shares about finally returning home from a six-month tour, but then having to immediately get back into writing. “We decided to isolate ourselves in California so we could really focus.”
This was also the first time the girls worked closely with a producer, which Kugel was ecstatic about. She explains that he would come by the studio once or twice a week to make sure they were on track, which was really helpful to get a fresh ear on their work.
“They’re good and well developed,” Kugel says about the songs off their soon-to-be-released album. “I like listening to it. I’m proud of it!”
The album still perfectly embodies The Coathanger’s rough punk rock noise that will make your nose and ears bleed from raw power. With tracks like “Make It Right” and “Watch Your Back,” the album reminds listeners not to mess with these girls.
A U.S. tour in April will kickstart in L.A. before they head to Puerto Rico to spread their punk rock love. Before heading overseas, however, they will be touring with the well-known Swedish punk rock group Refused, which originally formed in 1991 and is still going strong. Their Facebook description reads “a shitty band with an awesome plan.” It’s a lineup made in punk rock heaven!
With a shared sense of humor and affinity for dirty sounds, these two groups are bound to play a wild tour together.
To hear the rest of the interview, tune into this week’s episode of The Discovery Corner.