From left, Roy McDonald, Kim Shattuck and Ronnie Barnett are The Muffs. (Courtesy Kim Shattuck)

Muffs’ vocalist Kim Shattuck stays stubborn

It’s been a banner couple of years for Los Angelels guitarist-vocalist Kim Shattuck. In 2013, she replaced Kim Deal in The Pixies, playing bass for its whirlwind European tour, then released “Whoop Dee Doo,” the 2014 comeback from her recently-reformed ’90s outfit The Muffs, its first album in a decade. Next month, she’ll be on the cultural radar again, when Omnivore Recordings reissues the band’s self-titled 1993 debut, with 10 bonus tracks. And she also just reunited in concert with her pre-Muffs combo, The Pandoras. “We don’t play the game,” she says, of why she’s not a household name: “We’re kind of stubborn and we’ll just do whatever the fuck we want.”

The songs on “Whoop Dee Doo” are just as kinetic as anything on “The Muffs.” That punk spark never left you, right?
Yeah. My passion is writing melodic songs. I am definitely driven to do that. And I go through periods where I can’t listen to rock music, where I will only listen to jazz or something. So when I did start writing again – I took a break because I was burnt out – I had a real jazz mentality, but it didn’t really go with my style of writing. So I had to go back to my roots and see what really inspired me originally. That was my goal – I didn’t want to get soft when I got older.

How did you put food on the table during that lull?

I’ve managed to make a living just doing music. Royalty checks still keep coming in the mail, so publishing stuff has kept me afloat. And it’s ebb and flow, but it’s been pretty decent. So I’m very surprised when I open my mail – I’m like, “Hooray!” A long time ago, I was pretty poor, and I’d just moved to an apartment that didn’t have a refrigerator, and I didn’t have any extra cash. But I opened my mail, and there was $850 from ASCAP, so I bought my refrigerator with that ASCAP check. And now any time I get a check that’s in that range, I call it “refrigerator money.”

And The Muffs never officially broke up?
No. I didn’t want to cut the cord at all, because I really like those guys (bassist Ronnie Barnett, drummer Roy McDonald). We’re a team, and we’ve been a team for so long. And our old drummer Jim Laspesa started having dinner parties where he would just invite Muffs, so that was my first foray back into talking to them. One day I said, “I wrote a couple of really good songs,” and they said, “Oh, my God – email them to us!” So we just gravitated back together again.


The Muffs
Where: Brick & Mortar Music Hall, 1710 Mission St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. July 18
Tickets: $12 to $15
Contact: (415) 800-8782,

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