Next month will see the latest installment in the Muffs' biannual
release plan. Fans of Kim Shattuck's pop punk trio will find the band
revisiting familiar ground. Happy Birthday To Me contains 15 sugary
tunes, coated with an extra dollop of guitar crunch, and topped off by
Shattuck's gruff Joan Jettish howl.
This time out, the Muffs have produced
themselves instead of calling on Rob Cavallo (Green Day), as they did with
The Muffs (1993) and Blonder and Blonder (1995). "When you have
all the control, there's nothing better," Shattuck told ATN. "When we
co-produced with Rob it was great, but I just felt like we graduated from
really having to use somebody else."
On Happy Birthday To Me, the
Muffs downplay the backing vocals that soften Shattuck's melodies while pushing
her lead vocals to the fore. The results include such tunes as "All Blue Baby,"
which might be mistaken for a traditional slow dance number were it not for
Shattuck's gutwrenching voice.
"I took my time when I did the vocals,"
Shattuck explains, "because I was at home when I did 'em." At home?
"Yeah, I wired up my entire living room with all this shit, and then just sang.
And probably annoyed my neighbors because I'm a late sleeper. They'd be coming
home from work about five, and I'd be like, 'Honey-moooon--aww, fuck!'"
Shattuck explains the odd setting by noting that she's "pretty shy in the
studio. I'm a really huge perfectionist, and I'm not like a one-take wonder..."
She said it was "way less embarrassing" doing her vocals at home.
the studio, Shattuck stretched out a bit on guitar. She evens plays a little
slide on "Outer Space." "I was duking around with slide guitar at home on my
eight track," she said. "I liked it, and everyone else liked it, so I did it
again. I taught myself how to play it. And when we were mixing it, Eric Clapton
was mixing down the hall. So I kept making them turn it up really loud, and I'm
like, 'Hey, Slowhand. Slowhand!'"
Happy Birthday To Me makes its way
into stores May 20. The complete track listing includes: "Crush Me," "That
Awful Man," "Honeymoon," "All Baby Blue," "My Crazy Afternoon," "Is It All
Okay?," "Pennywhore," "Outer Space," "I'm A Dick," "Nothing," "Where Only I
Could Go," "Upside Down," "You And Your Parrot," "Keep Holding Me," and "The
Best Time Around."