The Muffs's Kim Shattuck Pulls A "Clapton"

Shattuck to Clapton: "Hey, Slowhand. Slowhand!"

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.

Back in

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."