LAST NIGHT, as I was taking a short break from playing the silver balls at Pinball Expo to squeeze in a little writing on my next novel Voodoo Heart, my son Shaun texted me to tell me there was a new CD just released by punk-pop band The Muffs called No Holiday. He knows I love The Muffs…Nobody belts out a punk-rock scream like lead singer/songwriter Kim Shattuck. So I was pretty excited that there was a new disc…until moments later when I discovered that the album now stands as their swan song — it was released two weeks after Kim died on Oct. 2, 2019 of Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS).
I was crushed. I’ve got most of The Muffs’ CDs (and even her earlier discs with The Pandoras) and whenever I need some punk-pop-pick-me-up, I plug in their early 90s discs The Muffs and Blonder and Blonder into the stereo.
I interviewed Kim once for a cover story for The Illinois Entertainer (http://popstops.net/muffs.htm) and met her on an early tour. She was a riot. Funny, sarcastic, unpredictable. She told me in that interview that she once dumped a glass of water in a cop’s crotch because he was forcing her to empty it out before she got on stage. “he didn’t say where,” she pointed out.
I met her at a Lounge Ax show in Chicago 25 years ago and she signed my cassette case: “I have to pee. Kim.” You don’t forget an autograph like that.
Three years ago, I friended her and had a short conversation on Facebook when I couldn’t make a show that they were doing in Chicago (I was out of town). I didn’t realize it was that long ago already… and now that turns out to have been the last chance I had to see them live again.
I’m listening to the new album now and she sounds great… maybe not quite as manic as 25 years ago… but her voice still growls and croons as vibrant and alive as ever. I’m going to focus on that… and play this one a lot. Goodbye Kim, and thanks for the music and the attitude! There was never another like you.
Here’s the Rolling Stone article about her death: