Mary Beth Zimmerle of Love Knife
By Jack Betz
Love Knife is a relatively new Houston band and they play a moody, spaced-out, almost Mission of Burma style of punk rock. FPH had a few questions for drummer Mary Beth Zimmerle.
What are some bands that influence Love Knife that you feel listeners should be able to pick up when you guys play live, and why?
The first ones that come to mind are pop punk bands such as Descendents and early Green Day. We get these comparisons a lot, and all three of us have definitely been influenced by their songwriting styles. Some other noticeable influences are Husker Du and Jawbreaker, if less for their specific playing style than the overall mood they’re able to create. There’s a similarly dark, brooding quality to most of Love Knife’s songs underlying the more poppy song structure. Also, it wouldn’t be a complete answer without mentioning J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr.’s influence on Phillip’s guitar playing and tone.
Where is your favorite place to play outside Houston?
We haven’t played outside of Houston…yet.
What are some local bands you guys have enjoyed playing with?
We were very happy to be a part of The Phlegmatics’ CD release show back in October. We’ve also loved playing with The Snow Indian. (Side note: we’ll be playing with both of these bands again on January 25th at Super Happy Fun Land!) Other awesome bands we’ve played with are The Witherees, Treehouse Project, and Alkari.
Not to condescend to you’re like some freakish, deformed sideshow performer, but what is it like being a female drummer and do you think people tend to underestimate female musicians, or is that changing?
Haha! I definitely anticipated a question like this, and I could go on in response for a long time, but I’ll try to keep it to the point. I guess the main thing would be the sheer amount of emphasis placed on my gender, though I would add that it has always been in a very positive and enthusiastic manner. A lot of people have never even heard of a woman playing the drums (which astounds me), but are generally excited and intrigued by the notion of it and like to talk to me about it. And I like talking about it, so this is fine. Sometimes people will approach my being in the band as though it’s some kind of gimmick, which might make me roll my eyes but doesn’t necessarily insult me. Anyway, if some people check us out just because they want to see a girl play the drums, I can’t really complain if it’s bringing more people to our shows and they’re into the music. What tends to really bother me is the lack of emphasis placed on actual musicianship among females, particularly those who aren’t vocalists. It’s as if just being up there on stage is supposed to be enough. I often hear variations on two basic remarks, “I didn’t expect you to be able to play like THAT!” or “It’s so cool that you can just get up there and DO it!” Well, of course I can get up there and do it. It’s fun taking people by surprise, but being held to such a low standard starts to get really old. Hopefully this will change as A) more and more women are proving themselves to be excellent musicians, and B) people are noticing.
Please tell me that the name Love Knife came from the manga of the same name that popped up when I typed it into Google.
No, it didn’t, but haha! We’ve actually gotten one or two accidental “likes” on Facebook by people who clearly thought we were the manga. It’d be funny if they thought we were some sort of punk-rock cosplay band or something.
Stepping aside from the band, and just focusing on Beth for a moment, do you have any personal “Worst Ofs” for 2013 that you’d like to share with us (musical or non-musical)?
Lone Star Bock