Testify – The Coathangers
Atlanta’s, The Coathangers, are the Rock and Roll equivalent of thrift store shopping. There is a resourceful and scrappy fun about the music and their shows that more “refined” bands would lack. If you want to scratch you chin and ponder the guitarist’s use of the harmonic minor in the solo, you will likely not find to much to grab your interest in here but if you want music that is fun, energetic, sassy , and catchy as hell, The Coathangers – from their newest album, scramble to their raucous live shows – will give you an ass-woopin’ of all the above. They play Saturday at the Mink so check it out. Here is a short Q & A with the band.
FPH – OK lets get the obligatory girl band questions out of the way. Tell us if gender has had any affect on the band, if you had any issues with sexism, and what effect women before you have had on what you do?
CH – We do and say what we want. If it weren’t for fierce wimmin before us, it would not be as acceptable.
FPH – OK now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the band. Tell us about how you guys formed and how the band developed in terms of what role people play and how you’ve approached songwriting.
CH - We are all 2nd cousins that decided to start a band. Everyone played whichever instrument they could, and whoever could sing and play would. We make noise and structure that to create a song.
FPH – I own some pretty shitty guitars myself so your pawnshop aesthetic is pretty appealing. In your press releases, you kind of brag about having all this shitty gear but looking at it your gear isn’t that shitty. At least not now. The Epiphone(?) SG Bass looks pretty sweet (hopefully it’s less headstock heavy that the Gibson) and the Strat(?) isn’t a bad guitar. So, did you guys move up to the mid-range gear or what? Also, what do you feel is the charm of low rent gear and how do you thing it influences the music?
CH: When we started, we used what was available. As time progressed we got new instruments. It doesn’t matter how much money an instrument costs. What matters is that you like the tones it produces. it’s no the arrow. It’s the indian.
FPH – You guys have a lot of fun at your shows and the shows seem to be described as much party as performance. How did that evolve and what has been your favorite “Wow, that ideas that shouldn’t have worked but it did” moment and the worst “Oh that was a bad idea” moment? Also, what has been your most memorable/favorite show and what has been one where you wish you’d have stayed home and just done laundry or something.
CH: The whole reason we began playing was to have fun. There isn’t anything that we can remember that was just all around a bad idea. We’ve mostly had great ones. A friend of ours makes these incredible latex horror masks. Once, dressed as Leatherface, he came out onstage wielding a chainsaw. We’ve had mini horses, goodie bags, giant pot leaves/mushrooms/joints/beercans, alien invaders, baddie bags, Photo booths, and drag queen flappers. It’s always a surprise how these things turn out, but we never look back and go…”we shouldn’t have done that”
FPH – One problem I see with being a party band is having to “bring it.” Let’s face it, there are times where you don’t want to bring anything. How do you guys pull through a performance when you are feeling like shit?
CH: To quote the great Andrew W.K. (the patron saint of partying), “When it’s TIME to party, we will PARTY HARD!” Onstage is our chance to release everything…
FPH – You guys have a very specific sound, what do you think most influenced that sound directly or indirectly – I’m talking both the musical and the non-musical.
CH: eggs w/ legs, kittens, party gazelles, beer, whiskey, Britney Spears, meaty saucy, 2live crew
FPH – What is one song you hear and say “Damn, I wish I could have written that!” and why?
CH: “Happy Birthday.” so catchy and brings in about $2 million per year in licensing fees according to this article.
FPH – There is a lot more to music than just getting up on stage and playing for people. There is a lot of work behind making a record, touring, and just dealing with day to day stuff. What’s the most annoying thing of being a musician?
CH: The most annoying part of being a musician is answering the same questions over and over again.
FPH – On the other end of the spectrum, give us one moment that really warmed you heart and made you realize that this is really what you want to do with your life.
FPH – I have to ask you about where the topics come for your songs. What’s the story behind “Don’t Touch my shit” and “Getting mad and pumping Iron?” When you hear a lot of your songs if feels like there is some in-joke behind many of these songs. What inspired this approach to lyrics?
CH: Song topics come from life and venting our frustration in life. Sometimes you want people to quit touching your shit. Some times you are so mad that the only thing that makes you feel better is exercising. To cope with negativity, we joke around….we make it funny to ourselves.
FPH – You guys are from Atlanta and you likely think of yourselves as being from the South but you’re wrong. You see we here in Houston are home to UGK and the late great rapper Pimp C. had a brilliant theory that conclusively proved you were not. He told Ozone Magazine. “Atlanta is not the South, gotdamn it, when you go to Atlanta what does your clock say? When you get off the plane from Los Angeles or Texas, what time do it be over there? Atlanta is East Coast time. You n***as ain’t in the South.” So now that you guys know you guys are East Coast, how does that change your music?
CH: We SoufEast, bitch! Ain’t not a thang change about our music.
FPH – OK one last question that I need you guys to answer for me. Adventure Time or Regular Show. Which is more awesome and why?
CH: I don’t have cable. Destroy your TV.
The Coathangers perform Saturday, July 16, 2011 with The Wheel Workers, Jealous Creatures, and Featherface @ The Mink.