Back Issue__ Vivian Girls: Cool Dude Attitude
By: Mish Way
Whoever said "nice guys finish last" hadn't spent enough time with the Brooklyn-based Vivian Girls. Not only have Cassie Ramone (guitar/vocals), Kickball Katy (bass/vocals) and Ali Koehler (drums/vocals) managed to generate a whirlwind of buzz around their 1960s girl group-inspired, lo-fi punk music, they are probably the most genuinely nice, new-fame rock stars you‚Äôll ever meet.
In a matter of months, the Vivian Girls have toured through Europe and North America, released five home-job seven inches and a wildly successful LP, all the while, receiving epic praise from critics all across the globe. Constantly in motion, constantly on tour, constantly in the spotlight, it‚Äôs a miracle that these three twenty-something skids were keeping it all together.
Sprawled out in the dark, dirty staircase of the back of the club we were all playing, I sat down to chat with the girls about their new album, bad kisses, Germs burns (late 1970s L.A punk band, The Germs, rite of passage completed by putting cigarette to skin) and their self-proclaimed 'cool dude attitudes.' After the first recording of our conversation malfunctioned, not only were Katy, Cassie and Ali able to fix the Garage Band glitch, but they were more than happy to do the whole thing over. Hey Vivian Girls, you really do have cool dude attitudes.
Mish: There's been a huge craze recently surrounding bands from that Brooklyn/Williamsburg, as a band that is based in Brooklyn how has this affected you?
Cassie: It's cool because there is a really good community there and a lot of great bands like The Beets, Cause Commotion and Stupid Party. It's fun to be involved in something so collective.
Mish: Do you think that Brooklyn makes the band or the bands make Brooklyn?
Ali: I think it's more that people who are into the arts tend to move to New York, then everyone is in the same spot.
Mish: There's not too many all-girl groups, do you think being all girls plays in your favor or against you?
Katy: We try not to think about it.
Cassie: I think it's worked both for and against us.
Katy: We understand it, you know? We're not naive about it.
Cassie: Ideally, they [the media] would be like, 'Oh there is a band of three people', but you know, no big deal.
Mish: I think it's one of those things you just have to be aware of and not stress over. I know you just got out of the studio. How was recording the new album?
Katy: It was really fun! We took a week and went to Costa Mesa, California - which is in the O.C - and we hung out with this guy, Mike at the Distillery, which is where Black Lips recorded 'Let it Bloom' and we loved that record and sound, so we booked time there. A lot of In The Red bands have recorded there and the Distillery was a great match for us.
Cassie: And Mike is also the coolest dude ever.
Mish: Why is he so cool?
Katy: Hmm, can you describe a legend in a minute?
Cassie: He lives off a diet of beer and burritos, he has a wacky sense of humor and he has this whole studio which he built that only makes sense to him. Yet, all his records sounds amazing.
Mish: Are you guys friends or business first?
Ali, Katy, Cassie: Friends first!
Mish: How much do you love touring?
Cassie: So much! Right now, we are planning a world tour which will include: the full U.S, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Puerto Rico in two months.
Mish: That is crazy! Which country are you most excited to play in?
Ali: Puerto Rico, because my boyfriend lives there.
Cassie: Hawaii. I don't think bands play there very often and plus, it will be a tropical vacation.
Mish: I heard one of you has a Germs Burn. How did that happen?
Katy: Cassie and I have them!
Cassie: I ran into my friend Johnny outside of a show in Brooklyn and I was like, ‚ÄòWhat's new?‚Äô and he goes, ‚ÄòOh I saw the Germs last week and I got a Germs burn.‚Äô He actually asked Pat Smear first, but Smear denied him, so he asked Lorna Doom she gave him one. It was when the Germs were touring with Shane West. I was so psyched on his Germs burn, so I asked him for one and he burned me.
Mish: Did it hurt?
Cassie: Yeah, but I was really drunk so it wasn't so bad.
Katy: Then Cassie burned me, and I burned a couple people including Cole from Ariel Pinks Haunted Graffiti.
Mish: Germs burn, pass it on.
Cassie: Yeah, it's a chain! You got to keep it in the chain.
Mish: And I heard you guys all got matching tattoos this tour that say 'Cool Dude Attitude'. Do tell.
Katy: We have Cool Dude Attitudes. That's why we got them.
Cassie: Plus, it was one of the only tattoos that Mark, our tour manager, wanted to get and it was important that he wanted to get it, since it's his first tattoo.
Ali: The cactus was originally supposed to have sun-glasses, but I'm glad we scratched that idea.
Katy: Yeah, we have enough cool dude attitude that we don't need sunglasses.
Vivian Girls self-titled LP is now available through Mauled by Tigers Records and In the Red Records. For tour dates check www.myspace.com/viviangirlsnyc