This week, I was shocked and saddened to learn that Kim Shattuck passed away.
Kim was a rock ‘n’ roll woman blessed with a wealth of charisma and a wicked sense of humor. As New York Times so eloquently pointed out, she was a member of the “vanguard of punk bands crashing into the mainstream in the 1990s,” that somehow a found a way to “combine bubble-gum melodies with roaring guitars.”
Those of us that had the good fortune to have known Kim, understood completely why she would inspire the creation of a Facebook group entitled “Kim Shattuck please marry me.” She had that special type of charm.
I met Kim a few decades ago when she was a member of The Pandoras, and did an in-store appearance at Streetlight Records in San Jose, CA. I wound up shooting a short segment of the band talking about their “LOUIE LOUIE Moment” (which I’m sharing at the bottom of this web post).
Over the years, I’d often see Kim perform with The Muffs, the band she and Melanie Vammen created after they both left the Pandoras. They’d often play at Marsugi’s, one of my favorite local venues in the Bay Area, sometimes collaborating with our mutual friends Myke Destiny and the performance artist known as the PieMan.
I lost track of Kim for a handful of years, but reconnected after the emergence of Facebook social media and the Muffs reunion at the Burger Boogaloo in Oakland, CA
I was happy to learn of The Coolies, her brand new band with longtime pal Melanie Vammen and Palmyra Delran of The Friggs . Their debut EP was designed as a benefit for the ALS Association, but I had no idea that she was suffering with this awful disease.
She passed away on Wednesday, October 2nd, after a two-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a nerve condition also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
On Wednesday, Kim’s husband, Kevin Sutherland, posted a wedding photo and announced her passing…
Bandmates, peers and fans posted tributes all over social media after Kim’s death. Here’s a handful of ’em..
Yesterday I kissed my beautiful and talented BFF Kim Shattuck goodbye. When you left part of me left with you. But also know part of you stays with me. I am heartbroken but know you will always live on with me and everything I do. We’ve been friends for over 34 yrs. A friendship that was meant to be. From that very first day we met we knew how special in life we would be to each other. We were and will always be musical soulmates! We have created incredible music together in three bands… The Pandoras, The Muffs, The Coolies that will last a lifetime. I feel so honored to have done this with you my BFF. Wow what a journey! Exciting, fun, funny, happy but also sad too. We lost each other for some amount of time but realized what a void it was not having each other. When we reconnected it was like no time had passed. We picked up where we left off and the love had never left. Something we shared together was a sick and the funniest sense of humor ever. Man you all would be shocked at what fun we can have! Our shenanigans are legendary (at least in our minds). Kim you are the most badass person I know! When you were diagnosed with ALS two years ago you stood strong and said I’m going to fight this. I know how scared you were but you never gave up. You were always yourself and continued life and adapted to the struggles that wracked your body through this horrific disease. You told me you wanted to make new memories with me and oh boy did we!! You were the one that said “hey let’s start posting pictures of Melanie & Kim” and you named it #MelanieAndKimMonday. I will never stop posting these and you know this! You also wished you could have a band with Palmyra and I. Omg we made it happen!!! You named the band The Coolies from a comment Palmyra made. You worked so hard through this project and we know how special it was to you. I know you and I were meant to be in one last band together. We did it!! One of our proudest accomplishments! And there’s more Coolies to come!! Kim I cherish every moment we’ve shared together. I’m grateful for the last two years of being with you nonstop, holding hands, telling stories of our crazy wild adventures, going through photos of our lives, creating new music together, listening to your playlists that you worked so hard on, our sleepovers, pranks, watching movies and most of all… knowing how much love we have for each other. We will speak to each other in dreams. Kim my Gazoo I LOVE YOU! You are my hero! ❤️ Melanie
Cindy Lee Berryhill:
I’m so sorry to see her go. She was a wild and bright spirit with great guitar chops, a panthers scream, great songs and a rad sense of style. I’d only just gotten to know her a few years ago. We’d shared that we dug each other’s music and both had an affinity for mid 1960s music. I sent her an iPhone video of myself singing Herman’s Hermits “Im Leaning On A Lamppost” once cuz I knew it from memory and she did too. I’m sad to see her go , may her spirit fly with the great legendary and influential rockers that came before her, she is one of them.
Billie Joe Armstrong:
So sad to hear the news about Kim. She was always so cool and tough. All my interactions with her were great. She was one of my favorite song writers. When we recorded dookie we listened to the first Muffs record constantly. We will hear that rock n roll scream from heaven.
Heartbroken about Kim. One of the all time greats. How could anyone be such a brilliant pop songwriter, singer, screamer, and such a total punk-rock badass, and be so insanely cute at the same time? No one funnier or cooler. We love you, Kim
Here’s a video of a Muffs song which seems very appropriate this week. The song is called “Sad Tomorrow.”
And finally, here’s a video of Kim Shattuck, Melanie Vammen, Sheri Kaplan, and Lissa Beltri, 4 out of 5 Pandoras (everyone but Paula Pierce, who wasn’t feeling well that day) talking about that special song at Streetlight Records, San Jose, CA on May 26, 1990.
My heart goes out to her family, friends and all those who loved her.
Kim was special.
L.A. Weekly – Kim Shattuck Takes Her Final Holiday, 1963-2019
NY Times – Kim Shattuck, Musician Who Fronted the Muffs, Is Dead at 56
NPR – Kim Shattuck, An Enduring Presence In L.A. Punk, Dead At 56
Rhino – R.I.P., Kim Shattuck of The Muffs
Variety – The Roxy, Amoeba Records, Neko Case Pay Tribute to Late Muffs Singer Kim Shattuck
Rolling Stone – Kim Shattuck, Muffs Founder and Singer, Dead at 56
Facebook group – Kim Shattuck please marry me
Wikipedia – The Pandoras
Palmyra Delran shared a reminder on Facebook about the last musical project Kim worked on….
A third pressing of “Uh Oh! It’s The Coolies!” is now available from Wicked Cool Records. 100% of the proceeds are being donated to The ALS Association Golden West Chapter under Kim Shattuck’s name. Please make a donation and get an EP.