An Interview With…The Coathangers

Our GA Rep Andrew caught up with the Coathangers – aka Stephanie Luke (Rusty Coathanger), Julia Kugel (Crook Kid Coathanger) and Meredith Franco (Minnie Coathanger) – on their U.S April tour.

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First off, welcome back to Washington DC. It’s been a year since your last tour with L.A. Witch, and I saw that Stephanie went to the Women’s March on Washington this January – as did I. So, from last year to this year, things have been different. But it’s great to have you back here in DC.

SL: “Different” *laughing* Yeah, you could say that.

Yeah! Congratulations on the one year anniversary of the release your album, “Nosebleed Weekend” on April 15th.

JK: Aww, thanks.

Yeah, it’s an incredible album and I told Meredith earlier that it was my soundtrack for the summer so thanks for that! Really looking forward to the release of your new EP “Parasite” available on Suicide Squeeze on June 30th. Now, back on“Nosebleed Weekend”, it’s been a year for these songs to kind of marinate with your fans and audiences. Which songs have resonated well with the crowds? Especially with some bands being tired of playing the same songs over and over again after touring relentlessly, which tunes still have you excited and pumped for shows?

JK: Squeeki Tiki is a rad one, you know? It’s been really fun. (Squeeki Tiki is a tune primarily featuring a squeaky toy for the song’s melody). All of them have been great to play live.

SL: Yeah I don’t know. Down Down, Squeeki Tiki, umm, Burn Me

MF: And Make It Right.

JK: Yeah, and people have been liking our latest songs off this new EP. I mean you said you get to add something fresh and new to the setlist.

So you guys are now on tour promoting your new EP. Is there anything else in store for The Coathangers in 2017?

JK: Yeah, we’ve been touring a lot.

SL: We’ll be out on tour in Europe after this, which will be cool.

JK: So maybe somewhere near the winter time we’ll have something in store. I mean we’re always writing and thinking.

MF: Yeah, who knows – maybe some live recordings or something.

JK: There are many possibilities available but right now we are just trying to take it one day at a time. I mean, plans are kind of overwhelming sometimes, you know, and fucking stressful. I don’t wanna plan my 2018 right now – you know what I mean? Like, “what are we gonna do in April next year?” like shut up! Haha, I don’t want to talk about that.

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Of course! I also want to touch on the title track of the new EP, Parasite. You (Julia) said in an interview that during the making of the last album, “Nosebleed Weekend” that you didn’t want to scream anymore and just wanted to sing and focus on melody but when it came to that track, you
just wanted to scream and curse.” Were there any reasons – related or unrelated to your band – that lead you to make that change?

JK: I was so mad because I had fucking parasites. We all had them from touring so much and we got them somewhere. I was so mad and then there was the election. We recorded Parasite after the election too and it was like fuck.

MF: Yeah and honestly it was like we did it old school – we hadn’t had an “AHH!” crazy moment. And it just felt good.

SL: Yeah, just let it all out. It was the same with the song Captain’s Dead. Because we took 3 months off for the holidays and for family stuff and then when we got back together for 3 or 4 days and jammed out, it just came to us.

JK: Yeah and the pressure of it like,”YOU HAVE TO WRITE A RECORD NOW! AND IT HAS TO BE AMAZING! AND IT HAS TO BE SUPER PRODUCED!” and it just like, what? And when we started working this record out around spring time and we wrote 5 or 4 songs and it was just so great.

SL: Like you said, it was old times like the old Coathangers again when we would just get together and like “BLAH!” and then it’s just like yeah okay it’s cool.

JK: Yeah like “Holy shit we need a bridge there and should be repeat it twice right there?” like “NO!” Haha, I mean we still did that though.

SL: Yeah we didn’t need to overthink it and stress out about it

MF: Totally, it just felt natural to us.

SL: It was really fun and we were all laughing and having a good time you know?

JK: Having parasites for 6 months and after was the first time we were all like clear headed – cause parasites will make you go fucking crazy. We all thought we had mono.

MF: Yeah, around the time we did the L.A. Witch tour.

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Wow. I mean, you guys tour so much and are relentless in delivering fresh tunes like it’s really inspiring hearing your story and how you’ve managed to do it all yourself. And as an aspiring singer songwriter, that means a lot you know?

The Coathangers: Aww thanks!

Who are some of the musicians or cultural figures you kinda look up to as inspiration?

MF: First off, our moms…

SL: And then there’s like Kim Gordon… who’s super inspiring,

MF: Salt N Papa.

SL: Yeah, Salt N Papa and TLC and coming from Atlanta, bands like The Black Lips, Mastodon, Deerhunter and every band who ever put us on a show. That Atlanta love really helped us out and shaped us.

What changes would you most like to see within music or the industry as a whole?

SL: Just equality. Like really? Just don’t be an asshole. It should be one big family.

JK: Yeah and just put your ego in check you know? If you’re running security, I get it, you are in charge but be fucking nice in our way. If you are a headlining band, cool you’re great but be fucking nice and normal. If you are a producer, don’t fucking try to grope me you know? Like why would you do that? Hire a prostitute. And if you do, make sure you pay them! Like seriously fuck you man. Go live out your dirty fantasies some other way. Where ever it
is, you get it from everyone whether it’s a boy or a girl, young or old, any
race, people can be fucking assholes. Like please, be nice to people!

Do you ever get that vibe from venues, security people, etc?

SL: Oh hell yeah! It’s like people prejudge or have their pre-conceived notions about others and they feel like they need to be a dick to us before we can be dicks to them or something like that. It’s an ego thing or a complex but you can’t carry it with you.

Do you feel it’s that misogyny that causes venues or security personnel to be reluctant to help stopping groping at gigs?

SL: I think that depends on the owner and environment of the club. We know so many great people who would be horrified to hear anything like that happening at their venue. There are obviously people who could probably care less. I guess it’s just how your mother raised you.

JK: I can’t remember if there has been some fucked up thing I’ve just blocked out but like if anything we see security go after guys like, “WHERE THE FUCK IS HE!”. I mean, we’ve stopped gigs before if there are fights or whatever

SL: I mean there’s been shows where a girl broke a dude’s nose. Like clocked him and we’re like, ”HELL YEAH! She took care of it herself”. But if there’s anything we see fucked up, we’ll stop a gig anything to help out because we can see more of the crowd on stage.

Of course, and sexual harassment at gigs is a microcosm of a much larger issue. What would you say about misogyny as a whole?

SL: I mean, look at our president. I think it’s allowing for a lot of people to come out of the rugs and think it’s okay to be more racist, sexist, and homophobic.

JK: We’ve forgotten there was an opposition. We’ve like literally forgot they were there but there always has been.

SL: Now it’s almost like accepted or normal like no! You’re a fucking asshole! That’s completely unacceptable behavior for anybody whatsoever. Even
inside themselves they are fine if someone says some crazy racist shit if it’s
at a Trump rally. So they’re fine with as long as they finally live out their
fantasy for power. But that said, we are more of a welcoming community and we can bond you know. I mean we’ve had girls come up to us in shows saying, “Your music help me break up with an abusive boyfriend, your music helped me start my own band, your music gave me strength, etc.” You know that’s so powerful so I hope that everyone on our end can come together and fight power.

Do you have anything to say to the perpetrators of sexual harassment at gigs?

JK: It’s never okay to do something like that.

SL: There should be a fucking tazing area. Put them in a pit and have at it.

JK: I mean, it’s like a cheap thrill for you that maybe you home and you enjoy yourself but that create a huge impact that scars someone’s heart you
know? You are fucking someone’s life up. Go get a prostitute, go fucking touch
yourself, go read a book. Find something else to do and express your urges in
some other way. What the fuck are you doing scaring people if your free time?! You’re an asshole.

SL: Go eat trash and die.

We have followers have personally been assaulted or harassed at gigs. Is there anything you’d like to say to the victims?

SL: Speak out, it’s not your fault, and it has absolutely nothing to do with you and what you were wearing. But bring it to the forefront and don’t be ashamed about it because it will ruin your fucking life.

MF: And I mean everyone, besides that asshole, is on your side. Especially at a show. I mean if someone said it right away, that person would get beat up. I mean at our shows anyway.

JK: Exactly, like straight away just be like, “THIS FUCKING ASSHOLE
JUST TOUCHED ME!” and the response who be, “OHHH YEAH?! WHICH ASSHOLE?! GET HIM!” You know? Like especially in DC? Are you kidding me? That dude would be handcuffed and kicked out of there. But in any show, say it right there and really loud, “FUCK YOU!” and aggressively stand up for yourself. Don’t feel like that’s a bad thing too. I mean I’ve been groped before at shows and been so in shock and scared. I didn’t even point him out you know? But I should have been like, “FUCK YOU! This guy etc…” It’s definitely hard but don’t be afraid to defend yourself and loads people at the show will support you.

Girls Against sincerely thank the Coathangers for their time, honesty, and for supporting our campaign.

You can buy/listen to their brand new EP “Parasite” on Suicide Squeeze Records available across all major streaming platforms.

 You can catch the Coathangers live in these upcoming tour dates.

Date                      Venue                                                  Location

Jul 18                     The
Earl                                                Atlanta,
GA

Jul 19                     JJ’s
Bohemia                                       Chattanooga,
TN

Jul 20                     Off
Broadway                                    St
Louis, MO

Jul 21                     The
Riot Room                                  Kansas
City, MO

Jul 22                     Globe
Hall                                           Denver,
CO

Jul 24                     Milk
Run                                              Omaha,
NE

Jul 25                     Total
Drag Records                          Sioux
Falls, SD

Jul 26                     7th
St Entry                                         Minneapolis,
MN

Jul 27                     Beat
Kitchen                                      Chicago,
IL

Jul 28                     The
Melody Inn                                                Indianapolis,
IN

Jul 29                     Daytrotter                                           Davenport,
IA

Aug 01                  The
Pyramid Scheme                     Grand
Rapids, MI

Aug 02                  Ace
Of Cups                                       Columbus,
OH

Aug 03                  Northside
Yacht Club                      Cincinnati,
OH

Aug 04                  Zanzabar                                              Louisville,
KY

Sep 16                   Electric
Factor                                    Philadelphia,
PA

Oct 07                   Project
Pabst Atlanta                     Atlanta,
GA

Additional tour info, discography, band info, and merch is available on their website,
www.thecoathangers.com

Special thanks to the venue DC9, the Coathangers’ manager Geoff Sherr, and to Hannah Stokes for taking photos.

Interview by Andrew Koh