Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Obituary - Kim Shattuck

On Wednesday 2 October 2019, Kim Shattuck - best known as founder and vocalist in THE MUFFS - passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in Los Angeles, America. She was aged 56. The cause of death was due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease - a nerve condition), a disease she had been fighting for the last two years.
Shattuck was born Kimberly Dianne Shattuck on 17 July 1963 in Burbank, California. Her parents, Kent and Betty, raised Shattuck and her siblings (brother Kirk and sister Kristen) in Orange Country, California. While at Orange Coast College, she began playing guitar while studying photography.
Shattuck’s first band of note was as bassist for the all-female band THE PANDORAS from 1985 through to the 1990.  The band’s sound mutated from Paisley Underground-esque Garage Rock through to Hard Rock. Judging by Shattuck’s comments, she had little influence on the band’s direction.
In 1991 she switched to guitar and formed the band with which she would be most known for, THE MUFFS. The band released six albums, achieving peak popularity in 1995 with the ‘Blonder And Blonder’ album and a cover of Kim Wilde’s ‘Kids In America’ which was included in the Clueless soundtrack. 
In 2001, Shattuck formed side project, THE BEARDS with Lisa Marr and Sherri Sollinger, releasing ‘Funtown’ in 2002.
In 2013, Shattuck replaced Kim Deal as bassist in THE PIXIES; however she was dismissed after a mere five months, a decision she has said she was “super disappointed” with. No reason was given, but it has been cited that that she thought it was possibly because the rest of the band were ‘more introverted people.’
Shattuck also guested on a number of other releases; when NOFX recorded ‘Punk In Drublic’ she sang on ‘Lori Meyers’, BOWLING FOR SOUP’s 2009 track ‘I’ve Always Remember You (That Way)’ and THE DOLLYROTS ‘Some Girls’.
THE MUFFS reformed in 2014 with the come back album ‘Whoop Dee Doo’. A new album entitled ‘No Holiday’, was recorded while Shattuck was fighting the disease that ultimately took her life,  and is due for release late in October 2019.
Only this past July, another project was announced in THE COOLIES which reunited Shattuck with original MUFFS member, Melanie Vammen. With a six-track EP released the same month, ‘Uh Oh! It’s...The Coolies’, Shattuck announced that all proceeds would go to ALS - although she abstained from revealing she was suffering from it herself.  Asked why they had chosen an ALS research charity, Shattuck responded, “Sadly, it runs in my damn family, and that disease is a mystery to just about every scientist! We are definitely interested in finding a cure for ALS! Cure it already!” Other interviews also mentioned that ALS had afflicted her father’s side of the family.
Shattuck is survived by her mother, two siblings and husband of 16-years, Kevin Sutherland.

Somehow, I missed out on ever seeing THE MUFFS live. I’ve loved the band ever since the self-titled debut from 1993, revelled in the mastery of the band’s ability, and more specifically Shattuck’s writing ability, to fuse raging guitars to near-perfect Pop moments and be constantly astounded at that wild, guttural scream that infuses every MUFFS album.
It’s well known Shattuck had a genuine and abiding love of THE BEATLES, and the influence can be directly heard on that debut album.  The very fact Shattuck’s songs are being talked about in the same breath as those of Lennon and McCartney without sounding trite is testament to the quality and originality of her songs.
To read a really intimate and sincere obituary about Shattuck, I’d like to send you to the LA Times where MUFFS drummer, Roy McDonald, has penned a deeply personal account of their friendship and experience recording the soon-due album.