The Coathangers Talk New Album ‘Nosebleed Weekend’
On stage they’re known as Crook Kid, Rusty and Minnie Coathanger, but off stage Julia, Stephanie and Meredith are just as fierce as their “fuck off” lyrics suggest.
The Coathangers have come a long way from booking small gigs in the DIY Atlanta punk scene. Nosebleed Weekend, their newest record out this Friday, solidifies a place in punk history for the band, acting as a reminder that there’s plenty of space for unabashed female voices.
Leading up to the band’s 10 year anniversary, Galore talked to the The Coathangers about everything from what music they’re most proud of to the struggles of taking their friendship out on the road during tour season.
Galore: Have you had any time yet to reflect on the milestones of your ten years as a band?
Rusty: Every moment is so special. It’s true though! When we got our first European tour that was huge.
Minnie: Especially because we thought it might be our last. And we went back three times after that.
Rusty: Playing with certain bands like OFF! is one.
Crook Kid: Playing any of the big festivals is like wow…
Rusty: We’ve arrived! And we’ve gotten to meet some of our musical icons. So that’s always a really big deal when they come to a show and they’re like, can I have an album?
Who lands in on that iconic spectrum?
Crook Kid: Ian Mackaye from Fugazi, Minor Threat.
Minnie: Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth.
Crook Kid: Ian Svenonius from Make-Up.
Rusty: We got to meet Kathleen Hanna…
Minnie: and Cat Power!
Rusty: It’s like, what do you even say?
Crook: I was just trying to be as cool as possible.
Tell me more about your hometown influences. How important has Atlanta been in shaping The Coathangers?
Rusty: When we were starting out the way we got most of the shows was through other local bands like The Black Lips, The Booze, and The Hiss. It was really just all of our friends helping us get equipment, practice space, and shows. It was really helpful early on.
What about the next wave of Atlanta bands?
Crook Kid: Shantih Shantih.
Rusty: Black Linen and The Bad Spell. There’s always an old school group of guys who have been in other inceptions of other bands.
With Nosebleed Weekend being your sort of 10th anniversary record, what are you most proud of this time around?
Crook Kid: We pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones, which was a good growing experience. We were uncomfortable, we were working our asses off and we were isolated from everything familiar. Working with new people, a new environment, and in a new state.
Minnie: It was the first time we recorded away from home. We did it in California and we normally only record in Atlanta.
Crook: We gave the producer a lot of clout, as far as listening to what he had to say and also saying no sometimes. We restructured the songs. We’ve never really gone in and done demos and come out of it and been like, ‘oh that needs something.’ Our second record is called Scrambled for a reason, because it was a fucking scramble to get it to that point. Proud of us for not loosing our minds in that process.
Rusty: It’s the only album of ours that I’ve sat down and listened to over and over. I want to show it off.
How do you maintain friendship and sanity on the road?
Rusty: We’ve been friends for so long that we know when to be like, ‘okay I don’t want to be talked to right now.’ Or if someone’s feeling down we try to make them laugh. It’s important to just pick up on little cues with each other and respect each other’s space. Or respect when someone needs a hug or needs a shot.
You said, being on-stage is “a safe place to be a messy woman.” Are there personas involved in the live show or are you 100% yourselves?
Rusty: We’re really genuine, but I wouldn’t go around screaming about being tough all the time.
Crook: It’s not a persona, but it is a place where you can tell someone to fuck off. Whereas in real life. you probably shouldn’t go around telling everyone to fuck off.
Rusty: We can be honest.
Crook: If you watch us for a week long, every show is going to be different depending on our mood. Sometimes it’s funnier, sometimes it’s mellow, sometimes we’re suddenly a jam band, and other times it’s aggro. It all depends on what kind of day we have, what we ate, and who was an asshole.
Rusty: It’s cathartic and whatever that day held is what we get out on stage.
What’s your definition of girl power?
Crook: The power of girls to do anything they want to do. Whether you want to be a mother or a lawyer or a stripper; if that’s what you want to do, get empowered by it. Don’t let anyone pressure you to be a certain way. Just do it and be happy and be empowered by being a female.
Rusty: And not taking anyone’s shit. The more they put you down, that should make you try even harder. Wear what you want to wear, act how you want to act, and have no apologies. Girl power means empowering your counterparts – other females. Women need to build each other up because society pins women against one another.
Crook: We’re supposed to be in a fight with every other girl band out there and it’s like, why? You don’t see Coldplay and U2 in a fucking fight because they’re both boys!
What words of wisdom do you have for girls who have always wanted to start their own band but maybe lack the musical background?
Crook: So many people tell me they can’t play guitar. Just put it in your hands and start playing. Take a lesson or have a friend show you some power chords. It can be so powerful to write a three chord song about your experience and all of a sudden you’ll feel empowered that you made something.
Rusty: Everyone isn’t great at first, but that’s why you practice. You just keep doing it. I was awful at drums when I first started. Keep doing it and work harder. You’re never too old to start anything. I have girls who are 25 years old saying they’re too old and that’s when I started. Girls think you’re dead when you’re 30 years old and that’s not true.