Shannon and the Clams are like a time-warp to the glory days of rock and roll. And I don't mean back to the actual 50's/60's... I mean the shiny, trouble-free 50's/60's. The one we see in so many films, like Grease. The one people really mean when they talk about feeling like they were "born in the wrong decade", a romanticised version where only the good remains... and it's a fun place to be transported too!
I originally interviewed the band through email for my zine. I'll write about this in more detail sometime, but I've put my print zine on hold for now, which was partly why I started this blog, as a way to still write about what interests me. Anyway, I didn't want this interview to go to waste (and in a lot of cases, blogs and zines are quite entwined, so why not?).
Firstly, how did you all meet and when was Shannon and the Clams formed?
Shannon: Art school, summer of 2007.
To me, your music has a really distinctive sound, like 50’s/60’s rock and roll with a punky edge, which I love. Is this a style you deliberately set out to play, or did it just come out naturally?
S: Punk and oldies are my favorite types of music, but I don't necessarily set out to write songs that sound that way. I think certain 'oldies' formulas are engrained and programmed in my mind so I naturally write that way.
I also like that, while your music is fun and great to just blast out loud and dance around to, there’s a sense of genuine emotion in a lot of the lyrics. Do you write about personal experiences/feelings, or a your songs more like fictional stories?
S: Cody and I have really different methods for songwriting. We are both in love with fables and nursery rhymes, old fairy tales, but Cody often uses that love to write his own stories into songs. He is very talented. Warlock in the Woods, Gremlins Crawl, Half Rat... all good enough stuff to be in the creepiest children's story book! I write more about ugg wah wah feelings and stuff. I usually try to disguise the real story though by using lyrics that might make you think you know what I'm talking about but YOU DON'T! Like a diary that written in a secret language.
Shannon, you also play with Hunx and his Punx. How did that come about?
S: Hunx asked me to play bass on a short tour temporarily filling in for their original bass player Ian. What was supposed to be a few days filling in turned into touring with Jay Retard and Nobunny and Box Elders!!! We were so compatible that I am still in the band a few years later! I love getting to play with Hunx so much.
Do you contribute to the songwriting or is it all Hunx?
S: Yes, I write for and with Hunx. Lovers Lane, Curse of Being Young, Bad Boy, the chorus for Keep Away from Johnny (Cody Clam wrote the rest of it!). We are working on songs for a new punk record as we speak!
If there was Clams vs Punx barbecue contest, whose side would you cook on? And, more importantly, who do you think would win?
S: Hmm good question, I honestly would have to run back and forth and help both teams because they both need different things from me. Honestly, the Clams would win because Erin Punkette doesn't eat meats, and Hunx doesn't cook AT ALL and Frankie Frankenstein would rather just eat the meat raw. Clams bbq sauce would be sugar free, and without cornbread or napkins. Just a pile of meat eaten off corn husks.
Cody, you also play in another band, King Lollipop. Can you tell us a bit about that?
C: Oh, it's just my lil ol solo thing. I started writing these simpler, stupider, sillier songs that didn't really work with the clams, so I thought I should just play them on my own. I couldn't decide on a name and it took a long time before I started performing. I wrote the songs when I was homeless during 2009 and recorded them all in the summer of 2010, then started playing live in winter 2011. I also couldn't decide how to do it live and then I saw the Extra Action Marching band play and decided I should just play with a ton of drummers behind me, because it was fun to watch. It worked, I like it. Someday I want to have an orchestra like Cab Calloway and I could maybe ditch the guitar and just be a singer/creepy dancer.
I love the artwork for the Sleeptalk album. Whose idea was it?
I hope you checked out the videos, and if you want to know more about Shannon and the Clams, check out their website.