Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle Roadkill

By Tim Stegall

July 14, 1997: 

The Muffs
Liberty Lunch
Saturday, July 12

Anyone who grew up in South Texas when hurricane Celia came blowing through knows that in the temperamental lady's wake, products ranging from chain-link fencing to building bricks were advertised as being "Celia-tested." The guitar amp manufacturer who is clever enough to build a product he can truthfully bill as being "Shattuck-proof" is gonna have a gold mine on his hands.

"Come Oonnn!!!" Muffs' guitarist/vocalist Kim Shattuck laughingly protests. "That's just bad luck, the worst bit of bad luck."

Something suggests that an amp mortality rate keening into double digits has to do with a little more than mere "bad luck." Shattuck assures us she's not the only Muff who is technologically challenged. "Detroit needs to build a car that can withstand Roy [McDonald, the band's drummer]." She isn't sure what bassist and fellow founding Muff Ronnie Barnett is dangerous to, aside from himself.

"But, y'know what?" Shattuck enthuses. "I found this other amp that I haven't been able to blow up so far, and it actually has better tone, and it's new." Called "The Wizzard," it was apparently designed by one of AC/DC's roadies to withstand the abuse Malcolm Young inflicts on his amplification. The fact that it has withstood Shattuck to date and gives her a "Hiwatt sound" is pleasing her no end.

More pleasing is the band's current Happy Birthday To Me album, which will surprise no one who wasn't already tapped into the band's trademark blend of Ramones/Zeros melodipunk aggression and British Invasion pop smarts. No new ground is really broken, but the Muffs have refined what the Muffs do to a fine art, and Happy Birthday... may be the best of the band's three albums.

"You think so?" Shattuck wonders aloud. "... Oh, shit! My cat just peed all over my beanbag chair! I've gotta go!"

Let's just hope Tabby hasn't whizzed all over your new amp, Kim. 'Course, if it can withstand that, it really is a "Wizzard!" -- Tim Stegall




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