It’s been over twenty years since the world swooned before Kurt Cobain in his green cardigan; over twenty years since the 90’s bands that spearheaded the punk-rock movement first came onto the scene. While many say punk died with Kurt Cobain or Layne Staley of Alice in Chains. But a band like Screaming Females has some punk guitar riffs and yelps that beg to differ.
Marissa Paternoster leads the group with a voice the can waltz between soothing and strong and low notes, and guitar skills that had her listed as the 77th greatest guitarist of all-time according to Spin Magazine in 2012.
Screaming Females finished up their tour with Street Eaters earlier November. During their tour they announced the release date of the next album on Don Giovanni records, All at Once, that will be released early 2018. Aside from the album release date, they also released the first video from the album for the track “Glass House,” which was directed by Kate Sweeney, the Chris Gethard Show producer.
They drove from Virginia across the country on a tour that ran from July 21st to November 1st. The band likes to identify as down-to-earth people. A cross country road trip seeing their fans, and some goats along the way, still make the Screaming Females content. Screaming Females consists of Marissa Paternoster, King Mike, and Jarrett Dougherty.
Antonio: When were you last here [El Paso]?
King Mike: Um, about two years ago.
A: Oh okay, so right around the time that Rose Mountain came out.
KM: Yeah. We were on tour with a band called Vacation.
A: And this time you’re touring with…
KM: Street Eaters.
A: How have they been? How did you get to tour with them?
KM: They’re just old friends of ours, who’ve been playing in punk bands for, you know, for the past twenty years or more. And we met them about twelve years ago or something and have been friends with them ever since. And it made sense for us to do a tour together finally. They drove all the way across the country to meet us on the East Coast and do five weeks of touring with us and then they’re going to drive all the way back home.
A: I know your album is coming out in February; is that kind of what this tour is for? To push some publicity for it?
KM: Yeah, sort of, I mean I guess so. Especially now, that it’s finally announced. I think it’s more you know, our band, for our entire existence has always toured a lot. We booked the tour because we need the tour in order to make ends meet and we need for people to remember that we exist. So it’s not necessarily to promote the album but I guess it helps.
A: So it’s been two years since your last album came out. The video for “Glass House” came out; what have you guys been doing these years in terms of writing this music and coming up with this album? What were the influences for it?
KM: I mean we spent a lot of time writing it and rewriting it and demoing it, and re-demoing it, you know, a few of the songs on the album kind of just happened and didn’t really go through any heavy editing process. Other songs on the album evolved a lot over time. In those two years we just gave ourselves a lot of time to work on it so that we could be really happy with what we’ve made. And I think that we are?
A: Is there a specific message that you’re trying to cover with the album? A lot has happened around the world in the last two years; you know like this song I read about it being about problems we have during this online-internet era. Is there a lot of messages that you’re trying to send with this album?
KM: Um, I personally can’t answer that question because I don’t write the lyrics. I’ll pass along the phone to Marissa and maybe she can answer this a little bit better than I can.
Marissa Paternoster: Hey!
A: Hey! How’s it going? This is Antonio.
MP: Hey Antonio, how are you doing?
A: Great, great. So I had just asked Mike about this upcoming album; I just read a review about this song that came out, being about the internet, kind of issues during this era; is there a particular message that you had in mind for this album or that you had wanted send with this album?
MP: I don’t think it’s so much of a message that I’m trying to share with people. It’s kind of like an observation of my experience. Um, I’m sorry, I just saw a really cute goat.
A: And I saw that you guys are doing like the ten copies of the special edition of this album that you’re hand-creating. So I’m assuming that you did the artwork. Can you tell me a little about it?
MP: Yeah, I mean, I tried a bunch of different things with the album work and a lot if it didn’t fly. It’s kind of like a painting.
A: And then the video that came out this morning was directed by Kate Sweeney, how did you end up working with Kate?
MP: Kate’s been my friend since, I don’t know, a really long time. He went to school in New York but hung out in New Brunswick all the time. I mean we’ve just been hanging out since forever. Yeah, he was my neighbor. And now he works on the Chris Gethard show.
A: Does this mean we can expect a Screaming Females appearance on the Chris Gethard show?
MP: We’ve been on the Chris Gethard show twice.
MP: Yeah, I don’t know if we’d do it again but if Chris wanted us I’m sure we would do it again. But yeah.
A: You guys have become synonymous with punk music. So I have to ask that common cliché question, what is punk to you? How do you identify yourselves, is that something that has just been applied to ya’ll. What is punk for your today?
MP: I mean, it doesn’t always have to be applicable to a way a band sounds or they dress or even the way you look. In the way that we understand it, it kind of involves a certain moral compass and dedication and working and making cool art and caring about your community, not earning any kind of social capital.
– By Antonio Villaseñor-Baca