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  •  BAND: BATTERSHELL

    Battershell

    It's getting Batter all the time

    Battershell are the inventors of "luv punk" — fast, fun, sweet, nasty and oddball songs with a sense of humor and a mean punk beat. Just don't call them a chick band.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com

    East or south? That's the question Northern California girl Tammy Lynn faced when she took her first step on the road to musical greatness. She chose right — she chose east.

      
    BATTERSHELL
    Tammy Lynn (guitar, vocals)
    Hannah Head (bass, vocals)
    Brad Gunn (drums).

    Related links: Official site
     AUDIO 
    Dizzy the Tattooed Dog   RA  MP3
    Holy Roller   RA  MP3
    Inbred Picnic   RA  MP3
    Porno Star   RA  MP3
    Say Goodnight to the Cat Named After Mozart   MP3
    Weed (Dirty Magazine)   MP3
    © 1999 Beautiful Princess of Spit. Used by permission.
    "I didn't want to do the L.A. thing . . .. I know it sounds cheesy, but I got on the bus and came to New York [with] $50 and a guitar," says the Battershell bandleader.

    "It's so weird to say that stuff," she adds, "because it sounds so Jewel."

    If the legend "sounds so Jewel," the music doesn't. The two-thirds-female trio's music is, let's see, one part Bangles and two parts Indigo Girls . . .. Okay, I lied. It's nothing like that, and don't try to say it is.

    "I never wanted to be in a chick band," says bassist Hannah Head, and repeats it to make sure you get the point. "I never wanted to be in a chick band."

    Battershell plays what it calls, on posters and stickers and in the title of its most recent CD, "luv punk," which means good, loud, raunchy rock and roll pulling together punk, pop, a little country and a little psychedelia. They can woo you with a seductive, harmony-drenched meditation about life and then knock you against the wall with a perfect two-minute hardcore blast, and every song has something special — oddball lyrics, sexy vocals, good spirits and infectious energy.

    Battershell  
    Okay, maybe this isn't a "chick band," but it's the kind of band that only women of the '00s could put together. They don't have to live up to anybody else's female image, don't have to choose between being good girls or bad girls, liberated or politically correct. Battershell can be innocent and playful, sexy and sweet, or loud and nasty, and they can sing about things you'd never hear from a guy band. They're not afraid of a little fun and they're probably not afraid to kick your ass either. (But of course they won't — they're luv punks!)

    The first Battershell tune that caught my attention was "Say Goodnight to the Cat Named After Mozart" (hear it on MP3), an offbeat, scattershot biography of a little girl (Tammy Lynn's sister, actually) who "doesn't know her daddy that well" and needs the encouragement that she'll make it through a tough childhood. Tammy Lynn coos in a girlish voice over a two-power-chord vamp about this youngster and her curiously named cat.

    If this is the beginning of a girl's life story, then it's a girl who grows up in a hurry. "Weed (Dirty Magazine)" (MP3) and "Porno Star" (RA, MP3) are saucy numbers about naughty pictures and the guys who love them, which sound smooth and seductive at first but ultimately get in your face and ask if you're man enough for the woman behind the image. It's like you rented "Debbie Does Dallas" but inside the box was "Thelma and Louise."

    Once our little girl is all grown up, it's time to just plain rock — with the fun-loving, Ramones-resembling road song "Holy Roller" (RA, MP3) and the all-out angry thrash of "Dizzy the Tattooed Dog" (RA, MP3).

      Battershell
    Finally, I don't know what stage of the life cycle "Inbred Picnic" (RA, MP3) fits into, but country rock was never quite like this. Tammy Lynn says she can't figure out why the holiday version of this tune, "Inbred Christmas," doesn't get more airplay.

    Hmmm, that's quite a few songs about animals and sex (though, to date, no songs about both at once). What's up with that?

    "We don't have that many songs about sex," protests Tammy Lynn.

    "Yes we do," insists Hannah.

    All of this makes Battershell an unlikely candidate for one of its biggest gigs to date, the 1999 Lilith Fair tour alongside the likes of Liz Phair and Bijou Phillips — nobody's punk rockers, to be sure. You'd think this bunch would be totally out of place — but no.

    "It was cool — we were 'the hardcore band,' " Tammy Lynn recalls.

    "Being the only hardcore band, we really got noticed," Hannah agrees, adding, "It was really cool to have a real trailer."

    "We got gifts," Tammy Lynn adds. "Sarah McLachlan gave us soap."

    Lilith Fair isn't the only unlikely place Battershell has played; besides the downtown clubs they've done high schools, grade schools and bowling alleys, which they report are some of the best gigs you could want. And they're all over the Internet, with pages at IUMA, Rolling Stone and MP3.com. They get e-mails every day from teenagers around America, and they're big in Sweden and Japan (which they happen to have a song about).

    The Internet connection has spawned a worldwide community of luv punks who send adoring e-mails, flock to the shows and sometimes even recognize the bandmates on the street. If this is the start of a global Luv Punk movement, let's bring it on.

    APRIL 3, 2001
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Battershell:

  • Frisco The Fresh Water Trout Returns   from Dynah Blowya, Apr 3, 2001
  • white wedding   from billy idol, Apr 3, 2001
  • Re: white wedding   from Wachy, May 19, 2001
  • Re: white wedding   from Amber, Oct 9, 2003
  • Dizzy The Tattooed Dog   from Monkey, Jr., Apr 18, 2001
  • Re: Dizzy The Tattooed Dog   from they who know, Apr 19, 2001
  • Are these the same people?   from Marcus, Feb 27, 2003
  • Re: Are these the same people?   from Mark White, Mar 23, 2004
  • Tammy Lynn is a Jesus Freak now   from BatFan, Dec 2, 2004
  • Re: Tammy Lynn is a Jesus Freak now   from the kid, May 3, 2005
  • Re: Tammy Lynn is a Jesus Freak now   from pam, Jan 20, 2006
  • Jesusfreak!   from Tom D.Q., Jan 29, 2006
  • battershell has a myspace   from alisha, May 11, 2006
  • Re: battershell has a myspace   from the kid, Dec 13, 2006
  • Battershellian Luv   from the kid, Jun 18, 2010
  • Re: Battershellian Luv   from the kid, Apr 26, 2014

  • Post a comment on "Battershell"