After 10 years as a band, the Coathangers (bass player Meredith Franco, vocals/guitar player Julia Kugel and vocals/drummer Stephanie Luke) proved that persistence is pivotal. When the Atlanta trio first started making music, they didn’t know how to play their instruments but their fifth album Nosebleed Weekend showed a new, more polished side to the haphazard punk band. Credit for that may go to time and atmospheric inspiration from Valentine Recording Studios in Los Angeles. The Coathangers were the first to record in the untouched, shag carpet, velvet-walled studio in over 30 years, and much of that old-school feeling seeped into the album. They play the last show of their West Coast tour at Bunkhouse on Saturday, March 25 before upcoming east coast and European tours. All the while, they continue to make and release new music including a new EP, Parasite, expected the end of June. We talked to Franco about growing as a band and playing Vegas.
Do you feel pressure to continually write music?
Well, we love doing it….Our record hasn’t even been out for a full year so it was kind of crazy that we have this EP already—by the time it comes out, the record will have been out for a year. It’s not pressure because it is something we love doing and it’s our life. It’s second nature … If we think, “We have to write a song,” it won’t happen.
What kind of topics are you tackling with your newer music?
The first single was “Parasite” and we actually did have parasites. So that was the topic for that, but we always write from real life. It’s our only therapy so whatever is happening, it’s our release to write about it and play the music.
How have you matured as a band over the last 10 years?
Playing probably the most. When we first started none of us even knew how to play. We could only just keep getting better at our instruments. And everybody just grows up and matures as a person. Ten years is a long time.
The fact that you guys stuck with it says a lot about your personalities. You just rode it out, not knowing what you were doing.
Yeah, we did. We never really took it so seriously. Now this is our lives.
You guys have played Vegas before?
Not in a really long time. Last time we played there I think we had a keyboard player still. So it was awhile ago.
Do you remember where you played?
What do you usually do when you’re in town?
Last time we stayed at the Golden Nugget. We love that place. We are going to stay there again. And I don’t know, just party. I don’t like gambling, personally. I don’t like to waste money because I usually don’t win. Steph is usually really lucky. She wins a lot so I’ll just cheer her on … I think Vegas is going to be the perfect place to end it. I do have a flight at like 6:30 in the morning though so I’m probably just going to stay up. I think it’s going to be the perfect ending.
Catch the Coathangers on March 25 at Bunkhouse at 9 p.m., Tickets $10-$12.