Los Angeles punk legend Kim Shattuck—best known as frontperson of The Muffs in the 1990s, but also the bassist of The Pandoras in the 1980s, guitarist and singer of the Coolies in the ‘00s, and possessor of that voice her entire career—has died after a two-year long battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. She was 56.
According to the AV Club, Shattuck’s husband Kevin Sutherland confirmed the news, announcing that she “passed away peacefully in her sleep,” and “will live with all of us through her music, our shared memories, and in her fierce creative spirit.”
“We are very sorry to announce the passing of our bandmate and dear friend Kim Shattuck. Besides being a brilliant songwriter, rocking guitarist and singer/screamer extraordinaire, Kim was a true force of nature,” The Muffs’ Ronnie Barnett and Roy McDonald wrote in a statement. “While battling ALS Kim produced our last album, overseeing every part of the record from tracking to artwork. She was our best friend and playing her songs was an honor. Goodbye Kimba. We love you more than we could ever say.”
As a child, dutifully dedicated to finding some future in my newfound passion for rock and roll, I spent hours trying to mimic Shattuck’s vocal tone in The Muffs’ now-infamous cover of Kim Wilde’s 1981 hit “Kids in America” from the 1995 teen classic Clueless. She had this breathless, smoke-y quality, as if she trapped every lyric and rolled it around in the back of her throat before spitting it out. And that scream—no one else has that scream.
If you’re unfamiliar with Shattuck, or you’d simply benefit from someone guiding you through their own mourning listening, I’ve created a playlist below. It’s full of Muffs classics, some Coolies, some Pandoras, some of her underrated cameos—such as in a Bowling For Soup song, a track by the Dollyrots, and the only NOFX tune worth your time and energy. I hope you like it.