by Steve Weatherholt

Girl Trouble is one of the longest-running bands of the Puget Sound area (from beautiful Tacoma, Washington). These guys and a gal have been kicking out their own hometown sound rock 'n' roll since 1983, starting out in a local Battle of the Bands. Girl Trouble is one of the "funnest" around to see and hear. They incorporate wild, crazy '60s rock 'n' roll, The Cramps, a little cool sax and an overload of enthusiasm. For sheer enjoyment of the live performance, Girl Trouble are top notch; pulling out all of the stops for you the audience and a little for themselves. For one Valentine's gig the three swanky heartthrob guys performed in white boxer shorts with little red hearts on them...for another show in the Seattle Boxing Club's tiny room, 15 large pillows were brought out for a good old-fashioned pillow fight. Only at a Girl Trouble show--every one of which is meant for you the cast of characters to get your money's worth. If you have not seen them, go check them out!

While staying true to their fans worldwide and themselves, Girl Trouble don't compromise when it comes to their material. They have seen numerous bands and friends end up on the indebted end of a record contract. They have a band fund that box office money goes into to pay for recording and tours. Girl Trouble have endured doing what they like and not getting wide-eyed over a wad of cash. These guys are talented enough to have worked the rock 'n' roll major label pipeline hell, but they would rather still be friends and have fun. How many bands can you name that are still together and friends after 17 years? The only pressure comes from fighting over the remote for their favorite rerun of some '60s TV program or who is going to pop the popcorn. No salt, please.

[ k.p. kendall, bon von wheelie, dale phillips, bill (a.k.a kahuna) ]

"Go Metropolitan" mp3

The greatest beach blanket gyrating dancer this side of 1968 heads up Girl Trouble. K.P. Kendall is the showman, frontman and entertainment focal point. Shirtless, quite tall and skinny. If you need sweaty dancing lessons, come watch the footwork and arm swinging of this master performer. He will definitely get your body moving. K.P. can't stand to have the audience lose focus from the band, therefore he gets as many people as possible to participate in the show. Bon Von Wheelie is the steady backbone, pounding out the great GT beat. While keeping the guys in time she is responsible for the Wig Out fanzine and surprise goodies for the audiences. Her brother, Big Kahuna, is the mastermind behind the home-built guitar licks that drive the crowds crazy. You may think that you hear influences, maybe some, but this guy can write some creative licks like old while still keeping them fresh and entertaining. Dale, using cool swagger instead of just gymnastics, keeps the left side of the stage thumping away, fingering out the tried and true Girl Trouble groundwork with his bass. He may not look like it, standing in the same position through every song, but this cool cat can keep the rhythm section brooding away.

Let me tell ya greasers and chicks, Girl Trouble is not to be messed with or overlooked. These cats know how to please a crowd, keep you involved and just plain-ass play some incredibly groovy rock 'n' roll!

Please give me a little background about the band: members and instruments, where you are from, when you started, personnel changes, influences...

K.P. Kendall: The band Girl Trouble is made up of Bon Von Wheelie on drums, her brother Bill (a.k.a. Kahuna) on electric guitar, Dale (formerly Buddy Love) on bass guitar and me, K.P. Kendall on vocals and occasional saxophone. I was born in Spokane, Washington. My family moved to Tacoma when I was one year old. The rest of the gang are true-blue Tacomans but I feel as if I am too since I have basically lived here all of my life.

[ tacoma's finest ]

The band was officially started in February of 1984. We played our first real gig at a Battle of the Bands in a local community college. Bill had built a guitar in high school shop class. He was into the Ramones and always dreamt of being in a rock band. I met him in December of 1980 at the Java Jive. There were only a few kids that we were aware of that were into new wave, rock and punk. About a dozen or so of us kind of bonded together and just hung out a lot at the mall and went to shows up in Seattle drinking and partying or getting into trouble.

Eventually in the summer of 1983, Bon bought a $75 drum at a Sears surplus store. She thought while Bill was messing around she might as well give him a backbeat to play over. After rehearsing several covers they conned Dale, Bill's high school buddy who already had a bass guitar, to join in on the fun. This made the duo a trio but singing and playing at the same time proved difficult for Bill and a fourth body was needed. After much coaxing I was brought on board and a rock group was officially formed. We played a couple house parties for our friends before taking it to the next and scariest level, "Professional Entertainment." In February of the very next year we signed up for the local Battle of the Bands, but we needed a name. We jotted down several ideas and at the last minute shortly after submitting our entry tape to qualify, decided on "Girl Trouble."

After about a year and a half of playing gigs in and around the Puget Sound area, particularly Olympia at an awesome club called the Tropicana, I decided that this was not for me and informed the group that I wanted out. It wasn't pretty but the rest of the band was certainly not as ready to call it quits as I was and since things were really starting to cook they decided that a new singer was in order. After going over their various possible choices, they decided on David Duet who had moved up to Seattle from Austin, Texas. (You may also know him from other groups such as Cat Butt and his current group, Bottle of Smoke.) He brought a real Southern and unpredictable element to the group, which paid off for the band because the whole "cow punk" thing was really starting to make waves in the underground. Fortunately for me his entire tenure with the band was only a little over a year--due mostly to various musical differences between him and the rest of the band, plus his strong desire to sacrifice practice for the latest kegger didn't fly well with everyone else. At about the same time this was going on I had decided quitting was not what I wanted to do and somehow it was agreed that David would leave amicably and I would return. The year was now 1986. The lineup has never changed again and I have been back in the group for so long now I sometimes forget I even left.

[ soundcheck or full house? ]

"Intoxicating Criminal Die Cast Cool" mp3

As far as influences go, musically there are just too many to name. When we started out we played all covers because we didn't feel that we were ready to write at that time (hey, we could barely play our instruments!) and when we made small attempts it wasn't really that worthy. Doing covers by (no link) The Standells or (no link) The Collins Kids back then was pretty much unheard of in our area, even in Seattle. Doing covers--period--was definitely frowned upon unless you did them as a joke. We were very uncool. Our whole mindset for a rock band was to entertain and put on a show and that wasn't what was happening when we started out. The U-Men were about the only other band that we really respected locally and we appreciated what they were doing. Just about every band we knew of in the "scene" was playing hardcore. We were real tired of that; it was so one-dimensional. There were only a handful of bands doing that type of music that were any good at it and even they were moving on or breaking up. We really liked the music of The Cramps and Gun Club. Bon grew up in the '60s and she was really into a lot of that old British Invasion rock and psychedelic stuff. She had turned Bill on to that stuff as a kid. He and Dale and I had really gotten into all the punk and new wave music, bands like The Ramones, The Clash, and The Revillos. When we first started playing in Bon's parent's shed, we learned a lot of Cramps songs or things we knew or thought that we could play that fit right, like "Gonna Find a Cave" or "Rumble." Even then, songs like "Rumble" or "Steppin' Out" were not real well known by our peers. Musically we all listen to so much different stuff. We never resign ourselves to listening to one type of music. Both Bon and I really enjoy R & B and soul and not just the old stuff but a lot of the current-day songs too. Bill really digs a lot of the Britpop music from several years ago. We have varied and somewhat eclectic tastes for the type of music we play. That coupled with our unanimous hunger for good and bad television and film makes for great musical inspiration.

What is it like being from Tacoma from a band standpoint and what, in your view, is different about Seattle and Tacoma musically? Why didn't you move to Seattle as a band?

Bon Von Wheelie: We've gotten this question for years and we are always amazed by it. Tacoma is 35 miles from Seattle. If we actually did have any kind of late breaking band emergency happening in Seattle it would take about 45 minutes to get there. We go to clubs in Seattle, we go to parties in Seattle, we have good friends in Seattle but we don't feel it is a necessity to live there. After all, we're right down the street. The way we've overdeveloped this area, in a few years Tacoma, Olympia and Everett will only be thought of as suburbs of Seattle anyway.

The Seattle/Tacoma thing has always been difficult even in the old days of shipping and logging. We always say that culture in Seattle could mean a night at the Seattle Symphony but culture in Tacoma is wrestling at the Tacoma Dome. It's just a working class town with working class people, probably like Liverpool and London were back in the '60s--and still are, I'm sure. I think it may have more to do with the attitude toward the music than the music itself.

[ who hasn't been influenced by the clash ]

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