This weekend, The Vivian Girls play their very last shows ever. Their band was born in Brooklyn, so it’s fitting that they’re going to wrapping things up, there, too, with a pair of shows: one Saturday at Death By Audio and one Sunday at Baby’s All Right.
The Vivian Girls: Katy “Kickball Katy” Goodman, Cassie Ramone, and Ali Koehler (originally Frankie Rose) were a big part of Brooklyn’s now officially 100% dead DiY scene. Silly, punky, approachable, enjoyable, and strangely super appealing to young teenagers, the band was the absolute best of what Brooklyn had to offer in those days (2007 ~ 2010). The picture on their Wikipedia page is from Market Hotel, for god’s sake.
The band hasn’t put out a record in almost three years, so their official breakup doesn’t really pack much of a surprise, but is still sad. They’re all moving on to other things: Goodman with her project La Sera, Ramone with The Babies, and Koehler with a solo career. Time marches on, sunrise, sunset, cat’s in the cradle, etc.
In advance of the closing of this chapter, we caught up with Goodman and Ramone to ask them to tell us about some of their favorite memories from the band’s seven years. Read on for wild animals in Thailand, sobbing on cruise ships, a guest appearance by a still-likable Thurston Moore, and other stuff!
FAVE VID: “Tell The World”
Katy Goodman: “Tell The World” was our first music video. The shot at the end of it, where we’re all in the woods, and there’s people in costumes, that was shot basically in my parents’ back yard. We piled a bunch of our best friends from Brooklyn into cars and drove them out to New Jersey.
Cassie Ramone: I remember driving there from Brooklyn, and I was in the front seat of Katy’s car sitting on someone’s lap for the whole drive. It was really annoying and I was in a lot of pain – it’s like an hour-long drive.
KG: We set up all these lights in the woods by my parents’ house. I remember the neighbors coming out and being like, what the hell is going on out here?
CR: And then, afterwards, we just hung out at Katy’s parent’s house.
KG: We ordered a bunch of pizzas and my parents met all my Brooklyn friends. It was a really great night.
CR: We got to be part of the Bruise Cruise, which is this cruise with a bunch of garage rock bands from New York to the Bahamas. We played at Senor Frog’s in the Bahamas and we covered “My Heart Will Go On” because we thought it would be funny. There’s a video of it on the internet somewhere.
KG: We definitely partied a lot. It’s kind of like summer camp for grown-ups, because you’re in small quarters with people you know.
CR: It was definitely a very debaucherous time. And then I remember I went to the second one, which was like a year later. It wasn’t as much fun the second year. I just remember being there, and Karen O was there, and that was really cool, then I heard Whitney Houston died and I got really sad and cried in the corner. It was weird.
BIG IN ASIA
KG: We got to go to Japan twice. It came together in a cool way. We got asked to go to Japan with The Black Lips, so we said yes. But we already had a month-long European tour booked. And there was a week off between them. So, we’d be going to Japan, then we’d fly home, then like five days later fly to Europe. I remember we were in the car one day, and being like, that’s silly. Let’s just stay over there and fly to Europe from the other direction. So we found these wonderful people in Hong Kong that put on a show for us, and Fiona, our drummer, had friends of friends in Thailand, and they had friends who owned an art gallery and said we could play a show there. So, that was a very DiY show. So we booked flights to Thailand, stayed on this tiny island like two hours away from Bangkok for a few days, met all these wild puppies. It was wonderful. They were a-dorable.
CR: We got to go to Japan twice!
KG: A lot of my favorite Vivian Girls memories are from like 2007, when we were play Death By Audio every week, and making a lot of friends in Brooklyn. It was such a magical time.
CR: When we opened for Sonic Youth in 2008, that was a pretty big deal for me. I was only like 22 or something, and Sonic Youth had been one of my favorite bands in high school. We were opening for them at Mccaren Pool, and we were all hanging out back stage and Thurston Moore was like, “Oh, yeah, I have your record,” and I was like “Whoa! that’s really crazy!” I got kind of nerdy. That was definitely a point where I was like, “Wow! Something’s happening with my life!”
KG:I remember, we flew to England on British Airways, and the magazine had a picture of us at Market Hotel, and this whole article about like, “Brooklyn DiY Warehouse Scene.” This was probably like 2008 or 2009. And I was just like, whoa, maybe this isn’t just a magical moment for us. Maybe it’s just a cool time to be in Brooklyn, in general.
KG: I never played kickball in Brooklyn. I went to college for a couple of months – RIT, Rochester Institute of Technology – and there was this kickball league that I was in. So, that became my nickname, because, you know, alliteration. Then I made it my AIM name. And then from there it stuck. Back then, you know, trade AIM names. And then when VG was starting, Cassie had a nickname, Cassie Ramone, and the fact that we both had these punk names was unrelated, but we both used them in the liner notes.
ALL ABOUT THE KIDS
CR: There was this great girl who wrote me this message on Tumblr that was one of the sweetest things I ever heard in my life. She was a high school student, just talking about how much my music means to her, and it was really touching and it made me like want to cry. I met her at this show in Dallas and we hung out and she was really cool and she made me this jean jacket, and it had all my favorite bands on it and it was so cool, the coolest jacket. I’ve never even worn it because I’m afraid to ruin it. Meeting her was a really touching experience for me.
When we were starting, we were just practicing in some shitty small practice space in Brooklyn, and we’re like, oh, we’ll just play some houses and like maybe go on tour. But having young girls say really nice things, it always makes me feel really good, because I was a really awkward and confused teenager. It feels good knowing that some people look at us in this positive way, and it maybe makes them feel better about being alive and being a weird teenager.