Dum Things

Dee-Dee Penny and her Dum Dum Girls make ’60s girl group inspired pop tunes mired in a murky lo-fi haze that makes your head hurt in a nice way. The band’s debut album, I Will Be, is a fun collection of songs about tough girly shit.

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May 1 2010, 12:00am
Photo by Tyson Wirtzfield
Dee-Dee Penny and her Dum Dum Girls make ’60s girl group inspired pop tunes mired in a murky lo-fi haze that makes your head hurt in a nice way. The band’s debut album, I Will Be, is a fun collection of songs about tough girly shit, like having obsessive friends who steal your style and wanting to knife them over it. We caught up with Dee-Dee on the phone. Like most of the best girls we know, she mostly chatted (excitedly) about clothes and Courtney Love.

Vice: Hi Dee Dee. Where are you speaking from?
Dee-Dee:
I am in LA. I just finished rehearsing.

Hey, that’s your mum on the album cover, right?
Yeah, she’s on the cover of the album and on the cover of the EP. One is a photo of her in 1968 and the other is her in 1972.

Your mum is pretty. Do you have any more photos of her for future releases?
I don’t know, we’ll see—I mean, we have a lot of photos of her in her youth having fun. She was kind of shocked and embarrassed that I would put her high school senior portrait on the cover of the EP.

Your debut came out about three minutes ago, but have you already started thinking about the next album?
Oh yeah! I’ve got quite a few songs, but I think I’d like to put out an EP first. Not soon-soon but, I don’t know, in the next 6 or 7 months. This one was crazy and very anti the normal way you would record an album, so next time it’s gonna be bigger in the sense that we’re gonna go into an actual studio and stuff. I don’t know how different it will be though—for any song I write, I still try to make it instantly memorable, just a catchy pop song.

What was the coolest album you ever found in your mum’s record collection?
My mother had this amazing first pressing of Rubber Soul, which I didn’t really appreciate when I was 12. But it’s pretty exciting when I look at it now.

Jesus, why hasn’t she sold it yet?
She didn’t have that much money when she was in high school or college so she would save up and buy whatever record was really important to her. So it means she has like every Beatles record, every Stones record, every Jefferson Airplane record...

The only records my parents owned were by Julio Iglesias. And the soundtrack to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
My dad had a Julio record too. He loved vocalists.

What’s the best thing you’ve purchased lately?
Um… Oh, I had a pretty epic day of vintage shopping in Austin recently and I dropped all my leftover birthday money. I bought my first ever pair of leather shorts. They’re very short rock ’n’ roll leather shorts. Oh, and a very bizarre, over-the-top, black goth mini dress. Those were two great additions to my wardrobe.

Speaking of clothes stuff, who’s your style icon?
It depends! I have a few that I tend to mish-mash for inspiration. I like Siouxsie Sioux, Nico and Marianne Faithful, and then maybe Mary Weiss from The Shangri-Las. But, you know, all rolled into one.

What posters were on your bedroom wall growing up?
Um, I believe I had a Hole poster. Hole was the only poster on my wall.

Have you heard the new Hole album?
No, I haven’t. In fact, I haven’t listened to Hole in a really, really long time. I played out their cassette tapes in about 6th or 7th grade. But I definitely thank Courtney Love for existing because she was one of my formative inspirations and one of the reasons that I play in a band now.

What happened to your bedroom walls after your Hole phase ended?
Well, then I got really into fashion photography so I covered them ceiling-to-floor in pages I’d just rip out of fashion magazines like W and Vogue and stuff to make a collage.

Sounds tiring.
Yeah, but I was a loner; I had a lot of spare time.

ROB MORAN
I Will Be and Jail La La 7" single are out now through Sub Pop/Stomp
 
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