Scream­ing Fe­males ply punk

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Showtime - Palm Beach - - MUSIC - By Jessi Roti

“Sorry, I fell asleep in the van.”

Ah, the life of a lauded, tour­ing mu­si­cian whose band just re­leased its sev­enth al­bum — and is still keep­ing it DIY.

Marissa Pater­nos­ter, the voice and gui­tar-shred­ding mae­stro be­hind New Jer­sey punk trio Scream­ing Fe­males, called from the road to dis­cuss the group’s new LP, “All At Once” — an al­bum more than two years in the mak­ing.

“Not to wax po­etic on it, but this is all we know. We’ve all grown up mak­ing mu­sic in this band,” Pater­nos­ter says of the past 13 years of Scream­ing Fe­males. “Jar­rett (Dougherty, drum­mer) said one time that we’re like a shark — you have to keep swim­ming or you’ll die. We’re a self-man­aged, self-booked band that drives them­selves around, loads their own gear and makes all their own art. We do the best we can.”

Af­ter self-pro­duc­ing its de­but, “Baby Teeth,” in 2006, the trio hit the road — self-pro­duc­ing and re­leas­ing 2007’s fol­low-up, “What If Some­one is Watch­ing Their T.V.?” — be­fore sign­ing to Don Gio­vanni Records in 2009.

Since then, con­sis­tently thrilling stu­dio al­bums, live re­leases and per­for­mances have en­sued. The recipe Scream­ing Fe­males have been fol­low­ing works: cap­ture the big gui­tar sound and add pum­mel­ing drums, bass and Pater­nos­ter’s tow­er­ing vo­cals to swal­low the lis­tener whole. Why mess with a good thing? Am­bi­tion. Pro­duced by Matt Bayles (who also pro­duced 2015’s “Rose Moun­tain”) at the leg­endary Lon­don Bridge Stu­dio in Seat­tle, “All At Once” is a buf­fet of the genre’s best tricks — a mu­tated take on clas­sic pop-punk riffs (“I’ll Make You Sorry,” “Deeply”) and sin­ga­long melodies (“Bird in Space”). The band has slowed things down with­out los­ing any in­ten­sity, let­ting the tracks breathe be­fore the in­evitable crash.

“We didn’t re­ally talk about what en­gi­neer/ pro­ducer we were gonna use much,” she says of the de­ci­sion to work with Bayles again. “We were kind of just like, ‘Well, we had such a great ex­pe­ri­ence with Matt, we should just go with Matt again.’ Ev­ery­one was just kind of on board. He knows how to record loud bands.”

The rest re­mains a demo­cratic process, with ev­ery­one’s in­put equally im­por­tant to make sure each feels part of what was be­ing cre­ated — in­clud­ing which in­flu­ences they wanted to draw in­spi­ra­tion from.

While record­ing “All At Once” seemed to be equal parts work hard and play hard, Pater­nos­ter ac­knowl­edges that when the trio re­con­vened af­ter tak­ing a post-tour break, the thought of driv­ing around with friends, play­ing rock mu­sic and drink­ing beer seemed al­most rude.

It was af­ter the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, and the re­al­ity of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump seemed, as Pater­nos­ter puts it, “rat­tling.”

“It felt wrong for us to play mu­sic and have fun when there’s so much pain in the world,” she says. “There’s al­ways so much suf­fer­ing and pain, but it just seemed like a big mag­ni­fy­ing glass placed over that af­ter Trump was elected.”

So the band chose to bring bands from dif­fer­ent back­grounds on tour that are fronted by or in­clude non­bi­nary folks and mu­si­cians of color, and write lyrics to songs like “Step Out­side” and “My Body” that were more univer­sal so ev­ery­one could hear or see them­selves re­flected in them.

“We can cu­rate the re­al­ity we want to live in, where ev­ery­one is treated fairly and with the ut­most re­spect,” Pater­nos­ter says. “If you’re at a Scream­ing Fe­males show, you’re hope­fully go­ing to be in a pretty di­verse group of peo­ple.”


The Scream­ing Fe­males are Jar­rett Dougherty, from left, Marissa Pater­nos­ter and “King” Mike Ab­bate.

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