The Fabulous
By: Ginger Coyote
Having been a long time of the fabulous Nikki Corvette! I finally worked up enough nerve to ask her for an interview.. We had a mutual fiend with Jonathan Paley so I figured I would ask her... Nikki most graciously agreed to do the interview. I hope you all enjoy.... Niki is a sweetheart!!!
Punk Globe: Is it true that you started Nikki and The Corvettes after your Mom told you that you could not go to a MC5 show?
Nikki: Well the MC5 were one of the first bands I ever saw and have always been a hugh influence on me, here's what really happened (and inspired a song I wrote with Travis Ramin 'Diary of a Rock'n'Roll girl'). I think I was 16 and wanted to go see The MC5 and my mom told me no so I ran away from home so I could see them, totally worth it!!!
Punk Globe: Detroit has always had some of the best music.. Who were some of your favorite bands?
Nikki: There have been so many over the years. Of course I grew up on the MC5 and The Stooges but the early Punk scene was amazing. The Ramrods, Destroy All Monsters, The Traitors (Don Was before he 'was'), Sonic's Rendezvous, Cult Heroes, The Romantics, Reruns even some classic rock like The Rockets. I could go on forever, someone (maybe me) needs to release a compilation so everyone can hear all these great bands!!
Punk Globe: Have you always lived in Detroit?
Nikki: Born and raised in the actual city of! I spent a little time in NYC in 77 going to acting school but I spent all my time going to shows and clubs cuz that was an awesome time in the NY Rock scene so I moved back to Detroit (a real theme in my life) and decided music was for me. One of the greatest things about growing up in Detroit, besides the 'attitude' was the fact that in the 70's and 80's, every band in the world played here, it really was Detroit Rock City as well as Motown and I was hungry for it. Whether I liked them or not, if it was a remotely rock'n'roll show I was there and it was one of the greatest musical educations you could get. I started seeing shows around 72 and haven't stopped. I also have moved to LA 3 times in 79, 82 and 83 (that time was until 2005) and a year in Vegas.
Punk Globe: Tell us how you found the other girls to form Nikki and The Corvettes?
Nikki: The band started out as Nikki Corvette and The Convertibles in March 78 (got the name from Rikki Corvette -Sylvain and then cars were just a natural extension), it was me and 3 guys. Pete James (guitar) and Bob Mulrooney (drums, later became Bootsey X) were from The Ramrods (really awesome Detroit punk band) and Skid Marx (bass) from the band Flirt. It happened accidently, really!, when Skid booked a show for a band that didn't really exist (me and Pete had been writing songs). We all learned the songs on our own and the first time we played together was our first show, no rehearsal. I hadn't even sung in a mic until soundcheck but the place was packed, the show was crazy and fun and messy and pretty punk! After that we got booked for the next 3 months without even one rehearsal. The band was always me and Pete James but we went through several rhythm sections then started looking for some backup singers because we wanted to be the Shangri Las meets the Ramones. Had put out our first 45 'Young and Crazy' on our own within six months, found our girls, shortened the name to Nikki and The Corvettes and never looked back. knew bands all over the world so I would ask for help setting up shows and we played all over the Midwest, East Coast, down South and Canada. Never had a booking agent or tour manager, completely DIY (before we knew what that was). We got some good press, great crowds and a nice following and caught Greg Shaw's attention in early 79 (imagine that!!!)
Punk Globe: In what year did you sign with Bomp Records?
Nikki: We went to LA and had a few meeting with Greg and signed with Bomp in April of 79. Our first release was a rockabilly 45 called 'Honey Bop', recorded at Rolling Rock Records with Ronnie Weiser and then we did some recording with the Kessel Brothers (I think that only came out on one of the Rodney Bingeheimer records but could be wrong, some of it was never released). Greg kept trying us with different producers but we finally went back to Detroit and recorded it there. It was produced by Pete James.
Punk Globe: Did you tour alot after the release of your record Nikki and The Corvettes?
Nikki: We toured all the time!!!
Punk Globe: Were you signed to Bomp during the same time that Bebe Buell released "Covers Girl" ?
Nikki: I'm not sure when that came out but we were with Bomp until sometime in the early 80's. We did sing backups on some songs she recorded in Detroit that were never released
Punk Globe: Who were some of the bands that you played with back then?
Nikki: We played with The Ramones, B Girls, Sonic's Rendezvous, The Boyfriends (NY), Gang War (Johnny Thunders and Wayne Kramer), The Motels, Romantics, Real Kids, Suburbs, Hypstryz, etc.
Punk Globe: You also had a high profile romance with one of the guys in The Romantics. Do you care to elaborate
Nikki: Pete James was in The Romantics for a minute, he was my boyfriend when I was 16 but by the time we started the band, it was friends only although his girlfriend after me was Corvettes backup singer Lori Jeri and Wally from The Romantics was Corvettes backup singer Kristy Kay's boyfriend. Also earlier singer Sally Dee from the Honey Bop 45 was going out with Steve Allen from 20/20. Here's a funny story, me, Lori and Kristy went to see the Romantics and 20/20 in Detroit and took some photos after the show that have never been seen because all the guys were worried about what their girlfriends would think and there was nothing going on except super short skirts, tight t-shirts and high heels!!
Punk Globe: Did you ever tour with The Romantics?
Nikki: Did a bunch of shows in Detroit area but never toured
Punk Globe: You were also very popular when Josie Cotton released "Johnny Are You Queer". Did you ever meet or play together?
Nikki: I never met or played with Josie until the Radio Heartbeat Power Pop Festival in NY I think March 2007. She did a special guest appearance with The Stingrays and we sang 'Johnny Are You Queer' and 'Girls Like Me' and we also did a live performance on WFMU. We did a show with us, Josie and The Little Girls in LA a couple months later
Punk Globe: A critic described your album as power pop perfection... That Nikki and The Corvettes were the link between The Ronettes and The Ramones? Tell me how you felt after reading that?
Nikki: That ones easy since I never heard that before but OMG seriously! That is absolutely who we wanted to be and it often felt like people didn't get it, we were a punk rock "girl group" but too cute and bubbly for some of the punks and too punky for alot of the power pop/ more mainstream rest of the world, we really were bubblegum punk!!! That totally made my day!!!
Punk Globe: I know you were pals with The Ramones.. Did you ever meet Ronnie Spector?
Nikki: Although I've met and gotten to actually hang out with one of my other idols Mary Weiss from The Shangri Las, I sadly have never met Ronnie although I have come close and believe I'll get to meet her in the future. Hint Hint those of you who know her and could introduce me!!!
Punk Globe: I have been listening to alot of your work on You Tube.. Very good! When did the band play their last show?
Nikki: Thanks! Actually, I'm not sure when the last show was but probably in 84, LA or Detroit
Punk Globe: Did you sing with any other bands after Nikki and The Corvettes broke up?
Nikki: I did, for awhile there was a total rockabilly version of the band with a really cool unreleased EP 'Rockabilly Doll' and then I had a band called Babylon in the mid 80's. I did alot of recording with different people, singing backups, etc
Punk Globe: How long was it before you made your shall we say "comeback" to music?
Nikki: Well as far as performing live it was about 15 years but I was doing music until probably 87 or 88. I also wrote a book called "Rock n Roll Heaven" that was published in 97 about dead rock stars, how they died and where they were buried. So still involving music
Punk Globe: In what year did Bomp reissue of your Nikki and The Corvette's album?
Nikki: The reissue came out in 2000 and it also included the 3 songs from our first single in 78 and an unreleased single from 82 with the songs 'Girls Like Me' and 'I Gotta Move'. That was the beginning of 'comeback'. I had been hearing all these girl band doing Corvette's covers and there were even tribute bands and a planned tribute record that was never finished and girl bands kept tracking me down and talking about how much i had inspired them. I started doing alot of interviews and Kim from Scram magazine asked me to play a short set at the Bubblegum Ball, maybe 2001? Anyway, got hooked up with this young all-girl band called The Pinkz from LA and as soon as we started playing I remembered how much I love playing and have been playing since then.
Punk Globe: I still miss Greg Shaw. I met him on several occasions but got to know him better through Paige, lead singer of The Darlings? What are some of your fond memories of Greg?
Nikki: I used to love Greg Shaw, we were so excited and honored to be on Bomp. We spent many nights playing records and talking music all night but there was a falling out and we didn't speak for many years so we'll leave it at that. I love that Bomp reissued the album and I owe them and Greg alot.
Punk Globe: I understand that you are quite an inspiration to The Donna's?
Nikki: I had heard about the Donnas from Tina and Russell from The Bobbyteens and someone sent me a copy of one of their early Japanese singles and the Corvettes album is on the wall and then I heard 'Gimme My Radio' with the "I wanna be like Nikki Corvette" line and I was floored. I had talked to them on the phone and finally got to meet them about 5 or 6 years ago, very kindred spirits. It was pretty cool to do some East Coast shows with them early last year, we had a lotta fun!!!
Punk Globe: In what year did you start Nikki and The Stingrays? Who was in the band with you?
Nikki: I started doing shows with Travis Ramin (Fevers) and Georgia Peach (Short Fuses) in 2003. Travis, who I had never met, somehow convinced to come play his punk festival in Minneapolis. Had one rehearsal with the band (including Brian from The Fevers) and they were great, it was an awesome, fun show. Travis is very persuasive and he started calling me and we wrote a couple songs over the phone, recorded the 'Love Me' single, first release since 1980 and it got rave reviews, we started doing mini-tours (they were based in Minneapolis and I was in LA, then we went to Japan and it was the best time of my life at that point. We continued doing mini-tours and in 2005, after our second Japanese tour they decided to officially start a band with Travis now on guitar (he was originally the drummer), Georgia on bass (she was originally just a backup singer) and Johnny O'Halloran on drums.
Punk Globe: You released music as Nikki and The Stingrays.. Tell us about it?
Nikki: Before the Stingrays, I released 2 Japanese records 'Wild Record Party 1 and 2, basically some of my favorite covers. In 2006, The Stingrays released 'Back To Detroit' and 'Rebellious Love Emergency', another Japan only release
Punk Globe: Tell me about teaming up with another music sensation Jonathan Paley?
Nikki: He and I have been 'friends' for years and we sang 'Love Is Strange' by Mickey and Sylvia on 'Wild Record Party' and have talked about doing another duet in the future.
Punk Globe: Do you have any website addresses for the readers to get updates on you?
Nikki: I have a website but its kind of under construction, the best way to get updates right now is facebook, Nikki Corvette.
Punk Globe: How did you meet Amy Gore? How did you decide to start The Gorvettes?
Nikki: I met Amy at a Gore Gore Girls show in LA in 2004 (I think), we were introduced by a mutual friend and my most favorite photographer Robert Matheu. We hit it off and exchanged numbers and started hanging out when I moved back to Detroit (see I told you it was a theme!!). I sang some backups on her album 'Get The Gore' and we talked about writing some songs together so I brought her the lyrics to 'Lustfully Yours' in early 2008 and as we were working on the song we got to talking about wanting to do a punk cover band and Gorevette was born. At the time it was basically a side project for both of us, something fun, easy, no hard work, no stress and then....we wrote some songs, recorded the Lustfully Yours EP with special guest Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman) playing guitar on a couple songs. We released the recod in January 2010, opened for some cool bands, did the East Coast with The Donnas in March, did a Japanese tour in April and did about 10 shows opening for Blonie during August, September and October.
Punk Globe: You done some noteworthy tours... Tell us who you have toured with?
Nikki: Blondie, Ramones, Donnas... I've gone on the road with a few bands as well but that's a whole other story....
Punk Globe: What is on the horizon for 2011?
Nikki: The band is taking a little time off but we have some really cool tour options coming up and we're writing new songs, Working on going to back to both coasts, Europe and back to Japan, who knows what's coming next. We never expected a year like 2010 so we'll just see where 2011 takes us!
Punk Globe: Thanks so much for the interview Nikki . You Rawk Girl!!
Nikki: Thank you so much Ginger!!!