September 2017


Shannon Shaw:
Front Woman For
Shannon And The Clams
Interview By: Shawn Stevenson

Shannon Shaw is the front woman for Shannon and the Clams. They are one of the coolest bands in the universe right now, and if you're unaware of them up to this point, this interview can serve as an introduction. They are based in Oakland, California and already have a massive following there.

The band also includes Cody Blanchard on guitar, Nate Mahan on drums, and Will Sprott on keyboards. Together, they combine a catchy mix of surf, doo-wop, garage, and 50's/60's pop with Shannon taking on vocals and bass guitar. Her buxom blonde stage presence rounds out their shows giving audiences a visual match to their classic but very original sound.

PUNK GLOBE: Thanks for doing the interview. You and the band just played Burger Boogaloo again. My friend, Stephanie, wanted to see you but she couldn't get anywhere near the stage. How was it? And have the crowds gotten bigger since the last time you played?

Shannon: Boogaloo was amazing. We have played every year since it was called Total Trash fest and was held in warehouses and each year is unique and fun, and yes crowds increase every year.

PUNK GLOBE: Are there future tour plans for the band? Maybe Texas?

Shannon: Always! We never stop. Just recorded a new album and don't know what we are doing with it yet but when it gets released we will certainly be all over Texas

PUNK GLOBE: You're inspired by 50's/60's pop songs. But you break those influences down and create a signature sound that's completely original. How were you inspired by those genres and how do you approach recording and playing live? Is there a conscious effort to make it original or does the process evolve naturally?

Shannon: Aw thanks! Yeah, that's the bulk of what I listened to as a little kid. My parents would only play the oldies station and sometime 80's country and 50's and 60's country. I think I always identified with the sincerity and emotion that the vocal stylings of that genre use. It doesn't matter what the lyrics are, it's all about the feelings that they convey. You can apply that feeling to whatever you're going through, at least that's what I've always done. I feel the same way about punk. I think these just worm their way into my writing. It's not concsious, just naturally occurring. The way I approach playing live is to always keep it genuine. I try and slip into the feeling I had when I wrote each song every time to keep it alive. I am very sensitive and empathetic and can spot someone who is sick of a song, or doing something half assed or feeling uninspired in an instant. I wanna make sure that people are getting the real experience every time we play, I want it to be real, energetic and alive.

Photo Credit: Dan Watkins

Photo Credit: Dan Watkins

PUNK GLOBE: Was there one song or record that you first heard when you were younger that made you want to be in a band?

Shannon: Seeing Desperate Teenage Love Dolls (a home made movie by Redd Kross) that shows a teen girl band playing punk music. IT was one of the first things I saw that had women my age doing something. They weren't super talented and it didn't matter. They were just being funny and fucking around and having fun. I think it was one of the first seeds that planted in my brain.

PUNK GLOBE: You come from a Mormon background. Do your parents support your music now? And was there anything you were restricted from musically when you were growing up?

Shannon: Yes, my parents support me NOW. They are no longer Mormon although a lot of the rest of my family are. I wasn't allowed to take any music lessons growing up although my brothers were. That was all my moms decisions. She to this day doesn't know why she did it, our guess is some internalized misogyny she struggled with. Mormons view women as the caretakers, the people behind the scene that silently take care of the men and children and make sure the home is good. Whenever I would beg to take music class and ask why the boys could and I couldn't her response was always "you don't need it." What is kind of ironic is my mother, although ex mormon, has always gone against the grain and rebelled when told she couldn't do something. I taught myself how to play and sing at age 24 without any help. So, although my mom was the one telling me no, I couldn't do it, I didn't need it, I rebelled (like she would) and did it myself. She is NOW very proud of me.

PUNK GLOBE: Your audiences are very involved. There's dancing and singing going on. Was that always the case from the beginning? And do they do that in all the cities you play?

Shannon: Most places we are totally lucky to have the sweetest most genuine fans. Most cities they dance but every now and then you encounter a place where you can tell there is a cultural difference and it's not a boogie town. A lot of places in the Netherlands people are very still, but the shows sell out so they must like it, right?

PUNK GLOBE: How is the scene in Oakland today? It's expensive to live there and y'all had that awful fire at Ghost Ship not too long ago. Sometimes tragedies bring people closer. It's important not to shut down in the face of adversity. Are people still thriving artistically?

Shannon: I would say absolutely yes. The Ghost Ship fire has been so insanely sad for everyone here and I think it really has brought people closer. Lot's of amazing music is coming out. People are appreciating people and starting new bands and making incredible art. The only positive that came out of that is awareness and love for one another and realization that life really is too short. There is so much completion of projects, new ones beginning etc, etc. I think people thought it would weaken the scene but it's made it tighter and more diverse and more loving.

PUNK GLOBE: What new local bands and artists are you currently into at the moment?

Shannon: Blush, Dick Stusso, Blank Square, Beatniks, Once and Future Band, Marinero, Emotional.

PUNK GLOBE: What inspired the song Rip Van Winkle? The video is awesome even though you're not even in it.

Shannon: That song is about my dad. It's very personal, but it's sort of about him becoming very depressed when I was young and giving up and me and my brothers taking care of him for the last several years. He is/was so capable and interesting, a survivalist, a firefighter, a history buff and a really involved father. It feels like he fell asleep like Rip Van Winkle and just needs to be woken up. It's funny, no one has ever asked me what that song means before. I was always afraid that someone would ask and I'd be too afraid to be honest.

PUNK GLOBE: I read an interview where you said that you were being harassed by some jocks in Alabama. You ended up kicking some ass FOR REAL. Are there regional places where you find people struggle with the image and sound of the band? Or is that kind of trouble rare?

Shannon: That trouble is rare, where it turns violent. I will not allow someone to degrade me and will always defend myself and others whenever I can. That brawl was a nightmare of a situation and although it was scary and I hated it I would do it all over again . We are lucky to be generally treated with the utmost respect but every now and then you run into a real piece of shit. More than anything I will get sexually harassed (usually someone trying to touch my boobs or has something disrespectful to say that they don't realize is which immediately gets shut down.) We are easy targets and unapologetically ourselves at all times and will remain to be so for as long as we live. I'm sure that bothers some normies and some internet trolls but I'm proud to be who I am and have come this far and gotta try hard not to focus on negative creeps.

PUNK GLOBE: What about your other projects? You have a band called Valley Boy and Cody has a band, Mannequin. Will there be more from these two projects in the near future?

Shannon: Valley Boy is a fun band I do between Clams tours with Gary from King Tuff and Sarah Beth Nelson and Joel from One and Future band and Joey from Emotional. It's definitely more 70's and kinda country and laid back. We just recorded an EP and don't have any plans other than keep it fun. Everyone in the band is soooo busy with our other projects it's nice to blow off steam with side stuff.

PUNK GLOBE: What about a new Clams record. Anything planned for that?

Shannon: We recorded one this winter and are trying to figure out what to do with it!

PUNK GLOBE: Does the band have a website for people to buy your merch?


shop.shannonandtheclams.com I package everything myself!

PUNK GLOBE: Thanks for doing the interview! Any last words for our readers?

Shannon: If you wanna do it you can and you should!!!!