"Meeting in the Ladies Room" ... "The Men All Pause" ... "I Miss You"
CHERYL "UNRULEY" COOLEY
Interview by Lucy Hell for Mystery Island Publicaitons: June 2008
Lucy: The current lineup of Klymaxx is the same as the Unruley Cooley band?
Lucy: That's awesome. “Where is the Sunshine” is a favorite on Mystery Island ...
Please introduce the most kickass “girl” band in the world:
Danielle Mims: vocals, Lisa Brown: vocals, LaToya Buchanan: vocals, Amy Crittenden: drums, Vicki Abe: keyboard, and Cheryl Cooley on guitar.
Lucy: What happened with the previous crew? Did all those other women turn into drama divas and rock star bitches, or what?
Cheryl: When I was approached to put the original band back together, the girls told me all kinds of excuses as to why it wouldn’t work: “I got too many kids. We’re too old. It’s not going to work. Who’s going to want to hire us …” So I pressed ahead anyway, hoping they would change their minds, after they saw I would have done most of the work. But that didn’t happen and as you say “they became drama divas.”
I was very disappointed, but I still wanted to be a musician. Do I stop for them, or do I continue to express the talent I have been blessed with? I just performed at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA for more than 10,000 fans. I think I choose to express my talent no matter the opposition.
Lucy: Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s learn more about Cheryl. When did you start playing the guitar? Who/what influenced you to pick up that instrument?
Cheryl: My sister was married to a jazz musician by the name of Hubert Laws. One day while he was on the road, he & my sister were staying at my mom’s house and I began to play my toy guitar and my sister said to my mom, “Hey, why don’t we get Cheryl guitar lessons?” Now, if you read some stuff on Google, it will say Hubert taught me how to play guitar. That is not so. But he was encouraging. As far as influences, well, in Hubert’s circle there was George Benson, that was my first exposure, but do I play anything of his or like him -- NO. Funk, baby, it’s in my soul! I learned from 70’s Funk. I had a High School teacher that taught me everything about Music theory I could absorb and went on to get a College degree in Commercial Music.
Lucy: “This is so Crazy” is one of the coolest songs I’ve heard in a long time. We're going to let our readers get a taste of that one right now ...
That song should be getting heavy rotation on the airwaves. You have such an incredible range, at times invoking Carlos Santana or Jimi Hendrix. What kind (make/model) of guitar do you play?
Cheryl: I thank you for the comparison, I am honored. They are the Greats, I just play what I feel. I play a Fender Squire Telecaster on stage, a Valley Arts Custom Pro as a stage backup, and an Esteban acoustic guitar from that guy with sun glasses on TV. I carry a Brownsville mini guitar in my car at all times, and at home in my “alone time” I play a Gibson Les Paul I’ve had since High School. For the tech heads: I prefer a Roland JC120 amplifier and I use a Boss GT8 processor.
Lucy: The music on the radio right now sounds like it’s all made with the same set of cookie cutters. How is Klymaxx different?
Cheryl: Klymaxx has always made music from the ground--up. Meaning, not using music from somewhere or someone else, but writing and recording from individual creativity. A composer must listen from within not from without.
Lucy: Give us some insight on what it was like to be an all female band making hits in the 80s, anyone try to hold you back?
Cheryl: Yes. The success of Klymaxx was not an overnight success story. We were told no one wanted to hear a bunch of girls playing instruments. OR: What if you all get pregnant?
But when decision-makers at a record company finally took a chance on us and we had the right type of music to come out with, it was a magical time in the 80s to have a hit record. It was a dream come true; a dream I had even before I started playing guitar.
Lucy: What’s the craziest fan letter you’ve ever received?
Cheryl: What’s crazy, is that I’m still receiving them. Even if it’s by email as opposed to U.S. mail like back-in-the-day. I so appreciate the acknowledgement and the admiration from the fan letters.
Lucy: Tell us a funny/wild Klymaxx concert story:
Cheryl: Well, you know how women have thrown their panties on stage at the guy bands? Well, we had a male fan throw his Fruit-of-the-Loom briefs up on stage at us.
Lucy: Ha, I wonder how he got them off. That's so funny. Did you keep them as a trophy? Nevermind, don't answer that! Give us an update on the latest Klymaxx/Unruley Cooley recordings:
We have recently signed a Management deal with Buzz Willis and Central Entertainment Group in New York. We are on a Freestyle Explosion tour that started in June on through October, with more dates to come. We have recorded music that we wanted to play and express with the Unruley Cooley project as well as new music coming out soon, and we’re having fun!
Lucy: Are you still “meeting” in the ladies room?
Cheryl: Yes, and aren’t you suppose to be there with us when we come to Sacramento in August? We’ll be waiting!!!
Lucy: You got that right. We'll be there for an action-packed follow up and review of the show. Locals take note, that show's at Arco Arena: August 16, 2008!
For more information on Klymaxx and Unruley Cooley, please see the following websites: