By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Berg’s breathy vocals and the band’s dreaminess have earned comparisons to Blondie. Though flattered, Berg, who is currently listening to My Bloody Valentine, Spaceman Three, Spiritualized and “medieval sounding folk music” like Linda Perhacs and Vashti Bunyan, wants to clarify that she can’t hit Debbie Harry’s high notes, but “wishes” she could.
Berg, who writes all the lyrics and currently dates the bass player of an unnamed platinum-selling band, explains that most of her songs are “hate songs” written about “being hurt by other people.” But recently she wrote her first “love song, or ode if you will,” for a girl whom she coyly describes as a “great, great, friend.”
The band began when Thomas family moved to L.A. from England and Froom’s moved here from Marin County and they found themselves essentially each other’s only allies amid L.A.’s daunting landscape of privileged teens. Together, the two transplants started doing what they had wanted to do for years: play music. Berg’s dad heard they were looking for a singer and suggested his daughter, who had been in her room writing songs since she was 12 or 13.
When Froom and Thomas heard the eerily mature Berg play and sing her songs, they knew they wanted her in the band. That first night, they jammed (or, “attempted to jam,” Berg corrects, referring to their limited skills at the time) and “stayed up late listening to Nico.” Eventually the three new friends and soon-to-be bandmates crashed on Berg’s bed.
“That’s the good thing about being in a band with all girls,” says Berg. “You get to sleep in the same bed and cuddle. It’s nice.”
Miko MikaCan you hear me now? Mika Miko party out of bounds.
Part X-Ray Spex, Part B-52’s,part New York Dolls, the five members of Mika Miko pogo onstage in their friends’ underwear while the two lead singers, 18-year-old Jenna Thornhill and 20-year-old Jennifer “Victor” Clavin, sing into microphones that have been rigged into a phone receiver by tech-head Clavin, who also plays guitar and keyboards.
Clavin shares a Highland Park apartment with Thornhill, who sometimes plays saxophone or keyboards. The others, including Clavin’s 17-year-old bass-playing little sister, Jessie, and her 18-year-old drummer/boyfriend, Jerik Edrosa, still live at home. Guitarist Michelle Suarez, 19, has a job at a juice bar in the Northridge mall, helps build airplane parts for her dad’s business, and wants to go to “hair school in Alhambra” after she comes back from a family trip to Argentina this summer.
The girls first saw Edrosa on a Silver Lake bus. “He had a nice, clean-combed Mohawk,” they explain almost in unison. “He looked superpunk.”
Later that night, they approached him at Headline Records on Melrose, and soon he was in the band.
Their songs “are about the dumbest things,” explains Suarez. Like “Tighty Liberace,” which she wrote for her pet chinchilla of the same name.
They have played more than 30 shows, usually with their friends’ bands like Hello Astronaut, Goodbye Television or Wives.
Mika Miko credits its success in large part to Dean Spunt, the 22-year-old singer and bass player of the L.A. band Wives. Spunt, who, along with all of the members of Mika Miko, volunteers at the Smell, was the first person to introduce the band to the all-ages club and its owner, Jim Smith.
It’s also Spunt’s indie label, Post Present Medium — which he funds by working both as a bike messenger and at Vegan Express on Ventura Boulevard — that will release Mika Miko’s first 7-inch this summer.
Mika Miko once saw a band at the Smell eat its “own shit and piss.”
Well, they’re not sure if it was real, “but it looked real,” says Clavin.
“My shrink’s husband directed Full House,” she says. “Oh yeah, Full House.”
They all love Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Cure, the Slits, Johnny Thunders, Television, MC5, the New York Dolls, Velvet Underground, Free Kitten, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Band, Blondie and Richard Hell. And they all like riding bikes.
Thornhill says their target audience members are “anyone who dances,” but they love it if there are “a bunch of 12-year-olds and 16-year-old Goth chicks” at their shows.
Their best show was when they got kicked out of Spaceland because they asked for virgin piña coladas. Being underage, “We were not allowed to go anywhere but the stage and the back room,” explains Thornhill, who during the day says she “sleeps a lot” and “looks for jobs.”