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Ginger Coyote Speaks One on One 

Meri St Mary
Meri St. Mary
Photo: Moshe Bracha

 Meri St, Mary and I have been close friends since the 80's and I was happy to hear that she was back performing live. She is busy preparing to release the long awaited "GIRLFIEND" the second Housecoat Project on Vinyl. The following interview covers questions about her early days in punk and what she has been doing since the band broke up.. It also spotlights on what Meri is currently doing.. I hope you enjoy!


Punk Globe: Thanks for the interview Meri. Can you give the readers some background about yourself? 
Tell us about what you did in LA?

Meri: well um I grew up there (except when we lived in a van in Europe) I got turned on to the Hollywood punk scene as a teenager and got exposed to alot of great music and art that was going on and was inspired to be in a band as a result of some very creative people I was friends with. There was alot of clubs that let teenage girls in, including the Masque, the Starwood, the Whiskey, the Hong Kong Cafe, Club 88, not to mention the parties. Stonefox Studio's in North Hollywood was a fun one. Ukranian Cultural Center somewhere in South Central. My favorite bands: The Wierdo's!!! , Screamers, Dickies, X, Castration Squad, Mau Mau's to name a few.

Punk Globe: You also worked with Janet Cunningham and her casting agency C.A.S.H. Tell us about some of your acting work..

Meri: I first heard about Janet when the Zero was on Cahuenga and Janet had her C.A.S.H. club next door - she was interesting and often let people crash at her space. Later we both lived at the "Chelsea West" (Western and Melrose) building that was mainly artists. At that time there was a thriving art scene in downtown LA and people would say things like "oh, we don't go west of western" - so we were right on the cusp. Alot of art going on in that building Mary Wornov was my next door neighbor. But I digress. Janet got alot of us punks work in videos, tv, movies, commercials. It was on one hand demeaning work as an extra you are the lowest life form just a piece of scenery. On the the other hand we were all usually friends doing the shoots and had alot of fun at the expense of the "serious" actors. I lived about two years getting jobs from Janet. I did everything from 20 bucks for a Ramones video to getting scale for some movie of the week. I remember having fun with Pat Smear , Nicky Beat and I doing goose stepping tango on Remington Steele.

Punk Globe: What were the happening clubs in Hollywood when you were playing?

Meri: I played the Cathay de Grande with Roadhog a couple times, really good bills as well (Roadhog was the band with Nicky Beat, Smog Vomit, Rhys Williams). With Toejam we played the Radio which was KK
(from the Screamers) club - we played there a few times and I believe Ice-T introduce us.

Club Lingerie was fun - Brendan Mullen was doing shows there and Janet did a night where she made red beans and rice and all these old soul bands from the south would play with the jerry curl and the capes. There was always The Zero whatever location it moved to. I had a great show at my apartment on Melrose and Western. There was the Paladium, the Palace. Also of mention is Vinyl Fetish which was a fabulous record store and the first place I ever met Iggy Pop.

Punk Globe:
What were some of your favorite bands to play with?

Meri: We played with Fear (I stayed sometimes in a house where Philo and his wife lived) - I believed we played with the Minutemen - the first Roadhog show was packed and we got a really good mention in the LA WEEKLY - it's been so long I can't remember all the bands.

Punk Globe: What prompted your move to San Francisco from L.A. where you were pretty well established?

Meri: umm, I had gone to SF as a kid in 69 and had a big feeling about how much I liked it. I went up with several bands (as friends) including the Dickies, the Circle Jerks, the Mau's Mau's. I loved SF and alot of the people I met and alot of the bands I saw. As a kid I had this recurring dream that I was in an old dusty apothecary store with shelves jam packed with jars filled with I didn't know what, then one day I was on Grant Street and I walked into this Chinese herbal shop and it was exactly what I had seen in my dreams. The smog and hot weather of LA I couldn't bear, the SF climate more to my liking. I felt alot of love from people, did alot of writing and art and spent time in coffee shops talking over theories and how we could change the world. I will say this, quite a few people got mad at me when I moved from LA to SF. The first time I went back to LA I opened the paper and there was something snotty written about me. I didn't want to hurt anyone or leave any bands high and
dry but I was on a personally detrimental track and needed to leave.

 HousecoatProject publicity sheet  

Punk Globe: Was Housecoat Project your first San Francisco or had you played with other people?

Meri: I use to sing backups for Frightwig, I played in the Skankin Babylonians with Snakefinger - I can't remember everyone I played with but Housecoat Project was the main band I was in from SF.

Punk Globe: Tell the readers how you came up with Housecoat Project for the bands name?

Meri: Well, that's funny, I was friends with these guys from East LA who had a band called the Stains. There were three young punky girls named Mary (I was Meri). Mary Red lived at the Canterbury, Mary Black went out with Robert (from the Stains) and then there was me, I always wore these housecoats from thrift stores over my little thrift store outfits, so those guys (Snickers, Ceaser, Sal, Robert) dubbed me "Housecoat" and it just stuck.

Punk Globe: Can you tell us who was in the band?

Meri: Eric Rad Yuncker (who apparently saw a picture of me in Punk Globe and said "I'm gonna be in a band with that girl") - he and I connected creatively as I wrote the poetry and he put music to it so we were the core then he had his Sound of Music, Rose & Thistle buddies Erol Cengiz and Michel Schorro who were the rythmn section of the band.

Punk Globe: After Erich's death did you want to quit playing with the band?

Meri: Well that was tragic and I mean unfortunately being around the scene for a long time I had experienced alot of death - his dying was probably the most interesting as he was playing guitar on stage at the Mab and then just collapsed. But I had also just found out that I was pregnant and felt it was important to move to the country and be healthy and concentrate on the birth of my son so it all sort of worked out in a weird way.

Punk Globe: How long did it take you to find Jay to replace Erich?

Meri: I think Montgomery was very young and you asked me to come play some Housecoat Project songs with your band which was actually Erol Michel and Jay (who I did not know) opening for Divine. I came down from Humboldt and did a few songs and Bruce stayed with Montgomery and evidently when I performed the songs all the guys said the hair on the back of their necks stood up and they knew they wanted to work with me.

Punk Globe: You also added a Sax Player to the band . Can you tell us about him?

Meri: Oh that would be Bob Sax. He came and jammed and just stayed. We all really liked him he added to the sound and was young and enthusiastic. I was a huge X-Ray Spex fan and love the sax in the mix. We also had cello playing with us, a girl who played bagpipes, Lemon did
harmonica, and violin. I was pretty open to adding new sounds to band. 


Punk Globe: How many releases did the Housecoat Project release?

Meri: We put out Wide Eye Doo Dat on Subterranean Records and it did well. We played the New Music Seminar in NYC and after that did a national tour (after doing a few up the west coast). We recorded and mixed a second album right after we got back off the road and Bruce and I basically produced it cuz everyone just came in and did their part and left. I'm very proud of this piece of work it's called "Girlfiend" and I am working with Steve Tupper from Subterranean Records to release it in the near future. Even after 20 years it still stands up.

Punk Globe: What are some special shows that stick out in your mind?

Meri: I loved playing the Pyramid in NY - I liked playing the Mab, the On Broadway, the I-Beam with Flipper when Bruce and I dosed everyone who came in. My favorite show was probably our record release party. We found a concrete slab in the parking lot of Grocery Outlet across the street from all the cab companies on Division. We got a generator and just played until the cops shut us down. There were birds flying, Mexican women with shopping carts full of kids and food and all the cab drivers on top of their cabs jumping up and down - it was fun. I also liked playing the first ever Folsom Street Fair. Touring you have alot of magical moments. I liked the Farm. We played with alot of really great bands. I liked the acoustic shows we did at the Albion. I'll probably remember all kinds of shows after I go home.

Punk Globe: What prompted the band to break up and what have you been doing since the band's break up?

Meri: Well we test pressed the album and I just sort of dropped the ball. I was a young mother trying to have a family, career and relationship and everything just sort or imploded. I raised my kid and was very
involved in his schooling. I started playing again in the 90's and am currently a broadcaster and am playing shows again and recording my first solo effort.

Punk Globe: I remember that White Trash Debutantes played at a H.E.A. R. Benefit for Kathy Peck- with Sex is a Witch. The band was doing well playing and drawing crowds.. Did you release any product with them?

Meri: Unfortunately not. That was a fun and creative band, I do have cd from a Bottom of the Hill Show that's pretty good. We had a really good momentum going and I had some recording set up and a producer, but girls will be girls.

Punk Globe: Who was in the band?

Meri: Mia Levin and Rachel Thoele (both from Frightwig and Mudwimmin) and Mark Pino on drums and yours truly.

Punk Globe: the year is 2008 and you are living up in Nevada City.. Tell us about what you are doing?

Meri: I live a very healthy life and have alot of support in this little country town. I'm doing shows in SF, recording, enjoying my life. I still do activism work and am involved in supporting organic farmers and people that are concerned about our earth crisis and are politically to the left - way left. I'm also very proud of my son (who is 22 now) and he and his friends give me hope for the future generations.

Punk Globe: How long have you been a D-J on KVMR? Tell the readers how to tune in to your show?

Meri :
I got certified in 2007 and got a show pretty quickly. My show is called the Underground Sound and is on alternative Wednesday nights/Thursday mornings from midnight until four a.m. - you can tune in on KVMR.ORG - or if your in range it's 89.5 FM. I also do a Gospel Show the 1st Sunday of the month from 3PM to 4PM.

Punk Globe: What are you doing musically? Are you performing?

Meri: I'm doing acoustic shows at the moment and yes I am performing.

Punk Globe: There has been rumors that a long lost Housecoat Project LP may soon get released and that you may be reforming the band.. Care to elaborate?

Meri: That is a reality - I'm having to get a band together to support the release of "Girlfiend". So far I have Bob Sax and Lemon d' George. The others are jazz snobs now and Errol is in Arizona, so I have alot of work cut out for me. I've never had to form a band in this manner so it will be a new challenge. If you want to play in Housecoat Project and tour get ahold of me or Tupper.

Punk Globe: Now you are also playing more of an acoustic act as well. Tell us about what you are doing?

Meri: Songs that I wrote for the most part in the 90's that I can perform solo but I choose to have my old friend Neo play with me as well.

Punk Globe: You recently played a show for Dog that featured Punk Globe contributor and all round sweetheart Miss O.. Tell us how the show went?


Punk Globe: You have a My Space address care to give the readers the address to check you out at?

Meri: You can check out Housecoat Project on myspace. I am on the KVMR.ORG page under personalities and you can email me from there. Also when I'm in the studio doing a show you can call 1-800-355-KVMR

Punk Globe: Any shows or special events you would like the readers to know about?

Meri: I'm playing the Bayview Boat Club this Thursday, September 18 ... I'll be playing the SOBARR in LA in the future and I'll probably play Dog's Salon again. I'll keep you posted!

Punk Globe: Any final thoughts that you have for Punk Globe readers?

Meri: I've been in this magazine since I've been a teenager and it feels good to still be in it. Congratulations Ginger on keeping this publication alive.

Meri with Hellin Killer at
The Punk Globe Party
Photo: Craig Pop Artist

Thanks so much Meri... Be sure to check out the Housecoat Project My Space profile at

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