Melissa Nannen

We are here with The Margaret Hooligans, a two-piece Garage Punk band hailing
from Bala Cynwyd, US. Comprised of Meg Cratty on Electric Ukulele and vocals,
and Mr. Stronium on drums, teapot and backup vocals. They released their new
single “Red Rider”, which is a part of their upcoming awaited album “Turntable
Tribulations”. They release a new single every month to tease fans until the
official release set in October. Let’s dive into the story of The Margaret
Hooligans.
1. What is the meaning of your name? What does it symbolize?
Both our band name and strange song titles are a hodgepodge of inside
jokes between the two of us. We’d rather let our listeners create their
own ideas about meaning than being pinned down by our sparks of the initial
inspiration. However, we will say there’s an accidental relationship
between The Who and Johnny Carson.
2. Why the 2-piece setup? Although many rock bands opt for the usual
vocalist, guitarist, bassist and drummer structure.
The 2 piece allows for a great deal of creative freedom and forces us to
cover a lot of ground instrumentally. It also has the benefit of letting us
edit our music with impunity because there is no worry of hurting each
other’s feelings.
3. What made you opt for the electric ukulele instead of the electric guitar? I
never heard of it but I absolutely loved it!
Meg was originally a guitar player, but cut off the side of her left index
finger 9 years ago and was very upset to learn it affected her playing.
For years afterwards, she suffered from hypersensitivity and found
playing a steel-string guitar painful, especially when it came to making
barre chords. She picked up a ukulele for her then 3-year-old daughter
and discovered that she could play it with ease because the smaller scale
and fewer nylon strings made it possible. After years of just playing
acoustically, she discovered a luthier in Bend, Oregon who was making
electric ukuleles and fell in love, since rock and roll is her preferred
genre, not singer songwriter folk (although there is some musical
influence there), and she was finally able to play with Mr. Strontium and
his full drum set, since giving him just a conga is like asking Yo Yo Ma to
play a shoebox with rubber bands.
4. Who mixed and mastered your upcoming album?
The initial mix was by Mr. Strontium, then it was tidied up in a final mix and
mastered by Jon Huxtable of Smallfish Recordings in Edinburgh,
Scotland.
5. How has covid affected your music? Or touring?
Covid was extremely helpful into coercing us into the basement and
keeping us there to create many songs of the course of this pandemic.
Having a regular routine of creation to keep ourselves sane and busy was
good for our mental health. We have not been playing live, which is both
a choice because of Covid and because we have an eleven-year-old
daughter we want to be at home for.
6. Who are your musical influences?
The Who, James Brown, The White Stripes, Miles Davis, New Orleans
Funk and Soul Music, Fiona Apple
7. What made you choose The Little Red Riding Hood as the inspiration for
your latest single?
Honestly, I wish I could remember. I may have been watching Into the
Woods with my daughter around that time, I (Meg) was a musical theatre
nerd in my adolescence, and I have recently been introducing her to all of
my favorite musicals while taking her to see the new ones out now like
Hamilton and Hadestown. I just remember that the first line came to me,
“They said you weren’t to be trusted…” and then the rest came tumbling
out as a story. We typically work on the musical structure of a song in its
entirety before I really know what the lyrics will be, and I remember the
day we were trying to finish this song, I felt under incredible pressure to
just finish the lyrics. So while Mr. Strontium was warming up with drum
exercises, I sat down on the computer and typed out most of the song (as
it is now) with the idea of Red Riding Hood in mind after that first line
came to me. It was a fairly easy song to write after that.
8. Tell us more about your upcoming album! Will there be a tour after the
release?
We’re very happy with this record, we think there’s excitement and peaks
in every single song. We’re especially proud of our last song on the
record, Psycho Diapers, an 11 minute mini rock opera that chronicles the
story of a spoiled man child, the idea of which is modeled on The Who’s A
Quick One While He’s Away, which pre-dated Tommy. We have no set
plans to tour, as mentioned before.
9. I love how you’re releasing singles every month to anticipate for the
release of your upcoming album, what inspired this idea instead of the
orthodox “wait until the album is released to listen to it” idea?
The internet and what it told us to do.
We both love the idea of real albums and having only a song or two out
before its release, but apparently that’s not how it’s done anymore.
Everything we’ve read about streaming and getting the algorithms to
work in your favor indicates this is the way to do it, which at least gives
us the opportunity to promote each song in turn which is kinda cool. I
like creating new artwork for every song and thinking about each one as
its own kind of character with a story that needs to be told. It also forces
us to create videos for each song, which is a fun creative challenge to see
what kind of life the song can take on that we hadn’t originally
envisioned.
10. Tell me more about the “tiny urban duck farm” I’m dying to know what
that is.
When the pandemic first hit in 2020, there were a lot of empty shelves.
Meg has always pursued vegetable gardening as a hobby (and by
gardening, we mean throwing some plants in our yard and watering them
sporadically and then harvesting whatever sprouted up), so she started a
mega garden, just to ensure there would be some food to eat. Having a
few neighbors who had hens for eggs, she started wondering if it was a
good idea to get a few of those too. After doing hours of internet research
and going through a local farm to do an egg-hatching project with her
daughter, she concluded that chickens are assholes. However, she ran
across a lovely blog called Tyrant Farms, and discovered through the
blog, that ducks were wonderful egg-laying creatures with great
personalities. This led her to purchase four ducklings through mail order
(yes, we thought it was nuts too), she spent 6 weeks building a fox-proof
coop and run with no prior carpentry experience (there was copious
swearing involved), and then built them a pond with a bio-filter. They lay
roughly one egg a day each from February through September, which she
then gives the extra eggs away for free because farming regulations are
way too laborious if you only own four ducks. What makes this story
funnier is when you see how small our yard is. It’s only 25’ wide and the
duck yard is only about 20’ feet deep. Meg utilized 5 feet between a
retaining wall and her studio to create an additional run between their
coop and their fenced-in yard. We are the weirdos in a very densely
packed urban suburb with ducks and our neighbors are always surprised
to find them here! We think there are some urban legends circulating in
the neighborhood about Meg, the duck lady, and we hope they are mostly
favorable.

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