Had the Cramps grown up in Tacoma, Washington, at the time when the Sonics and the Wailers (not those Wailers) regularly played high-school dances, they might have become Girl Trouble. As it happened, Girl Trouble was a lounge act way before cocktail rehabilitation struck; the members met not at a high-school dance but in a Tacoma bar shaped like a coffee pot. Once the foursome had taught one another to play their instruments and began gigging, the Java Jive also provided Girl Trouble with a venue and a mascot of sorts in the person of an 80-something go-go dancer named Granny.
Girl Trouble’s full-timers have been constant throughout the band’s first dozen years together: lanky singer K. P. (Kurt) Kendall (briefly replaced by Dave Duet early on), guitarist Bill “Kahuna” Henderson, his sister/drummer Bon Henderson and bassist Dale Phillips. They’d been together three or four years before Olympia’s K Records label finally released the band’s first two singles and the initial version of Hit It or Quit It, thus beginning Girl Trouble’s odyssey through Northwest indie labels. (The band also releases singles on its own Wigout label, published the Wig Out! fanzine and has contributed tracks to a frightening array of compilations.)
As is often the case with garage bands, Girl Trouble records don’t vary widely one from another, although some have a thematic bent. Stomp and Shout and Work It on Out!!!! is a collection of covers meant as an homage to their Northwest predecessors; Girl Trouble Plays Elvis Movie Themes is a double 7-inch of movie themes from the first E-male, notably “Girls, Girls, Girls.”
Produced by Steve Fisk, Thrillsphere is the band’s most effective attempt at capturing its ramshackle joy in a studio. New American Shame presents such stare-at-the-wall quandaries as the winsome “How Can I Be Out When I Ain’t Been In” and “To Tame a Woman” (“You had better be tough/Cause she’ll look in your good eye/And she’ll call your bluff”). Girl Trouble is a live album.