In the latest music video from Seattle power punk band Mr. Dinkles, the group ventures to downtown Seattle to perform their track "Coochie," traveling around the city with army helmets, a giant flag plastered with their Titled Self album cover, and a sex doll. The crew cruises the streets in a mini Mercedes, running around the 3rd and Pine McDonalds, Pike Place Market, the Gum Wall, and the city's light rail.
The video reflects the chaotic and infectious energy of the band, while lead singer Lanie Rettig’s powerful vocals boom over the track as she sings about being undermined and projected upon by an insecure man. Gretchen Elliot’s drums roar in the background. By the end of the video, they reclaim their confidence, standing with their flag up in flames, leaving audiences with the line: "I’m the best fucking human ever."
The duo met at School of Rock in Seattle and released their first album Self Titled in March 2020. They dropped their second album, Titled Self, shortly after. They say bands like Tacocat and Dead Kennedys influence their sound, and their Titled Self album is currently available on all platforms.
Seattle's Ra-Ra Rebel Zine had the pleasure of sitting down with these firestarters and chatting about their inspirations for this new record, bringing a sex doll on the light rail, and dealing with shitty men.
TN: You guys released your album Titled Self last fall in the heat of 2020. I'd love to hear what that experience was like creating music during a wild fucking year. Were you guys recording during the lockdown?
Lanie Rettig: Yeah, that was kinda crazy because we couldn't see each other for a while. I started writing all these songs, and I had to leave for college in August, and I think we could finally meet up in July. We recorded our album in August of that year, just when we were allowed to see each other. It was peak summer. We were in West Seattle by the airport, and it was like 102 degrees one day, and I was sweating my ass off trying to play the stupid drums.
It was not fun but it's a story. We also recorded like two days before I left for college. My mom was like, "Are you packed?" I was like, "I just got back from the studio"... very responsible. It was worth it.
What is your guys' connection to punk and riot grrrl?
I don't think we really intended on being punk or riot grrrl, we were just really mad and that just kinda translated into our music—yea, and I was going through a really thick Dead Kennedys phase.
So, anger and the Dead Kennedys. Two great inspirations! I wanted to talk about your music video for "Coochie." What time did you go to the light rail? When did you get a whole light rail train to yourself? How was filming that?
We did not have a full train to ourselves, there was a very tired man right in front of us, and I was racing a Soviet Union flag and a sex doll. We got an inflatable friend from Party City, and we named it John. It was in the morning on a weekday, and we were just like, "This is a great time," or was pretty mellow. It was jarring. Someone asked if we were going to a protest; it looked like it. I mean we were holding a giant Mr. Dinkles flag. I don't know what protest that would be about.
Did you have fun making it? It looked fun to make.
At some points, yes, it was fun to make. At others, I thought we were going to get stabbed, especially lighting the flag on fire. That took like eight attempts.
Another question about a song off of Titled Self. "I Hate Bassists." Without throwing too much shade, unless you want to, what's the inspiration for writing that track?
Ummm, that one was about this guy I almost dated. He would always come to our shows, and he always had an opinion up his ass about our music. I think he was annoyed that I always talked about the band.
Screw that guy and his opinion. Ra-Ra Rebel likes to ask femme artists this: What's the stupidest thing a man has ever said to you?
Oooh, yeah. We had a director for our music video and, um, not gonna name names but, he basically—the tea for the music video is that we raised all this money for it, and he spent half of it on renting a Mercedes convertible that neither me or Gretchen gave a shit about.
Which broke down, by the way.
He rented it from some random guy; its engine was molding… he spent like 500 bucks to rent this thing for two days. He got into a fight with my sister about it. He also didn't keep track of the money situation. That was our money. We asked him if he could make a spreadsheet, and he was like, "What do you think? I'm stealing from you?" and I was like…
Yeah, dude… [laughing] Kinda!
So, is that where the mini-Mercedes came into play?
Yeah. Basically, what we decided to do about the music video was just to fire him and re-do all of it on our iPhones—and we used literally none of the footage, several hours, we used zero percent of it. Zero percent. But, we made the music video dedicated to doing exactly everything he didn't want us to do, and that includes the glitter, the light rail, Pike Place Market, and we replaced all the Mercedes scenes with my nephew's toy car. Just one big "fuck you" to our director.
Um, it was really funny because he unfollowed us the other day, and we were both like "yEaHHHHh" [laughter] and oh, yeah, also we burned the flag that he made for us… That's the, uh, final shot in the music video. He made that flag for us and we burned it.
Any upcoming projects?
Oh yeah, we're making a song out of the last text message that dude sent us. It totally reads like a break-up message. This is the message:
"I don't know why she feels the need to supervise me but it makes me feel weird. I can't comprehend it. Her making up her mind about the specifics of my orders is beyond me. If you could find a way to fix this for me, that would be amazing. I have taken on a lot for this, and I just need this one thing."
That one thing being the Mercedes convertible.
We're gonna make a dubstep out of that.
Excited to hear it!
Yes, we're excited to show you.
You can stream and support Seattle local band Mr. Dinkles' latest album Titled-Self on Bandcamp and all streaming platforms. Big thanks to Tierney Nelson for stepping up and taking over the interview and Talia Ashkenazy for helping out behind the scenes. Kennady Quille is a KEXP DJ and co-founder of Riot Grrrl Records. You can grab a copy of the Ra Ra Rebel zine through our Instagram @RiotGrrrlRecords.