Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

CookiePuss

Published September 11, 2003

Heads Up! This article is 19 years old.

Jerome Schooley figures the Beastie Boys aren’t going to sue him

over the name he chose to call his ska/reggae band.

The Cookiepuss guitarist says he and his band mates “swiped” the

moniker from the Beastie Boys’ 1983 Cookie Puss EP.

“We like them,” he said on a recent Saturday morning. “We figured

they wouldn’t mind (if we used the name.)”

They shouldn’t. After all, the Boys nearly got sued themselves when

they named their debut EP after the name of an ice cream popular in

the early 80s. Tom Carvel,

owner of Carvel’s Ice Cream, maker of the Cookie Puss line,

threatened to sue the Boys over the name. But they talked themselves

out of it after befriending Carvel’s nephew, so the story goes.

Cookiepuss’s connection with the Beastie Boys ends with that

reference to a little-known EP. For all intents and purposes, the

bands are worlds apart.

For starters, Cookiepuss didn’t form until about a year ago, 20

years after the Boys released their first EP. The guys in Cookiepuss

– Schooley, singer Tony Baker, drummer Mark Glanneman and bassist

Andy Finnegan – are quit a bit younger than the Beastie Boys. All in

their 20s, they are about old enough to be the Boys’ younger

brothers, or to remember ‘Fight For Your Right,” whichever comes

first.

And, Cookiepuss doesn’t get into rap. They prefer a mix of reggae

and ska, with a little bit of funk thrown in for good measure.

“It just depends on the song,” says Baker. “We focus on ska and

reggae, but we have funk songs. We’re trying to phase them out. It’s

fun to play, but we need to have a focus. The majority of our songs

have a ska feel.”

“When we started the band, we played a lot of ska and punk and

rockabilly,” adds Schooley. “When we met Tony, he had a real soulful

voice that was good for reggae.”

The band doesn’t like to pigeonhole itself, however. They get a

little touchy with the labels “ska” and “reggae.” They don’t want to

commit to any one or two or three genres.

“We try not to write anything that’s too cookie-cutter,” Baker says

with a characteristic play on words. “We don’t want to be

pigeonholed. I’ve said that a thousand times.”

Lyrically, Baker writes about “a lot of different things.” More

specifically, comfort, having fun and past experiences stand out in

his mind.

Although they play mostly original tunes, they still throw in the

occasional cover song.

“We’re trying to phase them out,” says Baker. “We do covers because

sometimes you have to fill up time and they get the crowd going when

they don’t know who you are.”

Cookiepuss started work in late August on their debut CD. The band

hopes to have the 12-14 song album out by November.

“We’re just going to do things the way they are supposed to be

done,” says Schooley of the album. “We’re going to take it slow.”

“Whatever comes to us comes to us,” adds Glanneman.

“We’re just going to go wherever the music takes us,” says Baker.

In the meantime, the band has a demo they pass out at gigs. The

three-track CD features crowd favorites “Third Dish’ and “Long

Night.”

During the recording process for the demo, the band enlisted the

help of Glanneman, who agreed to sit in and play drums. “We didn’t

have a drummer at that time,” says Schooley.

Cookiepuss band mates liked Glanneman so much they ‘wouldn’t let him

leave,” and asked him to stay on as their drummer, Schooley jokes.

Baker is more to the point: “We shackled him in the basement.”

In the future, the band hopes to put a song or two on a compilation

CD Schooley and Glanemann are producing through their start-up label,

Green House Records.

“It’s more or less to get bands noticed,” says Schooley. The

compilation will feature local bands Misled Youth and Blame it on Rio

and two acts from Missouri.

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