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
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
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
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.