By Jason Keil   Published Aug 19, 2002 at 5:50 AM

"People think because we are a female-fronted band that we are going to sound like Hole," complains Liv Mueller, lead singer and guitarist of Milwaukee's The Lovelies.

But Mueller and her partner in rock and roll Barb Endes don't scream, yell or get angry like Courtney Love. So why this misunderstanding?

"It's because there are a lack of other bands to compare us to, so we always hear the whole Veruca Salt and Breeders thing," Mueller explains, "I would like to do something different.

"It makes Barb and I hungrier. We want to prove that we can rock and put on a good show and be good songwriters."

When Mueller begins the songwriting process, she is usually carrying a hand-held tape recorder in case a melody should pop in her head. "It's like therapy to me," she says. But fans of The Lovelies' brand of guitar-driven pop might be surprised how Mueller is influenced and inspired.

"I try to write songs while listening to WOKY and try to implement some of these melodic structures into these heavy guitar based rock songs.

"ABBA is probably my favorite group, next to the Beatles. I will never even graze the greatness that those two women achieved in the studio. The production is absolutely flawless. No band will ever come close to what ABBA did."

Some music critics say The Lovelies have come close. The Onion wrote that their most recent release "Hot One" was "professional in every way, from its hooky songs to its crisp production to its lovely artwork." Billboard said the songs "could have been written and recorded anytime in the past 20 years, yet they sound entirely contemporary."

It was about 20 years ago when Mueller started becoming infatuated with rock and roll and specifically, a picture of Poison Ivy from The Cramps. The sight of her in her tight leather pants and her long hair, standing tall with her guitar in hand, Mueller sold her soul to rock and roll.

In the early '90s, Mueller lived in Austin and Nashville where she wrote songs and played in alt-country and rockabilly bands. A purist, Mueller didn't like the direction country music was going. "Honestly I'm still a punk at heart," she says. She formed a version of The Lovelies in Texas in 1995, but then moved back to Milwaukee and hasn't looked back.

"I'm just going to do my thing, whether it's here or in Boise, Idaho, and that's where I'm going to do it," Mueller says, "The Midwest is a great place to be."

Endes entered the picture in 1996, when Mueller was looking for a bass player and a place to practice. Mueller knew within 20 seconds that Washburn was a right fit for the band, despite the fact that she played her bass upside-down at the audition. Drummer Damian Strigens of the Frogs was added and the lineup was complete.


Success has followed The Lovelies since. They now have three critically acclaimed albums under their belt and numerous local awards from the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) and others.

With new drummer Craig Walsh and a large devoted following, The Lovelies seem primed for large scale success, but Mueller remains as humble about her music ever. "I am not a rock star," she says, but Mueller does see the group changing some things about the music industry.

"There's a lot of white male rock bands out there and that's great, but let's get some color in there," Mueller says, "I'm trying to maintain co-ed flavor in rock and roll as far as The Lovelies go. I would like to see some more women out there fronting bands and singing.

"We speak what we think. We're not a size two. We're not 17. We are definitely confident in who we are as individuals. Neither of us are overtly feminine or overtly masculine. I just see us as human beings that like to play rock and roll as much as the next guy."

Visit The Lovelies on the Web at

You can see them live at Atomic Records, near the corner of Oakland and Locust, Tues., Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m.