The story of Ali Koehler’s new band, Upset, begins with Koehler being totally bummed out after getting kicked out of Best Coast, continues to a point where she just started randomly texting Patty Schemel of Hole, and somehow ends up at a Gentleman’s Club where Ke$ha is making it rain on strippers.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted out of life after getting kicked out of Best Coast,” Koehler says. “The rug was kind of pulled out from under my feet. Ever since I graduated college, I went on tour with Vivian Girls, and then with Best Coast, and it was go-go-go-go-go! But afterwards, I had a lot of time to myself at my house to just sit and think. It was a very difficult time for me.”
Without many friends in L.A., Koehler spent a little bit of time boo-hooing her situation. But, really, maybe it was fair to do. She had left the hip, popular, influential Vivian Girls to drum for the hip, popular, influential Best Coast, only to be chucked out of the band. But then, while she was deciding what she wanted to do with her life, she saw that Patty Schemel, the boom-bap-smash-smash-smash style drummer of Hole, followed her on twitter.
“She followed me because I think she just supports female drummers,” Koehler says. “I was like ‘Holy crap, Patty Schemel is following me on twitter!’ So I messaged her and was like ‘Um… can I take this opportunity to be best friends or at least babysit your daughter?”
Eventually, Schemel asked Koehler who she was jamming with, and Koehler said “no one.” So, along with guitarist Jenn Prince, Koehler pulled herself up by her bootstraps and formed Upset, with Schemel on the drums and Koehler as the front woman/vocalist. “I always took the backseat because I was the drummer and drummers aren’t usually the creative driving force behind the band,” Koehler says. “Upset is everything that I have always wanted to do.”
Rounded out into a working line-up with Katy Goodman of La Sera and Vivian Girls on bass, Upset has finished their first LP and is doing a set of shows this August. The band’s sound references Koehler’s earlier groups, but leans towards a more pop-ish and punk-ish sound. Their debut album, She’s Gone, has direct references to Koehler’s post-booting bumming out and recuperation. Tracks like the Stepbrothers homage “Don’t Lose Your Dinosaur” finds Koehler dusting herself off as kick started by her new found friends in the L.A. comedy scene.
It was stand-up comedian Sean O’Connor who helped Koehler celebrate once the album was nearing completion. “Sean loves Ke$ha,” Koehler says. “So, he got tickets for all of us to go see Ke$ha and Pitbull at the Hollywood bowl. We got word that Ke$ha was going to a strip club afterwards. So, we went there and there she was, making it rain on strippers and she left her tab open. So, anyone that wanted a drink, it was on Ke$ha. So, I got a drink on Ke$ha at a strip club.” Which is what any musician should want after completing a record.