In the early 1990’s Urge Overkill went from hometown band to national stars, despite the attempts by two local women to stop them. If you frequented the North Side during that time, you may have seen two women dressed similarly to the band, passing out an anti-Urge Overkill newsletter preaching about the “evils” of the band with a megaphone.
Calling themselves “stalkers,” Beverly Babb and Karol Cooper, known as Miss B and Miss K, often terrorized the band at North Side clubs — taunting them verbally and mocking them by dressing like the band. Miss B actually went as far as donning stilts to emulate the tall Urge frontman Nash Kato and once even snuck into a show with a megaphone underneath her skirt to unleash it and interrupt a song. A few times they ended up in physical altercations, and while they were not a threat to the safety of the band (their goal was to convince people not to buy their albums or attend their shows, not to put them in danger) they would always give them hell, usually by passing out their 5,000-monthly circulation newsletter, appropriately called “The Stalker.”
Miss K is currently living in Indiana and declined to be interviewed, but Miss B, now 48 and living in Crawford, Georgia, was happy to speak to The Chicago Ambassador. Still passionate about her dislike of Urge Overkill, one wonders if she has anything better to do — she answers that, and talks about about terrorizing the band and her plans to make a triumphant return during the band’s Wrigley Field show in August, where they will open for The Foo Fighters along with Cheap Trick and Naked Raygun.
Interviewed by Bob Chiarito for The Chicago Ambassador.
CA) How did the whole “Stalker” thing start with Urge Overkill?
Miss B) Because they suck, really bad. I actually heard their music in Athens, Georgia, before I ever moved to Chicago. My friend worked at a record store and was up on everything — Big Black, etc. He said here’s Urge Overkill and I was like ‘what the fuck is this?’ Then we met them in person, and that sealed the deal.
CA) What do you mean?
Miss B) They were mean, pretty much. Karol thought the same thing also. She and I met after meeting them separately. Then they started to get popular and we were like, ‘this can’t happen, this is bullshit.’ …I was thinking about this earlier. Chicago is the one place I’ve been to where people don’t put up with bullshit. If you’re talking to them at a bar or anywhere, I mean, they just don’t. So, I was astonished that people were fooled by them.
CA) Because they were jerks to you and Karol?
Miss B) That wasn’t such a big deal because they were like that to everyone. We kept hearing all these stories about how they stole equipment and shit on people, and this, that, and the other. Then, when they started getting popular, it was just too much.
CA) Before you started the zine, you started following them around?
Miss B) I wouldn’t say following, because they went to the same places as us. We started loud heckling here and there.
CA) What made you start the zine?
Miss B) We heard they were going to be in “Rolling Stone” and Karol called me and said ‘we can’t let them be popular’ and I said ‘no, we cannot.’
CA) Did you ever think that you may have helped them instead of hurt them?
Miss B) We got that all the time. Like PT Barnum used to say, ‘any publicity is good publicity’… We knew that was bullshit. This was straight up insults. It wasn’t publicity in any way. They made some hilarious attempts to play it off, which made us laugh even harder and was well documented in “The Stalker.” Their girlfriends prank-called us and even published a spoof newsletter about us called “The Stinker.”
CA) Did people accuse them of putting you two up to it?
Miss B) They copped that attitude. They tried to say that they did.
CA) How many issues of “The Stalker” did you actually publish?
Miss B) Ten. We even put out two after we moved to Austin, Texas (in 1995).
CA) Why did you move?
Miss B) I was just cold. I had been a bike messenger the entire time I was in Chicago and just got cold.
CA) I read that (Urge drummer) Blackie Onassis actually threw you at the Lounge Ax?
Miss B) Yeah, we got into fisticuffs. That little maniac pushed me so hard that I went flying backwards.
CA) So it was a legitimate beef, it wasn’t staged?
Miss B) Yeah, we got into it at Delilah’s — We got into a big fight and Nate kind of bitch-slapped me backwards, causing my glasses to cut my nose. Delilah’s was good because Blackie DJ’d there every Sunday. They also poured water on us at Delilah’s. I was like ‘oh, Thank God, because it was hot that night.’ I remember the cops came. We were outside. I love Chicago cops, I mean, you cannot get in trouble there. The cops were always more drunk than you, at least they used to be. I remember the cop going (in her best Chicago accent) ‘Let me get this straight, you’re just passing out pamphlets?” I’ll never forget that till the end of my days.
CA) Rumor has it that Nash Kato actually hit you after you yanked on his coat?
Miss B) My hand made the motion of pulling on his coat. I said ‘what’s up, pussy motherfucker?’ It started the biggest bar brawl I’ve ever seen. A lot of bike messengers were there, bottles were being brandished, chairs were flying and people were fighting. I was thrown against the wall, it was awesome. I was so proud, I really was.
CA) If they ever make a documentary about Urge Overkill, the band has a claim to fame that they had you two following them and insulting them, don’t you think?
Miss B) I think they’d rather forget about that stage in their lives. We also had satellite stalkers in other cities. We’d get calls and letters, this was when people sent real letters saying ‘I gave them hell!’ and things like that.
The last time I saw them was in San Francisco in about 1999. It was like something out of a movie. I bought a ticket, that was the only time I ever bought a ticket and gave them money. I was going to the door and it blew out of my hand down the alley. Then they wouldn’t let me in and I had to buy another ticket. I heard the bouncers at the club were really mean, and I had my trusty bullhorn under my skirt. I shuffled in. Nate played a slow song and I pulled out that bullhorn and started yelling into it and his eyes got really wide, and they tried to play it off. I kept waiting for the bouncers but no one did anything, except these San Francisco pussy people said ‘hey, man, I’m trying to listen to the show.’ I was like, ‘fuck you.’ Finally a bouncer tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘you can’t do this.’
CA) What about the demand that Nash and Blackie marry you both?
That was at our going away party. We said if they show up we could have a double wedding and just put this all to rest. We were often accused of being in love with them and just wanting their attention. So we said if they would marry us we’d quit stalking. We waited for them to show up all night and they didn’t show. I didn’t wear a wedding dress, I went to that party completely naked. I went through a big naked phase in Chicago, that was another thing that was really fun. I remember going to bars and they doorman would be like ‘there’s a $5 cover.’ They were never concerned that I was naked, they just wanted the cover. I didn’t have any pockets, so I didn’t have any money. You can’t do that anywhere else, you really can’t. Chicago is the coolest place ever.
CA) There was an article in the “Chicago Reader” in 1995 where they asked you if you had anything better to do and you said no?
Miss B) That is my favorite thing in the whole world. That article ended with that and it was brilliant. We used to get asked that all the time and we’d be like, ‘NO! We’re actually having a great time, what are you doing?’
I used to go out wearing dry-wall stilts and big shoes. Karol made me these ‘Nate-pants’ and they were so long, made out of a perfect rock n’ roll material.
CA) When they played this summer at the 20th Anniversary of the Double Door, Nate had white pants on, trying to bring back a 70’s look perhaps?
Miss B) Yeah but now he looks 70. About a year ago I looked them up and they look fucking terrible.
CA) What would you say to them if you saw them again?
Miss B) What’s up pussy? Long time, no see, pussy motherfucker!
CA) You still talk to Karol?
Miss B) Yes, she’s in Indiana. She’s teaching and just got married. I missed her wedding because of my stalker.
CA) What’s the deal with that?
Miss B) Urge had it so easy. My Stalker was a real dude who lived next door to me. He’d call me and say ‘I’m watching you’ and come into my house when I wasn’t there. He’s the nastiest hillbilly.
CA) Do you think it’s karma coming back to you at all?
Miss B) I tried to have some empathy or sympathy towards Urge but I really can’t.
CA) Well, you and Karol were never a threat to Urge, other than their reputations?
Miss B) Here’s the difference, we did it in public where everyone could see us. We didn’t threaten them. It wasn’t like a horror movie…Well, it may have been for them, but they deserved it. We did keep them off the cover off “Spin” magazine, that’s a fact.
CA) How do you figure that?
Miss B) Somebody told us that someone from Spin was coming to interview them and we contacted the magazine and scheduled another interview with them.
(Disclosure: The Chicago Ambassador contacted Miss. B before talking to Urge Overkill for this article.)
The writer was meeting the band at Delilah’s and Karol and I rented a two-person horse-costume and would call out “Naaate” cause he’s got that long face. We stormed into Delilah’s but the bouncers pushed us out the door. It was in 1995 and Rancid was on the cover. The last part of the article was devoted to us. It turned out that after meeting them, the writer couldn’t stand them either. They did not get the cover. Could you imagine if you’re them (Urge Overkill) and you saw us in the article too? Oh my God, they must have been so fucking pissed off.
Looking back, we did such a good job, they disappeared for real.
We got so good at it that we could predict what they do. We had taken a picture at the Rainbo club photo booth, dressed as them and then months later they did a cover on AP (Alternative Press, July 1995 issue) magazine and the pics were almost identical, our posture and our attitude. It really is uncanny.
We found out they were playing in London and we had always wanted to go there, so we made it a business trip. I remember being in a record store out there and some guy in front of us asked the clerk if they had any Urge Overkill and we let out a scream that had everyone holding their ears. We whisked him out of there and told him how much they suck and gave him a copy of “The Stalker.” After that, he didn’t buy any CD’s.
CA) Do you have any plans to revive your “Stalker” days now that the band is back in action?
Miss B) I’ll be at the Wrigley Field gig. I’d love to see Nash Kato’s face when he hears that. He’ll need a box of Depends. I’m going to parachute in and my chute will say U/O SUCKS.