The Denver punks in The Corner Girls formed with one goal in mind: “It was definitely for fun,” drummer Madi Pietruszka recalls. “I don’t think any of us thought anything would come of it, and then it really did. We were like ‘Oh, cool, maybe we should get better at our instruments.'"
Guitarist and singer Breanna Ahlgren and Pietruszka met their freshman year of college, in 2013, and toyed with the idea of starting a band named Poison Ass.
“We never played a show,” Ahlgren says. “I think we honestly practiced in real life maybe four times.”
They later met bassist Jessica Pulido; the three frequented shows around Denver, where they were inspired to form a trio.
“I think that idea was always floating around that we would start this band, and then we met Jessica and were like, ‘Learn the bass,’” Pietruszka says. “And she did!”
Ahlgren and Pietruszka took music lessons when they were younger, but Pulido had no previous experience with the bass. After joining the Corner Girls, she did take one lesson, but ultimately decided she could teach herself the instrument. Ahlgren did her best to help with her knowledge of the guitar: “We played, and I said, ‘This is the chord, so I think you just do the top one.’ And then we were like, ‘Let’s go!’”
“When I look back, wow,” Pulido recalls. “I can’t even believe I went on stage not knowing anything. Just performed in front of people not knowing how to hold a bass.”
The Corner Girls, who will play the 2018 Westword Music Showcase on Saturday, June 23, created their own subgenre: pastel punk. In a previous interview, Pietruszka described it to Westword as “punk rock, but flirty and with glitter.”
Ahlgren loves playing fast power chords, and “punk is appealing because you can say whatever you want," she says.
In the beginning, songs would stem from conversations the group had while hanging out.
"At first we were like, 'This is funny and people will be shocked when we say this out loud,'" Ahlgren says. "It was more of, 'This might make people uncomfortable or mad.'"
But as time has gone on, they have invested in equipment and spent more time practicing and songwriting.
“Once it turned into this thing where we all really wanted to do this, I think that’s when we kind of subconsciously switched to writing things we really care about,” Pietruszka says. “Stuff that we talk about together.”
That's evident in their new single, “Boyfriend,” which will be released Saturday, June 9. The song was inspired by a situation they dealt with: one of their friends dating an “awful dude.” In writing more lyrics that reflect where they are now as twenty-somethings, they note that their music has grown up with them.
“Our music and the way we write is very true to who we are,” Ahlgren says. “So our music grew up with us. [Whereas] at the beginning, we were doing a lot of drinking and partying and didn’t really have responsibilities yet, as we grew older and started having responsibilities, having serious relationships and friendships, I think our music reflects that. In the end we still come at everything with a sense of humor, in our lives and in our music. But we like the direction that our music is going.”
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Their comfort level while performing has also matured. They recall being nervous to perform at their first show, in front of a crowd of eight or ten people at a house. But as their confidence playing their individual instruments has grown, they find that their presence on stage mirrors their friendship off stage.
“I feel at first we were really involved with thinking about the audience a lot when we were performing,” Pietruszka says. “Now I feel like it’s just us three on stage and we’re just hanging out. In that sense, it’s more fun and easier to perform because we’re not so freaked out by audiences anymore, [and] we’re just having fun on stage and giggling with each other.”
Westword Music Showcase, noon, Saturday, June 23, Golden Triangle Neighborhood, westwordshowcase.com.