Getting Down to the Neetty Greeetty with The Gritty End
How would you describe your sound?
Kim (Lead Vocals, Upright Bass): We are heavily influenced by three genres, first one’s obviously Punk, street type, more of the aggressive style and less of the pop type. Number two is Psychobilly, my very favorite genre, actually. Third and foremost is Ska. We like to put the Ska around, because we grew up with all three types of genres and I guess we put it together. I don’t want to generalize it and say we ARE Psychobilly Ska, but we are heavily influenced by it. We love the theme of horror, of course the typical genre like Misfits, and all those horror bands. We like to have that theme for the band.
Julian (Tenor Sax): That’s what I always say at work. Like “What are you in?” I’m in a Psychobilly Ska Punk band, and then they go “Oh, that’s cool!” It’s alright, it’s cool. “What’s your favorite part?” Driving, I get to drive a lot.
Are you the driver when you go on tour?
J: We split up. So there’s we’ll do Andreas, the other saxophone player, me and checkers will take my car, and then Kim figures it out.
Kim: I take the rest. I got Josh, Fabio and Jenny in my car. I manage to fit my bass amp, my bass, Krissie’s drums, PA, and typical stuff. They would take their guitar amps and their Saxes to have more space in there. I TRY to split the gas evenly. I try, but [Julian’s] car wastes way more gas than mine.
What’s your favorite part of touring?
J: I like when the show is over. Not in a bad way, but I really think the best part is when you’re done. You have a sense of relief and you have a sense of accomplishment. People ask questions and they’re really into it. Also the camaraderie of being in a band is something that’s really cool.
Kim: I would say the same thing. What we do is very different. I would like to say we’re one of the only bands that try to perfect the sound, and to show people and blow their minds. Our music is ment for the pit. Sometimes our circumstances are so crazy that their so shocked that they’re looking at a circus freak show right on stage. Triping out that there’s an upright bass with a bunch of horns playing Ska with a female drummer. It’s a big kick. They just stand there in Awe. I want them to move, but we love that too. When we finish, they come crawling “Ey, you guys are great! What the hell? That was different! I never heard anything like that! What’s your name?!” It’s like Julian was saying, It’s a great feeling. It feels good to know our sound is evolving and perfecting itself. We’re trying to put ourselves in history as the most different band ever and be most influential in the future. I know we’re not going to be the only ones doing this in the future. With that being said, it’s good to know that we’re being appreciated. We just LOVE the Shock and Awe! I LOVE IT!
You’re changing lives!
What’s the farthest you’ve toured?
J: It really depends who you ask, because we’ve all come in a different times. So, I think the farthest I’ve gone would be Arizona, Watsonville.
Kim: We’ve been offered to go to Tennessee, but there’s the problem of funding and taking vacation time. We’ve got offered to go to Chicago. We’ve actually made plans, but we haven’t gone forth yet, because we have to establish ourselves. It’s difficult, [Kristie and I] are both managers where we work. They NEED us. I took a day off yesterday and my phone was BLOWING UP! ALL DAY! … The only thing that we do plan is if we get offered a little farther distance that’s not local, we predict it and say we can do at least one night. So let’s plan it on a Friday night, play on Saturday, drive back Sunday, make it back to work on Monday. If one day we need to do an actual week tour, we’re gonna have to dig deep, I need to make sure I have my job when I get back.
J: So what’s the furthest you’ve ever gone?
Julian mentioned the camaraderie and I want to know how you’re keeping it alive.
Kristie (Drums): That’s one thing I like about being in a band. It’s not just business, that’s boring – that’s bullshit. I don’t want anyone around me that’s just here for business. I like family. So every single person that comes into this band is welcome to our house. They know our daughter.
Kim: It’s a big investment of time. We’re not just gonna have some guys just play for us. We’re gonna get to know you. When [Checkers] got into the band, it was like bread and butter. I knew we’d never have a problem. When Julian came into play, dude I never would’ve thought you’d join our band! Like, what? You fit with us?! … you fit like a glove!
How did the band get started?
Kristie: My friend from high school, Geo, He was our original trombone player. He just told me he wanted to start a band. I was down, so I told Kim and he took it so serious that we just never went back! It turned into a legitimate band. Geo brought in some other horn players that he knew –
Kim: And those horn players brought in other horn players.
Kristie: Some left, others came in…
Kim: We got a new guitarist, then another guitarist…
Kristie: Then we FINALLY got Checkers here, who is perfect!
Kim: He’s not just a guitarist, he’s a freakin’ good luck charm! That was the icing on the cake.
J: When I started seeing you guys, I was still a senior or junior in high school.
Checkers, tell us about you joining the band.
Checkers (Guitar, Backup Vocals): I’ve known them since 2008 – 2009. Back in the day, we’d go to backyard shows. I’ve known Julian since high school. He was in a band called Los Desnudos, known to play in speedos. So through the shows, we’ve met Kim. He knows the guitarist for Los Desnudos. We’ve known each other for years! I ended up joining the military, and when I got back I was working at a Halloween store. This guy comes in like “What the hell, Checkers?!” I was like Fuck, I don’t remember you, “What’s up?!” It was Andres. We started talking and he told me I should go to practice one day. I went to the practice and we caught up. During that time, you guys were looking for a second guitarist, right?
Kim: Yeah. After you tried out that one day, I thought you could be. Then we went and played shows with that other guitarist. Until one day we were fed up and said fuck this guy. My other sax player Andres suggested Checkers, and it was like “YES! CHECKERS! BRING HIM IN!” He came with his guitar and taught him two songs. He fit like a glove.
C: Once I joined, Julian wanted to join. I said to the band, “Hey, you guys remember Julian, he plays sax and wants to join.” They said “Yeah, we’ll try him out.” He ended up joining.
Would you say the lineup is set?
Julian: I don’t have a favorite food. I like food where a lot of effort was put into making it.
Kim: I love Asian food. Roasted duck, Pan-fried tofu, Asian shrimp… I like real authentic chicken and seafood. I would be vegan, but meat’s too delicious.
Kristie: Tacos and Pizza
C: Ramen full of everything you can’t go wrong.
What is your dream show lineup?
J: Freddy Mercury?... You know what would be cool, if they did a smooth from us to Nick 13 to AFI, but new AFI not good AFI.
Kim: We would be opening to Mad Sin, and Mad Sin to Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, and to end the night with Brian Setzer Orchestra.
Kristie: We talk about this all the time!
Kim: Brian Setzer has to be circa 2002.
C: For me, I would say us a opening, then Demented Are Go, and the headliner for me would be Minor Threat.
Tell me about your jobs!
C: I work at a silicone mask studio. We make silicone masks. I’m also working to be a contractor, but my main thing is making masks for movies and Halloween.
Have your masks been in any films?
C: Yes, our mask was in Drive. The old guy from those Six Flags ads; that was a mask.
Kim: I thought it was Dana Carvey.
Kristie: I’m a warehouse manager. Right now I work at a warehouse where they sell shit to Amazon. I create the shipments; I prepare the shipments, schedule the pick up, and they pick it up.
Kim: I do the same exact thing. I also sell computer parts. I’m in charge of everything. I have a little guy who works for me, [name withheld], you are a little bitch and you piss me off dude. You know better.
J: I am an alcohol and drug abuse councilor. The thing I hate hearing the most is when I tell people that and they jokingly go “Oh, maybe you should council me!” That’s the worst thing. I just verbal jujitsu people all day. Trick them into doing stuff they don’t want to do.
I like to get to know people through movies.
J: Checkers, that’s a cool Dead Alive shirt.
C: it is… It used to be called Brain Dead, then it got into legal issues and they had to change it to Dead Alive. The guy who directed this movie is Peter Jackson, he did Dead Alive, Meet the Feebles, Heavenly Creatures…
J: That was good Peter Jackson.
[We tangent off about movies he did]
Favorite TV show?
Kristie: I like Friends.
Kim: I started watching, and I’m hooked.
Kristie: The second would be The Office.
J: The Office is dope.
Why do you like these shows?
Kristie: Because they’re just funny… Friends tries to get serious, but who are we kidding? I don’t like watching things that make me mad or sad. What a waste of time to be mad or sad.
Kim: I try to make her cry on the daily. You know those sad sad facebook videos?
J: Have you seen when there’s like military guys coming home and their dogs see them for the first time in forever?
J: Oh, you like Rick and Morty!
Kristie: I do, but it gives me nightmares if I watch it right before bed. I got a nightmare. I had a dream some guy was gouging the eyes of an infant. It was because of the episode with Bad Morty.
Kim: I try to watch a bunch of movies. I don’t even know my favorite.
J: Have you seen Coming to America?
Kim: That’s my one!
Kristie: You’re always talking about Dumb and Dumber!
Kim: I like to escape from reality… I love CSI. I like those deep movies like Silence of the Lambs, but it gets too real. That’s when I switch to Dumb and Dumber.
J: Those are called intrusive thoughts everyone has them. It’s ok.
[Josh comes in. We ask him his favorite movie.]
Josh: Nightmare on Elm Street.
What do you do for fun outside of work?
Julian: Kristie has a fish.
Kristie: I have a fish tank. When I get me time, I like my fish tank.
Kim: She has the whole cast of Finding Nemo in there.
C: For me I just draw, and hang out with my girlfriend.
Josh: I go to car events; they hype me up and make me all tingly inside. I like movies. I like to stay active, I bike a lot, skateboard.
Julian: I listen to a lot of podcasts. I ride my bike a lot…. Oh man, I’m boring! I read comics. I have a fish. My fish died. I got a new one… I always thought about those 80s or 90s shows where the kids fish died and they replace it with an identical one. I always thought what the fuck? That kid is retarded! How do they not know it’s not their fish! Then I went and was like “That is my exact same fish!” If I had done it while sleepwalking, I would have never known the difference.
Kim: I am a father number one. I like to fuck around on cars. Dropping them to the ground. I like skateboarding. But honestly, this is my fun. The band. It gives me something to look forward to. My fun IS the band!
Final thoughts, for the kids:
Julian: I think that if you find something that makes your life a little better; you should go for it. Even if it doesn’t go anywhere, I think it’s important to find things you enjoy and do them.
Kim: Do what you do to make yourself happy. Also try to contribute to society. Be you. Do you.
Kristie: Graduate high school.
C: Don’t be scared to try new things. You never know how much you’re gonna end up loving it.