Interview with Christine
When corresponding with the husband and wife tandem of Devin and Stevie which comprises one-half of the hot rocking Nashville, TN metal troupe Christine, we spoke about their recent album BADASSER, the rigors of being from Music City, and whatís itís like
How did you form and how did you settle on the name of the band?
Devin: We got together when we (Stevie and Devin) got pregnant. She was playing bass in a local band, Hobbs End, who were recording a demo at the time and they were doing it really late at night, which was hard on her... so this being said, she quit. She always wanted to play guitar and sing so thatís what we did. We looked for a drummer for like 6 months till we came across an old friend of mine, Michael Page. This was in 2003. John Judkins came in about 2005.
Stevie: Devin, Michael (ex-drummer) and I went honky-tonkin' at Roberts one night after our second or third practice. We wrote like a million stupid names on a napkin. I was reading Stephen King's CHRISTINE at the time and wrote it down. Also Devin at the time was driving an old 1960 Cadillac with some vibes of its own. We were pretty plowed on PBR but I guess the next day it had the most circles, arrows and "fuck yeas!"
What distinguishes Christine from other bands?
D: I don't hear other bands cover as much ground as we do, meaning we cover a lot of genres and styles.
S: I believe all matter and non-matter is connected. Any degrees of separation are an illusion. Original "sound" however needed an outlet, to make it heard in a world of "same" and chose us.
Who are some of your influences? Any we'd be surprised by?
D: Awww, shit!! I can't even begin to name 'em if i could but a few..Kyuss, Orange Goblin, Cat Power...
S: Sure. Obviously EyeHateGod, Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age, Neurosis... Nick Cave, the Gits, Pink Floyd, Lydia Lunch, Bjork, Portishead, Muddy Waters, Jim Carroll Band, the Blasters, so much...
How does a typical Christine song get written?
D: Usually someone has an idea, we jam on it and see where it takes us. Usually we all have input which is nice. Sometimes a song is already written in one of our heads and we just share it, sometimes rearrange if necessary.
S: Sometimes me or John or Devin will write a whole song. It might evolve as we all learn it. Sometimes we bring riffs and/or lyrics to the table and try to find a unifying emotion or theme. Sometimes we just rock out and check the recording later for little jewels.
How has coming from Tennessee shaped your music?
D: Being in "Music City" it's tough, real tough. A lot of the bands we'd like to see never come here, real tough market so we try and play what we are digging at any given moment.
S: Myself, I was exposed to a lot of really great music growing up. It's easy to grow up in Nashville knowing music is important. Not necessarily "Nashville" music. My father, also a musician, is from the mountains of North Carolina and he played a lot of folk-grass and old psychedelic rock when I was a kid. Later the absolute lack of support from peers who I admired and frankly, desperately sought approval from, tormented me but gave me emotional material and motivation to slay.
How did you come to the two vocal approach and what are some advantages to the attack?
D: Melody is in the blood, sometimes its a three part or even four part harmony. It just sounds better.
S: It just happens. I always wanted everyone else to sing too. In the beginning I was not planning to be "the vocalist" but nobody else would step up. Just to clarify, we all sing. The number is four not two. Its cool because everyone's shining, everyone's expressing themselves. The result is definitely something greater than the sum of its parts.
When I'm not in Christine, I'm...?
D: Tattooing, that's what I do. Stevie takes care of our child and works part time. John works for a mom and pop music store and our new drummer, James Turk, puts up signs that light up.
S: First a mother who has been pissing off the metro Nashville school board lately. I was direct support personnel to persons with disabilities but had to quit to make time to learn to be an advocate for my daughter (she is hearing impaired and currently struggling down the conveyor-belt system that is our broken special-education system.) I went to a town hall meeting this Monday past and told Mayor Carl Dean about some of the ways the system has failed us and now reporters, school officials, and government people are blowing up my phone. Itís been a busy week...
How did you hook up with Supernova Records and what did working with Steve Austin bring to the sessions?
D: I've known Steve from day one of Today is the Day. Hell I'm even in the first video! Stevie didn't believe me when I told her so I found it and by that I contacted Mr. Austin after a 10-year hiatus. We've only recorded one song with him since we signed. The album, BADASSER, was already recorded by Jason Dietz in Murfreesboro, TN. Working with the man, Mr. Austin, is too fuckin' cool though for sure!! Can't wait for the next album sessions!!
S: Steve Austin mastered our old cd, POSSESSED, that we put out ourselves. I guess he emailed Devin and was like "Whatís Christine doing?" We invited him down from Boston. He stayed with us for a week then bought a house -- I guess we showed him a really good time.
Do you prefer studio or gigs and why?
D: Thatís a tough one, I mean they are both very exciting and fun to say the least but for me I'd have to say gigs, just because there is nothing like getting your rocks off while rocking the fuck out!!
S: Gigs. Real time magic manifestation.
What's on tap for the rest of the year for Christine?
D: Right now we are writing our new album with our new drummer James, which we hope to have finished and in the studio again in August. We'll also have maybe a couple of tracks of drums from Hank III but, thats a whole other story!! We'll be back at it hard in the fall so keep a look out!!
S: Our new drummer James is contributing so much to the new writing, John's on tour as bassist for Today Is The Day so when he comes home we'll be looking for a tour (and a nanny) and hit the road in support of Badasser and to try out our new material, then its back into Steve's studio. This time its gonna slay yer asses. We might have to call it MORE BADASSER.