INTERVIEW WITH THE DARTS' BASSIST CHRISTINA 'MADCAP' NUNEZ
IMPORTANT ANECDOTES FROM OUR FAVORITE GARAGE ROCKERS PART 4 OF 4
by Corey Fedor
If Elvira and Wednesday Adams consumed the flesh of man, drank shots of snake venom, started a garage rock band, and played the bride of Frankensteinâ€™s bachelorette party, it would probably sound exactly like THE DARTS. We sat down with bassist Christina 'Madcap' Nunez to get the scoop on THE DARTS new album I Like You But Not Like That, and to get a little glimpse into the life of one of our favorite rock n' rollers.
Corey: All right, Christina madcap Nunez. What was it that got you to pick up a bass for the first time?
Christina: I played guitar for a long time and I wasn't very good at it. But I wanted to be in a band, and I met this dude that was playing on stage with all these Echoplexâ€™s and he was just playing guitar. I told him that he needed a full band and he's like, â€œwell play bass for me.â€ He taught me how to kind of play bass and we started The Madcaps, and I've just been playing bass ever since.
Corey: The Darts are relatively new project for you. What did you do before you met the Gang?
Christina: Before The Darts I was in The Love Me Nots on and off, but more off than on. Before that I had a band called The Madcaps, we did a lot of like 60s garage stuff. I also have a little metal-y side project called The Dark Carnival that's basically just for fun and recording purposes only.
Corey: All right. What was the energy in the studio like while working on this album? Did it feel different from previous recording sessions with The Darts? If so, how?
Christina: Okay, the energy on this album is... It was neat because it was the first time we actually all got to record together... Mostly. Usually all of us are recording separately. Rikki still recorded separately from us in California, but we had our guitar player[Meliza Jackson] in the studio for the first time with me and Nicole playing and it was neat. We got to like give each other all these different ideas, and just do it all at the same time. We worked on the songs a little bit more than we ever have, and I think it's one of the funnest albums we've done so far.
Corey: From a character standpoint, what roles do you find yourself playing most often within the band?
Christina: God, it depends on the day. Because it depends on if we have no tour manager, I'm the person that's like trying to guide the group, and then on other days, I'm the person thatâ€™s being carried into the van.
Corey: If you're allowed to disclose it, was one of your favorite inside or long running jokes with The Darts?
Christina: Oh, let me see, The Darts have a secret band that we write songs for on tour, called The Sex GIFs, and nobody's ever going to hear it in real life, but it's amazing.
Corey: I think I've heard some of it.
Christina: Yeah, we have a whole set list of like really dirty songs.
Corey: What are your thoughts on the alcohol laws in New Mexico?
Christina: New Mexico sucks ass, worst place ever to try and get a drink after what is it, 11? Yeah, New Mexico is like torture for touring bands.
Corey: Okay, this this year has thankfully brought a spotlight down on the lack of equality and treatment of women in our country. Would you please educate us as to what it's like being a woman in an overwhelmingly male driven industry?
Christina: Hmm, I mean. I've always been a woman in the music industry. So to me, it's like I just play music, and I just so happen to find three other girls that are amazing musicians and super fun to hang out with. I think people make a big deal about us being women musicians. But I don't know if it really makes that much of a difference to us. I do think we get treated kind of weirdly at some clubs that we play at, when they see a bunch of girls walk in and they like, dismiss us and just like blow us off a little bit. And then after we play they're always like apologizing afterwards, and saying how awesome it was. But I mean, yeah fuck them. I mean as girls in the music business, I think it's great that we that we do, but I don't think about the fact that we're all girls. We shouldn't have to prove ourselves like that, but it happens and I don't care anymore.
Corey: What's it like being an amazing mother and an amazing rock and roller?
Christina: It's hard but usually it works out. We don't tour forever and ever like a lot of bands do. So it works out. I don't have to leave very often for very long. I love touring. It's my favorite thing to do in the entire world. The only problem is when I have to leave my son for weeks at a time. It's really hard but he's cool with it. He's been living this way since he was born so he's used to it, and we make it work.
Corey: Withholding commentary on whether either of us think you have or not, what are some moments where you stepped back and went, â€œwhoa, have we finally arrived?â€
Christina: Oh, there's been a few different times. One was when we did the tour with The Damned and walked in to the sound check on our first show with them. They're sound checking and we're loading in and I'm like, â€œwhat is going on with my life right now? This is insane.â€ And I guess another time that I thought 'what the fuck is going on in my life right now,' is when we played San Francisco. Blag Dahlia came up and sang Candy Now songs with us, while Jello Biafra was in the front row heckling us. That was like a super surreal crazy moment that made me think like, there's nothing else that can happen that could be cooler than this.
Corey: Did you write any of the songs on this album?
Christina: I wrote "Break Your Mind." I had an idea for it and I sent Nicole a voice memo basically humming it and singing it to her at the same time a couple of different ways, and then she kind of put it all together. But that's the one song I really had a lot to do with on this one.
Corey: My next question you kind of just answered already. But when a good idea for a song comes to you where does it start and where does it go? It seems like all you girls have pretty much the same song writing process.
Christina: We send a lot of voice memos and emails, different riffs and humming stuff. Usually Nicole's really good at putting everything together.
Corey: Would you share a crazy tour story?
Christina: Crazy tour story. Hmm. Ohhhh God. We do a lot of cool stuff that nobody needs to know about, but I think one of my fondest memories was when we played in Vegas with the Damned. They gave us just like unlimited amounts of wine in the back room. Our merch guy was dressed in full drag that night. Everybody was taking pictures and it was crazy. But the funnest part was the ride home, driving down the strip, listening to 90's G Funk. Everybody was rapping and singing, and I think everybody had at least a bottle of wine in their hand. It was the funnest mile long drive ever.
Corey: When you're in a pickle and you ask yourself, â€œwhat would blank do?â€ Whose name usually fills in that blank?
Christina: Oh. I don't know. I don't think about what other people would do. I just like go with my gut and do what I want to do.
Corey: What is your absolute fucking jam that you're listening to right now?
Christina: Let's see. My absolute favorite band right now is Idles, that you turned me on to. They're fucking awesome. I love them. They're actually playing here in like a week and it's sold out. Let's see, Fat White Family. Are you familiar with them? They just put out a new album. It's pretty good. I like their old albums better but that one's pretty good. I've been listening to a lot of stoner rock lately, which is not punk rocker garage, but I love a lot of that stuff right now, like The Well and Monolord.
Corey: When The Darts are on tour. I'd say you put down the most miles behind the wheel by a long shot. What do you love about driving so much, and for bonus points, who is your most favorite copilot in the known universe?
Christina: Oh, I think you know the answer to that question. I like to drive. I just get bored, and I get carsick, and I like need the control of driving so I drive all the time. Everybody else likes to sleep all day. So it works out. I mean definitely my favorite copilot is you Corey, cause we geek out for hours and hours on music and all kinds of crazy bullshit.
Corey: What did you grow up listening to, and what was the exposure from your family like?
Christina: I grew up listening to a lot of different stuff. My dad loved 60â€™s rock like Jimi Hendrix, and The Allman Brothers and all that stuff. My mom liked hair bands like White Snake and Journey. So when I was a little kid, I grew up with all that stuff. And then in the 90s, I was like a West Side kid in Phoenix so I liked like Tool. Then I discovered The Cramps, and The Damned after that, and then it was all kind of like cool stuff from there. Like I still listen to The Cramps, The Damned, Nick Cave, Mazzy Star, Deadbolt. I don't know. I like all the kinds of music.
Corey: What's it like having the coolest bangs in the history of rock n' roll?
Christina: So I cut my own bangs all the time, differently, and I've had the V bangs for a long time, but I cut them off. Then I saw Jello at a show and he was like, â€œyou cut your bangs! But thatâ€™s your trademark! What are you doing?â€ I haven't cut them back to the V yet, but he made me think I should. Yeah, I guess it's my trademark.
Corey: All right, fuck, marry, kill: Matt Pike, Ian Svenonius, and Iggy Pop.
Christina: Fuck Ian Svenonious, Iâ€™d marry Matt Pike, and kill Iggy Pop.
Corey: That is the correct sequence, because it's a trick question that you provided the trick answer for. Iggy Pop can't be killed. Is there anything you want us to know about the upcoming Darts album?
Christina: I think it's awesome. I love it. We worked on it a lot harder than our other albums that we did really quickly, but it still has The Dartâ€™s sound. I just love it. I think it's really good. It's a good album. Iâ€™m listening to it, which says a lot, because I never listened to a lot of our music. I don't listen to them a lot, but whenever I hear them Iâ€™m like "these are really good, good, good."
Corey: What was the first album you bought with your own money?
Christina: Oh God, I have no idea. I donâ€™t really remember my first album, because I always had a lot of stuff. There was always stuff around because my dad listened to a lot of cool stuff. But when I started to buy my own music collection I bought like every Cramps album I could find, which were hard to find back then. I bought The Blatz album, Shit Split. That was one of the coolest things I bought when I was a little kid.
Corey: What the fuck? You were like a 30 year-old in a 12 year oldâ€™s body. That makes no sense
Christina: I don't know. Someone played it for me, and I was like, I'm not cool enough to own this. I remember that feeling.
Corey: All right. Last question. What was the best concert you ever saw you have to pick one?
Christina: So the best concert I ever saw. Definitely Nick Cave. I went to go see Nick Cave for the first time at the Hollywood Bowl and I ran into one of my friends in the concession area. She had front row seats, and she said â€œoh my god, you're here! You have to sit in the front row.â€ She gave me her tickets and it was cool because at the Hollywood Bowl you can take in like your own drinks. So we had a bunch of bottles of wine with us. And we stood in the front row like right in front of the stage, and watch Nick Cave and swigging out of bottles of wine and just like cried and it was ~the coolest thing ever.
Want more? Read an interview with THE DARTS vocalist Nicole Laurenne HERE, OR an interview with THE DARTS guitarist Meliza Jackson HERE the entire AT Interview Series HERE.
Check out THE DARTS at theirartist pagefor more info and upcoming tour dates. For even more take a look at their website!
I Like You But Not Like That comes out Friday, May 24, 2019 on Alternative Tentacles Records, and is available for pre-order here! There are also limited edition pre-order bundles available while supplies last!
The main featured photo by Matthew Kadi. See more photos from this set HERE.