Christine Wayne, Kevin Watkins, & Brad Harriss - Nineteen 5

May 11, 2004

Tell me about yourselves.

Christine: We're a happy band from Seattle. We're a happy alien band from Seattle. Actually we're not that weird.

Well, I've heard that Seattle is a rather depressing place so it's nice to have happy people there.

Christine: Yeah, exactly. We're excited about that. The weather happens to be beautiful today but on any given foggy day we are here to rock with the best of them.

Brad: There is enough coffee in this town that nobody is depressed. We're all 24 hour a day go, go, go because of all the coffee here. There's nothing depressing about Seattle at all.

That's like really good gourmet coffee right?

Christine: Right on. Basically I started back in 2001 at the inception of the band and was really bored at the time. I was looking to get back into singing because I had been involved in singing the majority of my life from the age of four on up doing different things. Basically anywhere from church choirs to talent shows at school. My dad was a stage parent. He pushed me and my siblings toward the media fields. Entertainment field. He's really supportive there and we actually like to do it which is cool. A lot of fun with that and some acting as well. Singing was my niche really. It just came natural and my whole family is musical pretty much. Back in 2001 I had been on a musical hiatus for some time and was looking through an online advertisement through music. I happened to find this band that was basically looking for all these multi-genres. I grew up singing anything from pop and R&B to some classical stuff to hard rock/punk screaming stuff and I said shit, I can do that and I can continue to grow. I saw that as an immediate challenge. In the ad that Kevin wrote, it said must sound like Courtney Love. I was like wait a minute, I'm not Courtney Love. Thank God. She's done some cool stuff musically. I definitely have respect for her as a musician. Basically music has been a majority of my life. It's like I haven't done it for a few years or I continue to do so. Finally when I found Nineteen 5 or we all found each other magically like stars, it happened and it was this destined thing. We were all like sci-fi freaks getting together because of Nineteen 5 and the anomalous meaning of the name. It was just really cool and tried out for the band and everybody was like a perfect fit. It was like Cinderella and the glass slipper. I couldn't have asked for anything better. We've gone through a few musicians. A couple of bass players. We're all granted really still friends with them and wish them the best in their lives. It's now at the point where sometimes you've got to go through that process of creativity in finding out how everybody feels. Because when you're finally with somebody on the same page and you can almost understand each other without really even saying what. The communication is there of course albeit but at the same time when it's there, it's perfect. It's hard to describe. It's universal.

Kevin: When I was born they said I had a special purpose. Basically I just feel like music for me as an art is, how can I put it into words, that's why I play guitar.

You are a guitar god.

Kevin: No, I'm my own worst critic on that. Honestly, I idolize guys who are the shredders so to speak. We do a cover song of 4 Non Blondes and that's the only cover song that I can play all the way through. I've always just picked up the guitar to play what I felt. I'm familiar with chords but I just play basically whatever I'm feeling. I try to express that and put it into some kind of music through the guitar. I guess I've been lucky enough to have that come out and sound halfway decent. I feel pretty privileged to play with this group of people. In previous bands there has always been a mismatch of personalities and problems. With this band there really aren't any. We get together and it just clicks. It's such a cool deal. I was born and raised in Seattle.

And you're not depressed.

Kevin: I get the blues, I get the blues. This band is my passion. Music is my passion. This group is my passion. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, and I don't regret a minute of it. Recording Blind Eye Gone was a beautiful experience and working with Geoff Ott was really a blessing. The cool thing about that is that the whole studio process I think opened a lot of possibilities for us musically to grow. I'm looking forward to our next recording. That's where I think things will begin to gel. Aaron is new to the band. Since we recorded the album Brad stepped in. I played with Brad in another band and we played in the late '90s. It was kind of a Korn/Godsmack heavy deal. He's a guitar player and we were in the studio, we were getting ready to go in, and I said I'll call Brad. He can play anything. He said okay and he grabbed a bass and came to the studio and laid down some tracks. Just clicked. After that we tried to find the right fit in a bass player and nothing was working. Brad came to a show and basically saw Christine live and said that looks like fun. We talked a little more and he came on board. It's like things happen for a reason and here we are. It's really cool. Every day brings a new cool deal and an experience. I don't know if that makes sense.

Brad: I'm Brad and I'm originally from Seattle. I've been here forever. I'm not depressed either. I don't get the blues at all.

Christine: He just plays them.

Brad: Yeah. Basically Kevin already told my story. I was a guitar player by trade and I had played with Kevin before in other projects. He had called me one day and asked if I'd play bass on an upcoming album that they were recording. To be honest with you I don't think I was even aware he was in a new band and hadn't heard of any of it but I said it would be fun. I do like to do that kind of thing. We did the record and I thought it turned out excellent. Definitely everybody did a great job on it. A great producer. A great studio. Everything turned out really nice. When I saw the show several months after the recording, I was trying to come up with any excuse I could to try to get into the band and whether that be "you know you guys, I think you need a second guitarist" or "maybe there's some keyboards you might want to throw in" or anything I could get to try to get in. Fortunately for me and unfortunately for them maybe, they were having bass player problems and that's when I decided to go ahead and join them on the bass. I like the bass. It's a fun instrument for me. That's basically my story. I've been playing music for a long time whether it be guitar, bass, or keyboards. I'll do it all. I got a cello too.

You never know when you might need a cello. What exactly does the name Nineteen 5 refer to?

Brad: Ah, Nineteen 5. I'll go ahead and explain this even though they came up with the name and I'm not real big on what the meaning is but from what I understand, Nineteen 5 is actually some sort of a coordinate. Specifically, 19 and a half degrees. According to them, there are a lot of significant structures on the earth at 19 and a half degrees whether it be certain pyramids or at 19 and a half degrees south whatever on the earth. They claim if you believe in the face on Mars theory, that is supposed to be a 19 and a half degrees on Mars. There's just a lot of weird, strange things that happen at 19 and a half degrees in various parts of the earth and planets.

Christine: Actually from my dad too, that what Brad was saying is the pyramids in Egypt on the Giza Plateau, the Great Pyramids, are at a longitude and latitude of 19.5 degrees. Ancient Egyptians were smart. They were actually built to face the three stars of Orion's Belt. Basically it has a lot to do with celestial things in the heavens. The number on Jupiter is where the great storm is. The Great Red Spot of Jupiter is at 19.5 degrees. In a weird physics sort of way, there's a man that actually came up with the number theory. He's a retired consultant from NASA but that's a whole different story. We usually give people a five year old version of the story in a way that they can understand it. The movie Stargate. How the people in Egypt had an earthly circular object with hieroglyphics of some sort on there. Years later it's their family's dynasty or destiny to go ahead and crack this code on this gate which will open up some kind of a celestial doorway to another planet on the other side of the universe. That's basically how that number plays in. It's a universal connector supposedly in theorem.

That sounds interesting.

Brad: I just think it's a cool name.

Christine: Exactly. There you go. Quote Brad on that one. That's cool.

One of your reviews states that you kick start people's hearts with magnetic energy and amazing stage antics similar to David Lee Roth without losing the hair and soul.

Christine: Without losing the hair, right.

Kevin: Let me field that one. Basically what that refers to is if anybody ever gets a chance to go see us play live, Christine basically steals the show. It doesn't matter who we play with, people walk away from it saying they cannot believe what they just saw. It will tire you just to simply watch her move. She's very animated. She does these jumps, splits, flipping around, on her knees. It's just amazing. It wears me out just to watch her play. The rest of us are pretty animated too. We really get into the music. We've got a lot of hard grooving and we're dancing around. We're interacting with each other and it's a very visual show compared to what you normally see. Just a band get up there and play. It's a spectacle to behold for sure. Christine's definitely something to watch and she always dresses up in these really neat different outfits.

Christine: I have a Jean Paul Gautier shirt, the armband shirt. What's really interesting is doing scissor kicks in a pair of six inch red platform boots that I have. I haven't done it in a while because I'm giving it a rest lately. Doing those antics in that, I definitely have stamina there. Janis Joplin, the passion, the movement. Tina Turner. They're influences as far as the stage as well. Siouxsie And The Banshees from the 80's and Kate Bush. They're the theatrical side of the stuff that I love to see. Very dramatic and very themed.

You have to keep people's attention while you're up there.

Kevin: I always pick up on little things. We opened for Digital Underground here in Seattle. The crowd was really interesting because here we are, this white female fronted rock band opening for some heavy rap groups. This one lady comes up and says "oh my God, you're like a mix between Tina Turner and Janis Joplin. I can't believe it." To me that spoke volumes.

It sounds like you impressed her.

Kevin: Then she had another beer and passed out.

You guys have an album out called Blind Eye Gone. It's has 11 songs on it. Tell me a little about the new album.

Christine: First song is called "Down". Basically "Down" is a song that is first on the album. We're pushing that for our single out there on the radio and in public. Basically it's a song about besides feeling down, fighting addictions, compulsions, and getting through things in life. Either you survive it or you don't. You become stronger or it gets the best of you. A lot of people and a lot of younger people can definitely touch base with that song because it's simplistic yet it's deep.

Kevin: The song was written in about five minutes. We originally called it "Dum Dum" because Christine was sucking on a Dum-Dum lollipop. So we remade it and we added some production and Geoff's flavor to it. It came out really nice.

Christine: And the truth be known.

Kevin: Yeah, it was written in about five minutes and it took about five months to record.

Some of the best songs are written in five minutes.

Christine: It's true. I agree. The song "Seven Sisters", track two on the CD that we have basically is very short. It's under two minutes and some seconds. It's a song lyrically about ancient Egypt and all the myths that people have read if anybody's into Egyptology or reading about Ra or Isis or Osiris the god of the underworld or the movie The Mummy if you've ever seen that. Basically it's just about that and how people were real simplistic in life and looked toward the stars for a lot of guidance. "Lollipop Eyes", Kevin has a better idea about that.

Kevin: "Lollipop Eyes". Basically Christine is from Los Angeles and we were down visiting family. I jog and I went for a jog and I noticed all these little vigils on the streets. Candles and stuff and I was like wow. So many people have lost so many family members and then all this stuff going on in the Seattle area with Layne Staley and all that. It came down to being about friends and losing friends and just living life in this crazy wild ride. A lot of our songs are real metaphorically driven. "Lollipop Eyes" is go down to the merry-go-round. The merry-go-round of life. The waterfront. You can go to about any waterfront in America whether it's a river or a lake and picture your own scene if you will. That was about it. Christine does some really cool vocal inflections on that song. It creates a vocal hook in itself.

Christine: The song "Evilution" is basically one of those self-introspective songs where you're evolving in your life. You're growing, you're learning, you're changing, and what you're learning throughout that. The song "Satellites" is basically my take on reality TV. What we see in reality TV and how we're all voyeuristic kind of people and how we are always in everybody's business all the time. It's like come on in, let's watch somebody else's life. Basically when you think about it, how do we get a lot of our TV? Because satellites are out there in the ionosphere. Hanging on up there. "Thinkin' Thoughts" is just basically one of those cool little kickback songs where you're just chilling. My vegging song. I'm chilling just being me. The song "Happy Freaks" is basically about not fitting in. Not feeling like you fit in whether you're going through the wonderful puberty of life stage, angst. Anywhere in your life where you question "who am I? Do I fit in?" Exactly. That kind of thing. A fitting in song and then finding where you do fit in. "Joni's Revenge" is a song that Kevin lyrically wrote and that's based loosely on Jane Fonda.

Kevin: I think there are too many kids out there with their parents at work and the kids are all raising themselves. Where the kids are at. Are they in the dark or are they in the park? There has to be a better solution to this. Society needs to do something so that kids don't go to school and their parents get back into the workforce just to survive.

Christine: "Rainbow" is basically people finding themselves in another kind of addiction issue whether it be substance abuse, relationship abuse, or whatever and looking for their next high or their next pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Living for the high is going always for what you think is the best thing when it's maybe really not. Maybe it's not what it's cracked up to be. "Music Box Past", Kevin wrote that one.

Kevin: I wrote that song mainly about my mother and that she kept trying to find a better life. She's like the ballerina's last turn. Kevin was always there. I can't take all the credit because Christine added a lot to that song. We're domestic so we tend to work on all this stuff really closely together. Mainly it about my mom and always struggling and living with this angst like "why don't things work out for me? How come I never met Mr. Right?" That kind of stuff. Then I threw in Edgar Allan Poe, there was a little bit of inspiration from The Raven.

Christine: Kind of like Poe meets Freud and Jung. The last song is "Fear". Kevin wrote that as well.

Kevin: It's basically about drug addiction and being in the throes of drug addiction to where you do the drugs. You wake up in the morning and you hate it and you don't want to do it anymore. You don't want to kill yourself but you don't want to live through the day because you're going to be back in the same place. The interesting thing about that song is that we entered the studio and it was just a thought. That song literally developed in the studio. It was added mainly so that we would have an odd number of songs on the CD. Interestingly enough that song, there's a local radio station here and I'm not sure if it's an Intercom or Clear Channel station or what, but there's a local radio show out of Tacoma called Garage Monkey where they feature local bands and that song was People's Choice Countdown in the top 10 for five weeks in a row which is a pretty cool deal for us. It was up there. There are other local bands that are popular around here.

Brad: Local bands like The Who and Pink Floyd were also featured there. I thought I'd throw this out because we obviously have a lot of music that deals with drug addiction and personal issues. We're a drug free band so we're not living the songs that we're writing. Some of it does come from experience but we are a clean and sober band and enjoying it so to speak.

I never could understand the purpose of using drugs. It just never made much sense to me.

Kevin: It was fun for me. Then all of a sudden it was like a roller coaster on the down slope. I couldn't get off.

Christine: Yeah, it's horrible. I had my experimenting days in my early 20's and basically just went "no way." It's amazing. I still look like I'm in my early 20's. Personally I'm happy where I am. All of this over all I would say in my honest and humble opinion, that Blind Eye Gone is about going through life with the blinders off of your eyes. Being a little bit more open minded as you grow and as you become older and you go through certain cycles in your life and learning that things aren't really all beds and roses and fun stuff. That there are some pretty cruddy sides to it as well. You continue to keep open and learn and love it and hate it at the same time and try to find that happy medium.

Who does the majority of the song writing in the band?

Brad: Musically by the vast majority if not 100 percent would be Kevin. I plan on changing on that.

Kevin: Basically yeah, the majority of it Christine and I pretty close equally on lyrics. That's one of the things where there's no ego. There's really no ego in this band. We're human so at times there are flare ups but that's cool. When I'm talking about our next recording, I just think that a lot of times you come out with your first album and we're very proud of it but I think our next recording is going to be a step up from this one. I'm really looking forward to that because as a band we're going to collaborate to create something that's more robust. Even Aaron on drums who's not here starts talking four or five hits and 16 that and bringing all these percussion fills. It's really cool.

Christine: It's amazing. He's so well versed in jazz and the samba and Latin beats. There was something that he was mentioning that I heard of but completely forgot about. Had heard about years ago. Certain spikes of percussion and things. I think it's really awesome and what's so cool about our music is that we're obviously rock but we have a tendency to twist into other genres. We can bleed over and people accept us with open arms and hard rock and heavy metal and gothic alternative and pop. That's what's cool. That we can play so many different venues with other kinds of bands that aren't specifically one specific genre and people wonder how they can fit Nineteen 5 with so and so. Well they played with them and okay then we can go ahead and play here at this club. That's the cool thing is that we can do that.

You don't get pigeonholed in one place.

Brad: Exactly. It's created opportunities for us here locally. In Seattle there's some division between the heavy rock and the pop. The indie college and indie scene. We've been lucky enough to where we were able to do both sides of that. We have appreciation for everybody's music. I think they do for us too.

I remember when everyone went apeshit over the grunge music coming from Seattle and they just knew this was the end of music.

Brad: It was the end of new wave. Just like any genre of music, it has a lifespan and grunge took a dive much quicker than all of us who were hopefully at that time trying to jump on the grunge bandwagon. I know I can't speak for them on it but I was trying to take advantage of it. Playing the same style of music. There was a point where if you were from Seattle you had a record contract. It was the hottest thing going but it faded out and died. Seattle is definitely within the past couple of years starting to build back up again. There's a new life that has breathed into the Seattle music scene and we're getting stuff that you just haven't heard before. It's almost like a reinventing of music that's happening here again. Right now it's definitely an exciting time to be in Seattle and in the music scene.

Christine: I know I tried to jump on that grunge gravy train too back in '91 when I first moved up here. Everybody that I knew was moving to Seattle. I was going to touch the singer from Mudhoney's hair. Nirvana who? It's cool to have lived through that.

Some good bands like Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots came out of that.

Brad: Soundgarden. Alice In Chains to me definitely stood apart from a lot of the music coming from here. They took it in strange new directions that unfortunately has ended. Alice In Chains is definitely one of my favorite bands out of that time period out of Seattle.

Kevin: I loved that whole grunge thing and I'll tell you, it really woke me up. It lit a fire in me. Led Zeppelin and all that stuff that I always refer to as great break up music, for me that created a lot of happiness and fired my spirit a little bit. The Ozzy influence and Black Sabbath and KISS that helped fuel that grunge scene. I look around at Puddle Of Mudd and all these other bands that you hear definite influences from Alice In Chains and all of these different bands that are influence by Curt Cobain. All those styles that people are so not infatuated with but there's an appeal there which is really cool. Jimi Hendrix and Heart and all of those other bands that seemed to come out of here, Seattle is a pretty cool place and maybe it's from all the rain and people don't have anything better to do but play music. I don't know.

Christine: Then you've got the newer bands coming out too. The younger bands that you're seeing off the college punk places like The Crocodile Cafe Club and Chop Suey and these other bands coming out of EMP like Vendetta Red and other groups. Alien Crime Syndicate. Modest Mouse. They've been around for a good 10 years. Just to be all around the genre and different types of music is cool because we like it all.

How long has the CD been out?

Brad: About early February was when it was officially released.

Kevin: We started recording that CD on April 5, 2003. We sent it into Disc Makers for manufacture I think in December. We were heading down to Los Angeles to play the Hard Rock to go to NAMM down there and we got it shipped I think the day before we left for Los Angeles. We received it the 14th of January and then we took them down and put them down at Amoeba and I think there was another store down in Hollywood. That's been it. It's been out for four or five months.

How has it been selling?

Kevin: Pretty good. There's a joke that rock and roll records aren't selling in here but basically for being such an independent band and just selling them at shows, Tower Records and some local record stores on consignment, I think we've pretty much done well. We've sold out at Tower Records. We had 10 there so we sold that. CD Baby we've sold our first supply. We're into our second. Quantity numbers, I think we've sold maybe 100. We're out right now and we're trying to find somebody that can help us get distribution and put some marketing and get some airplay. Get into the machine as much as an indie band can.

How have the gigs been going?

Brad: We're gigging fairly regularly. We don't like to gig too often because we don't want to get overexposed in the market. We've been doing it maybe once every couple of weeks. One of the best things I like about gigging is we'll come up with new material and use it as a forum to release some of our new material out. We try to stay fairly active. We don't want to go out there every two nights a week like a lot of bands do and just get tiresome. People don't come to the shows. They've seen you once and they love you. They're not going to see you 10 times the next 14 days. It's something we like to do where we like to make it special so we don't like to do it just all the time. Generally when we're extremely busy we're doing it once every couple of weeks at a level that I like to keep it at is about once a month. We still will do it and if something great comes up we'll definitely jump on it but it's not something we're force feeding down the throats of the club goers right now. We just like to get out there every once in a while and put on a really special show that people are going to remember for a long time.

I notice that you guys do a lot of Washington shows and get into Oregon and California sometimes.

Kevin: We have day jobs so it's real hard because they're little tours.

Brad: We've had shows in Portland. Not only just even in state. Washington is a pretty big state. We've done shows in eastern Washington, Spokane, Wenatchee which basically is like flying to New York to do a show. It's a long way away. We'll do shows way outside of the Seattle area and Kevin mentioned the L.A. show. There are possible talks of us maybe going down to Texas doing some shows there. Maybe in Las Vegas doing some shows. We're definitely not focused simply on doing the Seattle shows. We definitely like to travel. There's a radio station up in the North Pole somewhere, it's in the Arctic Circle somewhere, they're playing our CDs and I don't know if we're going to be able to make it there to do a show but if possible I'd love to go there and play.

Kevin: I guess one of the goals that is tentatively set is to make it down for SXSW next year.

What do you see in the future of Nineteen 5?

Brad: Realistically me personally, I've been in various modes in the music business for a long time and I've had dreams of stardom many years ago. I think what we have now with the band that we have is a very excellent product. We're all grown up. We're not a bunch of high school punks that are thinking we're going to get on MTV and live the dream. I look at it in a more realistic business sense and I think we all do. Personally I think we have a great product. We have potential for whatever next recording we do to be better. We've had a lot of interest in it. I don't want to say we've been getting lucky but we've been actively promoting the latest CD. We've been actively promoting ourselves and we're seeing results from it. I do see good things happening from it. I actually see very good things hopefully in the very near future. Me personally in the future, I do see us living whatever the dream is as a musician. Touring, making CDs once a year, whatever it is. I definitely see that in the future. It's not something I see as a pipe dream. Again looking at it in a more realistic businesslike sense, I see that definitely in our future. Who we have, we've survived the fight. Not that we've survived it, we just simply don't have that. I've been in previous bands where you can't make it through a practice without butting heads with somebody because they don't like the way your amp is sounding. We've all grown and are beyond that right now. We all like each other. There's no infighting. There's no chance down the road that somebody is going to want to take off and go do a solo project with some friends of theirs just because they had an argument. We're all mature and we've got the mindset to do whatever it takes to succeed.

Kevin: Work hard to take advantage of opportunities. That's what is in the future.

Christine: That's what people say. What does luck mean? I've read about the word luck somewhere. It presented itself as luck is when you are in the right place at the right time and the opportunity presents itself. That made sense. Luck is when the opportunity is there at the right time and presents itself. You have to be there. We've had some outside interest from smaller labels and from I'd say some larger labels looking at us as well. Not saying any names but they're definitely out there and they've been watching for some time and watching us as we evolve. Definitely people think we're a great band, good people, tight musicians. We're tight. We're all anal about how we want our stuff to sound.

Kevin: I think as this point I'd be content to earn a decent living playing music. I don't know that that's a huge amount of dollars. That would be certainly nice but just being able to do it and to support myself. That would be a cool thing.

Any other thoughts or comments?

Kevin: This is our first interview. You took our cherry.

I took their virginity. They are now corrupted. Corruption is good.

Christine: We love doing what we're doing. It's a driving force in feeling from our audience and from our fans when we have live shows. It's what we're living for. They like us, they like the music, they can feel it, we can push forth our passion back to them and then see it in turn come from them. Then you know you've made that connection. The sheer love and passion of that is what keeps us driven. And then having people always come up to you. People always come up to us before we're all off the stage. They start asking questions and it's just really cool. It's moving and then we figure we're in this for the right reasons. We're going to be around for some time now.

Nineteen 5