About Mary Magdalan
West Hollywood, CAMary Magdalan
Angel of Metal Interview by Junior Davis of Music Now
Music Now: Give us a brief bio
>>> When I was born, both my mother and father had really bad heroin addictions. When I was two, I was shipped off to go live with my grandparents and their three kids, my Aunt Terri (Blueberry) and uncle Timmy. They were all kids when I was a baby so I was treated like a little sister. When I was three, someone tried to carjack my Aunt and shot her in the head. She lived through it but it was one of my first traumatic moments in my life. My big sister was never the same after that. All my uncles had problems with drugs and crime so there would always be Police or scandals going on behind my back. MY parents could never get it together and I would spend most of my time that I spent with my mother trying to play with her but she was always too doped up. She would eventually fuck it up and I was shipped back and forth between her and my grandparents until she finally just fucked up too much and they cut her off. Then when I turned around; my mothers battle with drugs finally ended. She was found brain dead in her apartment from an aneurism. My family lied to me about her being sick a finally told me after she died. I never even got to say goodbye then my big sister followed suit. After several brain surgeries the only solace Terri could find was in heroin. Apparently my mother turned her onto it. We found Terri dead in her bed of a seizure. My Uncle Jimmy was a real punk. He was always getting into trouble and had a bad problem fucking with people and taking jokes just a little too far. The prison guard took Jimmy on an elevator ride and beat him to death. With all his children dying before his eyes, my grandfather, the rock in my life, got lung cancer. The man who was everything to me was now dying. When he finally passed, I had no choice but to get the hell out of dodge. I stumbled upon LA and fell into some really bad habits. Nights up in the hills turned into days locked up in my closet. Things spiraled down to the depths and one night as I laid their in panicked rushes I finally had enough. Either I was going to be Debbie part 2 (my mother) or I was going to change the world; hence the birth of Mary Magdalan. I gave up my habits and got down to making groundbreaking music, that as 2 years ago. Now I'm ready to bring this on the world.
Music Now: What makes you and your band stand out from all the other bands out there?
>>> I don't think we've ever tried to stand out. I just think that the sound of music needs something different in order for it to grow. I doubt I would even be here right now if I intended to sound like the next popular band. IF you turn on the radio, its the same thing or a cheap imitation of what someone else did. The rock star died a long time ago. Now it's grungy boy bands singing about what some chick did to them and how life sucks and blah blah blah. I'm not really out to change music as much as I am just trying to leave a scar. Music Now: Nicely put.
Music Now: If you could perform a concert with any band or artist (living or dead), who would it be and why?
>>> Well being that most of my idols are dead, it would probably be with Janis Joplin and Layne Stayley on vocals, Jimi and Dimebag on dueling lead guitars, Kurt Cobain on rhythm and vocals, Biggie on rhymes, Cliff Burton on bass and dueling drum tandem of Bonham and Keith Moon. Oh yeah and GG Allin hyping the crowd. Besides that it would probably be my band. I couldn't see myself playing with anyone else.
Music Now: How did your first song materialize?
>>> Well I probably went through a few hundred songs before I actually wrote a song that fully represented me. The first song I wrote with the band was "Rehab". At the time, I was dealing with a lot of chemical demons. My DJ came by the club and slid me some beats and he accidentally put the beat for "Rehab" on my CD. The beat was meant for someone else! The next time we met I had the basis of the song and he had no choice but to give me the beat. While making the song, I hit a turning point in my life because that is when I made the decision to walk another path.
Music Now: Where do you get your inspiration for songs? Which comes first.....the lyrics, to which you fit words, or the words, around which you fit a melody?
>>> Songs come from different places, sometimes the words, sometimes the melody, sometimes just the feeling....I have this little box that I keep inside me and as I walk around I collect feelings and of course I have plenty of my own, then, when its time to write a song or perform I go into my box and whatever comes out is what it is so- you never know what it'll be.
Music Now: What inspires you?"
>>> A lot of things inspire me, fear, confusion, this need I have to getaway, my addictions, emotional or chemical, love or lack thereof....I guess its the relationship of positive and negative, everything has an opposite reaction....I do a lot of bouncing off that.
Music Now: Who was your role model and why?
>>> My mother was heroin addict, and I guess she was my first role model so, I really never had one. Now Im my own role model because the women I am striving to be is a role model in herself.....if I cant live up to it myself then Ill never be able to help others....
Music Now: Was being a musician your first choice of profession? If not, what profession would you try and pursue?
>>> I was actually a dancer for most of my life. If I wasn't making music, I would probably be a missionary; probably off somewhere away from modern civilization barefoot with a bone in my nose :)
Music Now: Do you believe in keeping the best equipment there is or working to play the best you can with what you have?"
>>> We've always had a Russian style training approach to our music. The Russian basketball team practices with a smaller sized basketball hoop so when they get to the real game the hoop looks gigantic. Our equipment isnt half of what these other bands have but I just go out there and spit my soul through shitty mikes just as hard as good mikes. If you cant share yourself with your audience, then maybe you need some better equipment.
Music Now: I like your approach.
Music Now: Which do you value more: staying true to the song or expressing yourself, even if it means making some slight changes to the melody?
>>> I really feel like the best of both worlds with my music. Its the purest expression of me. As far as melodies and things like that, I try to make sure compliment what my band does in order to make the best song.
Music Now: When you are playing at a concert, do you concentrate more on putting your soul into the music or extending your music to the audience?
>>> I just try to leave it all out on the stage. When youre sober, sometimes the only high you can get is being on the stage, so I fully take advantage of that. Plus, as a woman doing such aggressive music, I've got to be able to represent for the ladies.
Music Now: What keeps you grounded?"
>>> I have a "fan" that cant seem to get it straight. She's got issues with drugs, sex, cutting, abuse and every other demon that is killing off our youth. She told me that if it wasn't for me she would be dead right now. I talk to her every day. If that doesn't keep your feet underneath you, then I guess nothing will.
Music Now: If you become exceedingly famous, will you make a contract with the venue to take out all of the brown M&M's they give you? Smile" >>> I'm actually going for the oversized almond M&M's and have them individually painted by 5 year old kids in the Philippines. Or maybe I'll just need water and a lock on the bathroom door. I'll make sure to send you a copy of my rider.
Music Now: If you were not making (your current genre of) music, what other genre (folk/rap/whatever) would you be doing?
>>> I dont even know what genre Im in now. I cant decide as it is. I dig all types of music. I usually dont write with any one genre in mind; that kind of kills the whole creation thing for me. I write what I feel. You can take anything and make it into what you need it to be.
Music Now: What is your payback for the hours and hours of time you spend alone or with the band learning new music? Does devotion to one's art go this far? How do you juggle this solitude to the immense pleasure of applause after a concert?
>>> The pleasure I feel is not at the end during the applause; the pleasure I feel is the meditative high I get DURING the performance and the feeling I get when I answer my fans questions about life and feeling depressed; I love helping.
Music Now: Were you interested in music when you were younger?
>>> I was always a dancer and had a grave love for music and its ability to transport me far away from the pain that was around me as a child. It was like my plane ticket to another world. About 5 years ago, I began to take music seriously and about 2 years ago I really tapped into my sound. Its hard to be free as an artist when you still unsure of your sound so that was a big turning point for me then last year I found this band and things have just been in Gods hands since then..
Music Now: Do you have any advice for other musicians? >>> The one thing that Ive learned and Im still learning everyday is really actually simple but really fucking hard to do; mind discipline. It means not listening to those voices in your head that doubt you and tell you you cant do it, it means having the courage to try again and again and again until you fall on your face again and again, it means being stronger than you ever thought you'd have to be, and it means just to do it all again.
Music Now: Would you rather make music for fame or for the music itself?
>>> Fuck fame! If I did this for fame, I'd be prancing around half naked talking about my tits. I do this for the people that know and feel my struggle. Fame is the buffet that my ego feasts on when all I want to do is kill my ego.
Music Now: Who is the most influential person in your music career?
>>> I guess me and my strong need to get this message out there and my co-producer and DJ who always pushed for more when I thought I couldn't do it. He also made me quit cocaine or he wouldn't work with me.
Music Now: If you could jam with any famous musician, dead or alive, from any century, who it would be, and why?
>>> It would have to be Aretha Franklin. I don't know if I could even stand on the same stage as her, but that would probably be the highlight of my career.
Music Now: Does it ever freak you out when kids idolize you, claim they love you, obsess over your lyrics and so on?
>>> Not at all. They know that I understand them and they understand me. I cant even call them fans; they are more family to me than fans. They are the only reason I do what I do.
Music Now: Why do you choose to play music instead of some other art?
>>> Music is just the art I choose now. When I feel I have said what it is I have to say artistically thru music I can move to another medium. Music Now: How did you all meet? I met Jesus through a mutual friend. At the time, I was looking to do a mix tape and he had the hottest mix tapes in LA. We started making music together and eventually got a band together. After about six months with our first band, we crashed and burned; which left us with no choice but to clean house. We met Eric through our old weed dealer. One of his clients was a music student and when asked who was the best guitarist in the program, he (old weed dealer) threw Eric's name out there. Eric knew Bobby and Pete from school and had jammed with them on other projects, so when we all got together it just fit perfectly from day one.
Music Now: Do you have a particular message you want to convey to your audience through your music?
>>> Your not alone. Everyone's crazy. Use what God gave you and make it work FOR you not against you. Try to see the good in all the bad situations you'll be faced with; even if they just fucking suck.