By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"We are weird," Tana says. "We are so weird. We're just a weird bunch of people."
So who are these weird people, anyway? And what are their ties to the Catholic church besides being a punk-rock parody of its clergy?
Well, as deviant and demented as some might deem the band members' music and image, the members of NunZilla lead surprisingly normal lives.
Kenyatta is 32, divorced with no children, has a college degree in computer information systems, and has worked for DeVry University for 13 years, doing everything from career services and counseling to teaching and marketing. She recently bought her first house.
Taryn is 30, single with no kids (but she has a boyfriend), and works for a nonprofit agency that provides supportive services for homeless youth. She also works as a tattoo artist at a friend's private studio.
Tana is 37, married with two children (an 18-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter), and works in the human resources department of a local staffing firm, handling payroll, benefits, and administration.
Jason is 32, married with a 4-year-old son, and works as operations manager at AM political talk radio station KFNX 1100 (ironically, a conservative station that airs programs like The O'Reilly Factorand The Dr. Laura Show). He was also recently a coach at the YMCA for a soccer team of 6-year-olds.
Those are the pedestrian stats. The most interesting aspect of the band members' "real" lives, as they pertain to NunZilla, is their religious backgrounds and current beliefs. Jason's background with Catholicism is particularly interesting, as he seems to have crossed paths with every corrupt clergyman in Phoenix.
Jason was raised Catholic, and he says when he was a boy, he was baptized in Mesa by Father Dale Fushek, former Vicar General for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, who resigned in 2004 amidst a slew of sexual abuse charges. "Yeah, the main molester guy," Jason recalls. "The blond guy. Honest goddamn truth."
Later, Jason started training to be an altar boy, and spent a couple of hours a day in a creepy monastery. "The monastery is like this dark fucking dungeon, with circular seats and dark wooden walls, and you'd hear shit behind them and we'd be freaking the fuck out," he says. "We were there a couple hours a day and we'd have the whole suit on and stuff, and then we'd put back on our Catholic gear and go out to the playground and shit. It was really fucking weird."
One day, Jason's priest suddenly disappeared without explanation. Jason found out later that he'd been sent to the Vatican, but by that time, his mom had pulled him out of altar-boy training, uneasy about the priest's mysterious disappearance.
Although he was born into and raised with the Catholic religion, Jason says he's spiritually "searching" right now. But his Catholic past does play a role in his attitude toward NunZilla. "There's a small part of me, with my background and stuff, that likes throwing up my middle finger, sticking the tongue out, and wearing the shirt, just thinking, 'Loosen the fuck up,'" Jason says. "When you get into some deep Roman Catholic shit, it's like this unbelievable, weird-ass shit, cult-fucking-crazy crap.
"I've met Bishop O'Brien the hit-and-run-cat several times," Jason continues. "All those priests that I knew, they just need to loosen up. You could look at my life, and any priest's along the way, and I'll probably win. Instead of touching boys, I teach soccer."
Tana was also exposed to the Catholic religion (her mother is still devout), along with other faiths. "My great-grandmother, whom I call Mammy, was deep-rooted in the South, and was staunch Pentecostal the whole strychnine-drinkin', snake-charmin', speaking-in-tongues-type stuff," Tana says. "And when you're a child and you see stuff like that, it's fascinating and it's scary. Right now, I consider myself a spiritual person. I live by the golden rule. But religion, in general, for me, I don't buy into it. I think it's such a joke."
Initially, Tana's Catholic mother didn't approve of NunZilla but after seeing the band play live, she presented Tana with her favorite rosary and told her she was proud of her. "It felt really good. For her to do that was a big deal," Tana says.
Taryn wasn't raised in a religious environment and doesn't attend church. "I don't follow organized religion. I believe many truths exist in all religions," she says. "There are many gods, and many great stories, but I've chosen to celebrate life and believe in that."
Kenyatta grew up Baptist, and her mother is now Muslim, but she says she hasn't found a faith that floors her yet. "My mom went to several different churches when we were growing up, and she eventually settled on Muslim, but before that, it was all about Jesus and reading the Bible. And one day, she was like, 'Nope, that's not it. It's this,'" Kenyatta says. "So watching her search for that thing that she needed really opened my eyes to the fact that some people just have something that they need, and they're trying to find the thing they're most comfortable with.
Give me a break! I know punk and this isn't punk. Total Chaos would crash on my living room floor when they still lived in their mama's houses. This has no edge, ergo is not punk. Got an idea for a new name (and gimmick) for you guys. Paul Shaeffer and the Housewives. Better fit. Y'all ain't even half sexy enough to pull off Nunzilla. And Taryn, Digital Underground called. Humpty Hump wants his nose back.
Love The Article, Love Nunzilla. They are just great down to earth peeps. The School Yard Scrappers LOVE Nunzilla ;)
Please Nuns and Father Stone Come to my town and show these people how to have some fun. I must say however the scene is very tight and holy. These guys just need a little loosening up a bit. I remember hanging out with Father Stone back in the day of jumping fences to skate empty pools. The kids here need to worship NunZilla.