Bad Habits

Page 5 of 6

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.

"I have not been looking for that thing," Kenyatta continues. "If it truly, really exists, when it hits me, I feel I won't be able to deny it. Because if it's really there and it's really the way some people describe it, I won't have a choice. For me, that hasn't happened yet. I don't think I'm fighting anything; it just hasn't gripped me the way some people seem to be gripped. So I'm not gonna make something grip me because somebody says I should, or because my family is or my friends are."

At this point in the conversation, Tana has a suggestion: "Let's just start our own church."

On a Saturday night in late February, NunZilla is sneaking into a certain studio/rehearsal space on the west side for what they call "guerrilla practice." They're really not supposed to be there, but they're cool with some people who actually pay to rent a rehearsal room in the building, which sits inconspicuously at the dark end of a street, amid construction workers' lights and industrial buildings.

NunZilla "borrows" the space to practice whenever they can. The deal is that they can use the renters' access codes, space, and PA system, provided they don't break anything, and they leave some beer in the minifridge.

The band brings plenty of beer. Most of the rehearsal is spent drinking, laughing, talking, and teasing each other. The vibe is more like a spontaneous jam among old friends than a serious, studious, buckle-down vibe. There's tons of giggling and no bickering. "We're all great friends," Kenyatta says. "It's awesome. We don't get together because we have to, we get together because we want to."

"There's no fights or drama," Tana adds. "It's just like, whatever. Very easygoing."

The band's easygoing attitude is reflected in their "songwriting process" as well, which is not really a process at all, but again, more of a jam. "Someone will come up with a riff, we lay the riff down, and layers progress from there," Tana says, before pointing at Taryn. "You whip shit out of your ass all the time."

Speaking of which . . .

"Hey, I've got a new riff," Taryn announces, strumming it out on her guitar.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea