7x7: Have you been to San Francisco before?
Nina: Yeah, actually a handful of times. The first time we went there,
on our first tour when I was…I think I was 16? We toured on
our own money and we got by selling merchandise. Our last date was
in San Francisco, and we didn’t have enough money to get back
home, so Jenn and I and Phanie, we went around with a CD player and
we went through the streets and we played it. After people listened
to it, we were like, “Do you like it? Do you wanna buy a CD?
‘Cause we’re trying to get home!”
7x7: And did it work?
Nina: Yeah, finally we made it.
7x7: You’re on Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records label.
How did you cross paths with her?
Nina: Actually, we were doing this pilot episode for a show called
Jammin’, and it was kind of like a documentary following bands
trying to make it. At the end, there was supposed to just be a special
guest that just comes by and gives you words of wisdom and then leaves,
but she ended up liking us!
7x7: That’s amazing – how soon after that did you start
Nina: After the whole business, just a couple of months and then finally,
we started recording.
7x7: Had you listened to Joan’s music growing up?
Nina: Yeah, my mom listened to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts a lot,
and Phanie listened to The Runaways. They were always around. She’s
7x7: Joan sings on the Trio B.C. track, “Joannie in the City”
– what was it like watching her in the studio?
Nina: She was very professional. She had these little cough drop things
she put out, like “if you need some, here you go.” She’s
done Broadway and stuff so she has little tricks.
7x7: Does she take on the mentor role with you guys?
Nina: Yeah, she lets us run the show. She tries to make it as smooth
as possible whenever she’s in the studio and when she has something
to suggest, she puts it in there, and it sounds great.
7x7: What was it like touring with Morrissey and Cyndi Lauper? Had
you listened to them a lot growing up?
Nina: Definitely Morrissey – well, everything my sister listened
to – she listened to Cyndi Lauper too. Definitely Morrissey
is a big influence. I didn’t really get into him until I was
about 12 years old, when his lyrics actually started to make sense
7x7: What was it like, not just meeting these major influences, but
supporting them on tour?
Nina: With everything we do, when it comes, we just do it, and then
afterwards we think about what we’ve just done (laughs). That
was our first big tour, and for it to be Morrissey, we were really
blessed and very grateful. And his fans were really receptive and
they really…they didn’t boo us!
7x7: I saw an interview in which you named Jeff Buckley as an influence,
and the band’s name comes from a song from The Smiths –
who else has influenced you?
Nina: Um…Aqua. No I’m just kidding. No, Nina Simone. Billie
Holliday, Stereolab. Mike Patton from Faith No More and Mr. Bungle.
And some random ones.
7x7: Had you done vocal training before joining the band?
Nina: I was in choir in high school and elementary school, but…(laughs).
7x7: You named the CD Trio B.C. for your grandfather’s Tejano
band. What are some of the memories you have of him, growing up?
Nina: Well I never heard any of his music, but as he got older, he
moved into my parents’ house, and he’d hear us practice
and sometimes he’d enjoy it and sometimes he’d tell us
to shut up. But towards his last days, he’d constantly talk
about being in a band, and playing shows, and meeting girls and having
fun and everything.
7x7: Does it ever get tough working alongside your sister?
Nina: It’s like a roller coaster. At the beginning, I was 13,
and they were 21, so they basically raised me, because I dropped out
of school to go tour and stuff, so they became my parents in a weird
way. It was hard to distinguish bandmate/parent/sister. But recently
actually, I’ve, I guess grown up a bit, and they’ve settled
in their ways. It’s…we have our conversations (laughs).
7x7: You’re all known for loving tattoos – what was your
Nina: The first one was, I was 16, and I got it on my back, on my
shoulder. It’s one of those things you should never do, is pick
out a flash. It’s a skull with spider webs, butterfly wings,
and it has a “13” in it. I thought a “13”
would make sense because that’s how old I was when I played
my first show. But I remember getting it and having to hide it from
my parents and it was right on my shoulder. I forget it’s there
7x7: Do you ever add to the collection while you’re in tour?
Nina: We have some random friends in cities that offer to give tattoos,
so we try to take them up as much as possible. It’s kind of
7x7: I had your picture up on my computer, and my coworker said you
looked just like [famed tattoo artist and L.A. Ink star] Kat Von D.
Nina: (Laughs) Kat Von D did one of my tattoos, and when we were doing
it, we were standing next to each other and people were all, “You
look like a mini-Kat Von D!”