Kristina and Erica (Bass and Guitar)
The Applicators fill the void of estrogen heavy punk bands that seemed to have all but disappeared after the 90’s wave of riot grrrls faded out. Straight out of Texas, they burst onto the punk scene in 1999 and caught the ear of Bad Religion/Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson, who volunteered to produce their debut album. This past summer they released their sophomore release, My Weapon, and are high on an upswing of press that- with any luck- will push these girls even farther into the limelight they deserve.
I called guitarist Erica and bassist Kristina (because they don’t need last names) up the other morning for a chat. There was a lot of laughter, a lost phone connection, and a singing six-year old! Enjoy! And to Erica and Kristina- I do apologize if I at all mixed up who said what, but you girls sound a lot alike on the phone!
I want to say that I’ve been missing the abundance of all-girl punk bands that I grew up listening to in the 90’s, so when I heard your new cd I was like, “Yes! Finally!” Was it intentional for the band to be all women?
(Kristina and Erica) It was intentional.
So were you into any of those riot grrrl-era bands?
(Kristina) Oh yeah.
(Erica) All of us.
(K) Who? Bikini Kill.
(K+E) Sleater Kinney.
(E) All of ’em.
When you’re on tour, what do you miss most about home?
(K) Hmmm… their kids.
(E) Yeah, our kids- that’s me and Sabrina, cause we both have kids- we miss them, but other than that we love to be on tour.
(K) We like our town, but we just love to be on tour so much.
How old’s your kid?
(E) Mine is 10 and Sabrina’s is 6. They’ve grown up with us doing it, so it’s part of the lifestyle… They’re little rockers, both of ’em.
Do you ever take them on tour with you?
(E) NO- not yet! Maybe one day, but not yet.
(K) I’m not babysitting!
(E) But they get to go to shows, and stuff, out here in Austin.
Did you both grow up in musical families? Did you get to go to a lot of shows when you were that young?
(E) We did, but I don’t know if it was a “musical family” thing.
(K) We all started so young, going to punk shows…
(E) Yeah, whether it was running away, going to a show…
(E) …or just begging our parents to drop us off at the punk shows.
So what’s your best memory of one of those early punk shows that you snuck out to in those early days?
(E) My best memory was just turning 15 and I BEGGED my dad to drop me off at The Ramones and Social Distortion show in Houston. That was just the best memory ’cause I was SO EXCITED to be at that show, and I was up front screaming my head off, running around with all the boys, “WHAOOOOHHHH!” (screams, and laughs)
(K) My first show, at age 10, was Poison Tough Luck.
In your press kit I read about the scientific experiments that some of you have signed up for to get quick cash. I found that fascinating, and a little creepy. Have there been any that were way too freaky that you just said “No, it’s not worth it?”
(E) There was this one group that was there, with me and Sabrina, and they were doing something with the skin. It was like a suction that burned this mark into their skin- I don’t know what the experiment was for, but we thought those people were crazy for signing up for that! They had these huge burns on their stomachs… freaky.
Jesus! But it pays well, huh?
(K) Yeah. We’re gonna look today, they post more at 5 o’clock.
Oh, so you still do these? Is that like in place of a day job?
(K) Oh yeah. Second job.
(E) It’s like a “when we need extra cash” job. There was a good one that I was trying to get in on- it was $6,000, it was with sleeping pills, but they didn’t let me in because my blood pressure was already so low. So I was bummed I didn’t get into that one. I was like, “Man! I’d get paid to sleep all day?!”
What do you say when you’re touring in other countries and people ask you about our current government’s actions and policies? Esspecially since you’re from Texas…
(E) Oh Yeah, we get that a lot.
(K) We tell ’em that Bush is a crackhead!
(E) But then they don’t believe that we don’t support him. They automatically assume we support Bush, so we have to go through it every night in every city about how we don’t support him.
(K) It’s crazy, man, these people are convinced that if you’re from America- especially if you’re from Texas- that you live with him! We really have to, like, sit down with these people and be, like, “Just believe us!”
(E) That was a good question.
Well, thank you. Speaking of playing overseas, what was it like playing the Reading/Leeds Festival? Were you just completely in awe, or were you terrified?
(K+E) IN AWE!
(K) It was funny cause we toured in a hatchback car- with six girls- the drummer was in the drunk. Everyone else was in these huge RVs and stuff, and we’re in this little car. It was like “Yes!”
How did that even happen?
(E) I guess, Ed- this guy who worked for the agency over there- he submitted our cd thinking, “Ha ha, I’ll submit them,” but somehow they accepted us. That year there were only two unsigned bands on the whole thing, and we were one of ’em. We just got lucky, I guess. It was amazing!
If you could collaborate with any artists, who would it be?
(K) Man, that’s hard… Kelly Clarkson.
(E) Shut up…. we could do some cool shit with Motorhead, that would be crazy! We could bring them to Austin.
(K) Joan Jett! That’d be rad!
Fuck yeah! Have you crossed paths with her yet?
(K) No, but we’ve been screaming in front of her, jumping up and down in the front row.
(E) I have Sabrina’s daughter here, she can sing you some Joan Jett if you want.
Yeah! Put her on!
(E) Ok hold on… say “hi,” Maya.
(six-year old Maya screams) Hi! (sings) I love rock ‘n’ roll…. (everyone applauds)
Cool, well I will let you girls go, thanks for speaking with me.
(K+E) Cool… Bye!