Q & A with Agent M
By Justin Vela, Staff Writer
Tsunami Bomb’s secretive singer, Agent M, catches me by surprise when she calls a half hour before the appointed time. She waits patiently as I fumble for my notes and laughs cheerfully as I make inadequate excuses. This is Agent M after all, the queen of the underground music scene. I am on the phone with true greatness, and I can’t find the interview questions.
Since Tsunami Bomb’s conception in the late 1990’s, they have rocked the nation and abroad with their unique style of powerhouse punk rock. With a live show to rival AFI or The Clash in their prime and a new record produced by Steve Kravac, of MXPX and Less Than Jake fame, sh’s clearly feeling pretty confident.
Nada Mucho: Why are you called Agent M?
AM: I dressed up as a super spy for Halloween and Dominic (bass) decided I needed a nickname.
NM: What’s your real name?
AM: That’s secret.
NM: Can I take a guess?
AM: Will it go in the interview?
NM: When did you first get into music?
AM: I was sixteen and a junior in high school. Green Day had just started being played on MTV and I loved that. I come from a small town with no musical outlets and I was a wannabe punk rocker. I wore fishnets and crazy outfits to school. I bleached my hair, stuff like that. I was dressed like this in AP honors classes. I thought it would be interesting to find out what all the preppy kids thought. They probably thought I was crazy. Maybe I was (laughs).
NM: At what point in your life did you know you wanted to dedicate yourself to a band?
AM: When we started touring and doing this as a job.
NM: Do you make a living from touring?
AM: No, we all live with our parents or with somebody that will let us crash for free. It’s kind of sad (laughs).
NM: What goes on before a show?
AM: We watch the other bands, I take my inhaler before the show or I can’t breathe (laughs). No routine.
NM: How did you all meet?
AM: Dominic (bass) and Gabe (drums) have known each other since they were fourteen. They were in the same grade at the same school. My brother introduced them to me when I moved up to Sonoma. We met Mike (guitar) through our friends Lucky Strike. He was their roadie and we sent him a copy of the stuff we played live, he learned it, and when he came up from his home in Texas to try out, he had everything down great.
NM: What were your first impressions of your band mates?
AM: Dominic was a smooth talker. He was always trying to work an angle. He’s had this band planned out in his head for about a year before we got together. Gabe was really shy.
NM: What drives you crazy about your band mates?
AM: Mike mopes about a lot and gets antisocial. You can tell he doesn’t want anybody to talk to him. Gabe takes way too much time in the bathroom doing whatever. He doesn’t remember that other people have to take a shower. Dominic can turn into a big three-year-old in every way you could imagine. I have a copy of one of the first shows, where Dominic made a speech about our song “Lemonade.” He used to do a preacher bit when we had a keyboardist. She would play an organ along to his speech. (Adopts hick accent)”Listen here now brother and sisters.” This must sound really mean if you can’t hear me laughing.
NM: What happened to the other band members?
AM: Brian (guitar) got married and that’s pretty much it. Courtney (keyboards) quit and moved to Austin, Tex. I guess she is going to school down there. Our first show without her was actually two years ago today.
NM: Got any crazy road stories?
AM: That’s always a hard one. Mike gets drunk and pees on the floor. I can’t remember any others.
NM: How Rock n’ Roll are you guys?
AM: Not very. Nobody does drugs, so I don’t know if that counts as Rock n’ Roll or not. Mike’s the only one that really parties it up. Gabe does too sometimes. Dominic and I usually just hang out. Nobody really wants to be a rock star. We want to stay in touch with the kids.
NM: What’s it like touring in the van?
AM: It sucks. It’s cramped and it smells bad, but it’s our home and the only bit of solidarity we have. It’s our haven because we’ve got all our stuff in there. We call it El Diablo because it’s red and we used to have a Devil mask we stole from a venue on it. But then somebody stole that from us.
NM: What do you sacrifice by touring for months on end?
AM: You sacrifice having normal relationships with your friends, your parents, boyfriends or girlfriends. You never have places to live or work.
NM: Does Tsunami Bomb have a long-term plan for world domination?
AM: (Laughs) We’re on our way to world domination. Our plan is to conquer the underground and build up the troops. Then take over the world.