The Growlers' Hype Act Drag Queen DMTina is "Like American Idol on Acid"
By: Isis Madrid
Heading to Beach Goth this weekend? Been a while since you've caught the Growlers live? Well, brace yourselves because everyone's favorite jangly psych punk cowboys have a new hype act in tow and she's a full on tornado.
Read more: The Growlers and the Rise of Beach Goth
I was fortunate enough to see the already fabled DMTina in action this fall, and let me tell you, she is nothing short of a sloppy good time. Being in DMTina's presence feels something like swimming in a used ashtray full of whiskey; like barrel rolling down a beautiful green hill strewn with crushed beer cans; like picking the lint out between your toes and finding a five dollar bill.
We spoke to Alex Mars--the man behind the drag queen--about his stage persona, life on the road with the Growlers and what Beach Goth go-ers can expect this weekend.
OC Weekly (Isis Madrid): Who is DMTina? DMTina: DMTina is hard rocking train wreck on heels.
When, where and how did the idea of DMTina come to you? It was actually Brooks' [from The Growlers] idea. I was working as an unemployed actor at my apartment one evening when my roommate, Edgar Obrand, was talking to Brooks on the phone. Edgar kept saying, "Rad... Rad... Rad!!!" into the phone, which I thought was strange and totally funny. When he hung up he told me that Brooks wanted me to open up for The Growlers as a drag performer. I thought, why the fuck not? This sort of evolved from there.
Was there a precursor to DMTina? Not really. I mean, I have a tendency to get fucked up and go crazy at karaoke bars, but I wasn't really doing it in drag before I performed as DMTina with The Growlers.
What's the process of getting into character? The process is really about becoming a scary, sexy chick who happens to pee standing up.
Is the DMTina character much different than you, Alex? How do you differ and how are you similar? When do the lines blur? DMTina is definitely a character that I'm starting to realize is more like me than I first beleived. I've got a wild, drunken, crazy side that usually got me into trouble. Now, I channel that energy into something performative, which still gets me into trouble, but now it gets me laid... not arrested. We differ because I would never wear as much make-up or jewelry or shave as much of my body as DMTina does. She's what you'd call a high-maintenance alter ego.
Tell me a bit about what DMTina does at shows. How do you prepare for your act? I usually have a Colorado Kool-Aid (aka a Coors Light), three shots of Jim Bean, smoke 10 cigarettes, listen to "La Bamba" at full-blast, slap myself in the face a few times, then go onstage and hope the crowd catches me when I use them like a wave.
Have you ever been in DMTina character in the non-show world? Any interesting stories about being DMTina in the daytime? It's pretty hard to wash off 100 pounds of make-up every night, so DMTina follows me everywhere on tour. I must admit, the tour was a bit of a blur and I don't recall being in full costume during the day, but Instagram will know beter.
Are you into DMT? Tell us about the best experience you've had with it. Or the worst. No. I've never done myself in drug form.
What can Beach Goth go-ers look forward to in terms of DMTina at the show? I'm hoping to lock down the WCT Crowd Surfing title before we head off to Europe where I have less experience in foreign mosh pits. If Kelly Slater or Jeff Spicolli don't show up to The Observatory, I think I'm golden.
Would calling DMTina a hype act be correct? Or would you label it something different? DMTina definitely started as a hype act... like a homoerotic iPod shuffle with a pulse. Then they gave me a live microphone and became more like punk rock karaoke. Now, it's like American Idol on acid.
I was at the Growlers show in Boston this fall and thought you were super badass. Brooks mentioned you were covered in bruises from the shows. Tell me about the worst injury you got on tour and how it happened. I woke up one morning and my hip hurt so bad I thought I was going to have to perform doing a handstand the rest of the tour. How it happened? Gravity... the biggest let down of them all.
Tell me a bit about you, Alex. Where you're from, what you do, what you'd like to do. I'm from Laguna Beach, CA. I like to act, surf, eat, and abuse my medical marijuana prescription. What's in the future for DMTina? Probably lots more stubble and razor burn. Maybe start a band and open for The Beatles at Woodstock.
DMTina performs at The Growlers' Beach Goth, Saturday, October 25 at The Observatory, noon, $42. For tickets, visit observatoryoc.com
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