Pretty in Punk: Halo Friendlies dish it out

By Steve Beard

Archives: 2002, The Warped Tour

For the last several years, the Halo Friendlies have been pumping out hard-driving and melodic pop-punk ballads all over southern California venues in an attempt to have fun and break the stereotype of merely being an alluring all-girl novelty act.

A few possible misperceptions should be cleared up from the beginning. Yes, they write their own songs and play their own instruments. Yes, they are gorgeous. And no, there isn’t a Svengali pulling the strings.

Having just returned from playing at American military installations throughout Bosnia, Kosovo, and Macedonia, they are currently travelling around the nation on their second Van’s Warped Tour for the skateboard and BMX punk crowd. The Halos are also promoting their new album, “Get Real” (Tooth and Nail), produced by Kim Shattuck of The Muffs.

The Halo Friendlies, whose name was suggested by songwriter Damion Jurado, have produced an album loaded with catchy hooks and upbeat guitar riffs in the femrocker tradition of the Go-Go’s and Bangles. The songs focus on relationships without the feminist angst of Sleater-Kinney, the adolescent hedonism of The Donnas, or the indecipherable screams of Kittie.

Natalia Bolanos, Steve Beard, Judith Wignall, and Christina Hock

Singer Judita Wignall and bassist Ginger Reyes agreed to sit down for an interview while guitarist Natalie Bolanos and drummer Christina Theobald talked with fans at the Halo Friendlies booth at the Warped Tour in Cincinnati.

What is it like to travel around all summer and play everyday in a different city?

Judita: It is like travelling with a circus but it is fun and an adventure, every day is different and the crowds vary from state to state. We really enjoy it. We did it three weeks last year and this summer we are doing five.

Ginger: It is like a circus. You wake up every morning and everyone is unpacking their stuff and setting up while the vendors are getting ready. What makes every day really different are the people, the kids. You can really tell if it is going to be a good day by the reactions of the people you meet in the morning.

What has been the best city on the tour thus far?

Ginger: Chicago. They are really receptive to music, really open-minded to all different kinds of music. That was really cool.

It seems as if all of the bands on the tour get along really well. Is that true?

Ginger: You get to know them by being on the busses with certain bands and seeing them everyday. There is a lot of camaraderie here. Everybody is friends on this tour because we are all in this together. All the bands go to see each other. It is kind of like etiquette – Warped Tour etiquette. You get to know everybody that way.

Are there some big egos to deal with on the tour?

Judita: I think there are very, very few egos. In our experience on this tour there are a couple of rock stars in the bigger bands but that is about it. Usually everyone is pretty cool. Everyone understands that everyone else is just human.

How did your new record deal come about?

Judita: Tooth and Nail wanted to work with us for years and they were great about getting us a record out in time for us to do this tour. They were the best label to get us what we wanted.

Did the Halo Friendlies have two or three previous releases?

Judita: We had one full-length on Jackson Rubio, an EP, and then two demos on our own. We were just waiting for the right label to go to and for us to develop and get better songs.

Who are your role models—musical or otherwise?

Judita: My mom is my biggest inspiration. We emigrated from another country [Lithuania] and she worked really hard when she got to America. I get my work ethic from her – just working hard and going the extra mile.

Ginger: As far as music goes, it would be the Beatles because of the amazing work that they did and all that they had established in less than ten years with their songwriting and music. It just shows that you can do so much.

Your band name and your label would tend to alert people that you are Christians. Has that been a problem on the Warped Tour?

Judita: Everyone has been really cool. They all say, ‘Oh you are out on Tooth and Nail and are Christian.’ And we say, ‘Yeah,’ and then go on with life. Sometimes we get teased, but not really in a mean way. They kind of poke fun, asking us where our Bibles are. Most people are pretty respectful though.

Ginger: It is really funny because a lot of the bands – a lot of people – grew up in church. A lot people who are in music are there because they played in a church. So a lot of people on this tour have church backgrounds, which is really interesting.

There seems to be so many bands such as P.O.D., MxPx, U2, and Lifehouse who are not hamstrung by the sacred vs. secular music debate. Has their influence made a difference?

Judita: As Christians we are supposed to go into the world. We are not supposed to create our own little world and be separate from everybody else. I think that it is great that P.O.D. and MxPx are out there. I think that is awesome. That is where we are supposed to be – in the world – serving other people and being friends with everybody, not just other Christians.

Steve Beard is the creator of thunderstruck.org.

 

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