From Panaphobia Zine #4:
Mary: Airplanes. Airplanes and elevators. And talking in front of a lot of people.
P: If you’re in an elevator, do you start screaming or anything?
Mary: No. No, what I’m most scared of is I’m really shy. I’m most scared of other people. That’s my big thing. As I get older, I’m kind of getting over it a little bit, but I was so severely shy, like a few years ago, that I had major problems. I’m kind of a lot better now, but I used to be a mess. I went through this period of like four years, that I was really super shy, I was such a nerd.
P: Did you have any friends?
Mary: I had close friends, but I couldn’t deal with people I didn’t know that well. I would just say really stupid shit and then feel really embarrassed. It’s so dumb!
P: Everyone feels like that.
P: Yeah. Do you get shy on stage?
Mary: Only if I feel like other people in the band want me to talk into the microphone and say funny stuff. It’s just like, don’t make me cause I really don’t want to. I would, if I felt OK about it, but I feel shy.
P: Do you ever start saying something but then you don’t know how to finish and then you’re stuck?
Mary: I usually don’t say anything. When we were playing with American Music Club and I said, every night I would say, “Thanks, American Music Club’s up next,” but for two or three nights in a row, I just mumble-jumbled the whole thing. It was like, “Thanxamusnex…” I totally slurred it all together. And since I screwed up, that just perpetuates feeling shy. Whatever. I’ll get over it.
Ash: I’ve got a lot of fears. Lately I’ve been really afraid of, you know, that feeling when you’re half-asleep and you can’t move?
Ash: Does that ever happen to you? And you’re trying to wake up and move your arms or legs? It gets really hard to breathe. I’ve talked to a lot of people about this. I have no concept of how long it takes for me personally to wake myself out of it to where I can actually move, but it’s like being fully conscious, and not being able to move, not even being able to open your eyes. It happens to me every now and then, and for some reason it’s just so fucked up and scary I’m afraid of it. It’s like a struggle to get control of your own body. It’s sort of panic related.
P: Anything else?
Ash: I’ve been afraid of getting in a car accident lately. I’ve been driving in a van a lot, and I’ve got a vivid imagination. Sometimes I can’t help but think, “if we have a blowout right here, we’re going to skid right into this car. . . .” Just stupid shit like that you have no business thinking about. . . . Fear of getting attacked be people I don’t know. . . that kind of thing.
P: Do you get scared of your audience?
Ash: Yeah, sometimes. I’m normally really self-conscious. I’m not really into the interaction with the audience, like talking to them or joking around with them. Whatever. I just try to get into playing. Sometimes I can’t even do that. . . .
P: Does Helium attract a weirder audience than Polvo?
Ash: Yeah, there have been some weird people with the shows, but in general, we’ve had pretty good shows, they’ve been nice people.
P: Mary seems like the type who’d get stalked.
Ash: Some weird people. Somebody gave her a rock and then called her. As he was leaving the show, he gave her a rock and said, “Keep this.” Then later, as we were loading up, the phone rings and it’s for her and the club people get her and she said “Hello?” and he said, “Is it you? Is it you?”
Ash: “Keep that rock, OK? It brought me good luck for five years.” And then he hung up. And so what I mean by that is, if 100 people come to the show, 98 will be great people probably and two of them will be kind of strange. Those are the people you’ve got to remember, just in case. He’s probably a nice guy. . .
P: Did she keep the rock?
Ash: Probably. I would have. I don’t know, I might have just thrown it over my shoulder. I might have smashed it with a hammer and done some incantations or something.
Interview by Jen Wolfe.
Reprinted without permission.