Mary Magdalan rocks through the pain


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The New Testament didn’t mention that Mary Magdalene lived in Hollywood and Jesus was a disc jockey.

Namely, because they didn’t. But Mary Magdalan and Gzus do.

The 27-year-old’s constantly colored blonde locks, extreme makeup, and brightly colored clothes often get her compared with Lady Gaga. Even though, as she says, “we were out before her.” Unlike her look, her music isn’t comparable to anyone else or any other genre. It’s been called everything from metal to pop, but it’s always grounded in an electronic base.

And her music has served as an escape from personal pain.

Magdalan will perform at 6 p.m. today at the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St. Admission is $12.

A week into their current tour, Magdalan, Gzus, and Chihuahua Kid Vicious, will travel across the country until mid-August with their high-energy performances.

Tom George, a booking agent and publicist, said the band has been to Cedar Rapids twice but never Iowa City.

“The live show’s great. Mary is very animated,” he said. “It’s an experience.”

When Gzus and Magdalan met, he said, he immediately thought she could be a star.

“She was Fergie before there was Fergie, Ke$ha before there was Ke$ha,” he said.

Their followers now religiously listen to their music because of the story they have to share and their willingness to relate to an audience.

Magdalan, a New York native, grew up with parents addicted to heroin. When her mother died at 33, she was forced to go into the foster-care system.

“My hopes have always been that I can take the people that have had similar lifestyles as I did growing up and show them it’s OK to mourn, OK to be sad, but it’s also OK to let go and embrace the new part of life and embrace the present,” Magdalan said.

The first two albums have been a way to heal and get the anger out.

“She told me her backstory, and I was like no matter where you go musically, I think that there is really a place for you to speak for an entire generation that might be feeling the exact same way,” Gzus said. “There are always kids who are lost.”

On July 11, the release of DIGIN3RV will set a different tone entirely.

“The whole concept of the album is that I was implanted with a digital nerve that makes me forget all of the past and all of the pain,” Magdalan said. “At some point in your life you have to heal and have to move on.”

She said she lived through some dark years, struggling with abandonment, drugs, and a lack of faith.
Now, a believer in universal love and a greater force, she said she is in a much healthier state of mind. And she tries encouraging her fans to do the same.

Her listeners have been labeled with the title of “Junkies” and often throw out the slogan of “Junkie Love” — standing for “joined under necessity to kill ego.”

“Basically, the voices in your head that tell you that you’re no good,” she said. “It’s an appropriate name because we are no longer junkies for drugs, we’re junkies for music.”

For both the singer and producer, music was their outlet to get clean.

“Living in Hollywood gets kind of crazy,” Gzus said. “You’re dealing with a lot of money, a lot of flaunting, a lot of excess.”

He said that when they met, they had to find a balance — either they were going to party together or create music together. They were good at both.

They chose music — but it hasn’t always been the easy route.

“I have only one thing to attribute our success to,” Gzus said. “Hard work.”

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