Illustrator, tattoo artist, and noise nerd Gary Stevens turned on the news Saturday evening to discover his ex-girlfriend, Christine Burrage (who he knew back in the day as a teen goth who called herself Corpus Christie) had allegedly shot and murdered her current boyfriend, Damon Smooth, in a parking lot. We talked to him about her and in the process found out he lives in a miasmic hellhole where the sanest people around are deranged noise musicians. The whole thing's really sad, so we're tempering the interview with a bit of Gary's relatively cheery art. He's kind of like the boy version of Lisa Frank, obsessed with cute li'l animals but mixing in boogers and creepy crawlers instead of hearts and rainbows.
VICE: That shit is crazy.
Gary: Yeah, I was watching the local news and saw her mugshot.
When did you date her?
She was this cheeseball goth chick I dated when I was 16.
Tell me more.
We used to make zines together. I wish I still had them. It was called Aroo!
Wow. What was it about?
I did some illustrations for her sad life stories and scenester haterism.
That sounds kind of awesome. What kind of sad stories?
I hardly remember the details, just stuff about family abuse. I remember I paid her 54 cents for sex.
While her boyfriend was in the other room.
I had my first three-way with her too.
Yikes. Why was she called “Corpus Christie”?
‘Cause she thought she was so goth. It was a name she gave to herself. She called me Krishna because I was always spouting about my bullshit punk philosophies.
So she's always been a little nuts. Any hints she would grow up to be an alleged killer?
Well, we were all pretty disturbed, but no.
How did you feel seeing her on the news in this context?
Not surprised, so maybe I did see it coming.
I think something like this would make me sad.
She was that tragic girl at the party starting shit for attention.
I was that girl quite a lot too, but I'm pretty sure I have no actual murdering tendencies.
Fuck, she’s like the tenth [alleged] murderer I know personally. Maybe it’s this town.
Ten people who've gone to jail for killing someone?
Yeah. Many of them have since been released. I'd see em on the street and they would still want to be friends. But that’s hard.
What town is it again?
Are they all kinda arty or whatever?
No, not arty, just damaged.
What's your town like? Why would so many people you know be killers?
Hampton is a military town where military families leave behind their misbegotten children. Not orphaned children, like 17- and 18-year-olds. Everyone here is poor and there is nothing to do but service the military or join the army.
Why do you stay?
Mainly because of my job. I tattoo all the army boys before they are shipped off to war.
What do you tattoo them with, mostly? Are there any favorites?
Mostly religious themes, but you would be surprised how many of them want swastika tattoos and Satanic stuff. I'm not sure how much longer I can stay here. It’s really killing my mind.
Good, get out of there. It sounds nuts.