Mandi Jordan used to have a huge crush on Nathan Golla.
Now she’s Mandi Golla and her admiration obviously turned to love, which may be due to their combined interest in music and tattoos.
“We knew each other back in high school, and we were friends, and she used to come to the concerts and watch us play,” said Nathan, a member of Lewiston’s hard rock band The Khind.
While it never worked out in high school, Mandi found Nathan years later on Myspace from California, struck up a conversation and surprised him one day on his Lewiston doorstep.
“Yeah, it was a total surprise,” Nathan said. “We were inseparable ever since she moved (back) here.”
After high school, Mandi had left for California, and spent eight years studying tattooing, body piercing, acting, modeling and music.
“I started out in the underground punk scene when I was about 19 down in L.A.,” Mandi said. “I was trained by old school punk rockers on how to play.”
She trained under a tattoo artist, who handed her a bass guitar and told her she needed to be a rock star.
“I practiced playing bass 12 to 14 hours a day for months to months on end and then I got hired to play for Yoshiki Hayashi and the band Violet UK,” Mandi said.
The Tokyo Dome hosted 50,000 people each night she played for three nights in a row, she said.
“There’s people that have played their whole life that have never played the Tokyo Dome,” Nathan said. “And here we have Mandi, at 30, that’s played the Tokyo Dome three nights in a row. As a musician, I’d be like, I could quit, I could die the next day and feel happy about that.”
So it was no surprise upon Mandi’s return in 2009 that Nathan’s band, The Khind, opened their arms to her. At the time, Nathan had been balancing guitar with lead vocals.
“I didn’t feel like I was doing either of them justice, so we were definitely looking for a singer. And at the point she came back, it was pretty much perfect timing,” Nathan said.
Mandi was thrilled when The Khind asked her to try out as lead vocalist, because she had followed the band since it’s formation in 1996. The band also includes bass player Brian Ochoa and drummer David “Chip” Clifford.
“The guys were hesitant about having my girlfriend at the time being the singer, just because we all know how those politics work out,” Nathan said.
But once they found out Nathan and Mandi were on the marriage fast-track — and they heard Mandi sing — Ochoa and Clifford welcomed a new member.
Nathan describes The Khind’s music as heavy, diverse and dynamic, while Mandi said she works to enunciate her singing, or melodic screaming, she calls it.
“There’s something about the way we do (music) that makes it a little more accessible than just someone screaming and flailing on the drums the whole time,” Nathan said. “We’ve been called too heavy for the light crowd and too light for the heavy crowd. And they said that as a bad thing, but that sounds like a niche area where we can thrive.”
In 2010, Mandi and Nathan bought an old tattoo shop, remodeled it and opened Lewiston’s Crimson Reign Tattoo, 326 1/2 Main St.
“Mandi runs the shop,” said Nathan, who also runs a recording studio out of their house and teaches guitar and bass lessons at Seidel Music and Repair. “We both invested in the (tattoo) shop and started it together, but she definitely is the one that’s pulling the ropes around there and making things happen. On the flip side of that, we both do the band, too, but that’s kind of my area.”
Nathan said Mandi’s private studio and her tattoo work has a lot of attitude — a punk rock attitude.
“It’s really bright and bold and colorful,” Nathan said of her tattoo designs. “The kind of stuff you can see from across the parking lot.”
Mandi said tattooing and music have worked well together.
“That’s one of the reasons I got into it,” Mandi said. “All of my musician buddies always need a tattoo. It’s a lifestyle.”
Some day, she said she’d love to have a tattoo station inside a tour bus, where she can tattoo fans with a hidden anarchy symbol, which is a way Mandi has signed her fan’s skin in the past.
Touring is a dream that Nathan shares, too.
“We want to get as big as we can and share our music with as many people as possible,” Nathan said.
The Khind plans to release a CD in late August called “Chaotic Symmetry,” but in the meantime Nathan said they will be releasing a five-song EP dubbed “EPicist,” which can be streamed online at soundcloud.com or reverbnation.com.
On Saturday, The Khind will play at The Hop in Spokane, and by that time, Nathan said they hope to have released a hard-copy of “EPicist.”
While Nathan and Mandi work together every day, they do fight.
“We were jokingly arguing about finding our socks,” Nathan said.
But matching black socks are the extent of their conflicts.
“Surprisingly, with as much time as we spend together … we really don’t have issues,” Nathan said. “It doesn’t even feel like a professional and a personal relationship, it just feels kind of one and the same. We’re on the same page, communication-wise. We never really had to work on getting it there. That’s why it’s always felt right. It just feels the way it should be.”
Treffry can be contacted at ltreffryinland360com or (208) 883-4640.
-If you go:
WHAT: The Khind performs
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: The Hop, 706 N. Monroe St., Spokane
NOTE: All ages, full bar available for those over 21 with ID