Fu Manchu Does It Again

So at this point Fu Manchu has the Fu Manchu formula down to a science. Put out a killer record, tour and repeat. I have honestly never been disappointed with one Fu Manchu record. Sure, some I like more then others, but they are all freaking good. The thing is, they all sound like Fu Manchu. Killer riffs, simple and laid back approach to the vocals and serious grooves. Well…. Their latest album “Clone Of The Universe” came out today and its another darn good one.

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“Clone Of  The Universe” starts off strong with the the track “Intelligent Worship” in which Fu front man Scott Hill (guitar/vocals) drops that classic singing style of his. He has always had such a unique and cool approach to his phrasing. There is no mistaking him for anyone else.  Of course the song also features a killer riff that rocks hard and gets the head banging. Guitarist Bob Bach also drops a fantastic guitar solo on this one.

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The album then takes a turn into circus like groove with the song “(I’ve Been) Hexed.” The guitar vibe is really cool on this one and gives lots of space for bass player Brad Davis to show his chops. The next track “Don’t Panic” reminds a bit of Bl’ast!, but with cleaner and tighter execution. Drummer Scott Reeders performance on this one is top notch.

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“Slower Than Light” is a classic Fu Manchu groove that ends up punching you in the face. Scott’s vocals put you in trance while the bass line is pure silk gold. Its the perfect song to lead into “Nowhere Left To Hide.” which is yet another track built around a killer riff. Fu Manchu really let the groove sit in on this one. The slightly sludgy riff pulls back to earth.

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The title track is probably my favorite of the album. Its got all of the Fu Manchu elements I love. The vocals work hand and hand with the guitar and you can’t  help but digging the hook. Scott Hill is a very underrated when it comes to his lyrics and the hook type melodies he comes up with. Fu Manchu songs always seem to get stuck in my tiny little pea brain.

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The album closes out with “ll Mostro Atomico” which is an 18 minute epic monster of a Jam. The band sounds enormous on the long drawn out intro as they pound the riff home. The guitar solo work is killer! Oh by the way… Fu Manchu had a little help from Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson on this one so…. Thats a thing.  “ll Mostro Atomico” also features some pretty cool soundscapes.

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So yet again Fu Manchu does what Fu Manchu always does. They stick to being bad ass and as consistent as consistent gets. All four members are stealer players and good dudes to boot. The only complaint I have is I wish there was more!! Seven songs just wasn’t enough. I will say the band sounds very powerful and energetic. You can hear the energy come through their playing on every note. I will be in attendance for the big release show tonight and look forward to seeing these new tracks live.


 

 

 

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The River Cult Interview

Super pumped to catch up a bit with the boys of River Cult who are making some noise out of Brooklyn with their record “Halcyon Daze.” The record is out today and the boys were kind enough to tell us a bit about it. So thank you, Sean Forlenza (Guitar/Vocals),
Anthony Mendolia (Bass) and Tav Palumbo (Drums) for taking the time to do this!

WH: First off, congratulations on the album!! It’s a very impressive debut. You mind telling us a little on how the writing process went?

Sean: Thanks! Basically one of us comes in with a riff, or a partially finished song, and then we all work together to complete it. We always try to record while we write, and then listen back before the next rehearsal. Sometimes things spontaneously come together perfectly during a section we are just jamming on, so we go back and try to recreate it, perfect it, and then set it in stone for the final version. The lyrics and vocal melodies usually come much later once the music is totally done.

WH: How WH: did the title “Halcyon Daze” come to be and what is the meaning behind it?

SeanIts a pun on the phrase, “halcyon days,” which refers to a sort of, “golden time period,” of the past, implying that things were much better then than now. I believe this to be a flawed way of thinking and serves to distract people from dealing with the present, and puts them in a sort of dazed state. The song, “Halcyon Daze,” touches this subject, but is more specifically about constantly seeing shocking and violent images from far away places in the media and the disorientation that it causes the viewer. In the song, the protagonist starts to question the reality around him and feels he can’t trust what he is seeing in the news anymore because it is so starkly different than his immediate situation that he cannot relate to it at all.

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WH: The Sophist is probably my favorite track off the album. You mind telling us a little about the lyrics and how you approach writing your lyrics?

Sean: Thanks, that was a tricky one to put together! We had a lot of ideas going on but were finally able to refine them into something that flowed. “Sophistry,” was an ancient Greek school of so called philosophers that would use fallacious and deceitful rhetoric in order to win arguments. True philosophers of the time, like Socrates and Plato, spoke against the sophists because they valued deceitful rhetoric over truth. The song, “The Sophist,” is comparing that idea to people who talk way too much and argue about things they don’t really know, simply for the joy of winning arguments. As for my approach with lyrics, I start by just singing random words at rehearsal to get the vocal melody and structure together, and then I think about different themes and slowly start writing the lyrics. Its kind of a long process that I can’t rush, even though our lyrics are sparse.

WH: Likelihood Of Confusion is another strong song. Can you tells a little bit how that song came to be?
Sean: Anthony came in with the main, opening riff of that one and then we all started working on it together. We finished it pretty quickly.. one of those riffs that kind of writes itself. For the long, spacey ending, we were originally thinking of it as a segue for a live set to flow into the next song seamlessly, and ended up keeping it that way for the album because we really liked it. Its a lot of fun to just space out on that part and lay it on thick. The lyrics are about sobriety being boring and just waiting to get lifted.. basically, haha. Its meant in more of a playful way though, ant not about about serious addiction, like the last track, “Point of Failure.” The title is actually a term in copy-write law, the likelihood of confusion of two things with the same name. I thought it was funny to think of it in the context of getting stoned or something.. the likelihood of lighting up and throwing it all into confusion!
WH: You guys use dynamics really well to shape your songs. Is that something you try for or does it just happen naturally? 
Sean: A little bit of both. Its something that happens naturally because we use pedals as part of our songwriting, and kicking on a fuzz or cutting it, or switching between two different dirt pedals on a dime, all adds to dynamics and happens naturally as we write. That being said, we also have moments where we are like, okay.. this part goes on too long with the same vibe, how can we switch it up? And sometimes instead of adding a new riff or section, dropping out or kicking it up can add the new element we were looking for. We much prefer to use dynamic changes like this in our songwriting as opposed to making something overly complex and adding too many notes. Its more about trying to capture a feeling or a vibe.
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WH: The tones on “Halcyon Daze” are stellar. What kind of gear are you all using?  

 

Sean: I’m playing a heavily modified ’02 Les Paul R8 though a Cornford MK100 and an Orange PPC412. I used a ton of pedals on the album.. so I may be missing a few: Swollen Pickle fuzz, MASF Wata Fuzz, CAE Overdrive/Boost, CAE Wah, Earthquaker Devices Disaster Transport analog delay, and Boss CE-2W, DM-2W, RV-3 and DD3. I also used a Death by Audio Echo Master for some of the vocal tricks.

 

Anthony: I play a 91 Gibson Thunderbird through an Orange ob1-500 head into an old ampeg 8×10 cab. I run a couple pedals including a black arts toneworks pharaoh fuzz, blackout effectors whetstone phaser and a boss rv-3.

WH: What do you hope listeners get out of Halcyon Daze?
Sean: We are just hoping people put it on and really get into it. We wrote and arranged the album in a way so that it flows and takes the listener on a trip. We are really just writing music we would want to listen to ourselves, so I hope others feel the same way. We just want people to sit back and dig it!

WH: Which one track off “Halcyon Daze” is your favorite to play live?

Sean: I’d have to say, “Point of Failure.” I really love playing the trippy, repetitive ending and getting really lost in it and then exploding into the loud, heavy riff from the chorus in the beginning of the song. Its a killer way to end a set. I also really like singing that one.
Anthony:  Also Point of Failure. It’s just a real fun song to play and has a great vibe.
Tav: All that droning on the toms makes the title track a fun one for me, also probably the most exhausting.
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WH: Speaking of playing live, are you guys planning on doing any  touring?

 

Sean: Nothing solid right now but we are planning on focusing on playing outside of the NYC area and doing a string of shorter tours. We would also love to be able to book something in Europe, but that is a long term goal at this point. 

WH: What sort of approach do you all take to your live performances?

Sean: We try to weave all the songs in the set together with either just one break without pause. Sometimes this happens naturally with the way the songs are written, or we have to change a thing or two to make it work. I think its much more impactful to present a set this way, given the dynamics of our music. We also try to play as loud as the venue lets us! Much to the sound person’s chagrin.

WH: How long have you all been together?

 

Sean: We formed around August of 2015, so about 2 1/2 years.

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WH: Tell us how the name River Cult came to be?

Sean: We just kept bouncing ideas off of each other and ended up with it. I’ve always had a sort of obsession with rivers so I wanted that to be in the name. NYC is obviously separated by rivers, and my friends jokingly talk about having to schlep across two rivers just to see each other. “I came two rivers for this?!”

WH: Who are some of your biggest influences and why?

Sean: So obviously Sabbath/Sleep, etc. I also really love how Boris structures their songs and take a big influence from Wata. But for my guitar playing I love Keiji Haino, Daniel Ash, Robert Smith, Michio Kurihara and Takashi Mizutani just to name a few in a broad spectrum. John Coltrane has also had a life changing impact on me. Lyrically I’m more inspired by literature, but I love how Bobby Liebling sings and the subject matters he touches upon.

Tav: Jaki Liebezeit and Dale Crover are some of my favorite drummers. I think they represent two ends of the spectrum I try to draw from; from heavy handed flams and pounding to tight trance inducing repetitious grooves.
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River Cult’s record release show for  “Halcyon Daze” will be at the Sunnyvale in Brooklyn with Somnuri & Aux Era on March 15th. I would like to thank them for taking the time to chat with us. You can head here and buy yourself a copy of “Halcyon Daze” and checkout our review of it here. 

All Souls Brilliant Debut!

So….. All Souls is a band that you absolutely need to check out! I mean it!!! The LA based band that features: Antonio Aguilar (Totimoshi)  on guitar/vocals,  Meg Castellanos (Totimoshi) on Bass/Vocals, Erik Trammell(Black Elk) on guitar and Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson/ Deep Dark Robot/ Brant Bjork) on drums is set to releasee their debut self titled album and its a masterpiece. The album is driving, colorful and chalk full of hooks. You can see that All Souls knows a thing or 2 about rock n roll just by looking at their members resume.  You could even say All Souls is a super group. But…. All Souls is much more then just that. Their music and style is something familiar and comforting while be new and exciting at the same time. That folks, is not an easy thing to do!

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All Souls 9 track album starts strong from the very get with “The Ghost Is Flying Home.” The song starts with a strong punchy cadience that would make Jack White jealous. The guitars paint over beautifully with a dark and mysterious riff that lead into some nifty lead work in the same realm of early QOTSA. All Souls use tempo changes and a killer hook during the chorus to drive this puppy home. The guitar riffs after the songs breakdown deliver the knockout blow.

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The track “Never Know” features another strong vocal performance and killer guitar work. Antonio has little hints of Jello Biafra in his voice that lay over All Souls musical canvas perfectly. He has the perfect voice and style to lay over what the band is doing. The mix and production on this album are great! You can really hear what each member and instrument are bringing to the table. Meg and Tony hold down a solid rhythm section that also keeps your interest with subtle but powerful tweaks. Both are amazing musicians that deliver the goods with such taste.

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“Rename The Room” may just be my favorite track on the album. I love how it builds itself up with plenty of tension and beautiful Melodys that all play off each other. The raunchy guitar solo over the bad ass bass line gets me. The first half has a bit of ZZ Top thing going but leads into a massive Pink Floyd kinda thing. Like I said All Souls have hints of something familiar in their sound but deliver it a very unique and intriguing way. This song seems to grow and grow and gets better with each listen.

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“Sadist Servant” is an instant epic war march! That song makes me wanna battle robots or do something crazy like real life exercise. Tony T crushes it on the drums with a little help from some dude named Danny Carey (Tool) on percussion.  Antonio and Erik’s combined guitar work seems to make for a perfect chemistry.  Haunting guitar solos glide right over the battle rhythms creating the perfect soundtrack for dropping into barrel of a big wave feeling the oceans strength and the surreal feeling of harnessing something so powerful.

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I could honestly go on and on about this album. All Souls crushed on this one and I guarantee this will be in rotation for me for a long long time. There is just so much interesting musicianship on this record. What I love about All Souls is on the surface it sounds so clean and simple. The formula is a killer riff, strong rhythm section and the vocals deliver the unmistakable hook. But if you really listen you can pick up all the little nuances All Souls craft into their. That my friends is not an accident. Its very calculated, its very thought out, and it takes skill to pull off.  Antonio, Erik, Meg and Tony have something special together and they know how to write a complex song that is still easily digested. You can hear and feel punk, desert, grunge and even epic Iron Maiden vibes all mixed  into a exquisite creature.

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ALL SOULS debut and self titled record will be available worldwide 2-9-18 trough Sunyata Records. For those of you who are vinyl collectors you best act fast. The super cool folks at RUNIED VIBES RECORDS are doing something very Special. There will be 2 versions of All Souls debut album. One will be only available on tour through the band. The other is original screen printed piece of art by Kat Von D. Both will be limited to 100. Both will feature different artwork than the CD. I suggest you get over to Ruined Vibes now because these puppies will sell out. In the meantime check All Souls on….

(FaceBook, IG, Twitter, Bandcamp, Web)

CD RELEASE SHOW

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Wedge & The Killing Tounge

 

If you like good old fashioned  rock n roll then you must check out Wedge. They use a mix of 60’s and 70’s rock with a little bit of psychedelic sprinkles on top.  The 3 piece Berlin based band will be dropping their Sophomore album “Killing Tongue” February 9th. Featuring 9 blistering tracks ‘Killing Tongue” is no joke. The band literally sounds like they should have been part of the original Woodstock line up.  This is the perfect album to crank while the beers are flowing, the grill is fired up and good times are in the making. I love how they use the Hammond Organ to texture their tunes. The track “high Head Woman” is a beautiful display of just that. Wedge has some serious talent and skill. The track “Lucid” allows all 3 members to shine on their respected instruments. My Favorite track on the album has to be “Tired Eyes.” From the tripy intro to the the outro, the song takes you to different time and place.

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I will admit, “Killing Tongue” took a hot minute to register for me. On my first listen I didn’t really get it. Once I let it settle in and took the time to dig in and really listen I really couldn’t help but appreciate what the boys in Wedge are doing. The guitar work on the album is defiantly top notch and the songs just make me feel good. I love how Wedge structures the songs on Killing Tongue. They incorporate many different instruments and styles but still have the fuzz I crave.  So If your at all a fan of that 60’s sound you music check these dudes out!

RELEASE DATE 9TH FEBRUARY 2018

AVAILABLE IN LTD SOLID WHITE VINYL
BLACK VINYL
DIGIPAK / DIGITAL

WEDGE FACEBOOK 

 

Chris Hale (Brave Black Sea & Slo Burn)

Chris Hale is the guitarist for both Brave Black Sea and Slo Burn and he is currently a very busy man when it come to music. Brave Black Sea is currently workin on the follow up to their debut record “Fragments” and hourly  it will be dropping sometime in 2018. Chris  is also  in the final stages of writing for the forthcoming and highly anticipated Slo Burn album. We all thank you in advance Chris for the riffle! Mr. Hale was kind enough to take the time to be a part of our random question segment!!

WH: What is your go to guilty pleasure band/artist?

HALE: I don’t really have any guilty pleasure bands because I don’t feel guilty listening to anything. Music is made to be enjoyed. I’ll sing along to some Taylor Swift with my daughter with zero fucks to give!

WH: If you could make an album with one band/artist dead or alive who is it and why?

HALE: Elvis Presley. His records are what made me fall in love with music as a kid.

WH: Favorite genre of music besides your own?

HALE: Besides heavy music and rock & roll I listen to a lot of hip hop and really old blues and soul records.

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WH: Favorite tour food/snack?

HALE: Depends where I’m at. In Germany, I like me some good gas station bratwurst and bread though!

WH: Besides music name one hobby you enjoy?

HALE: Building things with my hands. Working with wood and metal.

WH: What was the last gift you gave someone?

HALE: I just gave my wife a divorce.

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WH: If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?

HALE: “Ya” from Kyuss, Blues for the Red Sun.

WH: What song best describes you?

HALE: Simple Man, Lynyrd Skynyrd.

WH: What nickname would you give yourself?

HALE: Oh man, I don’t know. I’ve never had a nickname.

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WH: If you could steal one song from anyone which one would it be and why?

HALE: Whatever song made the most amount of money.

WH: What inspirational quote have you used for motivation?

HALE: What you see is what you get.

WH: Give your bandmates nicknames?

HALE: I got too many band mates haha.

WH: What is one band you would suggest people check out?

HALE: Neurosis

 

Ruben Romano

I have zero doubts that Ruben Romano is stoner and psych rock royalty.  Romano is best known for is skills behind the drum kit. Look no further then is work on the first three Fu Manchu records and then with the mighty Nebula. He is a founding member of both bands and his unique style played a tremendous role in their success.  Currently Ruben is fronting the fuzzed out psychedelic rock’n’roll band The Freeks. Romano stepped out from the kit and is playing guitar and singing with The Freeks but you can still detect his signature sound. Since 2007 The Freeks have been doing their thing and they do it very well!! I highly recommend you check them out. Their last album “Shattered” is killer and come spring 2018 they will be dropping a new one on us! The Freeks got an aggressive approach to dropping a laid back good ole fashion ass kicking  groove.  Ruben was kind enough to take part in our random question segment.

WH – What is your go to guilty pleasure band/artist?

Romana – I got quite a few really, and in the end I don’t feel so guilty any more, John Denver, K.C. & the Sunshine Band can qualify under this. I used to say, Rod Stewart 78 era but given his time prior with Ronnie Lane and Small Faces still keeps him cool in my book no matter how much pink satin there was.

WH – If you could make an album with one band/artist dead or alive who is it and why?

Romana – Hard one, but I would have to choose one of these two bands, either The Incredible Bongo Band or Dennis Coffey & the Detroit Guitar band. Why? both those bands influence me as a kid due to the heavy percussions going off. I’m first a drummer and those were some awesome drum records due to all the hand drums involved

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WH – Favorite genre of music besides your own?

Romana – An other one hard to pin point to just one, Um, we can revert back to my answer in question # 2, There is a certain era of fuzz wha funk instrumental bands that I enjoy, I welcome all genres really, My Mom was a disco queen so there might be some of that in there to, hence the guilty pleasure of K.C & Sunshine band, (again due to some funky percussions there), although her all time favorite tune was Hang On Sloopy by the McCoys so bubble gum pop of the 60’s hits me good, like the Archies. I guess I can say that “Music” is my favorite genre, how bout that?

WH – Favorite tour food/snack?

Romana –  Maybe not my favorite snack but what I used to survive on tour with was a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter, That alone could last me a week, so I always had to make sure to grab plastic knives from the truck stop joints.

WH – Besides music name one hobby you enjoy?

Romana – Um, maybe stitching, not necessarily quilting but I can make a pair of jeans last a good long time with a needle and thread. Not really a hobby but more a survival tactic.

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WH – What was the last gift you gave someone?

Romana – One pocket coffee, it’s a small chocolate with liquid espresso inside it.

WH – If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?

Romana –  “Do ya think I’m sexy” by Rod Stewart or “Fire Poem” by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

WH – What song best describes you?

Romana –  Easy Like Sunday Morning or Comfortably Numb

WH – What nickname would you give yourself?

Pacing Tiger, because there is always something else to get done, but as a kid it was always something like Roobie doobie-do, and yes i did, so I had to learn how to roll a good doobie for my brothers! Right?

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WH – If you could steal one song from anyone which one would it be and why?

Romana –  Always giving my self the choice so either “Magic Potion” by The Open Mind or “Tractor” by Monster Magnet, because I love those songs

WH – What inspirational quote have you used for motivation?

Romana –  “Love is the Secret Password”. or just plain and simple, “I’ll do it myself”

WH – Give your bandmates nicknames?

Romana –

Jonathan Hall- The Bear

Bob Lee- Blind Owl

(but both those have already been taken by Canned Heat)

Esteban Chavez- Dr. Patient

Ray Piller- The Pile driver

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WH – What is one band you would suggest people check out?

Romano – Live- Slow Season- there Drummer is awesome! and of course my band The Freeks!! haha! duh!

THANKS AGAIN RUBEN! Like I said earlier, this dude is rock n roll royalty. I’m really looking forward to checking out what The Freeks put out this spring! In the meantime you can check out The Freeks at:

Amy Tung Barrysmith (Year Of The Cobra)

Amy Tung Barrysmith is nothing short of a rock n roll bad ass! She is the vocalist and bass player of the mighty and heavy Seattle based Year Of The Cobra. Along with drummer Jon Barrysmith YOTC has been tearing up the underground and making waves in the big leagues of rock. YOTC is getting set for another west coast tour in support of their latest effort “Burn You Dead” (produced by Billy Anderson). Amy was kind enough to take the time for Wormhounds Random Q’s.

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WH: What is your go to guilty pleasure band/artist?

AMY: The Cure – any album

WH: If you could make an album with one band/artist dead or alive who is it and why?

Amy:  Joan Jett.  I love her.

WH: Favorite genre of music besides your own?

Amy: Punk rock



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WH: Favorite tour food/snack?

Amy:  Beef Jerky



WH: Besides music name one hobby you enjoy?

Amy: Snowboarding

WH: What was the last gift you gave someone?

Amy:  A blowtorch

WH: If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?

Amy: GERMS – Media Blitz



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WH: What song best describes you?Amy:

Reagan Youth – Got No Class

WH: What nickname would you give yourself?

Amy:  Amy “where’d my keys go” Barrysmith

WH: If you could steal one song from anyone which one would it be and why?

Amy:  Dayglo Abortions:  Argh Fuck Kill – because it’s brilliant.



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WH: Describe yourself as a slogan?


Amy: The most unorganized organized person

WH: Give your bandmates nicknames? 



Amy: Jon – stinky pants