Max Off from Mean Tangerine

Mean Tangerine are a bunch of sweeties. Not only that, but they all have beautiful hair, and can play their instruments good. They are currently in the middle of making a new record. It’s probably going to be pretty good. You can buy it when it comes out. For now, grab some of their old stuff and enjoy it, and read these question Max answered for me! 

http://www.facebook.com/meantangerinemusic

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1-Who are you, and what do you do in Mean Tangerine?

-I’m Max Off, and I’m the singer/piano/guitar player for Mean T.

2-Who are the rest of the dudes in the band?

-Right now, Jesse Wilks is the lead guitarist, and Mike Carey is the drummer.. we’ve been bouncing around bass players.. we’ve had three different sick bass players, but they all had other shit going on. One went to prison for rape, one got hit by an 18 wheeler, and one OD’d on heroin.

3-You guys started out in London, and now make Toronto home. Why did you make the move?

-We made the move because we all decided we should go to school because thats the standard thing to do, and we hate straying from the norm. Toronto’s a place where you can go out any time of the day or night and find something wicked going on and have a great time.. that really worked for us… however we’ve always lived in pretty shitty areas. Sometimes it’s not always the best stuff going on, but it’s better than nothing, right?

4-You’re signed to Drive Records. What is like being a signed band as opposed to a band out on their own?

-Its not so different, other than when you run into people from high school you sound like you didn’t completely throw away your potential. Drive has been awesome to us though, we have an awesome relationship with them, considering we don’t make any money. So we’re pretty grateful to be in this situation with them.

5-You’re five records in. How have you changed since the first release way back in 2006?

-We are actually 2 CD’s and a sampler in. We haven’t released a CD since we were teenagers which was our album ‘Peels’. Seeing as we haven’t released a CD in so long, our style and sound has certainly changed. We’ve been in the process of recording a new CD for over 2 years now and even in that time our sound has changed. I can’t wait to release this new disc though, it’s been far too long, and we’ve changed so much. We’ve really matured, theres about 30% less fart, and boob lyrics now.

6-You’ve toured Canada and into the US. What is it like playing across the border as opposed here?

-Beer is so much cheaper, and the bars treat bands better financially and nutritionally, as in they feed us. Every where we played in the States was so much fun. A lot of nights was playing to no one but we made friends everywhere and we always ended up with more than we were guaranteed which is a good feeling. Canada is amazing, don’t get me wrong, it’s just a totally different scene down there. Our first show in the States was in New Hampshire, and they couldn’t get over how white our teeth were which was pretty funny because i’m pretty sure Jesse Wilks doesn’t own a tooth brush, or deoderant, or a high school diploma.

7-Facebook tells me you’re recording a new record. How is it going?

-The new records going slowly but i’m really happy with the tracks we’ve been pumping out so far. They’re a lot more in the vein and direction we want to be heading in. Which is a more mature sound, without losing what made us Mean T.

8-You’re currently searching for a bass player? Here’s the change! Make your plug!

-We need a bass player thats a cool guy and can tour and not be a puss, not saying that any of our other bass players were puss’s, but thats a requirement for sure. No puss’s….you gotta have a big ol’ set of balls… big ol’ melons really… a nice sack too… thats a must.

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9-Mean Tangerine is a great name….. but, by nature, tangerines aren’t really that mean. Explain the band name to me!

-We were 15 and stoned, and misheard a Beatles lyric… it was green tambourine. We meant to change it.. but again the stoned thing.

 

10-You’ve toured with some great bands. what has been your favourite tour so far?

-Whenever we tour with the Johnstones we always have an amazing time. It’s just like a giant road trip with your buddies that your getting paid for. We’ve played with a ton of cool bands not on tours, but I’d say the coolest one was Our Lady Peace just because Clumsy was the first album I ever bought it was cool to share the stage with them.

11-Any tour that has just been hell?

-Every tour is hell… you stink, you wake up in car washes in Akron, Ohio, and you get in at least one fist fight, but they are all worth it. Touring is the most fun thing in the world, you just can’t be a puss about it. I can’t emphasize that enough.

12-Every band has a great van story about breakdowns, no brakes, overheating…. do you have any?

-Our vans transmission blew on the way home from Buffalo so we had to AAA to the border, and than CAA to Toronto. It was awful… but we stocked up at the duty free and they didn’t even ask for our passports at the border so that was pretty sick actually.

13-If you could have a dream endorsement from any company, what would it be?

-A gas company, they have everything we need… or a hotel chain… but they’d probably get rid of us pretty quick.

14-Gas prices keep rising….. how do you guys cope driving a big old van with gas at $1.20 +?

-We break even… and siphon gas… 

15-What are the plans for the rest of 2012?

-Finishing this goddam album thats taking forever.

16- Every band has their favourite place for pre/post show eats. What restaraunt do you guys stop at the most eats?

-Um, we’re usually in new cities every time, or on a time crunch so we do a lot of pizza or Tims. We’ve got this schwarma place in Hamilton called Lulu’s we go to every time we’re there. It’s the best schwarma going… instant diarreaha but soo good. 

17- Being in a band, In know this feeling. If there was one person in your band who you could take in a wrestling rig for 5 minutes to blow off some steam, who would it be?

-Thats funny you say that because we often get in legitimate fights with each other considering we live and tour together. We see each other 24 hours of every day. It’s usually a couple punches get thrown and then it gets broken up and then were best friends again. It’s usually Mike and Jesse because Mike is a hilarious shit disturber, and Jesse is a hot head. Me and Jesse went at it in a hilarious display in the ditch in front of our house once. God that was pathetic.

18- Bands often have a lot of free time pre show. You load in, then have nothing to do for 3 or 4 hours until you play. How do you guys occupy your time?

-We do a lot of drinking. When we toured the States we really made the most of it and did the touristy stuff in every city which was pretty cool… really busy, but a lot of fun.

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19- Most bands have a family dynamic. In Mean T, who’s the dad, mom, etc.

-Honestly everyone I tell this to calls me a liar but i’m definitely the dad, because I’m responsible as shit, Jesse’s the mom because he’s kind of a diva. I realize I’ve made a lot of jokes at his expense in this interview, but he’s a big boy he can take it. He’s also the funniest guy going so theres a plus for him, his only one. Mike is the rebelling teen.. the Bart Simpson if you will. Him and mom are always going at it. I wish i could divorce him. He’s just so goddam good in bed.

20- If you described your band dynamic as a sitcom group (Friends, Big Bang Theory, Seinfeld etc) who would it be?

-We’d be like Band of Brothers. I’d be Major Winters for sure. Jesse would be that Leutenant that bails on everyone like a bitch and Mike would probably be Joe, the guy who gets his legs blown off but is a pretty chill cool guy.

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Devin Bond from Lost In Line/ SPNP

We met Devin and the Lost In Line guys a while ago. Awesome dudes, super fun to play shows with. They brought us a roasted chicken once. If that isn’t love, then I don’t know what love is. Devin also sings in SPNP. If you don’t know either band, check ’em out. London represent!

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1-Who are you, and what do you do in Lost In Line and Snow Pants Or No Pants?

-I am a nice guy named Devin Bond. In Snow pants or No Pants I do vocals. We have been around for 5+ years now and make some chill tunes. In Lost in Line I am also vocalist, I scream my ass off and use singing skills I have gained from SPNP to do the rest. I love the type of music we create in both bands. Really proud of it.

2-Let’s start with Lost in Line. Who are the rest of the guys in the band?

-Lost in Line consists of 2 guitars, obviously bass and guitar. We got Dan the hamburgler rockin’ out on bass. Ben F and Zack fuckin’ up guitar and well… we have no drummer anymore as of recently. Matt Delaney is the original drummer. Great dude.

3-And in Snow Pants Or No Pants…who does what?

-In SPNP we’ve got basically the guys since day 1, except for me. I joined later on. Stefan Loebus, one of the best drummers I have ever met is on the drums, sexy Karl Wiwatowski on guitar and the chef Dave Herba on bass. 

4-The bands are incredibly different, how do you go from fronting a metal band to doing an indie rock thing?

Hmm, never thought about that one. Well I have always listened to all music.. I guess it is because I originally just sang but listened to metal music alot, until I realized holy hell I need to learn how to do metal vocals. Its what I love. I can let my emotions out even more! Ever since the day i decided that, I have constantly been screaming and trying to get better at it.

5-SPONP has a great mixture of sounds. I hear Red Hot Chili Peppers, Panic at the Disco, Sublime….what do you guys draw from when writing tunes?

-Oh man, when me and those dudes make music it is the best thing. We just pump out our feelings but within the limits of what the band is about. So ya, typical answer, but we just play what we think sounds good. But then again sometimes we will be like “woah that sounds to much like the Chili Peppers” and scrap the song.

6-More importantly, the name is great. Who came up with it?

-HA! well the original guys made the name up before I joined. I am talking years before I joined. Stefan said that him and his buddy Dylan were just walking in Dorchester one night when they were younger and the name came up in a conversation. We are actually trying to drown out the full name and just Rock the acronym now ( S.P.N.P). People that like our music can dig and figure out what SPNP actually stands for.

7-The venues/shows you play with SPONP is obviously way different from what you’d play with in Lost In Line. How do the crowds differ from indie rock to metal?

-Well I know you have not been to a SPNP show, we have one coming up and its gonna be great you should come see what the crowd is like. I guarantee it will be different then you expect. Once we had a show with good friends and fans and they went nuts. not to the point of moshing obviously but they were singing still and moving. My vocals in some SPNP songs are hard live, like RATM style.

8-What is the coolest show you’ve played with Snow Pants….?

-Coolest show would have to be a Norma Jeans show. Just, we had a lot of support that night. We also did a lil gig for DSRI which was actually really cool and a lot of fun at a pool hall.

9-We’ve gotten to play with Lost In Line, and you guys are a blast. What are some of the coolest shows you’ve been in with them?

– A really cool Lost in Line shows would obviously be with Anu Beginning at The Music Box, a not so well known venue in London. All the bands were great and this one band from Europe was there on tour they are called “In League” check ‘em out people. Another great show was when we played at a youth club or whatever and there was a lot of younger metal heads there. They get so into it and are not worried about what people think when they move around or raise their fist in the air. Your band played at both those shows as well, so maybe that is why they were so cool.

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10-You guys play a ton of shows, and drive quite a bit. Has your van ever let you down on the side of the 401?

We suck and do not even have a van. Worst thing that has happened is driving the total opposite direction of a venue on the 401 for like a good while…

11-What has been the wildest show LIL has been on?

Wildest show that Lost in Line has done while I have been in the band. Man I dunno, like these guys have played with big bands before I joined. I’m talking Memphis Mayfire, Attack Attack!, WCAR, Winds Of  Plague, Die Atlantic…. So I yet have to play a really crazy show. It is gonna happen this month, we have 3 shows with great bands and good turnouts.

12-You aren’t the original vocalist for LIL. What is it like coming into a band as a vocalist, after the songs have already been written?

Ahhh I like that question. I could write a book about that question. It was cool, like I felt good about doing Lost in Line songs that were already written. Lets just say it was a honor and was a big task, I ended up improvising a few times. At the same time though there is nothing like the feeling of screaming your own vocals, especially when you are proud of them.

13-You’r two bands go kind of left and right vocally. One is more melodic singing, the other is aggressive screaming. How do you keep your vocal chords from blowing out?

I just go all out everytime. When i sing “melodically” I am always pushing my vocals hard, dude. I can’t hit certain notes without going all out. In my free free time i scream more than sing. singing is a relief but wow it still strains the chords. My endurance will only get better too

14-If you could describe each band as a fruit, what would the fruit be, and why?

SPNP would be a pineapple ‘cause pineapples are fucking awesome and so much different then other fruits. Lost in Line is like like a peach. If I was in a crowd watching Lost in Line i would want no other fruit in my hand. Bust that shit open and it leaks juice everywhere in a good way but has a hard ass pit in the middle. Oh, can not forget the fuzz, the guitarist Ben is soooo damn hairy.

15-Both the bands decide to play a softball game against each other.Which team do you choose to be on?

-Woah..well. Id be on SPNP, they get all the ladies…

16- Every band has their favourite place for pre/post show eats. What restaraunt do you guys stop at the most eats?

-Fast food cause its greasy as hell. I always seem to have beer in my gut and it helps with that. But then again we try to find those great shwarma places.

17- Being in a band, In know this feeling. If there was one person in your band who you could take in a wrestling ring for 5 minutes to blow off some steam, who would it be?

Oh maaan!, well I dunno id take Stefan on, the drummer for SPNP. He is my best friend and like….probably the biggest challenge would be a fun one.

18- Bands often have a lot of free time pre show. You load in, then have nothing to do for 3 or 4 hours until you play. How do you guys occupy your time?

-We spend some time walking around the city. I also do that by myself, I clear my head and sing to myself. There is nothing specific though, it is always different.

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19- Most bands have a family dynamic. In LIL, who’s the dad, mom, etc.

Well in Lost in Line Ben is the dad figure , hairy ass muther fucker, Dan is the lovable brother. I love him. Zak is the annoying mother and I am just the brother. Probably adopted though.

20- If you described your band dynamic as a sitcom group (Friends, Big Bang Theory, Seinfeld etc) who would it be?

-Hahahaha,  I’ll just match the guys up with Seinfeld that’s easy. I am Jerry for sure. Zak is Newman, Dan would fit was Costanza I think and Ben is Kramer.

 

No, go eat a banana and get into local music!

Zach Havens from To Tell

We met Zach from ToTell a long time ago, when we were on the same bill for some show. I don’t remember the show. I think it was with HelloKelly. Maybe not. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is we met, and instantly fell in love…. with the music. Not that I don’t love Zach or anything. He’s actually one of the coolest down to earth guys I have come across in my years of being in a band/meeting other bands. He is an amazing singer, great songwriter, and has really nice hair. He also was awesome enough to take some time to answer some questions for me!

www.facebook.com/totell

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1-Who are you, and what do you do in ToTell?

-My name is Zach Havens, and I am the lead singer/keyboardist for To Tell.

2-Who are the rest of the guys in the band?

-We’ve got Nate Rundle on guitar, Mike Switzer on drums, and Justyn Schwindt on bass.

3-ToTell…. to tell what, Zach? Explain the band name to me.

-Ha funny question. The band name was kind of random (taken from a setting on a new keyboard that I had purchased), but when the band name came up it was essentially along the lines that people are not going to play music unless they have something to say. For us, it was almost a simple little vision statement that summarized why we were playing music. Sure we love playing shows, meeting new people, etc. but the main thing that we get to do is express to other people things we’ve been through and are going through. Whether that’s how I met my wife, things I think are a little crazy about the world, or even what my personal commitments are, I’m really lucky to be able to present those ideas to more than just my immediate circle of friends. So to tell what? Let’s say everything, and that’s a good start.

4-I just saw you on Breakfast Television in Toronto last week! That’s crazy, how was it?

-It was killer, dude – SUPER early (we had to leave London at 3am). Really cool experience. We’ve gotten a ton of positive feedback from it, and we were really stoked that we were able to play live on national television. I was super nervous (I always always always get nervous before we play), but it was an incredible time and a really fun thing to do.

5-You’ve done some crazy touring over the last year. What has it been like going across Canada in a van?

-It’s been a lot of fun, man. It’s been awesome to see this country from coast to coast as a result of music, and while the drives are crazy long, being stuck in a vehicle with the other guys in my band is always a good time. I really see the value, though, of touring the US considering how much closer everything is. But yeah – driving across the country is awesome – I highly recommend it, band or no band.

6-What has been the most memorable show to play at so far?

-Um, there have been a few. Last summer we were able to open for Mariana’s Trench in Sarnia, and we got the opportunity to play in front of 8,000 people or so – Huge stage, great sound, amazing crowd, lots of fun. And MT ripped it up. Another really cool show was one that we played in Waterloo. It was at an outdoor stage under a tent, and it was pouring out. About 300 or 400 kids packed under this tent for our set and we all just partied – Probably one of the most fun show experiences I’ve had. Other than that, we’ve played some amazing shows with amazing people, so it’s hard to narrow it down from there.

7-I hear a lot of The Rocket Summer/Jacks Mannequin/SoCo…. obviously a lot of piano rock. When did you decide you were going to front a band and play piano?

-Well, my parents decided the whole piano thing when I was four as they forced me take piano lessons. I hated the idea, but I’ve since warmed up to it. ☺ I’ve always been a huge fan of heavier bands like Emery, Underoath, etc. but when I wanted to start a band, the only thing I could bring to the table was piano since I don’t play guitar. With that, To Tell came to be with a strong piano influence. I still wish I could play guitar though – Definitely a “cooler” instrument haha.

8-You are, like us, in a faith based band. Have your beliefs gotten in the way of anything a long the way?

-No, I’d say definitely not. We are all Christians in the band, and our faith is what dictates how we live our lives. With that in mind, it definitely affects different decisions that we make, and for the most part it’s kept us away from a lot of really bad situations. That’s not to say that our faith doesn’t necessarily give some people incorrect assumptions about who we are as a band, but we really try to not be exclusive in the music we create. We’ll just as easily play a club in downtown Toronto as we will play a youth group in Northern Ontario, and if anything I think that the fact our faith allows us to connect differently with different audiences has been a huge positive. If you believe what we believe, we have a common ground understanding both on and off the stage. If you think what we believe is ridiculous, then we have a really cool opportunity to hear what those beliefs are and appreciate them.

9-You have 2 music videos out. Both are great. This is less of a question, more of a statement. Respond as you wish.

-Thanks! I’m super stoked on how they both turned out. It was also sweet to have my wife play a prominent role in the one and then have my niece be one of the kids in the other. So glad you dig them ☺

10-Every bands most hated question. What is your number one favourite ToTell song?

-Yeah, that makes sense as to why every band would hate having to choose their favorite To Tell song.I’d have to say Change Me Now. It’s the last track off our full length, and I really love it because on a lot of levels it’s really simple, but it’s also a super artistic song. Also, when I wrote it I was going through some pretty crazy stuff, so I’m really really proud of what it says lyrically. It’ll be that song that I’ll listen to when I’m 50 and be like, “yeah, I’m so glad I wrote that.”

11-Nate, Mike and Justyn are all killer musicians, how did you go about putting the band together?

-They are all incredible musicians and even better dudes. Nate and I met through our old bass player. He was actually originally going to play drums for To Tell (he’s an amazing drummer), but when I lost my original guitarist, he joined in and has been with me for the longest. Mike filled in a couple times on bass and guitar, so I got to know him through just a few shows here and there. When I needed a more consistent drummer, he hopped on board and has been with me since. He grew up in a family of touring musicians, so the way he’s able to adapt so easily from a musical, tech, and travelling perspective is really amazing, and I’m so thankful for it. It’s kind of random how Justyn started in To Tell. I was in desperate need for a bass player, and I had my eye on this one guy. He couldn’t do it, and I honestly had no idea who I was going to get. Justyn is several years younger than me, and he always came out to our shows. He had just graduated high school, and I offered him the job. It’s kind of random, because he only played guitar, and even then I had never actually seen him play. However, he has an amazing hard-working personality, and I’m constantly amazed at how random it is that he plays with me, and also how perfect he is for the job.

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12-We’ve had the pleasure of playing with you a few times (we need to make it more often), and we are, obviously, way heavier than you. How does it feel to be on bills where you are the musical man out?

-Haha I love it. As I mentioned, I listened to a bunch of heavier bands growing up (still do), and each of the other guys in the band were all in metal bands before joining To Tell. Honestly, sharing the bill with some really solid heavy bands makes for an awesome show.

13-Let’s talk gear. What do you use live, and in the studio? I remember seeing Something Corporate, and they legit rolled a piano out at shows. You obviously don’t do that…. tell me what you use!

-Well, at home I have a Kawaii baby grand piano, and on the road I use a Roland FP-4 keyboard. It’s 88 keys and fully weighted, and it’s pretty ridiculously beat up. It’s a beautiful thing, though ☺

14-ToTell dream tour, you and three other bands. Who do you choose?

-To Tell, Relient K, Rocket Summer, Emery

15- The first half of 2012 has been nuts for you. Plans for the next 6 months?

-We’re planning on releasing a couple new music videos over the next while. We’ve got shows booked all summer all over Ontario and into Quebec, and we’re also going to be spending a ton of time songwriting, recording, and getting ramped up for some new music – Very very excited!

16- Every band has their favourite place for pre/post show eats. What restaraunt do you guys stop at the most eats?

-Five Guys – We’re pretty thrilled that there’s one in London now, so that’s definitely a huge danger! Also Boston Pizza is pretty popular since it’s one of the only places that has food at 1 in the morning haha.

17- Being in a band, In know this feeling. If there was one person in your band who you could take in a wrestling ring for 5 minutes to blow off some steam, who would it be?

-Ummmmmm we’re all pretty light weight dudes, but I’d say probably Nate – The other two guys have tattoos which subconsciously makes me think they’d kill me or something ☺

18- Bands often have a lot of free time pre show. You load in, then have nothing to do for 3 or 4 hours until you play. How do you guys occupy your time?

-Well, I found myself in that position a lot, so last fall I started taking online courses through a university in the states. I’m working on my Bachelor of Science in Accounting, so whenever we have down time before our set, I’ll typically work on school (in BC I finished a test, like, 10 seconds before we went on stage haha). Justyn and Nate always play video games (League of Legends, SWTOR, WOW, etc.) and Mike sleeps – The man can sleep actually anywhere no matter how loud, so that’s usually how it goes.

19- Most bands have a family dynamic. In ToTell, whos the dad, mom, etc.

-Honestly, that’s a super hard question. I think that across the board, we all have our different roles and strengths and that at the end of the day we’re all just pretty much brothers…. Or fathers…. No, brothers (inside joke) bringing different things to the table.

20- If you described your band dynamic as a sitcom group (Friends, Big Bang Theory, Seinfeld etc) who would it be?

-Wow, hard question…. Umm….. probably the cartoon show of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Mike’s Iron Man, Nate’s Thor, Justyn’s the Hulk, and I’m Captain America.

Paul Marc Roussea from I Am Committing A Sin/ Burst and Bloom

The first time I saw this band we shared a bill with them and Silverstein in Chatham, Ont. They instantly became one of my favourite groups. I Am Committing A Sin had musical honesty and integrity, which I think a lot of bands lack now. The music itself baffles me, and after 2 or 3 years of listening to their first record, there are still parts I’m picking up on. They aren’t a band anymore, but Paul (guitar) answered some questions for me about them, and his current band, Burst and Bloom. He has some of the best, honest, funniest answers.

www.facebook.com/iamcommitingasin

 

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1-Who are you and what was/is your job in IACAS?

-My name is Paul Marc Rousseau. I played guitar in I Am Committing A Sin, but that wasn’t much of a job. 

2-According to your Facebook page, IACAS is dead…. yet you’re still playing shows here and there. What gives?

-The first show we did posthumously was of our own volition, but the other two (Dead and Divine farewell show and A Sight For Sewn Eyes Release show) were more about being with our friends on a stage that meant a lot to them. Which, in turn, meant a lot to us. We won’t do another one, though. I promise.

3-‘Grow Past Their Promises’ is one of the most cohesive records I’ve ever heard. What was the writing/recording process like for that record?

-We wrote Grow Past Their Promises over the course of a few months in the practice space we were illegally subletting from Silverstein. It was never a taxing experience because at the time there were no expectations. We casually arrived at what seemed like a cohesive batch of songs and recorded them in three or four days with Justin Koop in Burlington. We tracked drums and bass simultaneously and did the same with the guitars. It was somehow really relaxed and super easy despite the timeline. 

4-The guitar parts are insane, very intricite. How do you approach guitar playing when writing songs?

-I was a pretty naive guitar player at the time, and I know that Kevin would say the same thing. That said, I know he and I approached the parts differently. I played from what can basically be described as pure instinct. Kevin was quite calculated and was insistent on trying to build on all of his parts before eventually being forced to keep one. We both, however, were acutely aware of the role of our parts and as a result were able to put together some interesting bits. 

5-The tones are also nuts. What did you use to record, and use live?

-I played a 1970’s Ampeg V4 and Kevin played a Traynor Mark III from the same era- each with a Tube Screamer in front of it for added bite. We put them through a bunch of different cabs before eventually settling on custom Emperor cabs which probably looked better than they sounded. Plus, Telecasters. We loved those. The studio set up was basically the same, though on Tragedians we ran a Soldano SLO and an Orange Rockerverb in addition to the vintage amps because Koop thought our old amps were too noisy or something. 

6-IACAS reminded me a lot of us as far as performance goes. Always wild. What is more important to you, playing parts verbatim and perfect, or fucking up a bit, and putting on a wild show?

-It was never really talked about. The performance came about organically, and while it was retrospectively a bit wild I always thought we sounded alright. So, I think both parts are equally important. Don’t be boring, don’t be bad. 

7-You were/are signed to Verona Records, how did you guys hook up with Shane Told and his label?

-Shane decided he liked IACAS enough to put the EP out. We probably owe him some money and for that I’m mostly sorry. 

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8-You toured quiet a bit as well, what was it like touring across Canada?

-Canada is a big place with few cities. Apply that equation to touring and the answer is “terrible”. The drives are really long once you get west of Toronto, the terrain is either devastatingly monotonous or terrifyingly mountainous, and there’s a constant fear of hitting a moose and dying because it’s bigger than the van. All that aside, I really loved it. I recommend it. 

 

9-You also front Burst and Bloom. Not only are you a killer guitar player, but also an amazing singer. What made you start this more pop oriented project?

-First, thank you. When we killed IACAS I wanted to keep playing but didn’t want to just release a second rate version of old work. I decided that I could probably sing, so I just wrote songs that I could sing over. 

10-You’re cover of ‘Short People’ by Randy Newman is amazing. What made you decide to record that song?

-I’ve apparently had my head in the sand forever because I was completely unaware of every good song that had ever been written before 1999. I don’t remember who showed me that record, but I think it was Christian Turner who now plays in Teenage Kicks. I thought it was too funny and learned it on piano so I could record a cover of it. The best part of having done that is the number of people who confronted me about the lyrics assuming it’s my song. Those tiny people were so mad. 

11-Burst and Bloom TV shorts are hilarious. I’ve watched them so many times. I learned so much about song writing and being in a band….This is less of a question, more of a statement telling you how great the videos are.

-Oh, yeah. Those were pretty weird. I actually have close to 10 full episodes written and now that I’ve had some time to think about them, they’re terrible.

12-Burst and Bloom has kind of sat dormant for a bit…. what’s the plan for the band?

-Writing pop songs is really difficult and since we released those first songs I’ve been constantly writing and demoing to try to find a groove I can stand behind. I’m closer than ever, but it still isn’t where it needs to be. Working alone is difficult because you’re forced to be critical from a perspective that doesn’t come naturally to a person who’s always played in bands. 

13-The music is once again all over the map. How is writing for Burst and Bloom different then IACAS?

-I kind of touched on this in the last answer, but writing Burst & Bloom songs has been impossibly tedious. I don’t work with anyone on them, so it’s difficult to choose a path and stay motivated. I often scrap ideas prematurely in order to spare myself the agony of trying to work them out. Like I said, I’m nearing something that is more in tune with my interpretation of pop songs and I’m excited to release them. Soon, maybe. 

14-I like to ask this to everyone. What is one trend in modern music you wish would die an awful death?

-I really like modern music, so this is trickier for me to answer than you may have imagined. There are a few things 

I liked initially that have now been replicated so many times that their genesis isn’t even respectable. Triplet synth grooves, “put your hands up” and basically everything Katy Perry has released in the last year are all things that have worn on me pretty seriously. 

15-What are your musical plans for the rest of 2012?

-I’ll write a few songs, play a few shows, go see a few more and probably call it a year. See you in 2013. 

 

 

16-Every band has their go to places to eat after a show. What’s yours?

-Depends on the city, man. Toronto? Probably Sneaky Dees. It’s open late and has loads of vegan food. I’m more interested in coffee than food anyway. 

 

17-What is the coolest venue you’ve had the opportunity to play?

-I played guitar for Silverstein in Europe last year and we played a venue in Hamburg that was built by the Nazis as a bomb shelter. The walls were 6 meters thick and it had this super elaborate network of hallways and stairwells. The architecture was mental, the vibe was eerie, the catering was good. 

18-What is the worst lyrical line you have ever heard in a song?

-I’ve been singing “Sara Smile” by Hall and Oates all day and I cringe every time I sing the first line. “Baby hair and a woman’s eyes”. Awful. All time winner might be “god is great, beer is good, and people are crazy”. I don’t know who sings it. 

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19-You have a lot of tattoos. What is one you totally regret getting done?

-I regret more the ones I didn’t get than the ones I did. 

20-IACAS are kind of legends…. you guys kind of called it quits just as you were blowing up. The band was no bullshit, no gimmicks, just amazing music. What advice do you have to the younger bands coming up the ranks?

-If you’re looking to turn your band your job, live with your parents for as long as it isn’t embarrassing. Rent is expensive and honest music is a gamble. Otherwise, keep doing what your doing. Unless what you’re doing is something terrible. By no means then should you continue doing what you’re doing. Good luck.

Tyler Stenlund from Faithful Unto Death

We’ve known the FUD guys for a long time. Super dudes, super tunes, an all around rad band. they’ve done some amazing things over the years, and just put out a new record! Check it out! Tyler answered some questions for me.
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1-Who are you and what do you do in FUD?

-Tyler Stenlund and I play guitar,

2-Who are the other guys in your band?

-James Livingston is our vocalist, Levi Rogers is our bassist, and Dolan Duck is on drums.

3-Can you explain to me the meaning of Faithful Unto Death?

-It comes from a verse of the bible which states that those who are Faithful Unto Death will receive a crown of life. It has to do with commitment and steadfastness, which are two characteristics we believe our generation has lost touch of.

4-You guys began around the same time we did. How has the band changed since it’s inception?

-Massively. Firstly we lost a bassist and a drummer which changed the dynamic of the band a good deal. We’ve gone through a couple of lights guys as well and that has helped shaped us. I would say we’ve probably changed the most in terms of musical direction though. We’ve matured a lot, learned to write more cohesively and all together better. But we’ve also changed some of the goals of having this band, or rather those goals have slowly morphed into different ideas than we first had. I know I personally wanted us to be basically an “evangelize from stage” kind of band, and now that couldn’t be farther from what I want. We understand better how a Christian band should run things, at least I THINK we’ve grown in that understanding.

5-Like us, you guys are a band based in faith. How do other bands react when they find out you’re a ‘Christian’ band?

-Depends on the band, but we have generally been lucky in this regard. We hangout with bands that have completely different beliefs than us all the time and generally have no problem hanging out. We understand that you don’t need to necessarily believe the same thing to work towards the same purpose. If the question is has any band totally hated us for our beliefs? Not to my knowledge, but the possibility is there, hahaha.

6-You also get on some amazing shows…..sometimes where you are the heaviest band….we’ve played those too. how do crowds react?

-It’s funny because those shows are some of the shows where we have had the most success. We’ve often had the amazing opportunity to be some kids introduction to heavy music, and I remember a kid randomly running into James old band at a church event and being blown away, so I know what that’s like. I guess it’s hard for us to say how crowds react because we don’t REALLY know what their thinking, but I would say we have had marginal success on those bills.

7-You’ve played some amazing shows this year. What has been your favourite so far?

-Definitely the E.P. release show for me personally. We had a good 170 people show up and mosh hard, and had all the openers we wanted to play. A local band called Legions played and I’ve been waiting to see them again for a while hahaha. It was just one of those shows we worked at making great, and practice paid off. Plus it’s amazing to see how your community can come through for you. You don’t hear about shows with 170 people for all locals very often.

8-Likewise, what are the big plans for the rest of 2012?

-Tour, tour, tour. Play lots of shows and write more music! We have a music video coming out VERY soon, and a new single probably coming atcha by the end of the summer!

 

9-Every band with a crappy van has had problems on the road. Any funny van stories?

-We’re no exception. One time we thought we smelled smoke and decided to pull over after a couple minutes just to be safe. We popped the hood to a fountain of smoke and than literally watched our serpentine belt disintegrate before our eyes. Good thing we pulled over. 

We also got stranded right before Pitch and Praise one year and had a buddy come with his van and drive us all there. We arrived ten minutes before playing and than won the battle of the bands. Solid day.

10-I love talking gear. What do you use live?

-Me too! Right now I am running a 6505+ through a Garnet 4X12. For rack gear I use a Shure Wireless System and an Alesis 3630 Compressor/Gate. On channel of the compressor is run through the front, and one through the FX loop for super tightness. For guitars I find myself constantly switching between my Ibanez RG7321, and my Ibanez RG 130 backup guitar. One is a 6 string, one is a seven string, both tuned to drop f, thanks to thick strings and magic. The 6 string is super tight, but obviously hard to play because it was never meant for drop f. The seven string plays like a dream but lacks definition and clarity I find. There may or may not be a custom Carvin seven in the works for me as we speak…

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11-Everyone who knows me knows my hatred for trends in modern music. What is one trend you wish would die an awful death?

-Techno Breakdowns

12-Dream tour! FUD and three others! Who do you take?

-Oh man, uhhh if we’re talking famous bands?

– Bury Your Dead

-Fellsilent

-A Plea For Purging

13-Now turn it around, you can form a super band with 5 band members of any band together or not. You must include yourself in it. Who is in the band?

-Oh goodness gracious. I’m going to veto the 5 member rule and say that If I could just kick out a guitarist from Fellsilent and reform that band with me in it? DONE.

14-If FUD decided to change genres into something completely different, what genre would you be?

-Straight up old school hardcore.

15-Every guitar player has their favourite ”stage move”. I love to throw my guitar across the stage. What’s yours?

-I’m a fan of classic headbanging, though yelling in peoples faces is good times as well.

16- Every band has their favourite place for pre/post show eats. What restaraunt do you guys stop at the most eats?

-Pizza Pizza. We are there WAY too often.

17- Being in a band, In know this feeling. If there was one person in your band who you could take in a wrestling rig for 5 minutes to blow off some steam, who would it be?

-Probabaly Dylan, he can rub me the wrong way on occasion, but even than I don’t think id ever wanna fight the guy. Firstly, he’d kick the shit out of me, and secondly at the end of the day I love the dude.

 

18- Bands often have a lot of free time pre show. You load in, then have nothing to do for 3 or 4 hours until you play. How do you guys occupy your time?

-We play a ton of n64 lately, but usually we try to find activities in whatever city were in. Usually something outdoorsie. And we bring longboards with us in the summer.

19- Most bands have a family dynamic. In FUD, who’s the dad, mom, etc.

19. James is the dad, I’m his gay life partner, Levi is the kid, and Dylan is the weird uncle that you probably don’t want to let your kid spend TOO much time with.

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20- If you described your band dynamic as a sitcom group (Friends, Big Bang Theory, Seinfeld etc) who would it be?

20. Arrested Development.

Chris LeMasters from Dead and Divine

Chris LeMasters plays guitar in Dead and Divine, a band who recently called it quits after almost 10 years. Chris and the dudes in D&D are not only some of the wildest dudes, but some of the coolest dudes we’ve met. They just announced their final tour ever, so here’s what you need to do: you need to go see them. If you’re crazy, follow them around. That’s not creepy. Go to every show. Ask for their clothes after they play. It’s not weird, it’s flattering. 

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1-Who are you and what do you do in Dead and Divine?

I’m Chris and I play guitar in Dead and Divine. I also grow beards,

shoot guns, and drink a lot of coffee.

2-Can you explain to me how the name ‘Dead and Divine’ came about?

We get asked this a lot, and I really wish my answer was more

interesting than “Matt just thought it sounded cool” but, well, Matt

just thought it sounded cool.

3-‘What Really Happened At Lovers Lane’ came out just as I was getting

into heavier music. How would you compare that record, to the most

recent D&D offering, ‘Antimacy’?

I think the two records are polar opposites. What Really Happened was

written/recorded when Matty was 16 years old. It’s a young record

written by kids and I think that’s pretty obvious. Antimacy is the

most honest thing we’ve ever done as a band. We wrote an album that

we’d want to listen to, and we drew influence from a lot of stuff that

we may not have on previous records because we were worried it would

be too much of a departure from what our fans expected from Dead and

Divine. I think we’ve become more and more comfortable as a band – in

that respect – each time we go into the studio to make a new record

and I think that really shows on Antimacy.

4-You guys got to tour with some crazy bands. What are some of the

wildest tour memories you have?

We’ve definitely toured with a lot of cool bands. As for wildest

memories, I’d be lying if I said we weren’t usually the ones

initiating things. We’ve covered a lot of (weird) ground. 20

countries, a lot of tequila and Jagermeister, dildos, periods,

flipping golf carts at house parties in Texas, knife fights, a lot of

guns, near-death experiences, gluing peoples entire living rooms to

the ceiling, more police than I can remember, and obviously a ton of

crazy shows. And a lot of naked dudes, most of which play in The

Chariot. But really, we’ve been lucky to experience a lot of cool

things. We played with Slayer last year. Do you realize how fucking

cool that is? I stood in line at catering with Kerry King. I passed

him the tongs. I’m literally a friend of a friend of Satan.

5-Likewise, did you do a tour that you weren’t stoked on?

We have. I won’t go into detail about who it was with because I don’t

want to draw any attention to their dogshit band.

6-Being in a van, driving across Canada is wild. Do you have any van stories?

It is definitely interesting. We’ve got used to it, but we’ve almost

flipped more times than I can count. One of the most recent terrible

memories happened when Kellans luggage fell out of our trailer in a

McDonalds parking lot in Thunder Bay. For those of you who know

Kellan, you know he is a true clothing enthusiast and spends a lot of

time hunting down rad old Levi’s and things of that nature. Anyways,

if you’ve ever made the drive between Thunder Bay and, well, anywhere

in Ontario, you know that once you leave that city you’re lookin’ at

10+ hours of no cell phone reception and no gas past 6pm (if you’re

lucky enough to even find a gas station). We played Thunder Bay and

left to do a big over night drive to Sudbury for the next day. Four

hours in, we stopped for gas and noticed that the side door of our

trailer had been open the entire time. It then made sense why our

asses had been hurting so badly – we’d been getting fucked for the

past four hours. Surely enough, Kellan’s luggage was gone. It was 3am,

so we decided to drive BACK to Thunder Bay and try to find his bag

full of absurdly expensive clothing. We unhitched our $7,000 trailer

in the middle of nowhere, and began to back track. An hour into the

drive, our wheel sensors went, so our ABS would turn on and shut our

van off every time we turned left or drove up a hill (100% of the

drive). We’d get to the top of a mountain, the van would shut off, and

we’d be stuck bombing a hill with no brakes and no power steering at

120km an hour on the edge of a cliff in the absolute middle of the

Canadian wilderness. It then starts pouring rain. Finally, half way

there, our tour manager gets cell phone reception on an Indian reserve

and we begin making a list of the places we stopped before we left

Thunder Bay. Surely enough, he calls McDonalds and they have Kellans

luggage, but we’ve now driven four hours out of Thunder Bay, then two

hours back. It’s now light out, and we’ve driven a total of 7 hours

with stops/nervous breakdowns. We have to load in at the venue in

Sudbury at 1pm, and we’re only two hours outside of Thunder Bay on a

13+ hour drive. It was a very stressful day.

7-Is there anything you regret not doing while on tour that you wish

you could go back and do?

I can’t say there is. We all make a point to walk around in every

city, especially when we’re in other countries. I’ve been lucky enough

to have had some really incredible experiences all around the world.

I’ve eaten haggis in Scotland, hung out in crazy viking castles in

Norway, eaten awesome BBQ in the south and experienced a ton of local

culture in almost every place I’ve ever been. I love music, but I also

love learning and traveling. This band has given us the means to see

the world and we’ve all taken advantage of that.

8-Because I’m a guitar player myself, I love talking gear. You guys

always have the coolest tones. How do you get them, what kind of gear

do you use live, and in studio?

We’ve always been Marshall guys. On The Fanciful I played Marshall

JMP’s and JCM800s. On The Machines We Are I played JMP’s and 800’s, as

well as a couple Morris amps. On Antimacy we changed gears and I ended

up using an old block letter 5150 and a JCM800. We’ve never been super

high gain dudes. We’ve always favored clean, responsive, midrangey

guitar tones both live and on our records. Our friends at Fender sent

us the EVH 5150 III’s when they came out a few years back and we’ve

been playing those ever since. They’re absolutely phenomenal amps for

what we do. Our main tone is actually the middle (blue) channel

because I find they give me the mids and clarity of Marshall but the

bite of the old 5150’s. I have to give some love to tube screamers,

too. They’re a HUGE part of our guitar tone. I haven’t played anything

without the help of them since 2007. The guys at Maxon recently sent

us their new OD9 Pro+’s and I’ve fallen in love. Our live rigs consist

of two custom shop Mesa/Boogie Stiletto 4×12’s and two custom shop

Mesa/Boogie Recto 2×12’s, all loaded with Vintage 30’s. We run our EVH

5150 III’s with the Maxon OD9 Pro+ tube screamers in front of them. We

endorse Rocktron effects so we’ve been using their Guitar Silencers

for a while now and we love them. We both run Line 6 G50 wireless

systems and I use the Line 6 M13 for all of my looping/effects. We go

overseas frequently so it’s nice to have a non-rackmounted wireless

system that we can fly out to Europe or the UK. Other than that, I

endorse FGN and First Act Guitars, and GHS Strings. FGN is in the

middle of building me a custom shop version of their Flame model and

I’m really stoked for that to be in my hands this summer. I decided to

give the Seymour Duncan P-Rails a shot in that guitar, so that’ll

prove to be an interesting/awesome switch since all of my other

guitars are typically loaded with Seymour Duncan JB/59’s. FGN is

making incredible, super high quality guitars for a lot of bands right

now and they’re definitely worth checking out. I’ve also recently

signed with Orange Amps, so I’ll be playing a ton of their stuff from

now on.

9-How did you guys get hooked up with companies like Mesa Boogie?

We hooked up with them back in 2007. We had started touring a lot and

some of our friends bands at the time were playing Boogie stuff. We

hit them up and they were nice enough to help us out! They’ve been

really great to us over the years.

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10-What would be your dream endorsement, gear or otherwise?

To be completely honest I only play gear that I personally love, so

all of my endorsements ARE my dream endorsements. Orange Amps, FGN

Guitars, Fender, EVH, Maxon, GHS/Rocktron. It’s all gear I’d be

playing whether I was endorsed or not. I guess Line 6 is the only

company I swear by who I don’t actually have an endorsement deal with,

so I guess that would be my answer! Line 6, hook a brotha up, you

replied to me on Twitter so let’s take this relationship to the next

level.

11-April 22/12 you guys posted that you would no longer be a band.

After almost 10 years, what made you guys call it quits?

It was a lot of things, really. We just felt like we had taken this

band as far as it could go. You hit a point where you think to

yourself “Can this band keep going up, or is it just going to go

down?”. We’ve done so many great things and had so many amazing

opportunities in Dead and Divine, but we just felt like we made the

biggest/best impression that we ever could have. We did what we wanted

to do, we had an amazing time doing it, and we just felt like it was

time to close this chapter. Additionally, the music business is a

fucking crooked, broken machine. It’s a really difficult to maintain

the balance between work and fun, so once the “work” side of things

starts going sour it gets hard to keep things enjoyable. When you’re

touring as much as we did, a lot of people have their hands in the pot

and we weren’t comfortable with that dynamic anymore. There was a lot

of pressure to do things we didn’t want to do, and we were over it.

This was OUR band and it always has been, but somewhere along the line

a handful of people started thinking otherwise. That’s when I stood

up, bowed gracefully, and left them with a very polite

“ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhfuck you”.

12-Was it hard to say ”we’re done” for good?

Of course. This has been our baby, you know? We’ve all been touring in

this band for our entire adult lives so it’s all we’ve ever known. But

again, there comes a time where you need to decide whether or not you

want to move on to bigger and better things. We had a lot of fun but

it was time for a change.

13-You guys have been a big influence to me, and to a lot of younger

bands coming up in the hardcore/heavy scene. Do you have some advice

for the up and comers?

Thanks for the kind words! That means a lot to us, really. My only

advice would be to do it for the right reasons. Work hard and don’t

expect anything tangible in return. Value every new step you get to

take as a band and enjoy the experience. Focus on being a strong LIVE

band. It’s become so easy to make records sounds mechanically perfect

these days. You could literally grab a kid off the street and have

them “record” an album. Actually challenge yourself and don’t let the

shortcuts define your band, because at the end of the day it’s obvious

to the people who do it the right way and it’ll never last if it’s not

real. If you can’t play it live, don’t record it until you can.

14-You just announced the big final tour. Is there any reason why you

guys picked the cities you picked?

They’re just the standard markets across Canada that we’ve spent years

playing. We’ve obviously connected with those people a lot since

they’re the go-to cities, so it just made sense to go back one last

time.

15-You’re going out with two awesome bands, MyChildren MyBride and

Liferuiner. How did you pick these dudes to go out with you?

We’ve known the Liferuiner guys for years now, so when we found out

they wanted to come out, it just made sense. As for MyChildren

MyBride, I’ve never had the opportunity to meet those guys but when

our agent brought up the idea of bringing them along I checked them

out and they seemed interesting. We wanted to put together a tour

package with at least one band that kids don’t usually get to see up

here in Canada.

And finally the last 5 questions I ask in every interview:

16- Every band has their favourite place for pre/post show eats. What

restaraunt do you guys stop at the most eats?

Canada: Taco Bell, Burrito Boys, and Sneaky Dees after every Toronto

show. Honorable mentions: Che in Hamilton, U-Need-A-Pita in St Kitts,

Kelseys on wing nights, Tubby Dog in Calgary, and Belle Province in

Montreal.

United States: In-N-Out, Taco Bell, Jacks BBQ in Nashville, Carls Jr.

UK: Wetherspoon, Morrisons for breakfast. Nandos.

Europe: This is where things get a little hairy. We usually stick to

catering/rider food. Bands eat a lot of sandwiches in Europe.

17- Being in a band, In know this feeling. If there was one person in

your band who you could take in a wrestling rig for 5 minutes to blow

off some steam, who would it be?

Oh, easy. All of them. And I think we all have at some point. Minus

Kelly, because we’re team McGillicuddy and the only fights we get in

are with the sore losers we beat in Kan-Jam.

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18- Bands often have a lot of free time pre show. You load in, then

have nothing to do for 3 or 4 hours until you play. How do you guys

occupy your time?

Matt and I usually have press/interview stuff between load in. We’ll

usually load into the venue at around 1, soundcheck until 3, do a few

interviews until dinner, eat, and get back to the venue without enough

time to change/hang out/warm up for an hour or two, and then play.

That is unless we’re on a support tour. Hatebreed soundchecks last

10-24 hours on average so we spent a lot of time learning magic and

running for mayor in each city on that tour. If they’re reading this

right now, I’m only kidding. They have Dad strength and the last thing

I want is Jamey yelling “YOU FUCKING BLEED NOW” and kickin’ my face.

19- Most bands have a family dynamic. In D&D, whos the dad, mom, etc.

Our tour manager is our dad/mom. We’re just old crotchety bitches who

watch Discovery channel in our hotel rooms. But really, we’ve been

doing this for a long time so we run a pretty tight show when we’re on

tour. Nobody really fucks around, we’re a well oiled machine. You

don’t want to mess with us.

20- If you described your band dynamic as a sitcom group (Friends, Big

Bang Theory, Seinfeld etc) who would it be?

Workaholics.

The extra question: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind in

Canadian hardcore?

That’s a tough one. I don’t know that we could even consider ourselves

a hardcore band, but when it comes to Canadian music we always tried

to be up front about everything we believed in. I’d like to think that

people will remember us as a band who sounded like our records live

and put on a great show, since that’s something we’ve always put a ton

of effort into. We always tried to maintain a connection with our

fans, whether it be at shows or on Facebook/Twitter pages. We’ve

always loved meeting the people who help us keep this band going and I

hope people remember that. We really value that connection and we

always have.

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These guys are no bullshit. Legends in my books.