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Fu Manchu/Have a Nice Life/Candy: Psycho Las Vegas Previews

11 August 2019

Photo: Tim Bugbee

The countdown is on. In just four days, Psycho Las Vegas 2019 will get under way with a daylong pre-party at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. But there’s another countdown, and it’s a more melancholic one, culminating in the end of the Big Takeover’s seemingly never-ending series of festival preview pieces.

Over the past two and a half months, we’ve brought you interviews with more than 50 of the roughly 70 artists participating in this year’s installment of “America’s rock ’n’ roll bacchanal.” (See the full list below.) And there’s still a bit more to come: In addition to a few more articles to be published in the coming days, we have a couple of fun bonus features and, below, a collection of comments from three more musicians whose bands are slated for Psycho.

The artists share little in common beyond the fact that they are scheduled to play the festival and gave us rather, um, succinct answers to the questions we asked. The musicians include Scott Hill, the singer/guitarist who co-founded stoner-rock legends Fu Manchu in 1985; Zak Quiram, vocalist for hardcore newcomers Candy; and Tim Macuga, one-half of experimental “doom-gaze” project Have a Nice Life.

[Watch our YouTube playlists for videos from each band playing at Psycho on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.]

Fu Manchu are scheduled to play Friday from 8:40 to 9:35 p.m. at the pool stage, Candy on the same day from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at the House of Blues, and Have a Nice Life on Sunday from 2:35 to 3:45 p.m. at the HOB.

Fu Manchu are no strangers to Psycho Las Vegas, having played at the first installment in 2016. With a catalog consisting of a dozen full-lengths and loads more EPs and 7-inches, the desert-rock kings are probably going to be challenged to cap their set at 55 minutes.

“We have a limited time to play,” Hill said. “Since there will be a lot of people there that have never seen us, we will try to keep the set very straightforward. But then again, we have an 18-minute long song [‘Il Mostro Atomico’], so we might do that. We haven’t decided on what we are doing yet.”

Unlike Fu Manchu, Have a Nice Life are playing the festival for the first time. Macuga admitted he was surprised by the invite.

“Psycho kind of felt like a left-field offer, not even remotely on our radar,” he said. “So, on some Platonic principle, I feel playing the festival has a distinct, ‘Screw it, let’s go to Vegas!,’ spur-of-the-moment quality to it.”

Quiram also waxed ecstatic about Psycho and its lethal lineup. Specifically, he cited Misfits, Beach House, Devil Master, Nothing and Full of Hell as reasons he wants to stay for the duration of the festival.

Hill, the more seasoned vet, weighed in with: “Vegas is fun … for a few nights.”

Nonetheless, “There will be a lot of heavy/fuzzy bands that I’m looking forward to hearing/watching. It’s a cool gathering of bands in one location/different rooms,” Hill continued.

In particular, Hill said he’s looking forward to Corrosion of Conformity [check back tomorrow for an interview with guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan] and Clutch.

When asked which band he’d most like to see, Macuga listed the Obsessed, the Obsessed, and the Obsessed.

“Is Andrew W.K. playing or speaking or both?” he’d added of the party animal, who is actually DJ’ing at the very end of the festival. “Either way. It’s been about 15 years since I’ve seen Godspeed, so that’s on my list. Old Man Gloom was heinous at Roadburn. The whole weekend is an embarrassment of riches, frankly.”

For previous installments of the Big Takeover’s Psycho Las Vegas preview series, check out our interviews with:

• Archaon, longtime guitarist for Norwegian black-metal vets 1349
• Colin H. Van Eeckhout, vocalist for Belgian post-metal purveyors Amenra
• Jason Shi and Scott Key, singer/guitarist and drummer, respectively, for melodic hard-rock masters ASG
• Jay Bentley, founding bassist for politically progressive punk pros Bad Religion
• Alex Mass, frontman for Austin psych-rock princes the Black Angels
• Stephen McBean, singer/guitarist of long-running psychedelic-rock project Black Mountain
• Jean-Paul Gaster, drummer for “the quintessential American rock band,” Clutch
• Jeff Walker, vocalist/bassist for extreme-metal behemoths Carcass
• Greg Meleney, vocalist/guitarist for Portland psych-rock mainstays Danava
• George Clarke, vocalist for shoegaze/black-metal powerhouses Deafheaven
• DJ Painkiller, an L.A.-based metalhead who will be spinning between sets
• Darkest Prince, lead guitarist for black-metal punks Devil Master
• Victor Vicart of Scottish progressive-metal quintet Dvne
• Laura Dolan, vocalist for Cincinnati rock ’n’ roll purists Electric Citizen
• Todd Fink, frontman for electro-pop punks the Faint
• Dylan Walker, frontman for brutal grindcore quartet Full of Hell
• Zack Simmons, drummer for blackened death-metal demigods Goatwhore
• Emil Amos, drummer for experimental post-rock band Grails
• Julien Chanut, guitarist for French sludge-doom band Hangman’s Chair
• Tony Campos, guitarist and founder of thrash revivalists Hell Fire
• Nashville cosmic-riff connoisseurs Howling Giant
• Gabriel Franco, vocalist/guitarist for gothy post-punks Idle Hands
• Joshy, drummer for crusty death/doom-metal outfit Ilsa
• Tiger, drummer for German psych/stoner throwback trio Kadavar
• Irita Pai, bassist for all-female punk-rock trio L.A. Witch
• Julian Porte, frontman for L.A. psych-rock collective Levitation Room
• Johanna Sadonis, vocalist for “heavy magic rock” band Lucifer
• Invincible crooner and former Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan
• Stuart Braithwaite, founding guitarist/vocalist for beloved post-rock legends Mogwai
• Kelly Finnigan, frontman for Bay Area psychedelic-soul quartet Monophonics
• Thomas Eriksen, centrifugal force behind true Norwegian black-metallers Mork
• Teddi Tarnoff, frontwoman of “Vegas-based dirty rock ’n’ roll band” Mother Mercury
• All-female Motörhead tribute band Motorbabe
• Justin Anthony Maranga, lead guitarist for L.A. hard-rock quintet Night Horse
• Wino, godfather of doom metal and frontman for the Obsessed
• Mikael Åkerfeldt, frontman for Swedish progressive-metal kings Opeth
• Ben Bloom, frontman/guitarist for funk-soul octet Polyrhythmics
• Riley Gale, vocalist for Dallas crossover-trash specialists Power Trip
• Ethan Lee McCarthy, frontman for blackened-doom trio Primitive Man
• Mlny Parsonz, singer for Atlanta hard-rock diehards Royal Thunder
• Tobias Grave, frontman for shimmering post-rock trio Soft Kill
• Kirpatrick Thomas, vocalist/guitarist/conceptualist for acid-rockers Spindrift
• Joey Dalo and Mario Rubio, vocalist and guitarist, respectively, for L.A. metal quintet Thrown Into Exile
• Experimental rock, alternative hip-hop and dance music guru Tobacco
• Derrick Vella, guitarist of death-metal arsonists Tomb Mold
• Niklas Källgren, guitarist for Swedish fuzz fanatics Truckfighters
• Los Angeles Satanic doo-wop duo Twin Temple
• Kevin Starrs, frontman of British fuzz royalty Uncle Acid and the deadbeats
• Sean Killian, vocalist for cult-favorite Bay Area thrash band Vio-lence
• Mike Hubbard, vocalist-drummer for reunited Massachusetts doom-metal band Warhorse
• Bruce Lamont, frontman for experimental heavy-jazz project Yakuza and Led Zeppelin tribute band Led Zeppelin 2
• Aaron Rieseberg, bassist for Oregon doom-metal dealers Yob

Also, don’t miss our special feature in which Deafheaven’s Clarke and Mogwai’s Braithwaite discuss their mutual affection for each other’s bands, whether Deafheaven should play their Mogwai cover at Psycho Las Vegas — and the possibility of a collaboration between the two projects.