It was a warm summer day in Anaheim, Ca. These always seem to be the best days for an ice cream. Upon arrival to the Chain Reaction, an ice cream truck seemed to answer our prayers. This wasn’t one of those cool ice cream trucks though… he didn’t sell crack. What kind of self respecting ice cream man doesn’t sell crack to kids? I was disappointed. I ran into Chris (Levesque; guitars) from A Wilhelm Scream outside where he was trying to finish a cherry popsicle before the heat did it for him. We talked for a couple minutes, when we decided to do the interview. I walk over to their van to find Nuno (Pereira; Vocals) lying in the back of the van, and Curtiss (Lopez; Bass/ vocals) taking a little nap. We talked about their upcoming record “Ruiner”, Chris’ sick obsession with Philly Cheesesteaks, Nuno’s hatred for me and their obsession with the Insane Clown Posse (you’ll get the joke). A few interruptions aside, this was turning out to be a really interesting conversation. See for yourself…
RacketJeff: Ok, first things first… I know how you got the name AWS. I want to know who thought up Smackin’ Isaiah as the original name.
Chris: That actually was a song title from back in the day. It’s kind of a reference to jerking off… you know, like choking the chicken, beating the bishop… So yeah, it was just a song and it kind of came about that way.
RacketJeff: Your guys’ new album “Ruiner” is coming out August 16, how does this record differ from “Mute Print”?
Chris: The songs kick a lot more ass. It’s got more sing along type choruses. We had three times more studio time that when we recorded Mute Print, so it’s a bit more polished and more produced. It just sounds better. We had so much more time to put into little details of recording. It just blows Mute Print away.
RacketJeff: Actually, I just heard it, and I tend to agree with you.
Chris: Awesome, what are your favorite songs?
RacketJeff: So far I like The King Is Dead, Me Vs. Morrissey in the Pretentious Contest (The Ladder Match) and Less bright Eyes, More Deicide.
Curtiss: (awaking from his slumber) Well, we’re playing two of those tonite…
RacketJeff: You guys went with Bill Stevenson again as your producer. Was there a different approach he took on this record, or did he use the “If it’s not broke, why fix it” philosophy?
Chris: No, it was the same thing. He just had a lot more time. We demoed all these songs for him, and sent them to him. He had plenty of time to really map the whole project out, and how it was going to go as far as getting all the structures down. He knew the songs, and he, and Jason (Livermore) could help us if they thought there was something that needed to go somewhere. He would tell us to make certain parts longer, and to try certain things with melodies. He knew the songs as well as we did before we went there, so he could give us more input. And he did on quite a few occasions. There’s a song called ‘In Vino Veritas II”, which was originally like 30 seconds long, and now it’s a full song…
Nuno: (from the back of the van behind some clothes and equipment) Oh man, did you guys just smell the fart I just cut?
Curtiss: I was wondering about that! OH GOD!
Chris: (continuing, seamlessly blocking out Nuno’s antics) He just though it was a badass song and it needed to be longer. He helped us write the rest of the parts while we were there, where it ended up being that longer, full blown song.
RacketJeff: Doesn’t Trevor (Reilly; guitar/ vocals) actually sing this song instead of Nuno?
Chris: Yes, he did and Bill Stevenson actually has some vocals on there. Actually, I don’t play any guitar on that song either… but I do play the piano. Trevor tracked both guitars, he did all the vocals with Bill, and I played the piano. It was really a fucked up song based on who’s doing what in their respected parts. It was the last song we recorded, so when that one was done, it was a huge party.
RacketJeff: What’s the stupidest question you’ve ever been asked?
Nuno: Do you think I ate some foil? (laughter)
Chris: That’s not a question, that’s a statement.
Nuno: No… Do you think I ate some foil? Someone asked me that once at work… that’s a pretty stupid question. (laughter)
Chris: Oh my god… The stupidest question I’ve ever been asked is… well when I’m at home I work at a UPS store. I actually have people come in all the time, and as the UPS guy is walking out of the store for the last pickup of the day, they come in and ask “Can I get this to Texas by tomorrow?” You know and it’s 6:30, on a Friday… and I’m like “no”
Nuno: Dude, “do you think I ate foil?” is way stupider than that question!
Chris: Yeah I know, but that’s just monumentally stupid. There’s no way I could top that, even if I made something up! (laughter) I couldn’t even make something up right now that would be a stupider question than that. Except for the fact that I just used the word “stupider” and that’s not even a word. (laughter)
RacketJeff: What’s the one question in an interview that you’ve always wanted to be asked, but have never been asked?
Curtiss: Want some money? (laughter)
Nuno: Why are you so good in bed? (laughter)
Chris: Why am I so good in bed? That’s a good one… You know what? I don’t think there’s this one question that I wish somebody would ask me. I don’t know. I don’t have this stock answer made up for this badass stock question. I mean I have a hard enough time answering the questions people actually do ask me, let alone thinking of questions I want to be asked.
Nuno: Why are you so rad? (chuckles)
Chris: Why do you smell so bad? There ya go… that’s it! (laughter)
RacketJeff: How much would you guys be willing to pay me to dance naked onstage during your performance?
Chris: I’ll give you the quarter I have in my pocket, and that’s all I have.
Nuno: I’ll pay you $100 not too! (laughter)
Curtiss: I’ll give you fifty percent of whatever is in Chris’ pocket…
Chris: Um, that’s gross dude… I don’t know though, we have been waiting for nudie photo ops… but It’s Chain Reaction, I don’t think they’ll allow it. All ages dude, keep your pants on… until later (laughter)
RacketJeff: Who would you say your biggest musical inspiration is right now?
Nuno: God! (laughter)
Chris: Right now?… Um what am I listening to right now?
Curtiss: The same stuff you’ve been listening to forever…
Nuno: Insane Clown Posse… (laughter)
Chris: Basically to this day remains the entire Propaghandi back catalog. I mean, does it get any more real than that?
RacketJeff: No, it doesn’t. Those guys are so intense.
Nuno: Tell them about how much you like ICP dude. (laughter)
Chris: I put on the face paint, it’s ridiculous.
RacketJeff: So you’re a juggalo for life then?
Chris: Yeah dude, for real! (laughter)
Nuno: Oh Curtiss, wait until you smell this one! (referring to his latest passing of the wind)
Curtiss: I’m brewing up a retaliation! (laughter) I may crap myself trying though
RacketJeff: This is one the most fucked up interviews ever!
Nuno: Well, we are some of the most fucked up idiots in the world, so…
RacketJeff: Hey, it makes for good reading, I’m having a blast!
RacketJeff: Who is your most favorite band to tour with thusfar?
Chris: Rise Against. Without a doubt, those dudes…
Nuno: Insane Clown Posse Chris! Don’t lie! (laughter)
Chris: Nuno! We’ve never toured with them… though I’d love too because they draw a ridiculous amount of kids.
Chris: The Insane Clown Posse dude! Have you ever seen the lines for their shows? They are insane!
RacketJeff: Yeah, they have this wicked underground following, it’s strange.
Chris: Yeah I heard they do a ton in merch. The amount of money they make in merch would make King Solomon shit himself! OK but seriously, Rise Against are just ridiculously easy to tour with. It’s usually really easy to make friends with bands we tour with because most guys in bands are like us, just really laid back and stuff. Those guys in Rise Against are just like really…
Nuno: Dickheads! (laughter)
Chris: Yeah dickheads! No, just kidding. They’re really easy to get along with and just hang out with and they are just really rad guys.
RacketJeff: I remember you guys told me a story when you played in Victorville about a little rumble that went down in Salt Lake City, Utah. Have you guys gone back since that dreaded incident?
Chris: We’ve been back three times now. We went back a couple weeks ago, we went on the Strung Out tour in December and and we went back on the KillRadio tour last fall. So, we’ve been back three times and no more Incidents (making quote gesture with hands) like the brawl in question.
RacketJeff: Who was the one who got punched in the face? I remember one of you guys had a knot on the side of your face.
Nuno: That would be me!
Chris: Nuno got punched in the side of the face. I got soccer style kicked in the temple. That didn’t feel too good. A couple of us took our lumps, but we gave just as many as we got! You know for being like fifteen or sixteen on seven…
RacketJeff: Wasn’t one of you guys sick too?
Chris: Well, Trevor was two or three weeks off of his ACL surgery, John our old bass player had been diagnosed with walking pneumonia, and Fuzz our merch guy had fallen off a bike a week before. He totally fucked up his hand and couldn’t even make a fist, so we were down three people to start. So yeah, it sucked… Thanks for bringing it up (laughter)
RacketJeff: If you take over the world, can I come with and be your sidekick?
Chris: Yes, definitely. But you have to be dressed up in Insane Clown posse merch!
RacketJeff: I don’t know about all that dude…
Chris: Then you have to go “WAGAGAGOOOW!” (high pitched yell) (laughter) You know… girls love it when you do that out of a van window! You just go “AGAGAGOW!” They love that shit dude! (laughter) Chicks love that when you do it outside of a van window man!
RacketJeff: I’m going to have to remember that! Only if it’s a van though, right?
Chris: Yeah it has to be van with blacked out windows… (some guy walks up) Say hi to Shawn.
Shawn: Where’d my drink go? Did you guys dump out my drink?
Curtiss and Chris: I don’t know (in unison)
Shawn: Oh, are you guys doing an interview?
Chris: Yeah… Jeff, this is Shawn, our A&R guy.
RacketJeff: How’s it going, I’m Jeff.
Shawn: Jeff, whats up man? What’s the interview for?
RacketJeff: Racket Magazine
Chris: Yeah, we’re having a laid back session right now… laying in the van, relaxing and shit.
Shawn: Yeah I can tell (laughter)
Chris: This is the coolest interview ever. I wish they were all like this!
RacketJeff: I’m glad you guys think it’s a cool interview. Shawn: Just wait until you read it, and then make a judgement! (laughter)
Chris: You’re going to put Shawn in here too, right?
RacketJeff: Yes, everything that gets recorded is going into this interview.
Shawn: These lazy asses… (laughter)
Chris: Dude, then this interview is going to be bigger than the fucking yellow pages man!
RacketJeff: Yes, everything is going into it. Nuno screaming obscenities at me from the back and everything, well the muffle of noise that I can hear anyways…
Nuno: Dude Jeff…
RacketJeff: What’s up?
Nuno: Shut the fuck up. (laughter)
RacketJeff: I will do then… oh and hey. All that stuff I said about liking the new record… well I lied! I hate it!
Nuno: That’s funny. My new record just called me up like five minutes ago and said it didn’t like you either! (laughter)
RacketJeff: Well good!
Nuno: So I guess it’s a mutual hatred
Chris: Alright, next question, I gotta take a nap!
RacketJeff: Ok fine! If you could be any flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?
Nuno: Bacon! So no one would eat me!
Chris: Philly Cheesesteak! You know, we were fucking wasted last night at the Troubadour (in Hollywood, Ca) and I have such an addiction to Philly Cheesesteaks. We went to an all night crazy ass Kosher diner, and I seriously bought a fucking thirteen dollar Philly Cheesesteak there because I’m a fucking retard.
RacketJeff: Well, was it at least worth it?
Chris: Not really. It might have been really good if it was cheaper. I mean a thirteen dollar cheesesteak? I have a problem!
Curtiss: Well, you still bought it
Chris: I did, I bought it, I’m so addicted (laughter) I ate the shit out of it too!
Curtiss: Yeah, well there’s a Denny’s next to us tonight!
RacketJeff: If you could hang out with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and what would you do?
Nuno: Bruce Lee! (laughter) And I’d take him around and have him beat up everyone that ever made me mad! One solid night of ass whoopin’ with Bruce Lee! (laughter)
Chris: I would have to go with Mickey Mantle and we would get completely wasted!
RacketJeff: You wouldn’t even play baseball, you would just get drunk?
Chris: No dude, because drinking is what he did almost as good as baseball. He was the man… he was party central!
Curtiss: I think Bill Hicks… a night with Bill Hicks.
(My Nextel beeps through and my friend Kevin does annoying moaning sex girl through the loud speaker)
Chris: Hey Hollywood! Come on dude!
RacketJeff: (Telling Kevin to hold on)
Chris: Dude, you even have the Nextel even! Are you going to put that in the interview?
RacketJeff: Yes! This is going to go in the interview.
Chris: This is some fucked up shit (laughter)
RacketJeff: Sorry about that.
Chris: No, it’s funny!
RacketJeff: What are your predictions for the music scene within the next two years?
Chris: Goddamn, don’t even ask me about that… Girl pants will go out of style, those goddamned myspace haircuts, fucking eye curtain bangs will go out of style, and kids will hopefully start liking some descent fucking music again… and more bands will start playing fast again…
Curtiss: Ska will make a comeback
Chris: Wait! Was it supposed to be my hopes, or my predictions? Because my prediction is it’s gonna remain going straight down the shitter, and bands like us will no longer be around much longer… I mean we like to live on the pessimistic side of life.
RacketJeff: I have a friend in Australia who desperately wants to see you guys. She wants to know when are you going to AUS? And she would like to know what your favorite drinks are, so she can buy you a round.
Chris: We have gotten several requests form several people to come to Australia. E got pretty close. We made it to Japan last April, which was the best time of my life. As soon as it is financially feasible, because we’re poor… we don’t have any money. Basically the trip to Japan was paid for by the label that releases our records out there, they paid for the whole thing. So, as soon as we can afford it, as soon as it’s a viable option for us then we will go. We will also go to Europe and every where else that they will let us play. Oh and my favorite drink is Jack and Cokes, Curtiss likes semen
Curtiss: And coke… uh Diet coke
Chris: Nuno what do you like?
Nuno: A Tall cool Budweiser (in Harry Kerry voice)
Chris: (in Harry Kerry voice)… and wash it down with a tall cool Budweiser… that’s my best Harry Kerry impersonation by the way. You’re going to have to put “Harry Kerry impersonation” in parenthesis.
Chris and Nuno: (Harry Kerry impersonation; in unison) Hey! Check out the kid in the sombrero! (laughter)
Chris: that actually happened in a baseball game once, we were watching a Cubs game, it was like Cubs vs. Braves way back on TBS the superstation… well Harry Kerry was announcing the game and all of a sudden you just hear Harry Kerry go “Hey, Look at that kid in the sombrero!” and nobody knew what the fuck he was talking about. The cameraman finally ended up finding this fucking kid with the sombrero.
RacketJeff: I have to tell you guys that so far, this has been one of the most fun interviews I have ever done!
Chris: why thank you, we’re having fun too.
RacketJeff: So Suzie can buy you all a round when you go to AUS then? She wants to get you guys completely tanked and take advantage of Nuno… those were her exact words.
Chris: It’s going to take more than one round, but she is more than welcome to try to get us tanked.
RacketJeff: Can I get a poster signed for her?
Chris: yes, definitely…
RacketJeff: While you’re at it, I want one too damnit!
RacketJeff: I like this interview… free shit rocks!
RacketJeff: OK, last question. If you had to describe your band in four words or less, no matter how obscure they may be, how would you describe yourself?
Curtiss: Hold on, I got it! (lifts leg and farts)
Nuno: Bruce Lee foot cheese!
Curtiss: Bang, bang, bang, bang
Nuno: (singing) I don’t want to know your name, all I want is bang bang bang! (laughter)
Chris, Curtiss, and Nuno: (in unison; singing) I don’t wanna meet your folks, all I want is bang, bang bang! (laughter) (For the culturally retarded, refer to this cartoon: http://www.ebaumsworld.com/flash/bangbangbang.html)
RacketJeff: So, bang, bang, bang?
Chris: yeah… bang, bang, bang, stab. Or how about bang, bang, slash (claps hand).
Nuno: No wait, donuts! Bacon!
Chris: Bang, bang, bang, stab, donuts, bacon!
(car pulls in squeezing right next to open van door)
Chris: What is this fucking person doing? Check out this motherfucker! (laughter)
Curtiss: Hey! You like being close or what?
Chris: your door is just gonna open right into our van!
Girl in car: What?
Chris: your door is just going to open into our van! Join the party! Come on in! Come on in! You can be apart of this interview even! (laughter) What’s your name?
Guy in car: Dan
Chris: Dan, where are you from?
Dan: ummm, what band is this?
RacketJeff: This is A Wilhelm Scream…
Dan: Oh shit, my brother manages you guys!
Chris: You’re Dan Martin! No fucking way! That’s our manager’s brother, Dan… and his one guest! (laughter) So now it’s not that weird that you’re just going to walk into our van.
RacketJeff: Well, I’m done guys…
Chris: wait, you don’t have anymore? That’s it? Dude, we’re on a fucking roll!
RacketJeff: Well, what else do you want me to ask?
Chris: anything man, lets go!
RacketJeff: OK, who in the band get’s the ugliest groupies on tour?
Chris: Nobody gets groupies on tour, because all of us have girlfriends…
Nuno: That was a fucking boring answer dude.
RacketJeff: Ok, well this is where the controversy kicks in… who has the ugliest girlfriend in the band?
Curtiss: I ain’t saying shit! (laughter)
Nuno: You know what? (long pause)
RacketJeff: You wanted me to ask questions, so I roll with it. I’m going off the seat of my pants now dude!
Chris: Now you’re just trying to stir some shit up! RacketJeff: Ha… yep!
Chris: All of our girlfriends are beautiful, each in their own special way.
Curtiss: They’re all like snowflakes! (laughter)
Nuno: Y eah, big tittied snowflakes! (laughter)
RacketJeff: Ok, I think I’m really done now… thank you so much for this fun time.
Chris: I can’t wait to read it!
Nuno: yeah, we’re fucked up dudes!
This was easily the most fun interview I have done to date. I saw a side of these guys that doesn’t really come out in their music, and it was truly amazing to see how close they are with each other. They are also some of the most genuinely nice guys I have ever met, and are extremely laid back and modest. Their new album “RUINER” is slated to hit store on August 16 on Nitro Records, but if you need your fix before then, be sure pick up their album “Mute Print” for it will blow your mind.
Be sure to check www.awilhelmscream.com or www.myspace.com/awilhelmscream for tour dates, new merchandise and random silliness from the band.
By Jeff Curtis