Author Archives: Jon Pacella

John Garcia,
The TVD Interview

The genre of stoner rock has roots in bands like Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer, but few bands contributed more to the modern era of stoner rock than Kyuss. When John Garcia started the punk/metal influenced Katzenjammer with his buddies Josh Homme and Brandt Bjork back in 1987, they had no idea that they would turn a whole genre on its heels. Not only did Kyuss help define modern stoner rock, but they took the age-old heaviness of their predecessors, hauled it out into the arid heat of the Palm Desert, and baked it into a whole new genre. Desert rock was born and began what became known as the Palm Desert Scene. 

All good things must end and Kyuss split in 1995 and went their separate ways. Homme formed Queens of the Stone Age with Kyuss bassist Nick Oliveri, and singer Garcia forged his own path. Building a resume of strong bands and varied guest appearances, Garcia has maintained a steady journeyman status…until now.

In 2014, John finally releases his opus, the album he always wanted to record but didn’t. (Spoiler alert: the album kills.) I found John to be like a spotlight—bright and beaming for all to see when we talked about his new album and his family, but leaving the stage a bit dark when the subject of the past came up. This is a more mature, focused John Garcia than I’ve ever seen, one who is ready to rip the rear view mirror off of the windshield and haul ass into whatever the future holds.

Hi John! How are you doing?

I’m doing good, doing good! They’ve got me doing a little bit of press today, they didn’t slap it on me too heavy, so that’s good. Things have been alright here. Where are you calling from?

I’m right outside of DC.

Oh alright, cool.

Just got back from a wonderful weekend in LA, and I miss it already.

Yeah, I was at the beach yesterday with my kids and it was just beautiful. Today’s a little overcast, but you can’t beat California weather sometimes.

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Ace Frehley,
The TVD Interview

The Spaceman. Say those two words to almost any rock and roll  fan and the instant recognition of Ace Frehley will be met with a still vital memory from a childhood love of Kiss. For some, it might be a funny story—like the now infamous interview on the Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder—or how nearly getting electrocuted on stage inspired Ace to write Kiss’ classic, “Shock Me.” Maybe you’ll hear they too, along with many others, stood in front of the bedroom mirror pretending to play “Deuce” or “Love Gun.” The former cab driver from New York City is in an elite group of rock guitarists who have made such an impact on people.

During his time with Kiss, Ace crafted some of the most memorable riffs in rock music. His live stunts in the ’70s became the stuff of legend—the smoking Les Paul that floated up to the top of the arena, the guitar that lit up or shot fireballs from its headstock. These and other over-the-top aspects of Kiss’ stage show would change the face of rock and roll and would become ingrained in the minds of every Kiss fan for years afterward. Unfortunately alcohol would become a monkey on Ace’s back which led to his exit from the band. This burden stayed with him throughout his post-Kiss career, both solo and with Frehley’s Comet.

Presently enjoying a life of sobriety, Ace made his comeback in 2009 with the critically acclaimed Anomaly. Now, in 2014, Ace is about to unleash his first new album in five years, the aptly titled Space Invader.

This new life hasn’t been without its own public trials however—mainly with his former bandmates. After a media circus surrounding Kiss’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, there’s been a tug of war in the press, ending the induction celebration on a sour note. Looking past this and forward to the arrival of Space Invader on August 19th, we took the opportunity to talk to Ace about the new album, sobriety, and sure, vinyl.

Hi Ace! How’s it going?

Great! I’m in San Diego, looking forward to going to New York next week. I’m doing Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday night. I’m sitting in with The Roots.

I heard about that. Sounds like that’s going to be pretty awesome.

Yeah! I’m doing some signings and other press, radio and stuff. It should be a great week.

You’ve been clean and sober now for, what about eight years?

Yeah, it will be eight years on September 15th.

Congratulations, that’s amazing.

Thanks.

What has been the most surprising aspect of sobriety, for you personally?

I think it shows in this new record, I was really focused when I went in, I knew what I wanted and I went after it. It’s nice to wake up the next day and remember what you did the night before. There’s a lot of plusses to sobriety.

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Muddy Roots Music Festival 2014 Vinyl Giveaway

Over the past  few years, I have managed to broaden my musical horizons by leaps and bounds. I began discovering artists entrenched in the roots who reflected a time-tested aesthetic in American music. This aesthetic is one where the pomp and frills are left in the rear view, and what moves forward is pure, passionate, gritty, and real music.

Standing in stark contrast to the enormous commercial festivals around the US in the summertime, the annual Muddy Roots Music Festival in Cookeville, TN exists almost as an anti-festival, a place where this style and ethic is celebrated. A wonderland where, upon entering the grounds of the ranch, the outside world is left behind and all that matters are the people you are with and the music you are listening to. This year, I will be travelling to Cookeville, and will bring back to TVD a first-hand account of Muddy Roots. To put it simply—I can’t wait.

A year ago, TVD’s Charles Gray talked to Jason Galaz, the man behind Muddy Roots. We had the opportunity to revisit with Jason and catch up and he told us a bit about the fifth installment of his ever-growing annual hootenanny. After reading what Jason has to say, read on to find out how to win an exclusive, limited edition Muddy Roots Records 7″!

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For those that don’t know, tell us a bit about the Muddy Roots Music Festival.

It sucks. There are no big names like Kanye West or Mumford & Sons. You have to pay $125 to watch a bunch of bands you never heard of plus camp with them. They stink. It’s like way out in the middle of nowhere. Yeah sure there is a bar but you have to bring your own liquor. There is no McDonalds! I mean, there isn’t even carnival food. We are stuck eating food cooked by real people at vendor booths all weekend. There even vegan vendors. YUCK!

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TVD Live: Mayhem Festival at Jiffy Lube Live, 8/3

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | The heat of the summer brings another edition of the sweat and sugar-fueled metal circus known as the Mayhem Festival back to Bristow, Virginia. Jiffy Lube Live has been the DC area’s destination for the Mayhem Fest since its inception in 2008.

Without sounding like Rip Van Curmudgeon, the majority of the crowd at Mayhem has been getting younger and younger every year, with many of the current bands being marketed to the younger set. Flashy contact lenses, half face decorative leather masks, and other assorted fashion eccentricities were the order of the day.

I headed through the gates and up the hill, following the masses to the side stage area. Texas’ Upon a Burning Body was already in full shred mode at the Sumerian Records stage. These guys made a huge impression two years ago when Sumerian’s stage was a tent. Vocalist Danny Leal gave the crowd its marching orders for the mosh pit, then led off the singalong of “The stars at night, are big and bright…deep in the heart of Texas,” and when “Texas Blood Money” began, an enormous circle pit opened up in the gravel. A funnel cloud of dirt was kicked up, covering the whole area in a brown haze.

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TVD Live: Rodrigo y Gabriela and Kishi Bashi at Wolf Trap, 7/31

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PHOTOS: KRISTIN HORGEN | As music fans, we have an innate need to classify our music, to make sure that we have put a specific label on what we are listening to. Rock, black metal, jazz, folk, alt country, fusion, post-punk, shoegaze, electro….the list goes on and on. What Rodrigo y Gabriela have successfully done is make you rethink any preconceived notion you may had about their music, and how it can be classified.

A duo from Mexico City on acoustic guitars…flamenco, right? Wrong. Ok, maybe not 100% wrong, but when the pair’s biggest influence is heavy metal, that kind of shakes things up a bit and breaks them out of the typical “flamenco” mold.

I have lived in Northern Virginia/the greater DC area for my entire life and for some insane reason had never made it to Wolf Trap until this night. The lawn areas were full of picnickers, and the pungent aromatic mixture of wine, Off bug spray, and assorted foodstuffs assaulted the senses as I wandered around before the show. The intricacy of the beautiful wooden pavilion in its woodsy setting gave the show a natural, rustic feel. Adding to the natural feel of the show, during those moments when the music got a bit quieter, a symphony of summer crickets provided their own accompanying harmonies to the man-made music onstage.

Kishi Bashi, clad in a pink jacket and bow tie and spiky dyed mohawk opened the night. The immensely talented violinist from of Montreal has struck out on his own, doing a one-man band performance with the help of a loop pedal and a lot of coordination.

He had the audience clapping along halfway through his first song. The audience, while responding heartily at the end of each song, seemed a bit divided. The older men in the crowd didn’t seem to embrace Kishi as wholly as the younger set. This was best represented by the hoots when he asked who saw him (with of Montreal) at the 9:30 Club. I think the older ladies found him adorable. Not a sweeping statement, just an observation from my vantage point.

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Zepparella,
The TVD Interview

When I first listened to Zepparella, I wasn’t sure what to think at. I hadn’t previously given a lot of thought to tribute bands, but I hearing these ladies just crush some Led Zeppelin, I was blown away. I always dug the fact that they weren’t a carbon copy of Zep. They played it close enough to pay tribute, yet put enough of their own flair into it to really stand out.

Currently on a tour of the US, Zepparella had a show coming up at Jammin’ Java, and I was asked if I would interview guitarist Gretchen Menn, and drummer Clementine, the founding member of Zepparella. Their love of Zeppelin’s music goes deeper than your typical horn-throwing rock fanatic, and they are each outstanding musicians in their own right. I jumped at the opportunity, and after sound check was over, I was privileged to sit with Gretchen and Clementine, and among other things, ponder the possibility of a Loverboy tribute band.

What’s the latest with Zepparella?

Gretchen Menn: Well, we are a little more than halfway into this first kind of big, nationwide tour. Busy, playing a lot, driving a lot. Meeting new people. A lot of people have been supporting us for a long time.

Take us back to the beginning. Did it all start as a jam that grew into something bigger, or was the intent to pay homage all along?

Clementine: Gretchen and I were in a band that wasn’t playing as much as we wanted to play. I told her that I had always wanted to learn the catalog of Zeppelin, and she said she had wanted to do that too. We decided that we were going to get together and learn Bonham and Page stuff, and then pretty quickly we said “If we’re gonna do this, we should do it on stage.”

It’s not an easy feat, learning Bonham and Page. You say it very casually, “Oh, we’re just gonna learn some Bonham and Page.”

[Laughs all around]
 GM: Well, part of it is that we knew if we did it on stage, we’d be a lot more accountable. It’s one thing to get together and jam on stuff, but if you really want to go the distance and really make a study of something, it’s really helpful actually, to have the response of other people and the accountability of other people to make sure you’re really taking it seriously.

C: Plus, to be able to play with not just Page, but to play with John Paul Jones’ parts, and Plant parts too, I understand more fully why Bonham played what he did. What he was supporting, what he was hearing at that moment. It becomes really, kind of a deep musical experience.

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TVD Live: Zepparella and the Queens of Noise at Jammin Java, 7/23

Plant. Page. Jones. Bonham. Four names at the very top of hard rock royalty. A number of touring acts are striving to keep the spirit of Led Zeppelin alive, but none as unique and electrifying as Zepparella. Four immensely talented women playing their asses off and paying homage to Zeppelin… How can you go wrong?

Very honestly, it’s easy to go wrong. Bring up Led Zeppelin to most rock fans, and you aren’t just talking about any old band. This is “The Hammer of the Gods” we’re talking about here. The bar for doing the legendary band and their catalog justice is pretty high—and Zepparella cleared the bar with room to spare.

As the crowd trickled into Jammin’ Java, the vibe was much more relaxed than a typical night out at a club. At the small, yet nice, venue with decent food and a heck of a coffee bar, the slightly older crowd was in good spirits, as were the few kids in tow.

Warming up the crowd this evening were the Queens of Noise, a Runaways tribute band out of the DC area. Five young women with five seemingly distinct personalities paid homage to the girl band of the ’70s. With a dirty blonde mop that hid her face from view, guitarist Nicole Morris had the look of a surfer fresh off the California beach and deftly handled Joan and Lita’s licks.

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TVD Live: Queens of the Stone Age, St. Vincent, and Brody Dalle at Merriweather Post, 7/17

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Just before Queens of the Stone Age took the stage at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Thursday, it occurred to me that I had last seen Josh Homme on this stage in 1995 with Kyuss, opening for White Zombie. Almost 20 years have passed, and Josh has now led the Queens to new heights with a number one album—and this night cemented in stone that they are at the top of their game.

After fighting my way through the Ragnarök of DC area traffic, I arrived at Merriweather just a few minutes before Brody Dalle took the stage. It was a bit early—still light out, and a fairly sparse crowd at this point, but those who were there early embraced the entertainment. Brody has a new band and a new album, and sounded tighter than ever. Venturing further into alt-rock and away from the frenetic punk sound of her past in the Distillers, she showed a maturity in her music while bringing the rock. Mixing songs from her latest album, Diploid Love, with a few from her past, Brody and her band were the perfect way to start the night.

In between bands, I mentioned to a friend that I had never heard St. Vincent before. Her response was, “She’s kind of like a female Prince.” Hmm, ok. I can get with that. Annie Clark and her band, aka St. Vincent, took the stage, and my friends’ description wasn’t too far off the mark. Funky, groovy, and moving into the second song she still showed the influence of the Purple One.

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Chris Jericho of Fozzy, The TVD Interview

Lionheart. Y2J. Moongoose McQueen. The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla. Whatever name he’s gone by, the one thing that has remained a constant for Chris Jericho is entertainment.

First, he made a name for himself in the ECW, WCW, and WWE as one of the top wrestlers of his era. His musical passion saw the light in 1999 when Jericho joined guitarist Rich Ward in the cover band Fozzy Osbourne. Shortening their name to Fozzy in 2000, the band took off. Five albums and fourteen years later, Fozzy is preparing to release their sixth album, Do You Wanna Start a War this week. We had a chance to talk to Chris about the new album, Abba, doo-wop Slayer songs, vinyl, and much more.

You’ve been busy! Dates with Fozzy coming up, a new album coming out, and a big return to the WWE a week ago…

Yeah, it’s just par for the course for me, man. The WWE thing kinda just came about at the last minute because we were off the road with Fozzy for a couple of months. The timing just really worked out well. Always busy, man.

What’s your take on where the WWE is nowadays?

It’s great man. It a very reciprocal business. Characters come in, and take control, take charge. The WWE will never die, man. It continues to grow. As it grows, new people come in and freshen the scene up. It’s always a very exciting time.

Way back when Fozzy Osbourne was something you did for fun, doing covers, did you ever think it would morph into Fozzy and go as far as it has?

At the time, when we started, it was just a fun thing. It was a good way to get my feet wet in the music business. I had been a musician since I was twelve, but had never actually made a record or done tours. I think once we started doing our own thing and becoming an original band, especially when we made Fozzy the priority back in 2009, that’s when I would totally say, “Yes, I expected this,” because I wanted to be the biggest band in the world.

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TVD Recommends: Queens of the Stone Age at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 7/17

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Among the din of amphitheater excursions this summer, one of the most highly anticipated tours of the year is without a doubt, Queens of the Stone Age. This Thursday (7/17) at Merriweather Post Pavilion, the anticipation of a long overdue Queens tour will come to a wonderful end.

If you haven’t heard about Queens’ 2013 release …Like Clockwork, then you surely must have been on a mission trip to a cannibal tribe in the South American jungle, or living under the proverbial rock. Debuting at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and earning three Grammy nominations, …Like Clockwork has placed Queens of the Stone Age on a higher mountaintop than they have ever been.

Recorded on the heels of a near-death experience during surgery, Homme brought a bit of that darkness with him and spit it back out into an amazing album. In an interview on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast, Homme reflected,”Because of that process, we’re really tighter as a band and as friends. I was in the fog and they came in the fog with me, and I came out of it. There’s a lot of trust.”

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Peter Frampton:
The TVD Interview

When you say the phrase “live rock album,” one of the first albums on the lips of many a music fan is always Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive! From his early days with Humble Pie, to recording one of the best-selling live albums of all time, Frampton has established himself as in influential icon to many guitarists around the world. Now in the third act of his career, which involves everything from writing music for ballet to a traveling jam session with other guitar luminaries, Frampton is showing no sign of slowing down.

As he gears up to make 2014 a busy year, Peter took some time to talk to us about the past and the present, and even got surprised by an old review that he had never heard. What struck me most is the fact that Frampton, while fully embracing his past, has greeted the present with open arms, always looking to try something new and finding inspiration from artists of yesterday and today. If time had permitted we could have gone on for another hour.

You’re bringing Frampton’s Guitar Circus back this summer, along with a solo tour and a tour with the Doobie Brothers. You’re definitely making this an interesting year!

Yeah, it’s a three-pronged attack. It’s a solo tour, solo dates, Doobies date, co-headlining with them, which is an honor. Then the Guitar Circus, which will be in California only, I believe, in August-September.

Your new album, Hummingbird in a Box, is described as “Inspired by the Cincinnati Ballet.” That’s not your typical inspiration for a rock guitarist.

No. It came from writing some pieces of new music to be part of this performance we did in April of past year. In Cincinnati, three performances, we did older music in the first act, and the third act, but the second act, I wrote these seven pieces of music with Gordon Kennedy, my writing partner for many years now. They wanted to do just old music, and when I suggested that I actually write a half an hour of new music, they went berserk.

That’s where this came from, that’s why it’s inspired by them, and that’s why it’s a little different. It’s not like my normal type of stuff. It’s still me, it’s still got my flavor, but it’s definitely something that was very freeing to write, because there was no format to follow, as far as songs or instrumentals.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Red Fang at the Rock and Roll Hotel, 5/31

The heavy riffs and infectious wit of Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang are catching the attention of more and more with every album release. Red Fang is on the road once again, supporting their latest release, 2013’s Whales and Leeches. They are making a stop at the Rock and Roll Hotel in D.C. this Saturday, May 31, and take it from me—these guys do not disappoint live.

Bursting onto the scene with their blistering self-titled debut album in 2009, Red Fang found themselves in a strange middle ground of the stoner rock genre. Slightly more complex than the typical Black Sabbath-influenced band, yet not as experimental or progressive as contemporaries like Mastodon. They formed their own unique path, and the metal world quickly took notice.

Aside from the crushing riffs and well-written songs, what quickly became apparent about Red Fang was their sense of humor. With hilarious videos like “Wires” and “Prehistoric Dog,” their ability to have a laugh and not take themselves very seriously shined through.

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TVD Live: Mastodon at the 9:30 Club, 5/13

PHOTOS: CHRIS RUDY | Since 2000, Mastodon has been at the forefront of the progressive sludge metal movement emanating out of Georgia. With complex riffs and ever-changing vocals, they have carved a niche in the metal scene that has spawned such bands as Baroness, Black Tusk, and Kylesa, all earning high acclaim. On a hot Tuesday night at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., Mastodon shook the packed house to its foundations.

Norway’s Kvelertak kicked things off right. As they played the intro to “Åpenbaring,” singer Erlend Hjelvik, shirtless and donning an eerie owl headpiece/mask with glowing eyes, held his arms high. Their music is a wonderfully heavy goulash of punk rock, black metal, folk, and straight up rock and roll—it doesn’t even matter that the lyrics are all in Norwegian. With each song they pressed the accelerator down even harder, relentlessly pounding their way through their set, not even stopping until 6 songs into the set.

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All three guitarists formed a wall of sound, and Hjelvik’s snarling screams perfectly matched the high intensity of the music. “Erig Vandrar” is a perfect example of their blend of styles, one part metal, and one part The Who (I could swear I hear the influence of “The Seeker” in there). After celebrating bassist Marvin Nygaard’s 25th birthday, Kvelertak closed out their set with “”Blodtørst.”

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TVD Live: Big Tony’s Birthday Bash with
the Foo Fighters and Trouble Funk at the
9:30 Club, 5/5

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Monday night at the 9:30 Club in D.C., Dave Grohl was at the epicenter of an evening of rock, punk, and go-go. Billed as a birthday celebration for Big Tony of D.C. go-go legends Trouble Funk, word spread around town like wildfire…”The Foo Fighters are going to play the 9:30.”

The poster for the show, done in old school go-go style, announced Trouble Funk, The Don’t Need It’s (more on them shortly), and the cryptic “PLUS SPECIAL GUEST.” What fueled the rumors was the symbol next to those words, the molecule design from the 1997 Foo Fighters album, The Colour and the Shape.

The crowd waiting in the rain outside the club was abuzz with talk of the forthcoming evening. As the 8 o’clock hour closed in, Dave Grohl took the stage to begin his emcee duties. As he poked a little fun at himself and promised to try to be a lively emcee, the club fire alarm went off. Dave quipped, “Uh-oh, Bad Brains must have set the fire alarm off.”

A few minutes later, The Don’t Need It’s took the stage. Led by Scream frontman Pete Stahl, the band was rounded out by half of Bad Brains—Dr. Know on guitar and Darryl Jenifer on bass, and Dave on drums.

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TVD Live: M3 Rock Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 4/25-4/26

ALL PHOTOS: DAVE BARNHOUSER | The summer concert season is officially under way, and with it comes the M3 Rock Festival. With fans travelling over great distances to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD, it has turned into an annual rock ‘n’ roll pilgrimage.

In its sixth year, the festival revives the hard rock and hair metal bands of the ’80s and early ’90s, a stark contrast to many modern festivals highlighting the latest and (maybe not-so) greatest bands of today. Think less Foster the People and Cage the Elephant, and more Scorpions, Whitesnake, and Faster Pussycat. This year’s lineup definitely did not disappoint (well, mostly), and the rock ‘n’ roll spirit of the ’80s was alive and well.

DAY ONE | The closer I got to Merriweather Post Pavilion, the darker the skies became. The gates opened after waiting about 20 minutes, and the rain began. Without taking in too many sights, I made my way to the 9:32 Bar (the MPP offshoot of DC’s 9:30 Club) for a dry spot to have a beverage and wait for the music to begin.

Winger

Local openers Bad Seed Rising began the day with their brand of energetic power pop/rock. The quartet—ages 12-16—played with cohesiveness and confidence well beyond their years.

The first surprise of the weekend came next, in Winger. No longer sporting spandex pants and hairspray, singer/bassist Kip Winger now has a grey streak in his curly hair, and was wearing stylish glasses, giving him a more mature look.

I’ll admit, I have never been a fan of the band or their music, save for Reb Beach’s guitar mastery. I would also have to admit that Winger surprised and impressed the hell out of me at M3. While still not a fan of their music, Winger was tight, precise, and overall sounded really damn good. During their set, Kip announced what a number of other bands would echo throughout the weekend—a forthcoming new album. This was welcome news to myself and the fans in attendance that the bands would not be content to ease back and only rely on their classic material to carry them through the years—they’re still moving forward.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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