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"Uptown review of Fingertight"

American Flamewhip
Finger Tight
(Transistor 66)

A lot of people were pretty pissed off when the VaGiants called it quits, so those same people will be ecstatic to know that singer J-Rod and drummer Mama are behind American Flamewhip. Add in New Meanies mainman Damon Mitchell and you¹ve got an all-star band. AF calls its music ³dirty-ass rock
¹n¹ roll,² and that¹s a pretty bang-on description of anthems such as
Gasoline and album opener Kick It. This whole outing is gritty and raw, with J-Rod¹s husky vocals dusted with a bit of reverb and the guitars up front and snarling. I see the hoofprints of AC/DC in here < I¹ll admit I see them everywhere < but we¹re also dealing with a hint of punk and retro rock of the Urge Overkill/Velvet Underground variety. So does it rock? Shit yeah,
and it¹ll leave scratches all down your back. Don¹t let your boyfriend or girlfriend see them. < MW
- Uptown Magazine

"Winnipeg Free Press review of Fingertight"

American Flamewhip Fingertight (Transistor 66) The local supergroup featuring Joanne Rodriguez (VaGiants), Chris "Mama" Bauer (VaGiants, Perpetrators) and Damon Mitchell (New Meanies, Nathan) get down and dirty with a fierce collection of distorted garage rock and soul. Candyman is a sugar rush of slinky twisting blues; Darren, Gasoline and the title track use the metallic K.O. of the Stooges as touchstones; Hell For Sale and Show Me are raw primal stompers; and You're Not Around is a surprisingly sweet gospel-tinged lament. A supergroup that actually lives up to the super in its description. HHHH -- RW

- Winnipeg Free Press

"Exclaim (the VaGiants)"

reviewing Short and Hard Chuck said: "...the whole production has a frantic, non-stop and decidedly live feel about it, which makes sense, given the VaGiants' reputation as one of Manitoba's premier live acts." - Chuck Molgat

" (the VaGiants)"

review of Short and Hard: "...the Vagiants have that extra little punch that makes them stand out from the crowd...The guitar riffs ooze full on Rawk 'n' Roll, while the vocals drip Detroit soul. We've got Motorhead's aggression, AC/DC's power, the New York Dolls Sleaze, what more could you honestly ask for? It seems to me that Canada is set to rip Detroits crown from it's tired head."
- Lee

" (the VaGiants)"

"...The VaGiants sound ancient & groundbreaking all at the same time. This is the sound of Rock-It Science – it’ll burn yr. ears clean off on re-entry. J-Rod has voice guilty of murder – megaphone in hand – cutting through the sonic dressing like a Florida electoral official cuts through a ballot box. Except there is no result to influence here – the jury is unanimous – The VaGiants are to gtrs what the Rock is to Gibralter."
- Jean Encoule

"Maximumrockandroll (the VaGiants)"

“...Loud exciting rock and roll....” - Mike Alexander

"Winnipeg Free Press (the VaGiants)"

“...The next big thing?" - Bartly Kives

"Uptown Magazine (the VaGiants)"

“...a perpetual wailing orgasm of rock 'n' roll...” - Melissa Martin

"ACTIVATE - CD Review"

American Flamewhip raves and howls its way through five short, sharp bursts of garage punkarockarolla on this EP-that-eats-like-a-meal - but it saves the best for last. Track 7 of this disc is a 40-minute live performance, recorded last March at UMFM, and it's a raw document of AF's primal sound and fury. Distorted guitars, chunky blues riffs, shimmering cymbals and the combination of J-Rod's sultry lead vocals and Mama Bauer's wailing backgrounds make for a slice of ragged rawk glory. The four studio tunes (track 1 is a brief intro, and 2 is a live version of We Were Never Friends, cut at the Albert) offer up a shinier version of the band, topped off by Mama's hysterical rendition of Ween's You Fucked Up.

B+ — John Kendle
- Uptown Magazine - John Kendle


Rock with a capital OCK!
American Flamewhip lay down the noise on new EP
Jen Zoratti

If you've been to an American Flamewhip gig (or keep up with local show lore), you know that the trio is one of the craziest live acts this city has to offer.

Now, Flamewhip fans will be able to take a dirty, sweat-slicked slice of the band's famed live show home with them.

Yes, Chris (Mama) Bauer, Joanne (J-Rod) Rodriguez and Damon Mitchell are releasing Activate, a decidedly fan-friendly EP that features new material, a cover of Ween's You Fucked Up (a show favourite) and a live track that will more than make up for the fact that gigs on May 2 and 3 may be the band's only fshows or the summer.

"It's an EP, but technically speaking, it's longer than our debut full-length (2006's Fingertight)," Bauer, 35, explains over beers at Hooligans. "It's five studio songs and one long 40-minute live track which is a live performance. It's every song we've written in one track."

"Basically, it's a document of the band during two weeks in 2007," Rodriguez, 33, adds.

Those two weeks in March 2007 proved to be memorable for Flamewhip. Before heading down to Austin, Tex., for a South by Southwest showcase, the trio went into Midcan Studios for a quick 'n' dirty recording session - one that was helmed, interestingly, by students.

"They have a project they have to do, which I think they made more stringent because of us," Bauer says with a laugh.

"We tried to do a whole record," Rodriguez explains. "Like, 'OK, that one's awesome! Let's do another one.' I think they were really only supposed to do three songs. We got five."

Five songs is enough for a standard EP, but the band opted to include the live session, transforming Activate into a comprehensive collection of everything its catalogue.

It might seem premature to release something so retrospective so early on - AF's been around for just over three years - but Activate isn't the greatest-hits package it sounds like. By including material that was on its predecessor, Activate actually charts the band's musical growth better than a traditional sophomore record.

"I think the fundamental difference between this one and Fingertight is the band has matured a lot more - the tracks on this one sound more vicious to me," Bauer says. "The songs are a bit more out of the box.

"I would hope we sound more comfortable in the studio," Bauer continues. "When we were recording Fingertight we didn't know how it would work. These are all first or second take."

"That's because we're fucking professionals," Rodriguez adds.
No kidding. American Flamewhip formed in 2004, out of the ashes of Mama and J-Rod's old band, The VaGiants. The pair hooked up with the versatile Mitchell (the former New Meanies frontman who also drums in Juno-winner Nathan) and became one of the city's most explosive live acts, thanks to their collective schooling in beer-drinkin' and rockin' out.

With shredder Mitchell on guitar, skin-beater Bauer on the drums and a frontwoman who is quite possibly Wonder Woman manning the mic, American Flamewhip's musical debauchery quickly earned it rave reviews and a faithful fanbase.

The band is dedicated to its craft - after all, it's not easy on the bod (specifically the liver) to be in American Flamewhip.

"On New Year's I almost broke my leg doing a stripper squat," Rodriguez says. "The last time I had to get physiotherapy was when I wrecked my knee doing Bon Jovi karaoke at a UMFM thing. "

Perhaps the most memorable show for AF was its surprise performance on the roof of O' Calcutta before The White Stripes' MTS Centre gig in July 2007.

"I was supposed to be at Old Market Square to sing with Novillero for the Soul Revue at the Jazz Fest afterwards," Rodriguez explains. "We got hoisted up there by crane because that's the only way you can get up there. And I told them, 'Make sure you come back here at this time.'

"The show is awesome. Now it's over, and I have to get to Old Market Square. And the crane is gone. And I have to pee. So here I am, in my little black cocktail dress with a bunch of boys and Portage Avenue can see me. So I basically had to tell them to turn around and pee in the corner on the roof of O' Calcutta."

When Mama and J-Rod begins reminiscing about shows gone by, it's clear that Flamewhip's live show isn't just important to its fans. Capturing a raw, primal rock 'n' roll sound in the studio is obviously vital to the band - but so is the ability to be able to shake up studio tracks onstage.

"I like the - I won't even say mistakes - nuances that aren't on the CD," Rodriguez says. "I don't like seeing a carbon copy of the CD. I hope to see spontenaity."

"That's the essence of what a live band is," Bauer says. "Gone are the days when you can call yourself a band and be a studio entity. People can get music so readily for free that it's really gone back to the live show. If you want to make a living, you n - Uptown Magazine - Feature Story May 1st, 2008


"Show Me" - a homespun "demo" version originally recorded in Jan 2005 was released in March 2006 as part of a "Winnipeg RIOT" CD compilation put together by Darren Merinuk and released by Dionysus Records out of California.

AFW's first CD, Fingertight, released in August 2006 on Transistor 66 Record Co.

AFW's second CD, Activate, released May 2nd, 2008 on Transistor 66 Record Co.



Hailing from the illustrious city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, AMERICAN FLAMEWHIP was formed in 2004 by J-Rod and MAMA after the break-up of their former band the VaGiants. Their sin-inspired anthems are guaranteed to robustly stir your wildest desires and feverishly fuel your thirst for all things decadent and hedonistic in life. Get ready for the rock with a capital OCK!!!


phone: 204.956.5721