Monday, September 28, 2009

Get To Know El Rio Humano

This Friday, NYC-based 3-piece rock band El Rio Humano will perform at WTBU's Michael Jackson Tribute show. As a band that usually appeals to fans of bands like The Mars Volta or Queens of the Stone Age, their interpretations of MJ songs will undoubtedly be interesting and awesome.

Over the past year, the band's frontman, Mike McManus, and drummer, Johnny Hoblin, have played a couple of house shows in Allston under the name Fastizio. They also did an in-studio performance at WTBU last year as Fastizio. Now playing with their new bassist, Nick Lee, the guys decided to change their name from Fastizio to El Rio Humano. Their upcoming EP, Das Boneyard EP, is set for release on Dinosaurs in Vietnam Records later in the month.

Mike took a few minutes today to answer some questions for WTBU:

WTBU: How has Michael Jackson influenced El Rio Humano and why did you guys want to play this show?

Mike McManus: Michael Jackson has always been a huge influence. John and I grew up on his music (my grandparents had a VHS of the Thriller video, which I used to dance along to as a child) and still rock out to it. I don’t think mainstream listeners really understand how dense and insane his recordings are. It was a real challenge preparing these cover songs. He is a beautiful singer and dancer as everyone knows, but his song structures and lyrics are often very far out there. We wanted to play this show to give our love to his music and his memory.

WTBU: What does the new El Rio Humano EP sound like and how does it differ from how you guys sounded as Fastizio?

MM: The new EP is reflective of what we’ve been through as a band since our first album came out two years ago. Basically, the name change was to signify a new momentum and to exorcise the bad energies that have held us back throughout that time. So I’d say the new EP is still us (Fastizio), but it shows a band that is stronger and less afraid to do exactly what it wants to.

WTBU: What have your experiences with Boston shows been like and are you guys excited to be coming back?

MM: Boston has always been very good to us. The people are so sweet and are really respectful of what we’re trying to do. Every time we make the trip up to play a house party or at a cafĂ© it seems like everyone treats us like family. John and I have been joking that Boston has become our band’s second home. I really feel that’s true. So Of course, we are very excited to be coming back and I hope we can even be back again before the end of the year.

Stream tracks at or download mp3s from Fastizio's WTBU in-studio performance here.

-Liz Pelly

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