From the innermost cornfields of Southern Illinois emerges FUNGONEWRONG, one of metal’s most unique up-and-coming bands. This Midwestern band is a mixture of metal, punk and death-thrash whose music ensures that the band will rise to the top of the musical mountain and stick their metal flag deep in the minds of all music-lovers. FGW is Belter Skelter (vocals, guitar), Milez Long (guitar, vocals), Ballz Deep (guitar, vocals), Manny Wrektor (bass) and Buster Hymen (drums).
FGW tore up the stages at the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival and the Ride For Dime in Nashville this past summer, earning them huge respect from fellow metal heads from all over. The band’s debut album, FUNGONEWRONG, was released in July. Their second single Dropping Like Flies hit the airwaves in November on all major digital outlets – coming off the end of a huge success with their first single Cry Me A River. Now, FGW is hitting the road with Psychostick on a fall run across the U.S. The North American tour is set to run through November 23rd.
While FUNGONEWRONG is considered a fresh face on the music scene, the members of the band are anything but new when it comes to creating high-energy metal music according to the band’s guitarist/vocalist Ballz Deep. “As a band, we’ve been together approximately four years. We all basically grew up together, one way or another—went to high school together. We’ve been friends and Buster Hymen and Belter Skelter were in a band called Lunatic for years. I had lived out in North Carolina and was gone for a while playing in another band,” Deep recalled. “And when I came back to Illinois about seven years ago, we decided that we were gonna try doing things as a band. We had always just gotten together and recorded. Like I’d come back from vacation or something and all the years we grew up playing, we just basically never did a real band… we just recorded a bunch of material. So we decided that we needed to do this as a band and get out there and do this!”
Following FGW’s decision to get serious as a band, they were quickly signed under a label and started working on an album. Their debut album was produced by Legend Group Records along with multi-platinum record producer/engineer, Tom Fletcher, whose 200 plus album career includes some of rock’s biggest and most influential artists and albums including Ozzy Osbourne, Suicidal Tendencies, Scorpions, Toto, and Metal Church. “I’ve seen a lot of metal in my years, and I can honestly say, FUNGONEWRONG is poised to be the most exciting and hard-hitting record of my career. I believe this will be the biggest metal debut in years,” said Fletcher according to Legend Group Records’ website.
One of the features that give the band an extra kick of personality (beyond their clever aliases) is the bag-like masks they wear while performing. One red, one blue, one black and two white—each mask with a bold expression all its own. But what inspired these masks? “Well, our guitar player, Milez Long, came up with these bags,” explained Deep. “We used to love The Unknown Comic, which was an adult show years ago. And originally he just had two eyes and a mouth-hole. And then when Milez Long came up with our name, he drew these pictures of bags with faces on them and that was gonna be like, the characters of FUNGONEWRONG. So we decided to go with that approach and make these bags. We started out with these brown paper bags and then they evolved to be different colors and we had to make them more solid like a helmet because the brown paper bags would get all sweaty and wet and they’d tear apart. They wouldn’t last very long,” he laughed.
Deep says that FGW has reaped much of their influence from old school metal bands like Pantera, Judas Priest, Exodus, and Metal Church. “We just love that whole genre of music and we grew up listening to it. Our writing is kind of old school metal. We’re not really the new metal that’s out now. As far as our originality, we spent a lot of years and put a lot of time into writing our songs. What we’re trying to do does not sound like what’s going on at the moment. We try to squeeze in and bring some of the older sounds of metal back in with some of the newer sound.”
The band was signed under Legend Group Records, a newly formed independent record label, in 2012. Things have quickly gained momentum for FGW ever since, according to Deep. “It’s getting there. It’s building up slowly, but surely. You just have to get out there and put your foot on the first rung before you can climb the ladder,” said Deep about FGW’s quickly building success. “We’ve been real busy now that we’re with Legend Group Records and getting started on this tour, everything’s really starting to come together. And this is kinda gonna be a ‘work out the bugs’ type of tour for us, being our first time touring as a band together. And so far, so good! We’re just enjoying playing. This is what we’ve all always wanted to do for a living and we’re finally getting to do that.”
Although this tour is FGW’s first official tour together, Deep said that their fans have been nothing short of enthusiastic and that the tour has been wildly successful. “On this tour we’ve met a lot of cool people, people that are really diggin’ it. I would have to say our pre-show run on the Uproar Festival was one which we really didn’t want to end. We really had a huge impact on the Uproar Fest. We had a lot of people up in Michigan… there’s a place called the Machine Shop, and all the fans were all excited and told us that’s the place we need to play,” Deep recalled. “Well, it just so happened that was one of the venues on the bill. But everybody was really responsive; we stuck around and signed things for everybody. We were hanging out for several hours, just hanging with the fans. We’re fans ourselves, so we know how it is when you don’t get to go see, or meet-and-greet the people that you grew up loving… since a lot of times they’re not around or they’re backstage, so we always love to come out and hang out!”
With the band having come so far in such a short amount of time, fans may be wondering what to expect from FGW in the future. “We’re gonna take over the world!” Deep said jokingly. “Yeah, we’re actually looking at a European tour for next year which could be with Motörhead. We also had a featured article in Metal Hammer, which is a big U.K. magazine and I think there’s a lot of anticipation for us coming over there, so it might be a good start… and metal’s really big over there! I think it helps a lot of bands to build themselves up over there for when they come back over here and get a bigger response. So that’s being thrown around. Or, maybe one of these festivals, like Mayhem or something like that, but they’re definitely gonna have us doing something after the tour. This isn’t for certain yet, but we may be going on tour with Mushroomhead next month and do a few weeks with that, as well.”
According to Legend Group Records’ website, the band is also set to film their first “professional” music video during a live performance at the Whisky-a-Go-Go on the Sunset Strip at 7 p.m. on December 11th with fellow metal band 3 Inches of Blood.
Through all of the success FGW has found over the past few months, the fans remain their largest source of inspiration, according to Deep. He encouraged fans, also known as the Baghead Nation, to “keep on pumpin’ out for FUNGONEWRONG!” Members of the Baghead Nation interested in seeing the band live can find remaining tour dates on the FGW website. Those that missed FGW this time around may enjoy jamming along to their recent music video, Cry Me a River, instead.
Though the identity of the band members themselves will remain a mystery, their heavy and beat-driven music can be identified by fans from miles away. And while FGW members have jokingly called themselves “a bunch of idiots rocking out with bags on their heads,” it would appear that many music-lovers have grown to see them as so much more. With ground-shaking vocals and a one-two punch combo of metal and rock, this band definitely knows how to stand out from a crowd and show listeners what having a good time is all about.