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Band:

Gypsy Fish

Members: Tim Hess, lead guitar; Joe Hildebrand, bass; Josh Myers, rhythm guitar and lead vocals; Kevin Schaffer, drums

Who we talked to: Myers, 28

How did the band form? I guess it was probably 2004. Me and our drummer met through a mutual friend and just kind of jammed around. He went to school with our lead guitar player, Tim Hess, and they were in a small acoustic band a few years ago. So we got him and another friend (who) played bass, Joe Hildebrand, and it pretty much went from there.

How did you come up with the name? It was actually a poem that my cousin wrote about a traveling gypsy. I forget what the poem was really about, but it came out that a gypsy fish is actually a mermaid.

Describe your sound and style: If I'd have to say we sound like anybody, it would probably be a mixture of 3 Doors Down, Good Charlotte (and) Sum 41. We pretty much try to do the upbeat party kind of music that you can dance to. We also do, like, Johnny Cash (and) John Denver. We have probably about five or 10 originals that we're working on now. Probably by . . . this time next year, we'll have a full disc out of all original stuff.

Do you want to walk me through your songwriting process? Usually, most of the song writing is done (by) me and our drummer, Kevin Schaffer. It's pretty much whatever (we) feel at that point. We write a lot of stuff about emotions or life experiences. We usually just kind of . . . put it in the form of a poem and then just get everyone together, pick it apart, put it back together (and) put music to it.

Any life experiences in particular that led to a song? One of our favorite originals is called "Everything You Need." Our drummer wrote that (when) he was going through a breakup. He wanted her to stay, so he wrote a poem. It was supposed to be, like, just for her, but he came to us and said, "Hey, can we make this into a song?" So, we made it into a song, and they played it on the radio a few times on (WRVV-FM 97.3) The River. It's got a lot of orchestration in it.

Did the song work for your band mate? Kind of. (Laughs)

How did you get into music? My mom taught me how to play piano when I was maybe, like, 5. In our family, music's just natural. If it has strings, we can all play it. I've been playing banjo since I was about 10 and then went into doing a lot of bluegrass. Then, I had an opportunity to pretty much travel all over and sing Southern gospel with my uncle's group (Refuge).

Does your bluegrass or gospel roots seep into your current music? I'd say the bluegrass end of it does. We recently wrote a country song, kind of one of the ones you can't sing around kids. It's kind of like a Hank Williams Sr.(song).

What do you guys like to do when you're not in the studio or playing? We're pretty much, like, as close as family. Usually, every weekend, we're at my house or somebody else's house having a cookout. We go out and check out other bands. We're pretty close with Turning Point . . . Emily's Toybox (and) Shortbus Fight Club.

What's coming up for you guys this summer? We took . . . I'd say six months off. We were actually building a studio at my house. We got the new music down (and) we're just now starting to book other shows and trying to get into some bigger places. We always say, "family first." So, if (a gig) conflicts with . . . plans with the family, we don't even think about playing. We maybe (play) once or twice a month. We used to do every weekend - Friday and Saturday. It just started to get really stressful with everybody having kids and stuff like that.

Do your kids play any instruments? My (3-year-old and 8-year-old) love music. (The band) practices at my house and . . . they'll just come out and sing into the microphone and pick up a guitar and start banging on it.

- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF

If you go

Gypsy Fish plays July 23 at The Glad Crab, 3086 S. Queen St. in Dallastown. For details, visit www.gladcrab.com.

On the Web

For details about Gypsy Fish, visit www.myspace.com/gypsyfish.

To listen to the interview, visit www.flipsidepa.com.

To read more meet-the-artist interviews, visit www.flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory.

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