A few alumni who rock: Justin Hamacher '97 and Brett Rudy '96

Text by Linda Claycamp, Illustrations by Stan Shaw

The distinct sound of Northwest band Biography of Ferns is the product of Justin Hamacher on guitar and vocals and Brett Rudy on drums and backing vocals, along with a bass player from Seattle, Lawrence Biely. Categorized as indie/art-school rock, Biography of Ferns brings to mind Sonic Youth, The Clash, or Joy Division. In 2001 this trio was named one of the top five up-and-coming bands by a Seattle radio station, and their album, Merchants of Sleep and Purpose, was on top-10 charts for both WSU and UW.

Justin’s minor in psychology (he majored in art) has come in surprisingly handy in the music industry. “One of the most valuable classes I took was Psychotherapy from Dr. Lisa Wood. It may sound funny, but we learned how to actively listen in that class, and that is naturally a skill that is applicable to any situation where human interaction is required. If you have a band, you have to spend a ton of time booking and managing it. The managing part comes down to seeing that everyone in your group is placated; that isn’t easy. Booking consists of dealing with some regularly annoying show biz types and trying to finagle them into getting you on bills at their clubs. To have charisma and strong interpersonal skills are paramount in getting this done. Studying therapy helped me to acquire these skills.”