Wednesday, January 27, 2016
A Ripple Conversation with Wayne Rudell of Fuzz Evil and the Borderland Fuzz Fiesta
When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.
What have been your musical epiphany moments?
Growing up our house was always filled with music. Both of my parents played instruments. My Dad played bass and keyboard and my mom played guitar. They were always singing and playing together growing up. My parents were very religious so as a kid there was mostly gospel music around. I think my first musical epiphany was when I began venture out and listen to music outside of what my parents approved of. One of the first records that blew my mind was Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced.” I couldn’t get over his guitar playing. It was like nothing I have ever heard; unreal, and unearthly. I remember losing myself in the track “Are you Experienced.” I had similar experiences with Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, and Led Zeppelin, But Jimi music was my first awakening as a young musician.
Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?
For me the song writing process will start with a melody that I hear in my head. I will usually l have to record it in my phone as a voice memo until I have time to sit down to develop it. Sometimes its turns out to be a riff other times it is a vocal melody. You never know how it will end up. In the specific case in the Powered Wig Machine’s song “I Got the Brain of Hank Pym” I wrote the lyrics and melody for the whole song before I ever picked up my guitar. My brother Joey and I usually will write everything together. We have been doing that since we were kids. The process normally goes with one use coming to the table with a riff. Joey and I will format it, and then I will come up with vocals melodies. Lyrically I will format dummy lyrics or soft lyrics till I feel something that feels right then I will finalize the lyrics. We like to test drive our new songs at shows with soft lyrics to see if they flow naturally. Neil Fallon from Clutch does this quiet a bit. I loved his writing style and used it myself. I loved on the extended release on there “Blast Tyrant” re-release the progression of the song “Cypress Groove.” The song grew and evolved into what it is today.
Who has influenced you the most?
It is tough to pin it down just one band or artist. As a guitarist I would say Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and Josh Homme are the three guitarists that have shaped my guitar playing. The three of them had such great ways of phrasing leads and riffs on the guitar. As a vocalist I have always admired the lead singers of the 70’s. Freddy Mercury, Robert Plant, Phil Laynot are a few of the guys that I idolized vocally growing u. They were just larger than life in their delivery and presence.
Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?
For Riffs I love going back and listening to old rock n roll records. Ram Jam, MC5, The Stooges, Hawkwind, and Black Sabbath. There is a goldmine of great riffs in those records. We also look to our peers for influence. They say iron sharpens Iron. There are always great new fuzz rock records coming out. I really dug the new Ruby the Hatchet, Black Rainbows, and Egypt record that came out this year. Lyrically all of the songs I write are stories. I read a lot of Fiction and Comic Books. Comic Books have the most intriguing storylines. I am always trying to push my imagination to new places from graphic novels for lyrics. I also like to use a lot of illusions and metaphors from older cult films. The new Fuzz Evil debut will be out in spring 2016 and most of the lyrics with the exception of two songs are all influenced by sci-fi and fantasy themes.
We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?
We live in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Sierra Vista butts up to the old 1800’s military base Fort Huachuca that is home of the legendary Buffalo Soldiers from the civil war era. Thirty miles north of us is where famous Indian Chiefs Geronimo and Cochise called home. We spent most of our time growing up and going to school in Tombstone, Arizona. When We started playing out in music the only real place to play was in Bisbee, Arizona, an old mining town from the 1800’s, that was about 15 mins away from Sierra Vista. Bisbee is now a thriving art and music community. Culturally Bisbee nightlife is rich with Blues, R&B, and 60’s rock/psych. We had elements of all of these so we could get gigs. If you add our love of Sabbath, Hendrix, and The Stooges it was the making of the Fuzz Evil Sound.
Where'd the band name come from?
FUZZ EVIL!!! I love Fuzz pedals. I have dabbled in building and collecting old classic pedals. I built this pedal for Joey my brother and when he tried it out he said, “Man that Fuzz sounds Evil.” I had my Dewey Cox moment putting together what he said and boom ! Fuzz Evil was born.
You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?
Man that is a tough call. I think I would love to write the score to the old cult film Vanishing Point. Kowalski racing across the desert in his Dodge Challenger to make to San Francisco by 3pm! Hands Down one of the best car movies ever made.
You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?
If I had one song to write a 1000 essay it would be Yes’s “Heart of The Sunrise.” In my opinion it is such an incredibly written song. The unmistaken Chirs Aquire bass with the trippy Bruford drumming. The alternating 6/8 time signatures against 3/4 time signatures make it such an epic building groove. The Lyrics are so eloquently phrased. Jon Anderson was an incredible lyricist. You don’t hear lyrics that anyone more. Just classy and poetic.
“Straight light moving and removing
SHARPNESS of the color sun shine
Straight light searching all the meanings of the song
Long last treatment of the telling that
relates to all the words sung
Dreamer easy in the chair that really fits you”
Our musical intention to push ourselves and our amps to 11! We want people to lose themselves in the good vibes of Rock N Roll!
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
Being a musician is a lot of hard work, but don’t let anybody fool you. Touring is easy. Eating candy in a van, drinking every night and sleeping til noon are not hard. The hard part is holding you liquor every night and still nailing your solos. I remember one night on my birthday; My bud kept buying me Wild Turkey shots all night. We were playing last and I was already Lyndsey Lohan drunk the first band in. I remember having to stand perfectly still playing or else I would fall over. I was fighting barfing most of the set. Joey had to nudge me to remind me what the next song was. Lol people probably thought I was just mysterious or in the zone. Truth was I was keeping it real….real drunk.
Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?
I am a firm believer in the power of positivity. I believe it is something tangible with music and contagious. The relationship between fans of our music and us is symbiotic live. They are putting off energy watching us play, and we us that energy to push ourselves musically. I love playing live. Everything opens up a bit more. In the end all of your recorded material cds, vinyl, and tapes are all promotion tools for the live show.
What makes a great song?
For me a great song is all in the hook. Sometimes you hear a new song then that riff hits, and it has you. For instance like the first time I heard the new Orange Goblin song “Red Tide Rising.” Holy Hell that riff was unreal. I bought that record only listening to the first 3 mins of the record.
Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?
The first Fuzz Evil song I ever wrote was the song called “Good Medicine” that will be on the new record coming out this spring. I just got off a tour with Powered Wig Machine and needed a nice musical reset. Whether your gone on tour five days or two months you always miss your loved ones you leave behind. This song was about my wife Saxony. She is my good medicine. She is a rock n roller through and through, and I don’t think I juggle it all without her.
What pieces of your music are particularly proud of?
I am really proud of our debut coming out . The songs are some really deep cuts. Heavy psyched out grooves. I know it has taken longer than expected to get this record out, but we have really but it under the microscope to put something out very special that I think people will dig. Brian Gold at Primrose Studio is an incredible engineer and has great ear for the genre. He put a lot of hours into this record and you can tell. He is hands down one of the best up and coming engineers for stoner and psych.
Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?
In my opinion Elder kicks so much ass! It is the main reason why I booked them as the Saturday Headliner for Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016. I think hands down there music is just a cut above everything out there right now. They are Incredibly talented guys. There is very organic. It reminds of what it would sound like if Mastodon and Baroness joined forces. There Lore record that came out in 2015 is a great piece of music that landed on almost everyone’s top records of the year list.
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
In my day job I am a truck driver, and I drive 8-10 hours a day so I discover a lot of my new music on Bandcamp and Spotify. I really get to enjoy it though when I spin it at home on vinyl. I feel it is the best format for really getting into music.
Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice
For me it is Whiskey all day. It is a drink of gentlemen and rock n rollers, plus If whiskey was good enough for Lemmy that it is good enough for me.
We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?
We live in the small town of Sierra Vista that has about 60,000 people in it. We have one record store called Hasting that has a modest selection of new and old vinyl. People are always trading in their old records there. I have found some really great records in the dollar bin there.
What's next for the band?
Well 2016 is going to be a busy year for the band. We will be hosting and playing Borderland Fuzz Fiesta in Tucson,AZ . Feb 26th-Feb27th. We may try and jump on a few others us summer festivals. We will be releasing our debut record in the spring with Battleground Records. We also will be appearing on a split later this year that is still in the works. Later in the fall Switchblade Jesus and US will be hitting the road together for a bit. We are shooting for Europe, but if it isn’t in the cards we will be doing a east coast tour instead.
Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?
Keep you eyes to the skies and Fuzz Hard. If you live in the southwest or want to road trip it Tucson, AZ check out Borderland Fuzz Fiesta Feb 26th-Feb27th. Dead Meadow, Elder, Yawning Man, Switchblade Jesus, Blaak Heat, Zed, Blackwulf and more. We still have two day early bird passes available at:
Bffearlybird.brownpapertickets.com-Two day Pass 30$
BFFDeadMeadow.brownpapertickets.com-2.26 Dead Meadow single day 20$
BFFelder.brownpapertickets.com-2.27 Elder Single Day 20$