It’s been five years since LA rock outfit, FUZZ has released an album. Taking that amount of time to develop an album, one might expect an over-produced tracklist of over-dubs and programming, but it was just the opposite.
FUZZ III out October 23, is a humble fusion of minimalistic production and demanding riffs that reveal the band’s draw to psychedelic and blues music. Songs like “Returning” and “Close Your Eyes” show the band comfortably presenting themselves as writers who are equally vulnerable and honest.
“I think some of this record was getting older and more comfortable with ideas,” guitarist/vocalist Charles Moothart told American Songwriter. “I think sometimes there are records where the production is not a choice you’d make because it’s fun to use different effects and mixing. I was never comfortable with the idea of having a record sound like the band did on that day. For FUZZ the last record was the opposite, we had a lot of songs, did tracking at a studio and then spent a month doing overdubs and mixing, but this record was more of let’s go in and do a more vulnerable version of the band and this is what we sound like as three people playing together and it was definitely conscious.”
The development of “Returning” mirrors the progress and fluid working dynamic between Moothart and drummer/vocalist Ty Segall, who have been friends and bandmates since high school. The riff in “Returning,” written by Moothart was set aside for some time as it remained unfinished with partial lyrics. After about a year Segall brought his insight with cadence and lyrics to the song and set it back in motion.
“I enjoy writing lyrics with Ty and this song is a good example of that,” Moothart said. “Some of the lyrics I had for a different song. But I brought it and we ended up tweaking them and adding to them. The verse lines and when you’re glowing, you’ll know you’ll know me, I felt painted a cool picture, then I brought them to Ty and he was able to spin it. He’s a good vocalist and his focus is always on cadence or pronunciation. It’s interesting to see where he takes it. Sometimes it’s surreal because it’s we don’t know where we’re going with it.”
“The main verse riff I had sitting around for a while and the way I used to play it, there were no breaks, which is now where the vocals are,” Moothart added about ‘Returning’. “Before it was just a constant moving riff and felt meditative. When working on it with Ty, the idea came about to take breaks and give space throughout the song, then pause to allow the singing, which gives it that pop-sensibility. And the breaks give more of a focus and power and intention behind the lyrics in that space. I was definitely stoked on how that one developed.”
The extra time in the album cycle allowed FUZZ to build on these more fluid ideas, while also helping them find a place for some other songs that they knew were important but didn’t fit well on FUZZ II. “Time Collapse” is a blues driven songs that Moothart always saw as single worthy, but it didn’t line up with their previous tracklists. But it got a spot on FUZZ III as a introduction to the later-half of the record.
“It was going to be a single for FUZZ II and it just didn’t work out,” Moothart explained. “That is one of my favorites on the record. It’s just from a different state of mind. It’s a little more heavy and mid-tempo. I’m really glad it found it place in this record. It kicks you into what the B-side will be.”
The second half of the album turned out to be a medley of everything Moothart and Segall had been working on independently during down time. Both busy musicians with additional projects, FUZZ has always been a shifting priority, but what has been constant is Moothart and Segall’s desire to create music that is different and true and an authentic portrayal of themselves. Ever since their early high school band days, and going to all-ages music venues in south LA, the pair has had a strong pull to what is exciting and unique, regardless of how many people hear it or even like it, because in the end FUZZ makes music for their own sanity and if people like it, that’s a bonus.
“Rock and Roll is there for the people,” Moothart said. “If they want to hear it and see it, they do if they don’t, they don’t. All I can do is make my music and try to keep my head straight.”
Moothart hopes it won’t be another five years until the next FUZZ album, but at same time understands the need for an organic idea to take place. “If the idea were for FUZZ to record the next album tomorrow, I would be happy,” he said. “But we got to go with the flow and see what happens, and there’s always stuff cooking.”
FUZZ III is out on In The Red Records on October 23 and you can order a copy here. Be sure to follow the band on their socials to see what’s next from the power trio. And check out their latest video for “Spit” here today.