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Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2015: Fireball Ministry, Wo Fat, Mos Generator and More Playing Arizona Festival

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 29th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

fireball ministry on motorboat (Photo by Andrew Stuart)

Sharing a base of operations with the Southwest Terror Fest in Tucson, Arizona, the upcoming Borderland Fuzz Fiesta will make its initial showing in 2015 an impressive round of acts including Fireball Ministry — as seen on Motörhead‘s Motörboat above, with none other than Scott Reeder on bass — Wo FatMos GeneratorPowered Wig Machine and plenty of others, plus a light show from the venerable Mad Alchemy to add visual psychedelia to what’s sure to be a well-distorted evening Feb. 21 at The Rock. Not a bad way to start out, if you’re starting out.

Put together by Wayne and Joseph Rudell of Powered Wig Machine, the whole deal was announced via the PR wire as follows:

borderland fuzz fiesta

BORDERLAND FUZZ FIESTA: Tucson, Arizona’s First Annual Riff Party Reveals 2015 Lineup Including FIREBALL MINISTRY, WO FAT, MOS GENERATOR & More

The desert city of Tucson, AZ is host to a wide array of annual events in the musical realm and this coming February will see the addition of a still another: The Borderland Fuzz Fiesta. Conceived and curated by the Rudell brothers of regional desert rockers Powered Wig Machine and Fuzz Evil, the inaugural show will take place on February 21st at The Rock.

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2015 Official Lineup:

Fireball Ministry
Wo Fat
Mos Generator
Powered Wig Machine
Goatroper
Skulldron
Asimov
Yeti Ender
Conqueror Worm
Methra

When: February 21, 2015
Where: The Rock, 136 North Park Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719

“My brother and I have always wanted to put together a stoner rock themed fest and we’re definitely excited about this first year’s lineup,” comments an enthusiastic Wayne Rudell. The bill for the event certainly serves up ample helpings of the stoner genre with its fine mix of bands from the Southwest region and beyond, including Fireball Ministry, Wo Fat, Mos Generator, Powered Wig Machine, Skulldron, Asimov, Goatroper, Yeti Ender, Conquerer Worm, Methra and the Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show.

While the lineup is definitely under the wider umbrella of the stoner rock genre, there is a great diversity of sounds among the bands, from sprinklings of the psychedelic to slabs of doom and scorching thrash riffs, or pretty much something for every pair of ears inclined towards heavy music. Mr. Rudell certainly believes so: “We really feel that fans of this music would appreciate this event and will hopefully get behind it in the time to come, we’re going to be striving to make the Borderland Fuzz Fiesta bigger and better every year.”

Tickets for Borderland Fuzz Fiesta are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and are available now RIGHT HERE.

Sponsored by Eminence Speakers, Lace Pickups, Hovercraft Amplifiers, Greeson Custom Guitars, Tucson Maidens of Metal, Electric Beard of Doom, Radio, Sludged.com, and Wildcat Screen Repair.

Links:
facebook.com/borderlandfuzzfiesta
rocktucson.com
therocktucson.ticketleap.com/borderland-fuzz-fiesta-2015

Fireball Ministry, “Butcher, Faker, Policy Maker” official video

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The Company Band, Pros and Cons EP: A Short Presentation with a Power Point

Posted in Reviews on July 12th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Now aligned to Clutch’s Weathermaker Music imprint, corporately themed supergroup The Company Band make their latest wager in the form of the five-track Pros and Cons EP. Like the band’s past works – 2009’s self-titled full-length (review here) and 2007’s introductory Sign Here, Here and Here EP – Pros and Cons was produced by Andrew Alekel, and to The Company Band’s credit, aside from replacing bassist Jason Diamond of MIA NYC rockers Puny Human, they’ve managed to hold together a very busy lineup for half a decade now. That lineup shakes down as follows:

Neil Fallon (Clutch): Vocals
Jim Rota (Fireball Ministry): Guitar
Dave Bone: Guitar
Brad Davis (Fu Manchu): Bass
Jess Margera (CKY): Drums

Not exactly small potatoes as regards pedigree, and though The Company Band has never toured – they’re doing a few East Coast shows in support of Pros and Cons – their recorded output has remained as consistent in quality as their lineup has stayed stable. Their process seems to be that every so often the musicians get together and rock out some new tracks and then Fallon either tops those songs in the studio with them, as was the case with the LP, or on his own, as is the case with the new EP. Rota, Bone, Davis and Margera recorded with Alekel out on the West Coast, and Fallon put his vocals to the instrumental tracks afterwards, the steady hands of Clutch familiar J. Robbins helming the recording. The result on these five songs is a few strong chorus, some excellent straightforward riffing, Davis’ always stellar bass, and an overall mixture of elements that’s distinct from each individual part while not necessarily separate in terms of genre. Heavy rock persists, is another way of putting it. Rota has long since proved his songwriting acumen in Fireball Ministry, and he’s got excellent collaborative accompaniment in the rest of The Company Band. Perhaps most importantly, as much as it’s been enjoyable to follow the project’s periodic installments since their 2007 first outing, the players’ enjoyment and respect for each other bleeds into everything they create, and that can be heard here from the opening strains of “House of Capricorn” to the fadeout of “El Dorado”’s catchy title line.

Fallon peppers the lyrics of “House of Capricorn” with the kind of tongue-in-cheek corporate-speak that has in no small part defined the course of the band since their inception. It’s almost an exit interview, or the kind of questionnaire one might get upon calling a “How’s my driving” number on the back of a track. The lines, “Welcome everybody to the House of Capricorn/Here’s a short presentation/Please enjoy your stay and thank you in advance for your kindness and participation,” serve as a verse in what I can only imagine is a perfect live set kickoff. A subtly righteous guitar lead is worked into the end, and with its pointedness of direction, “House of Capricorn” is every bit the strong opening statement, following “Zombie Barricades” from the self-titled and the course-setting “Company Man” from the first EP in that regard. The Company Band, it seems, know how to launch a release. Davis’ bass at the beginning of “Black Light Fever” double-times the guitar and commences to launch a profitable groove in the verse, which leads to a grower chorus, Fallon eventually answering himself in a revivalist mode bound to be familiar to anyone who’s gotten down with latter-day Clutch. Moments like that leave me wondering what would happen if Rota was charged with backup vocal duties, what he might be able to do to complement Fallon’s ultra-distinct, ultra-established methods, and how much potential there is there that’s yet been unexploited. Whatever methods they take to get there, The Company Band has never yet failed to produce top-grade choruses, and as the rest of Pros and Cons plays out, it quickly becomes evident that “House of Capricorn” and “Black Light Fever” are, figuratively as well as literally, just the start.

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Buried Treasure: Pre-Record Store Day in Connecticut

Posted in Buried Treasure on April 21st, 2011 by JJ Koczan

I don’t really buy into the whole Record Store Day thing. It’s cool that the website has a map I can find stores on wherever I go, but honestly, I don’t buy vinyl and just about every payday is “record store day” for me. As an institution, I think the record store is something worth saving, which is why I go to record stores and spend my money on a regular basis. Well, that and the records, anyway.

As I’ve been out of the country three Record Store Days in a row, I thought I’d do a little pre-shopping this year and while I was in Connecticut for the weekend earlier this month, I swung by my favorite shop in the state, Redscroll Records in Wallingford. It’s always good to know you’re on friendly ground, and when I walked in, they were playing Black Pyramid‘s self-titled album, so I immediately felt at home. Time before last, if you’ll recall, it was Sleep‘s Dopesmoker.

It doesn’t quite match the batch of discs I pulled in last time I was there in the fall, but I still managed to find some good stuff. I grabbed yet another Monster Magnet promo CD — it’s amazing how many there are floating around — called Five Reasons to Testify that has the awful God Says No shot of them with Dave Wyndorf‘s metal codpiece on the front (I’m not even going to show it, as well as the first Firebird record, the first Quest for Fire and the 1999 Bong Load Custom Records issue of Fireball Ministry‘s Où est la Rock? Not a bad haul, all told.

The Firebird I’d picked up at the band’s merch table at Roadburn 2009, but that was the European reissue and this was the original on The Music Cartel, so I couldn’t resist. When I reviewed the second Quest for Fire album, Lights from Paradise, I said that I’d have to go back and buy the first, and it was good to do that, although I think I prefer the second anyway. I couldn’t remember if I owned the Fireball Ministry or not, but decided to take the chance anyway and it paid off. The record kind of rules. Very Fu Manchu, except maybe for the Obsessed-esque “Death Dealer,” which actually features Guy Pinhas on bass, but enjoyable throughout. Probably the most stoner rock of all their albums, which suits me just fine.

There’s a hole punched in the UPC of the Fireball Ministry, which means it was probably someone’s promo, and I always think that’s interesting, and wonder who got the record initially, what they did or didn’t do with it and how they came to sell it. Every time I get emailed another link to download a new release, I get that “born too late” feeling. I’ve gotten plenty in my day, don’t get me wrong, but when I think of the shit that could have come in my mail (all those Monster Magnet promos, for one) and all the silver-backed bootleg CDs I could have bought in the pre-CDR era, I get a little sad. I guess we make the most with what we’ve got. It’s fun hunting this stuff down, anyway.

Most likely I’ll be back at Redscroll before too long, but just figured I’d share anyway, since it’s a quality store and deserves to have the word spread about it as much as possible. Check them out here if you haven’t yet, or find them on that Facebook the kids love so much.

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Whose Rock is Fireball Ministry?

Posted in Reviews on April 26th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

There’s no denying that Hollywood rockers Fireball Ministry have, with their new self-titled on Restricted Release, crafted their most commercial album yet. They were never especially defiant in this regard before, but Fireball Ministry takes the band’s proven songwriting ability (a quick run through 1999’s Ou est la Rock? or 2003’s The Second Great Awakening should be enough to make you aware of their obvious chops in this regard) to new heights of accessibility, carrying across the otherwise unpretentious rocking material with a digital sheen only possible in this age of recording technology.

The centerpiece of Fireball Ministry’s attack has always been guitarist/vocalist James A. Rota. Working here with producer Andrew Alekel (Fu Manchu, The Company Band’s full-length), Rota sounds smoother than ever before on a track like “Fallen Believers,” which plunks along at mid-pace without ever really getting spirited or dynamic, or “Thought it Out,” which seems to reach in the direction of Fu Manchu-styled Californian fuzz but ultimately stops just short of pop-punk fluffery. The drums of John G. Oreshnick sound triggered, Johnny Chow’s bass is barely there, and Emily J. Burton, who provides backing vocals and guitar, seems to be resting almost entirely in line behind Rota’s riffing where some contrast between the two players would do a lot to add character to the material.

There is material on Fireball Ministry that hits with some impact, though. “Followed by a Fall” remains relatively un-neutered by the production it’s given, and “Butcher, Faker, Policy Maker” is such catchy and well-composed pop rock that it could have been recorded in a tin can and it would still be memorable. It’s not so much a question of the songs feeling uninspired or not accomplishing something creatively – and there shouldn’t be any doubt this is the record the band intended to make; Rota’s been heading Fireball Ministry for well over a decade now, and Restricted Release is owned by CKY’s Jess Margera (also Rota’s bandmate in supergroup The Company Band), so one doesn’t imagine there were tight deadlines or restrictions from that direction – but they’re simply lacking the punch that a more rock-centric production could have given them. Certainly they have nowhere near the weight they must carry in a live setting.

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The Company Band: Sound Investments

Posted in Reviews on October 2nd, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Shitloads of cash...After issuing their IPO in the form of the recently-vinylized Sign Here, Here and Here EP (on CD through the band?s own Venture Capital Records in 2008), the five-piece supergroup The Company Band return with a change in lineup and general approach on their self-titled debut full-length. The Company Band, produced by Andrew Alekel (Foo Fighters) with additional tracking by J. Robbins (Clutch), is 10 tracks of straightforward pop songwriting that is tight and given an edge because of the players involved. And before this review goes any further, it?s probably best to list them:

Neil Fallon (Clutch): Vocals
James A. Rota
(Fireball Ministry): Guitar
Dave Bone
(The Company Band): Guitar
Brad Davis
(Fu Manchu): Bass
Jess Margera
(CKY): Drums

Davis is new to the band as a replacement for Jason Diamond of New York?s Puny Human, and he makes his presence felt throughout as a suitable accompaniment to Margera?s drumming ? though quite frankly neither of them is down for much fancytalk musically. The Company Band depart from the impression they gave on the four tracks of their prior EP by keeping the stoner level low, pushing the riff all the same but angling the style of the writing toward classic and southern rock with some meaty grooves thrown in the verses and choruses.

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The Company Band Brand Extension: Sign Here for Vinyl

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Awesome.The PR wire has it that riffy supergroup The Company Band, featuring Clutch‘s Neil Fallon and now Brad Davis of Fu Manchu replacing Jason Diamond of Puny Human on bass, are about to release their debut EP, Sign Here, Here, and Here on vinyl via Restricted Release (MySpace here). In case you’ve forgotten how mucht the EP ruled, it ruled quite a bit. Here’s the news:

Restricted Release proudly presents a special 10-inch vinyl pressing of The Company Band‘s mini-album Sign Here, Here, and Here. Set for release September 15, the pressing features format-exclusive artwork and is limited to 1000 hand-numbered units worldwide.

Recorded in Los Angeles with producer Andrew Alekel (Queens of the Stone Age, Bad Religion), Sign Here, Here, and Here was originally released as a digital-only recording early in 2008 (followed later by its physical digipak partner). It brings together five highly-regarded musicians with nothing but the love of jamming on their minds. Two live performances to date have highlighted their still short sonic union (early fans of the band surely hoping to see more; member schedules permitting).

Founded by Jess Margera (CKY) with James Rota (Fireball Ministry) and Dave Bone in 2006, The Company Band originally got together and recorded some instrumental tracks. Jason Diamond was approached to contribute bass tracks while friend Neil Fallon (Clutch) agreed to appear as a guest on one of the songs but quickly changed status to that of a full fledged member. Brad Davis (Fu Manchu) replaced Diamond earlier this year when the band laid down tracks for their full-length debut which is planned for release later this fall.

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