Video Interview: Bob Balch Talks Big Scenic Nowhere’s The Long Morrow, New Fu Manchu, and More

big scenic nowhere

There’s a point somewhere after 12 minutes in that Bob Balch reaches with both hands to his right and in a completely fluid motion, pulls a guitar in front of him, where it remains for the rest of the interview. And honestly, from that point on, he looks more comfortable too. This is a guy who spends a goodly portion of every day living just like this: in that chair, thinking, working, teaching, learning the craft of guitar. I don’t even know how many times he calls himself a nerd throughout the conversation, but it’s several. And awesome. He lives and breathes it.

Known for his work as well in Fu Manchu, whose 30th anniversary tour and release plans were scuttled in 2020, Balch has of late been overseeing the construction and release of the second Big Scenic Nowhere full-length, titled The Long Morrow. The group big scenic nowhere the long morrow— legit “super,” with Balch joined by Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed and guitarist Gary Arce and drummer Bill Stinson, both of Yawning Man — have two songs released as of this post. Both of them come from a stockpile of jams the four-piece (and some friends, like Masters of Reality‘s Chris Goss) put together over the course of three days in 2019 — the same sessions from which their 2020 debut, Vision Beyond Horizon (review here), and the follow-up EP, Lavender Blues (review here), were carved.

That process, taking jams, finding tones and rhythms that coincide, and building songs from them, would seem to be how Balch spent much of a 2020 that otherwise would’ve been on the road, but as of now, work is still being done on The Long Morrow ahead of its coming out sometime hopefully this Fall. Balch talks about guest appearances to come, the project’s origins in wanting to jam with Arce and Reed and some of the material’s birth in his own Sun and Sail Club outfit — also the hilarious circumstances of how that more frenetic project was born, which I didn’t know previously — recording and release plans for Fu Manchu, who’ll look to get back on tour next year across multiple continents and follow-up the early-2020 Fu30 Pt. 1 EP with more originals and covers. If you’re wondering Fu Manchu practices on Thursdays. That’s Fu day.

Given the chance, I also wanted to talk about Balch‘s work in guitar instruction — he gives lessons and runs with videos and interviews with guitarists — his recent return to taking lessons rather than just giving them, and more general guitar stuff that’s piqued his interest of late. There was a lot of ground to cover, and it was a cool chat.

As always, I hope you enjoy:

Big Scenic Nowhere, The Long Morrow Interview with Bob Balch, May 10, 2021

Big Scenic Nowhere‘s The Long Morrow is being released as singles ahead of a full-LP arrival later this year on Heavy Psych Sounds. Fu Manchu‘s anniversary tour plans for 2022 are coming soon. More info at the links.

Big Scenic Nowhere, The Long Morrow (2021)

Fu Manchu, Fu30 Pt. 1 EP (2020)

PlayThisRiff website

PlayThisRiff on Facebook

Big Scenic Nowhere on Facebook

Big Scenic Nowhere on Instagram

Big Scenic Nowhere on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

Fu Manchu on Facebook

Fu Manchu on Instagram

Fu Manchu on Twitter

At the Dojo Records website

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