The Fuzztones -
A special treat for 2003 was a visit from The Fuzztones from the USA as these guys had not played over here for around 12 years.
The Garage in Highbury, London was the place and could not have been a better venue for The Fuzztones as it is a dark and dingy club with one of the loudest PA's in London (just the sort of venue for these dudes...). To top this they had the legendary Cannibals, one of the UK's famed Garage/trash bands from the heady days of The Garage Club in Brixton and also The Clarendon Hotel, West London where they used to tear it up with bands like The Prisoners, The Milkshakes, The Surfadelics and The Scientists.
Tonight they played a set of Garage classics at breakneck speed and were brilliant, my memory is rubbish these days so I cannot recall most of their set but they did do an awesome version of Strychnine and also The Chob's 'We're Pretty Quick'.
Soon it was the turn of The Fuzztones who since last visiting our shores have had several personnel changes. These days it's Rudi Protrudi - Vocals, Guitar & Harp, Deb O'Nair - Fender Contempo Organ, Gabriel Hammond - Bass, Vocals, Batlord - Phantom Guitar and vocals. For this visit drummer Andrea Kusten was temporarily replaced by Romero from Spain who did a brilliant job and looked like a full time Fuzztone with his bone necklace!!
The 500 capacity venue was over half full but perhaps surprisingly not sold out, not for many years had so many mop tops and beatle boots been assembled in one place at one time with many members of the crowd sproting Fuzztones t-shirts and even one guy spotted with the 'Skull & Vox Guitars' Fuzztones logo tattood on his arm like Rudi's, that shows dedication!!
The band were brilliant playing a mixed set of 'Tones classics, some mind blowing covers including during the 2nd encore an obscure Lincoln Street Exit cover 'Whatever Happened To Baby Jesus' which totally blew away Pooterland scribe BlueMagoo/Sonic who had started to walk away from the stage thinking the band were done. This had him right back down the front, screaming the words along with Rudi and he even managed to score the set-list off Deb and a guitar pick from Rudi.....tonight the 'Tones made his night and he was grinning from ear to ear.
By the time the set was nearing it's end the band got into playing some old favourites and the crowd went totally crazy with the people at the front bouncing around, crashing into each other and generally going nuts.
Rudi as ever was positively oozing sexual energy and soon had several girls transfixed as he worked his magic on them, one was caressing his legs and stroking his guitar and Rudi bent down several times to kiss her, later describing her as having 'potential' !!!
One thing which was very dissapointing for a lot of fans was the total lack of Fuzztones merchandise on sale and in particular the problem ridden new album 'Salt For Zombies' which had been supposed to be on sale 'at gigs only' and 'unavailable elsewhere'.
Dave's brilliant Fuzztones Yahoo Group had been keeping us all up to date throughout the tour with updates on the album and its associated problems and on the morning of this gig he had posted up the following notice:
No thanks to Munich's PRESSWERK for taking the band's money but not giving them the 2,000 CD's they ordered. Trust me, we'll hear more about this when the band comes home this weekend!
This was totally bad news as the band would have sold possibly hundreds of copies at tonight's gig as people had been told it would be available and had money ready to spend!!
Keep an eye on Dave's Yahoo Group for news on this subject as it unfolds, there will proably be an official statement from the band when they return home after the weekend.
I really hop these guys come back over soon and do a UK tour, one London date for these guys is not really enough to satisfy the Fuzztones Hungry UK fans, especially after a red hot show like tonights.
Rudi, if you are reading this.....YOU GUYS ROCK, COME BACK SOON.
Actually, here's the short version. I'm sure Rudi will give us the details in a couple of days.
A couple of months ago, Rudi made a deal with a company in Munich, Germany, named PRESSWERK. He paid to have 2,000 copies of Salt For Zombies pressed. They were supposed to be ready as soon as the band came over for the tour, and they weren't. That's pretty much all I know right now. Everyone was bummed about it.
"Hello Batlord" (AKA Phil Arriagada)