As the Beat Goes On! A Conversation with Fuzz Huzzi while Enjoying Breakfast Burritos.
Sep 08, 2019 12:04PM
● By Paul Spear
As the Beat Goes On!
A Conversation with Fuzz Huzzi while Enjoying Breakfast Burritos.
I had the pleasure to sit down and talk to Allen Camp and Cory Wilkens of Fuzz-Huzzi on Friday September 6, 2019 eating breakfast burritos at their favorite tacos shop in Lakeside. Fuzz-Huzzi has been around for 26 yrs. And getting ready to release a new album. We talked about everything from their mentors to social media to life on the road and a trying to find balance between family and work. I even got to go behind the scene into Ears Only Audio and hear some of the tracks they are working on for their up -coming album without further or do here is the interview;
Matt-Cory last time I saw you was at the Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Beach for the Mar Vista High dinner and dance fundraiser for the Girls Softball team. I remember meeting Jeff Sers he was excited to be a part of it and loved the big stage he was going to be playing on. Jeff has now passed. Can you talk about him and the impact he had on you.
Cory- He was a champion of independent music did everything he could to help out local artist. Had a gorgeous recording studio, made sure prices were affordable for independent artist. Jeff was a top notch producer; engineer had an ear for music. He really cared about the projects and didn’t run a conveyer belt operation. Jeff was an amazing human. Kind and generous. After I said I was going to call it quits with playing in bands Jeff said come on in just sit and listen. From there I began to help him set up, mic up gear, record and engineer. Jeff studio is no longer there but I did purchase some of his equipment.
Matt- Did you see yourself going into the recording aspect early on?
Cory- Absolutely the studio has always been something I have been interested in. I fell in love with the process of recording.
Matt- Allen How is your health? I know you been seeing doctors.
Allen- I am good, I am seeing doctors, chiropractors, acupuncture’s. I got hit by a street sweeper three years ago. My shoulder, neck and back all have pain. My hands started to go numb. I got good doctors going to therapy. Trying to get healthy doing what the doctors tell me to do. My health is getting better.
Matt- Fuzz-Huzzi line up has changed over the years. New members currently are Allen Camp guitar vocals, Cory Wilkins drums, David Patton guitar and Frank Mecurio on bass guitar.
Allen- I’ve known Dave since I was fifteen years old. He was in the band before but then stepped back for a few years and now he is back. I don’t think I ever fired anyone. Everyone went their separate ways for one reason or another. It’s really like a community. I started Fuzz back in ’93 but ’94 is when we released our first cassette tape. We went through the Music Trader; we sold out of cassettes. That was really cool. It was just called Fuzz-Huzzi. We recorded it in eight hours, well eight hours of mixing it too so more like sixteen hours. Cory- what we been doing now is taken a really organic approach. Going back to the way rock n roll recordings used to be. Typical day, come in around nine or ten in the morning ask everyone hey you got a riff. Two or Three hours later sort of come up with a structure to a song. We hit record, all together jam it out. We want that old feel of live recording.
Matt- Fuzz-Huzzi Red and Black color scheme how did that come about.
Allen- Our fans, they started wearing scarfs red and black. We started wearing red and black. We started calling our fans the red and black attack. Basically came about as an accident old school Fuzz heads would show up to shows and all you would see is a big sea of red and black in the crowd. They chose the colors we just adopted it really.
Matt – How did the process evolve over the years? Writing songs become easier over the years?
Allen- It became easier working with Jeff Sers, Marcos Curiel from P.O.D., Cory Wilkins which I consider top notch, really hands on. Writing has become more enjoyable because all the knowledge given to us. At our age there is no right left, this way, we go write a song and serve it. I was always told song is king. I think it’s true to this day. I am proud of the process were just trying to put a little humanity back into recordings by doing it live.
Matt – Is there a vision, goal where you want to be in five, ten years etc.?
Allen- Honest answer I would say Cory really brought this band back together. About a year ago I was done. Cory just started playing drums again. So this is a whole new thing for him. Last time he played drums when he was twelve years old. For him to be a part of this is really special because we are really good friends. I think it’s important to have goals but I also think it’s important to ride that wave we got. Go paddle out and see what’s next. Right now the wave is Fuzz-Huzzi recording new album, comes back in doing another record paddle back out open up for some bigger acts, tour. These are the things in my head. Cory- It’s a lot different when you’re our age. It’s a lot different when you’re reasonably talented twenty-two years old. Figured not much of a chance becoming a rock star but you have a legitimate shot as anyone else. Now I feel we are just blessed to continue to have the opportunity to play music to have families that support us. Doing crazy things going on tour. To answer your question in my mind it is a little bit of both We have some goals we have things we want to accomplish but also make sure the goals are more like a framework than a specific six month from now I want to be doing this . One year from now I want to be doing that. We want a good amount of wiggle room to do what we feel is right.
Matt- I know you have a couple of shows coming up, CD release party on September 27 at the Salty Frog, October 19 at the Ramona Main Stage with Alien Ant Farm and November 8 at the Whiskey A Go Go with Puddle of Mudd. So you have your set list for the night. Is it hard to memorize songs especially with your catalog knowing you have so many songs to choose from?
Allen- I have the worst time with that because of my pain I’ve been dealing with the last couple of years. My focus is really hard. I try and put it on automatic piolet. I try and drive it in the ground. I drive people crazy but that’s the only way it’s working. When you mess up you just go into the next note act like it meant to be. I try and take the Mick Jagger approach or the Bob Dylan approach mess up a lyric and just sing ummmheya (Allen used his Bob Dylan voice, laughs all round) and move onto the next part.
Matt- Who is the one musician/band or person that you could listen to non- stop, not get tired of it. Desert Island question stranded on a desert island only can listen to one who is it?
Allen- It would have to be someone with a large catalog. It would be the Rolling Stones. If I could get a little dessert it would be Jackson Brown. I think Jackson Brown is an amazing word smith. I love listening to his lyrics. Maybe I could be his lyrics. He has a really good lyricist. Cory- Desert Island artist never could listen to anyone else, probably be Hank Williams Jr.
Matt- I want to talk about the social media aspect of usage. The good the bad, cause in effect we are seeing now.
Cory- I have two little kids. I won’t let them on social media until they can prove to me some maturity. Everyone becomes a lot braver when they are behind a keyboard. The bulling and negativity is horrible. Social media is great for connecting with family. I have family in New Hampshire. It’s really great to talk to people on different topics. If you disagree or agree on a topic, you can talk about it and the next day have a beer over it. It’s not to delete the person if you have a disagreement about some bullshit topic especially if you know someone all your life.
Allen- I use social media to help me run my business. On Sunday’s I try and turn off my phone off. I learned that from Jeff Sers. I was freaken out one day because I couldn’t find my phone. I realized what Jeff used to say to me. You need to stop and enjoy the ride. On tour I found myself not posting up stuff. I found myself holding some of the moments to myself. I have been posing on Sundays but just for gratitude. It is to hold myself accountable. Other than that I Sundays my phone is used only as a phone no social media is being used.
Cory- Social Media can work great if bands done it right. I see so many bands misuse their social media posts. Example posts consists of we got a show tomorrow, who’s going. We got a new album coming out, we released a new song. This is all the post. Social media is a great to find your fans. Be more personable. Provide things about your music and the things that surround your music. We are not just robots in the studio recording. We have other things that we do around it. You need that personal connection. Now you post about upcoming shows. You got people excited to see you because they know a little bit more about you or the band. It’s more than just a song.
Allen- I think it’s a balancing act. You don’t want to give to little but you don’t want to give too much either.
Cory- I prefer the way it is now. The personal level is there. Someone asked me what your biggest accomplishment as a musician is. When I learned how to create a community with my bands on social media, I had a fan from Ohio and another fan from North Carolina. They both didn’t know each other. They both never met, but they both chatted with each other in the closed FB group on an e mail list I had. They became really good friends. They flew out to visit each other hang out. Stuff like that is what its’s all about. Those two people would have never met if it wasn’t for some stupid song I wrote.
Allen- Best thing you can do is be yourself. Try and reach out to people. Make them feel like they are a part of it. Which they are. Without them there would be no music. Without that support there is no reason to be doing this. It’s an honor Fuzz-Huzzi been around since ninety-four. People still want to listen to the music. Makes us want to put out another record. There are new fans or people rediscovering us. I think the coolest thing was I playing at the Scoreboard one year before going out on tour. A person brought their daughter and nephew; they were sharing Fuzz-Huzzi with their kids. I was like wow that was cool. It’s been a real cool journey.
Matt- Fuzz Huzzi has a distinct sound. What type of pedals amps guitars are you using.
Allen- (Allen laughs) you know I just plug in and play. I think Cory is really good at tone. I’ve been a plug in guy since the day I had trouble with pedals. I like pedals I think they are cool I hope one day I will be able to incorporate them. It just seems like every time I try and incorporate them it doesn’t feel or sound right. Cory for this recording you been using your Telecaster guitar and Mason Marc 1 amp. I learned from my uncle. My uncle was a plug and play guy. He took me to jam sessions. They weren’t great musicians but they could play together. That was the best learning curve ever. I jammed with them when I was twelve years old, I learned how to listen. I would not trade that for anything in the world. To actually play with other musicians at twelve years old that an intense thing. I owe it to my guitar hero. Everyone trips out the way I play. I think it’s because I approach it through showing emotions, how can I push this envelope on what I do.
Cory- The drums I use are Pacific Drums. There really good for the price. Allen go ahead and say it bang for your buck (laughs) Cory ok yeah, its bang for your buck (laughs). I use Vic Fifth 5B drumsticks wood tips. It took me awhile to find sticks that would hold up. I was going through sticks like crazy. Ok so hears a good story. Allen calls me up one day. It was last June. I heard you used to play little drums when you were a kid. Now there are two things in that sentence that are true. Used to and a little. Allen said well we have a gig coming up in Arizona and our drummer quit. Could you fill in for us? I said … I guess so; I can try when It. is? He says tomorrow. I said ok. So I basically stayed up all night learning the set list Allen sent me. We got into Arizona early the next day. We have a real cool connection with Alice Coopers non-profit Solid Rock Foundation. They provide a place for at risk kids to learn music, recording, dance, art and video all this kind of stuff. We talked to Randy Spencer who runs the program. Asked to borrow a rehearsal space before the kids came in, he said absolutely no problem. So we are in their rehearsing, my first time with the band. I feel like I’m going for it. When I was a kid I played in a church group and always got “you’re playing those too loud”. I always try to back off a little bit. So here I am going for it. I was like man I’m kind a loud I wonder if Allen is going to tell me I’m too loud. Allen turns around and yells Cory hit that fucking snare drum. I was like oh crap ok. It took me a long time to find sticks to hold up to Allen camp.
We all had a good laugh and that concluded the interview. I figured it was a good stopping point. Plus I could tell they were getting antsy and wanted to get to work at the studio. I tagged along to hear some of the new recordings. There I met Dave Patton; Dave gave some insight on the new material. Their new single they are getting ready to release “Watch you Die” is about a close friend of the bands. Dave had that riff in his head forever (his words not mine). To hear it come to life is pretty amazing. (My words not his).I cannot wait to hear the new album it is coming along nicely. I love the harder side of it, going back to that old Fuzz sound. You can tell these guys love the process of writing, recording, mixing new material creating new songs. Sure it is not all unicorns and rainbows but all of them are doing what they love and how can you hate on that. What impressed me most was not all the success they have had over the years or who they got to meet who they no or the fact that Cory is blind, it’s they’re willingness to help others out in the industry. Young artist hit up Cory, he is right there showing them, teaching them cutting a record for them. Allen is there to help book shows, promote support etc. Through Allen’s business Artist Relations Collective known as “ARC Productions” With all that going on they are honest, humble and trying to make a difference in the lives they touch. I hope one day when we are all old and reflect back at what Fuzz –Huzzi stood for, people will say “you know what, those guys did it right, just the way they wanted too”. That is rock n roll.
I hope you enjoyed my interview with Allen and Cory of Fuzz-Huzzi. Please hit the like button and share it. As the Beat Goes On.
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