Fu Manchu Thunder in Cyberspace
Published Mar 01, 2000When discussing California fuzz rockers Fu Manchu, the word "technology" doesn't usually enter the conversation. Since forming, the band has been all about updating the retro sounds of the 70s to today's standards. Their career consists of heavy, groove-filled mantras praising the sun, fun and getting hot and heavy in the back of a convertible. Their latest album, King of the Road, is something of a requiem for basement dwellers all over North America, tailor-made for a 1973 time capsule of wood-panelled rooms full of air-guitar playing long-haired rockers.
Since they have such a retro sound, it's odd just how technologically-attuned Fu Manchu actually is. With abundant web sites and mailing lists praising the Fu full throttle, bassist Brad Davis explains how the anachronistically-based band is all for their place in cyberspace. "I really think the internet is an important tool," Davis says from a cell phone somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. "It's become a necessity." The band even asked their online fans to choose a not-too-typical song for the band to cover. Oddly, it came down to clash of the decades: 80s new wavers Devo against 70s FM staple Foghat. The votes poured in, and Devo's "Freedom of Choice" closes the new album.
Most online discussions tend to lump the band in with the so-called stoner rock movement, especially European fans, but Davis doesn't completely agree. "I think that probably applies more to bands who have a more psychedelic sound. Actually, a band who is way more stoner than we could ever be is Ween. We are much more riff-oriented nowadays, more like Thin Lizzy or AC/DC. And I am sure AC/DC smoke a helluva lot more pot than we do anyway," jokes Davis. "They can afford to."