“We like to play rock’n’roll. And for as many people as possible,” says Cody Richardson, guitarist, singer and primary songwriter for Chief Fuzzer. In a way, that’s about all you need to know about the San Marcos, TX based band. Just listen and the rest pretty much becomes clear.
Because on their debut 7-inch vinyl EP on Saustex Media, Transcendental Road Blues, the three man powerhouse nails the spirit of that magic moment that happens ‘round about midnight at your favorite rock bar when the band onstage is smoking hard, just killing it. And you can’t help but think: Man, it really doesn’t get better then this. Chief Fuzzer recalls blasts of Zep at their mightiest and ZZ Top all down’n’dirty plus the rootsier side of Queens Of The Stone Age and your favorite stoner metal band. Drizzle it with psychedelic psauce, inject a dose of the deep blues, turn up the guitar and unleash the bass and drums and you’ve got… well, rock’n’roll. Unless you’re near dead or terminally trendy, you’re bound to dig the Chief Fuzzer buzz.
“Our mission statement is to rip the term ‘jam band’ out of the hands of Phish, String Cheese Incident and all the Grateful Dead wannabe bands and put it back on the mantle of Cream and Hendrix and Zeppelin, bands who actually had balls and wrote beginnings and ends to their songs,” says Richardson. But don’t call these guys retro, as this swampy, pedal pushing trio are all about hitting the note and summoning up the hair-raising butt-shaking moment for right now.
Rock’n’roll has been Richardson’s raison d’etre since he was a kid growing up in the small town of Perryton, TX, the northernmost county seat in the desolate panhandle of the Lone Star State. “We had to drive seven mile north to Oklahoma just to buy beer,” he recalls.
One might expect a kid from so far way out west to be country to the bone. And yeah, Richardson loves his real deep-roots C&W. However, “Mom was into the Beatles and Dad was into the Stones,” he points out. His father played guitar in a college rock band and “loved music, the radio and rock’n’roll. My parents had a good vinyl record collection and I dug through it and absorbed all that. And then went back to the influences of those bands like Muddy Waters and such. I’ve been immersed in music since I can remember.”
He started on guitar at eight years old, soon started a band, and after high school played his way through a series of Texas cities like Amarillo, Austin and Dallas until landing in the college town of San Marcos. After all, what can a poor country boy do except for play in a rock’n’roll band? “At heart I’m a rock’n’roller,” Richardson points out.
“I’ve worked in a music store, run sound in a music club, been a studio sound engineer and play in bands. It’s pretty much all I do,” asserts Richardson. Who adds after a pause, “I also golf.” He fronted his own rock group The Richardson Seeds – “We probably were the drunkest band in Texas at the time. We had a lot of fun” – and has a country band on the side, Buck Jones and The Haggards. Did time in the popular Central Texas group Fluffer’s Union, played in a few outfits with former Butthole Surfers bassist Jeff Pinkus, even played country guitar for a few shows with Lone Star cosmic cowboy legend Gary P. Nunn.
He then started Chief Fuzzer “as a natural extension of my musical tastes, influences and wants and needs,” Richardson explains. “I grew up being a fan of Hendrix, Zeppelin, Cream and ZZ Top and all that stuff back then.” The time felt right for today’s take on that tradition. “First, you’ve got to have good writing obviously, good material. But I also enjoy long guitar jams and that little bit of egocentric ‘Hey watch me try to dazzle you with my stuff deal, but if it’s done a certain way. So I wanted to do something that has balls but could get a little outside and also had room for extended jams and improv and be a little weird and a little avant garde. But at the same time not be so weird as to turn people off when all they wanna hear is a good rockin’ song. And it’s gotta be genuine and well done.”
As Richardson explains, “I’m not trying to play anything. Our sound organically evolved from that just playing around and seeing what came out.” With bassist Shane Herring and drummer Spencer Swietek completing the line-up, Chief Fuzzer are preparing their full length debut album for release later in 2012. (Former drummer Paul Adams plays on the EP.)
In the final analysis, it’s just, as said above and here again, rock’n’roll. “We’re all old enough now that we’d better just enjoy playing. Nobody is trying to be a star here. We just want to play the best music as we can and rocking good music for as many people as we can,” Richardson concludes. “And, we have a green light we’re pretty proud of...that’s pretty much it.”