Douglas and the Furs Bring Fuzz Rock to a Rooftop Near You
In case you missed the tree reference in their name, Anaheim fuzz rock band Douglas and the Furs play a brand of retro fuzz rock that's steadily branching out into OC's underground music scene. The sound is rooted in the band's fascination with Big Muff distortion and pale demigod Jack White. Guitarist Douglas McCurdy, drummer/vocalist John Shively and bassist Jared Henderson took their appreciation of these influences to new heights last week when they pulled off a guerrilla-style show on the roof of the parking garage behind the Wiltern on the second night of White's two-night stint in LA. Delivering a gut-wrenching salvo of whammy-bar assaults and bare-bones rhythms, the homegrown power trio manage to throw a dirty wrench in the psych-rock status quo. We cornered them the week before they were set to launch a June residency at the Commonwealth Lounge in Fullerton.
OC Weekly: You guys just pulled a ballsy move, playing a show outside a Jack White show at the Wiltern. How'd you pull that off?
Douglas McCurdy: The idea came when he announced his two shows at the Wiltern. We went to the show last night, and it was awesome. We snuck backstage after, got kicked out, and then decided to just come back and play on the roof of the parking garage across from the venue and maybe someone will hear us.
Jonathan Shively: Doug calls me, waking me up, and says, "Hey, you remember that idea about playing at the Jack White show? That's gonna happen today."
McCurdy: When I noticed how easy it was to sneak in, I knew it would be easy to play. So we just rented a generator at Home Depot and got it going.
Did you have any emergency contacts in case you got arrested?
Jared Henderson: I wrote my boss' number on a piece of paper and put in my pocket in case I had one phone call in jail, so I could tell him I wasn't going to come to work the next day. I have it right here. No joke.
During some points during your set, the fuzz distortion makes it sound like your amps are starting to break. Is that what you're going for?
Henderson: It's the kind of thing people forget about, especially now that the reverb sound is really popular in OC and LA. People forget about feeling raw energy and something that punches you in the face when you listen to it; they forget that they love that.
How much did you play with the fuzz-rock sound to get the right tone?
McCurdy: It all happened when we bought a Big Muff pedal back in the day. I've just been obsessed with Omar Rodriguez Lopez from Mars Volta and Jack White, obviously, and John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service, so we bought two Big Muffs and turned them up as loud as we could.
The new music video you're releasing is made from 8 mm found footage. Where did that come from?
Henderson: A lot of it was really old footage from the '50s and '60s that [McCurdy's] grandparents shot when they were on vacation in Hawaii and Pismo Beach, and we were just watching it one night, and of course, there's no sound to it, but you can almost imagine the feelings they had as you're watching it. They're just having a blast riding motorcycles, watching volcanoes, and we all gravitate toward this retro feel, and we thought it would be so great to have this vintage film that speaks to what we're into, but also speaks to our music.
This column appeared in print as "Hot Fuzz."
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