The Power to Deflower

Photo by Matt OttoIt seems that rock & roll is being "reinvented" on an hourly basis these days by every musician with access to a thrift-store guitar or subtalented sibling or spouse—or at least that's what we're being force-fed by the almighty rock-critic establishment. Obviously, participants in this parade of predictability have yet to be deflowered by the Fuse! (they're adamant that their name be spelled just like that: "It's part of our copyright!"). They're a Downey-based power trio (emphasis on "power") whose self-destructive live sets and equally volatile sound—a head-on collision of vintage soul, no-wave and Hives-like garage shock—have catapulted them to the top of the heap of "must-see bands." Currently the stars of their own documentary and many a club promoter's sleepless nights, band members F-1 (drums) and F-2 (guitar) took time out of their busy recording schedule to clear their name and talk revolution while an absent F-3 (bass) soaked up some sun at one of our local beaches.

OC Weekly: So what clubs have the Fuse! been banned from? F-1: I don't know if "banned" is really the right word, but there's an all-ages club on Lincoln that rhymes with "Crane Attraction," and we can't play there because the booker says we couldn't play there unless we had a record out. F-2: They're masquerading as a little all-ages punk rock club, but it's the polar opposite of the Dischord Records/D.C. all-ages scene—it's like Chuck E. Cheese's. What we need here in LA and Orange County more than anything is for the bands to take a stand. There are very few bands who will actually take a stand and say, "We're not playing that place because it's so fucked-up." And we need more of that. We talk what we talk, but we always back it up. I heard a rumor that Jack White saw you play and wanted to sign you to his Third Man label?F-2: Who's Jack White? He's in a band called the White Stripes with his sister—I mean, his ex-wife.F-2: Oh, I thought he was my fuckin' history teacher. Nah, we were just fuckin' with you when we told you that. Okay, so is it true your documentary will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival in France next year?F-2: If those French guys are half as smart as they think they are, they'll show it. Lots of people overlook the fact that the Fuse! have a large soul influence in their music.F-2: We use lots of soul chords. But then again, if you listen to Gang of Four records, lots of their chords are soul chords. It's like the way that Andy Warhol would get an old photograph of Marilyn Monroe and reconfigure it. We're doing the same thing—it's Pop art. We take an old soul chord and an old Otis Redding breakbeat and put it back together in a whole different way because it has to stay relevant. Otis Redding was making music in the '60s that was looking 20 years ahead. That's why I have a problem with all these mod- and soul-revivalist bands because these guys are looking 40 years back when those other bands were looking into the future. So would it be a hate crime to go into some hipster club and just start chopping mohawks off?F-1: Ask us some dirty questions. Okay, what happened at the Cobalt Caf in Canoga Park?F-1: You mean "fight night"? We were playing with the Starvations and the Lipstick Pickups, and after we played our set, my snare got bashed into one of their little $20 neon signs, one of those signs that looked like it came out of a Cracker Jack box. Everyone's having a laugh at it at that point, and this guy comes out and says, "You owe me $300." I reached into my pocket and pulled out 38 cents. Then he says, "Oh, that's it! I'm holding your drum set here!" And he suddenly gets all belligerent and takes a swing at one of our friends' girlfriends, so she did what any normal person would do: she pepper-sprayed the guy. At that point, everyone just jumped on the guy and got their licks in. And then they have the audacity to call the cops. So that club is totally in the wrong, and now they totally screwed themselves because everybody got wind of it. F-2: I guess that's where the name the Fuse! came from—any time there's a fight, you can guess who set it off. So does the Fuse! have enemies?F-2: No, we get along with everybody. Certain people just don't exist to us. The Fuse! perform with the Orphans, Street Trash, the Thingz, the Clones and the taint at the Liquid Den, 5061 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 377-7964.; Sat., 8:30 p.m. $6. 21+.

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