'A Lot of Beards'

You can take the band out of OC, but you can't shake the Orange County sand out of the band. As the drummer for heavy rockers Fu Manchu, Scott Reeder has seen the world, but he explains why the band that started in San Clemente more than 15 years ago is still local at heart.

Ever see the 129 Greatest Orange County bands list in theWeekly? You've been in two of the top 12.

That's good. I made the list!

I don't know if there are many people who can claim two of the top 12.

If you look at all the bands Steve Soto was in . . . he's in No. 1, obviously. Whoa—come back here with that. Sorry, my dog's eating tortilla chips.

What kind of dog?

A pug. His name is Bacon. He's got a curly tail like a pig. And he is a little pig, but not fat for a pug. He's a svelte pug. He's on a diet so he doesn't snore. They say you don't want to let them get too fat because they'll have a lot of respiratory problems. I know people that feed their dogs pork chops and shit. With him that'd be funny—that would make him a cannibal.

The band's been around for more than 15 years, released a bunch of records and toured all around the world. Do you feel like a local band?

Yeah. It's definitely a really good thing to come home to Orange County. As much as people bitch about this place—the weather, the proximity to things to do—there's no shortage of music to be seen and heard around here. A lot of times there's more stuff that goes on around here than LA. So I'd definitely say we're an Orange County band without any hesitation.

The record sleeves and the lyrics of a lot of your songs seem to prove that.

We've all been into going to the beach and cars, just what you'd call the stereotypical Southern California lifestyle. I can't say we could write about English literature because we don't know anything about it. When we're not doing music, we live pretty boringly normal lives.

What do you think of the term “stoner rock”?

I don't really know what it is. I guess it's another way of saying “this is as Sabbath-y as Sabbath.” I like the term “road rock.” Fu Manchu is energetic music. Most people that want to get on “the green” want to mellow out. I don't see how our music fits that. The music is very energetic, and it makes you want to get out and do shit. You could put it on if you were skating a pool or racing down the road trying to get away from someone—your wife, girlfriend, the cops, whatever. I think it ties into that more than it does to any drug references. But drugs and music have gone together for years.

You mentioned Sabbath. Do you feel that you're a metal band?

It's funny that you mention that. My friend got me TheEncyclopedia of Heavy Metalfor Christmas. He said, “The reason I bought it is because you guys are in it.” You look at it, and there's us and Led Zeppelin, Mötley Crüe, Danzig and Ratt, and I don't think we're anything like those bands. Metal is a lot of things to a lot of people. To other people, we're heavy as shit. To some people, we're not heavy enough.

What is the Fu Manchu crowd, then?

There are a lot of beards. I definitely wouldn't be ashamed to say that our band is a hard rock band. We play heavy rock. It's loud. It's not too hard to figure out.


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