L.A.’s Fuzz–consisting of Charles "Charlie" Moothart on guitar/vocals, Ty Segall on drums/vocals and Chad Ubovich on bass/vocals–may well represent the pinnacle of garage psych, a sub-genre currently serving as soundtrack for many a pot fume-filled room. We recently convened with Moothart to thoroughly discuss two subjects near and dear to his heart–as well as that of Fuzz' fandom–music and weed.
The band's second volume of music, simply titled II (In The Red), is a much more diverse affair, with Charlie agreeing it took on a darker yet more expansive vibe than their breakthrough 2013 inaugural album, Fuzz.
The new album concludes with the nearly 14-minute opus title track "II", and Charlie elaborated on how it all came together: "The beginning and outro riffs were pre-written, and the rest of the song is us jamming together recorded five or six times, and every time was different, totally improvisational. Ty did a lot of mixing tricks, fading and panning, which gave the song a different source of life."
While Charlie confirmed Fuzz makes no overt, conscious attempt to replicate the drug experience through song, he acknowledged, "Our music obviously lends itself to heavier improvisation, and we want it to be enjoyed on many levels, like you can with jazz. If you smoke a joint and listen to the whole album II, it'll take you to a different space, and you're going to hear some shit you probably didn't notice the first time."
Charlie added sometimes Fuzz smokes before jamming together for fun and inspiration, but it's not contrived or predetermined–if it happens, it happens.
Being a Southern California native, Charlie's grown up in the era of legal medical weed, and he shared his opinion on the changing SoCal scene: "The whole idea of legalized marijuana and a federal crackdown on it blows my mind. My mom got her medical pot card (in Orange County) a few years ago, and she had a dispensary she would go to–and one day, it shut down, and then the next day, the next one shut down, and she had nowhere to go anymore. It's bullshit; people who need it should be able to go to a dispensary they trust. I don't like the way it's playing the middle-ground; letting something be legal and medicinal on the book but at the same time treating it like it's this [black-market] experience."
Of course, Charlie supports recreational legalization for California in 2016–he just doesn't want it to negatively impact the established medicinal cannabis system, as it has in states like Washington.
Moothart also shared an interesting recent "reconnect" he made with ganja–on Fuzz's just-completed European tour, he found that for the first time in three years, smoking weed before playing a show actually helped the guitarist go "outside of my head", and disconnect from any hindering expectations. While pot is not something Charlie actively seeks out on the road, he can dip into the tour manager's stash when seeking a calming, creative high to translate onto the stage.
As far as his current usage, Charlie explained: "I'll smoke a pipe or hit a joint with some friends. I used to be a everyday all-day bubbler guy, but not anymore. Now I'll smoke a bowl and chill the fuck out. If I can get stoned and just sit in my room and play guitar, that's what's up to me."
Fuzz flourishes together–and apart, as solo endeavors from every member enrich the collective work of this indie supergroup. Ty Segall has been an established and influential star for years, and his latest LP Emotional Mugger (Drag City) branches far beyond the confines of the garage. Chad Ubovich's transcendent band Meatbodies defies all description on their eponymous album released on In the Red Records in 2014. Charlie was more ambiguous about his latest project; he only disclosed it's called CFM and is a little bit punk, a little bit rock 'n roll.
Photo c/o David Lee Dailey