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Psychedelic Hard-Rock Power Trio Fuzz Lands at Great American

By Dave Pehling

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- One of the most gifted songwriters and musicians to emerge from the San Francisco garage-rock scene during the late 2000s, Ty Segall brings his side-project Fuzz to the Great American Music Hall for two nights starting Sunday.

Raised by his adoptive family in Laguna Beach, Segall began exploring music as a teenager, befriending future collaborator Mikal Cronin in high school. After involvement in various underground bands in Southern California and in San Francisco as a student at SF State, Segall began to pursue full time not long after graduating.

Ty Segall - Horn The Unicorn [Full Album] by Leonardo Ribeiro on YouTube

He would release the first of a slew of solo recordings in 2008 with the cassette release Horn the Unicorn that featured a lo-fi take on the kinetic and catchy blasts of garage rock that would become his calling card. Segall would become friends with equally prolific like-minded garage/psych musician John Dwyer (of Coachwhips, Pink and Black and his main band, Thee Oh Sees), who offered to put out his eponymous album on his Castle Face Records imprint.

Ty Segall (Self-Titled Album) by outofmyheadintomybed on YouTube

That album and his subsequent releases for Goner Records -- Lemons in 2009 and Melted the following year -- along with a raft of singles and split efforts on other labels established Segall as a force to be reckoned with. Largely recorded solo by the multi-instrumental talent (he frequently performed unaccompanied live, playing guitar in addition to bass drum and hi-hat with his feet), the efforts put Segall on the map and established his gift for writing sweet melodies, even if they were often delivered with howling fuzz guitar and murky lo-fi production.

Ty Segall "Thank God For Sinners" by Drag City on YouTube

Segall would sign with Drag City and further raise his profile with a string of critically acclaimed albums including Goodbye Bread, Twins and Sleeper. It was around this time that he also began working with guitarist Charlie Mootheart (who would eventually become part of Segall's Freedom Band) in the hard-rock/proto-metal power trio Fuzz.

Fuzz - "Fuzz's Fourth Dream" by Pitchfork on YouTube

Featuring Segall on drums and vocals and rounded out by bassist Roland Cosio, the band would release its first singles in 2012, followed by a self-titled debut for In the Red Records. Nodding equally to the blown-out psychedelic fury of pioneering San Francisco band Blue Cheer, iconic metal band Black Sabbath and early Funkadelic (who the trio is known to cover on occasion), Fuzz quickly became one of Segall's most popular and in-demand side projects.

Fuzz - Time Collapse II / The 7th Terror by Island Groovies on YouTube

Cosio would bow out of the band, leading Segall to tap friend and Meatbodies mainstay Chad Ubovich to take over on bass. The group would work together to write and record the songs for the band's sophomore effort -- simply entitled II -- which came out in 2015. An uptick in activity for the band members' other projects would lead to an extended break for Fuzz, but the trio reconvened and recorded its latest album III with noted punk engineer Steve Albini, tracking mostly live with limited overdubbing and releasing the results in October of 2020.

Fuzz - Returning by IN THE RED RECORDS on YouTube

While the COVID pandemic led to repeat rescheduling of the band's planned tour to promote the now year-old album, Fuzz made the best of the downtime, recording and filming the live Levitation Session for the renowned Austin, TX-based psych festival that came out earlier this year.

While these SF shows have been postponed multiple times since first going on sale (most recently due to a band member's catching pneumonia in mid-December just before the omicron variant of COVID led to widespread cancellations), the band finally returns to play the Great American Music Hall for two nights beginning Sunday. They will be joined by SoCal punks Thunder Boys for both shows. Tickets purchased for the previously scheduled Fuzz shows will be honored.

Sunday-Monday, March 27-28, 8 p.m. $22 (Monday sold out)
Great American Music Hall

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