In 1969, Mike Matthews of Electro-Harmonix debuted what would become one of the best-selling guitar pedals of all time: the Big Muff. Gaining age and popularity through legendary performers like Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and Dinosaur Jr., the pedal remains an indispensable part of any fuzzhead's collection, recalling the golden age of stoner rock every time a string is struck.
Through the past 40 years, this sound has seen numerous evolutions and continues to melt faces across the globe, garnering some of the most die-hard fans.
On February 21, that distinctive distortion gets the spotlight in Tucson for Wayne Rudell's inaugural Borderland Fuzz Fiesta. Rudell is highly qualified to host the event, as he fronts Powered Wig Machine, one of the fuzz ensembles that will headline the festival and simultaneously re-release its sophomore album, Supa-Collider, on a special-edition vinyl the same day.
Sponsors of the event include Eminence Speakers and Lace Pickups, both of whom sponsored stages at the event. Of their continued advocacy for the local scene, Rudell speaks volumes: "Eminence and Lace really made this thing possible, made it very easy for me to operate smoothly and make sure everyone has a great time."
Fuzz Fiesta has drawn early comparisons to Santa Ana's cleverly named "Day of the Shred," a hard rock festival out of California from the founders of "Psycho De Mayo" that left ears ringing in November and has been reverberating since.
Like many other festivals it's important not to get hung up on genre as the Fuzz Fiesta aims to represent every guitarist with a radical pedal with other headliners Fireball Ministry, Wo Fat and Mos Generator playing.
Fireball Ministry is perhaps the most senior band on the bill, coming in just after the band's 15th official anniversary. Playing bass for Fireball Ministry will be stoner rock legend Scott Reeder, who cut his teeth shredding with Kyuss, the band that eventually would become Queens of the Stone Age.
Fresh off of the biggest album release in their careers, Wo Fat (so-named after the Hawaii Five-O madman and villain du jour) will be performing classics like "Company Man" and "Running the Voodoo Down" along with cuts from new album The Conjuring.
After nearly a year since their last album release (Electric Mountain Majesty), Tony Reed and the members of Mos Generator have embarked on a cross-country tour entitled Live and Heavy, making Tuscon the sixth stop on a tour that will eventually span both coasts.
Other acts slated to perform include Goatroper, Skulldron, Asimov, Yeti Ender, Mad Alchemy, Liquid Light Show, Conqueror Worm, and Methra.
Call it doom, thrash, metal, deathcore, fuzz, stoner-rock, or whatever words fit. Just don't call it tame.
The event begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, February 21, at The Rock in Tucson. The show is all-ages and alcohol will be served with ID. Tickets can be purchased online now at rocktuscon.com for $15 in advance, or at the doors for $20.
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