Photo by Chris Casella

Class of 2016: Fizzed

Christian Pierce has an old soul. Though his band Fizzed is a fuzzy panacea formed for the here and now, it was conceived with traditional rituals of the way things were done at the end of the last century. Humble, yet noisy, four-track recordings slowly gestate into full-band spectacles. The adjective “analog” gets tossed around above all else. Cassettes get made, not because they are a hip millennial fetish, but because they are necessary and stir up the nostalgia of making mixtapes for someone special. Listening to a song like “Show Some Love” is bound to link one to the past. Those reverberations offer a rewind through a dusty record collection full of Byrds and Blue Cheer albums, without looking over one’s shoulder. For Pierce, Fizzed is a new start.

Having been a prominent drummer in the Columbus scene for over a decade (most notably with the Tough and Lovely and lately the Urns) Pierce is a veteran and a journeyman, but lately he has found himself not particularly “satisfied musically.” A lot of the bands failed, or stopped putting in the time, or simply ran out of ideas, and before long Pierce became frustrated with playing drums on someone else’s concepts.

“All of the bands I’ve ever been in, I played the drums,” says Pierce. “So out of the gate it’s completely different because as a drummer you can’t really influence a song. Don’t get me wrong, you can shape a song on the drums, input ideas, help make arrangements, but you’re not ever writing the song.”

Fizzed began as a way to fill that void. At his former home in Orient, Pierce used the detachment and isolation from the city to start sketching out songs. Having never really written as himself before, home recording provided an organic way to progress. Eventually he knew the songs needed a larger scope—more heft and more heads. Pierce recruited fellow Urns bandmates Mike Nosan and Jim Calder to play drums and bass respectively. To flesh out the increasingly gnarled tones, Darren Latanick was soon added as a second guitarist to counter Pierce. The band instantly gelled behind Pierce’s leadership—a garage band that is determined to buck the trend of garage bands.

“Garage is such a broad term,” says Pierce with a chuckle. “I think we’re more fluid and experimental than a lot of so-called garage bands. Usually there’s just a verse, chorus, verse, and then some ripping guitar solo, it’s pretty primitive. We have songs that are primitive, but I think we have tenderness and sentimentality in our music. We aren’t just playing three chords.”

Indeed, the tracks that make up Fizzed’s debut are built upon loose jams and some improvisation, seeing what sticks as opposed to forcing out a pop song. That approach has truly set Fizzed apart from the standard-issue Columbus fuzz bands. This is fuzz for the faithful, those who know how to follow along. –Kevin J. Elliott

Fizzed play Cafe Bourbon Street on Friday, June 24. For music and more information visit fizzed.bandcamp.com. 

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