Here’s a list of Interviews so far:
In Louder Than Hell:
Rock ‘n’ Roll is alive and well in Portugal, where The Fuzz Drivers are bringing garage band sounds to the masses. Building hype amongst rock critics and fans of every type of music from ’60s psych rock to the blues, The Fuzz Drivers are ready to take things to an entirely different level, planning an upcoming tour and preparing to infect each and every town they haunt with a passionate rock spirit. We speak to the band in the following exclusive interview . . .
LTH: What’s going on with the band right now? What are you currently working on?
Marcelo: We just released the video for our second single “The Poet and The Thief” and we’re actively trying to get our name out there. We’re currently doing a small tour to promote our debut album in Portugal and we will play at the first big summer festival here in Portugal (Rock no Rio Sado) and we are actively setting up things for doing a small tour abroad.
LTH: People become musicians for a wide variety of reasons. What are the factors that originally inspired you to play music? Are you playing for the same reasons today as you were when you started? Why or why not?
Duarte: I Played drums practically all my life. I can not say what was the reason that made me start. At home we had a drum kit from my father’s band and I started playing with it when I was four years old. After a few months I was jamming with them in pubs! Today I like to think the reason is a matter of personal satisfaction, I cannot live without playing the drums, is what I enjoy doing in life!
Sergio: I was turned on to rock n’roll at the age of six. My older brother was a big fan of AC/DC, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Lynyrd Skynrd, Allman Brothers and introduced me to the world of rock, blues and country at an early age. After that i started to listen to guitar driven music all the time, my interest became bigger and bigger… it was something that grew on me. I started playing guitar at the age of ten, but it took me three years to start listening, learning and being inspired by the songs of great guitar players like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gary Moore, Billy Gibbons, Duane Allman, Ritchie Blackmore, Jimmy Page, Ry Cooder. Playing guitar gives me a break from the outside world, I can’t imagine myself without a guitar, it’s something I need to do in a daily basis. And now with my fellow band members it all seems right!
João: Music always turned me on. I remember I was shocked the first time I realized my favourite band was playing live in my home town. To be able to see these guys play the music I loved and listened to obsessively just blew my mind! After this eye opener experience I ended up going to a lot of concerts, and for me it is still the best way to enjoy music. After seeing many great concerts and having so much fun, I just had to pick up an instrument, get in a band and try to get on a stage …. after all it is definitely the best place to see the show!
Marcelo: I think the passion for music in general was inspired by my parents. I remember that music was always part of me growing up but when I turned 11, I discovered Queen and this changed my life completely. I developed a passion for rock that lasts to this day stronger than ever. Become a musician was something of an accident. When I was 16, I was hanging with some friends who had a garage band and they were playing “Somebody Save Me” by Cinderella but without vocals and just because I knew the lyrics I started mumbling them on the mic..and discovered that I could actually sound somewhat decent and hit the notes. Today music is not only my passion but my therapy. Thanks to that, I don’t need a shrink — yet!
LTH: Whether by using genres and styles or simply adjectives that let people know what your band is all about, please describe your music in your own words. In addition, can you recall a description someone has given about your music that is the most accurate?
Duarte: Our music is made without much thinking or “let’s do rock or punk or ballads.” We do what we feel at any given moment. We all have varied tastes, ranging from the British bands of the 60’s, 70’s hard rock, 80s glam and 90s grunge. Mix it all up and you get The Fuzz Drivers!
Sergio: Our music it’s classic rock mixed with blues, country, southern rock, grunge with a melodic and modern approach. The most accurate description about our music is the review of our self-titled album released, made by Erika Thomas, for the Screamer Magazine on February 26th, 2013. And it starts like this: ‘Southern Rock from a Portuguese band? That would be correct! Influences from music of the past, three decades is heard, however, the result is a definite Southern Rock jam not to be denied.’
JOAO: I would describe our music as being a cross between classic rock of the 60s and 70s with a modern approach.
Marcelo: I would describe it simply as: Passion, fulfillment, happiness, fun and Rock’n’Roll.
LTH: Discuss one or more things about your music that distinguishes you from other bands. Please explain what you like about this aspect of the music and why you believe these differences make your band more interesting to listeners.
Sergio: We have a very distinctive rock sound, mixed with a southern rock feel and a somewhat contemporary approach. We are in essence, a rock’n’ roll band. One of the most exciting things about the music industry having gone into financial freefall is that bands have started looking outside of the traditional streams and thinking outside of the box. This has had a number of interesting consequences, we can deliver our music everywhere and we’ve been having an awesome response and great album reviews online, but things are pretty fresh, so people are still discovering us.
Duarte: Most likely is the honesty of what we do. The listener realizes quickly that what we do its not made to please any particular audience.
João: I think it is important to make the music we like and not what is the current trend. It conveys a feeling of honesty to whoever is listening. We also try to give absolute 100% in everything we do, whether it is in the studio during the recording process, in the rehearsal room or during a live performance. We always strive to give our best and don’t spare ourselves.
LTH: Fans love getting to know more about things that inspire their favorite artists. What and who are some of your influences? Please give them a few details about why you like creating music and what things inspire you to make it.
Sergio: We get it from different styles and bands like, Soundgarden, Queen, The Allman Brothers, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. Then we blend it all and the result is our sound. Our inspiration comes from playing together and the chemistry that goes along with it. Sure it somehow reflects the feelings, ideas and dreams of each one of us, and our view of our lives, but it’s that pure energy driven result that sums our musical and personal influences.
LTH: Which of your band’s songs do you feel best represents your sound? Why?
Duarte: All of them, really! They all have a common ground is in the riffs, melodies and rhythms but each song has its own specificities and details that make then different from each other and add to the whole flavor of what we do. People who were listening to the album, even before it was released kept choosing different songs as their favorites. The same happens with us. We keep having different songs as personal favorites.
LTH: Who is the person or people most responsible for helping your band get to where it is today?
The Fuzz Drivers: There are a several people that directly helped us (and still do) with their creativity, energy and talent: Tiago Santa Rosa who mastered The Fuzz Drivers album, and made it sound badass! Alex Konahin who did an amazing job on the album cover. João Vasco, our good, talented friend, responsible for the unsurmountable task of making us look good! He produced our photo set and, more recently, our first video for “The Poet and The Thief”. Danny Vaughn, one of the coolest guys we know, who is also giving us a lot of help in terms of advice and exposure. We cannot thank him enough. SuperFM radio in Portugal who were the first to “discover” us put our single “Discordia Song” on airplay and helped us gain exposure.Krankit! Media and public relations who did an amazing job on the difficult task that was to help promote an unknown band in this highly competitive business. Andrew McNeice from melodicrock.com, a very nice guy who runs an awesome website with a huge community of likeminded people who enjoy music as much as we do, and can stir things up pretty good! On the other hand, I guess music is something that requires a joint effort. In that sense we would say that everybody that crossed paths with us helped us shape the band into what it is today. From our closest friends and families who support us no matter what, to our fans who come to every show and buy our records, to the media in general that help us spread the word about our music.
LTH: What has been the most difficult challenge the band has had to overcome? How did you approach this barrier and what did you specifically do to overcome it?
Marcelo: The most difficult challenge is an ongoing effort and we’re still trying to overcome it, and that is making ourselves heard. Getting our music out there and make sure that people actually listen to it is a huge effort when you don’t have any support structure like a label or promoter, but at the same time it’s been a very rewarding experience as more and more people get to know us, they stick by us, help us share and that sense of a world community it’s awesome.
LTH: Every person is in some way, a product of his or her environment. How have the things you deal with on a day-to-day basis affected your music? Would you say the music in your home area has influenced your group? Please explain why or why not.
Sergio: Our music is so much more than the product of the music we hear, than the product of our own environment, it’s not the most usual kind of music made in Portugal. All of us since an early age, listen to rock music coming from the UK, US, rock’n roll had a huge role in our lifes, its’s about what people love best: freedom to sing about whatever they want. Take all of the things that people hate or love about life and turn them into something creative and inspiring.
LTH: Have you opened for any major acts or toured? What is the first performance that pops into your head when thinking about your gigs?
Duarte: We just started our “Discordia Tour” which will include small and medium venues where the highlight will be our presence at “Rock no Rio Sado”, the first big summer festival in Portugal where we will play with some of the biggest names in Portugal.No doubt the debut album release gig at the Ritz Club in Lisbon will forever remain in our minds. We managed to fill up a mythical place in Lisbon with friends, family and fans who were there in a cold evening to support us in a very special situation. That was magical.
LTH: What can your fans expect from your live performances? What particular aspect of your concerts brings in crowds? Please give us some examples.
JOAO: The recurrent comment we’re having on this tour is “You guys sound amazingly like the record” and we love that. We are a live band, that’s what we do and we strive to give everything out on stage.Our songs are fist pumping, head nodding, feet stomping inducing and that’s what we usually see when we play. People get immersed in the songs, they sing with us and forget about everything else. Isn’t that an awesome trade of?
LTH: Chemistry within a band very is important. When the band originally formed, what was it about playing with the other musicians that made you the most impressed? What is it about the chemistry between the members that makes the band unique?
JOAO: I guess chemistry is hard to define and it possibly means different things for the four of us. From my point of view I can safeley say that I feel allways challenged when we play together. This has allways kept things interesting and it is the driving force for new ideas and new music. I would say that the chemistry in our band comes from playing together for hours and hours, from spending time together and being good friends. In the end, hopefully this translates into music that defines us, and that people can relate to the band.
LTH: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us about your music. What’s the next step for the band? Do you have a special event like a concert, tour or release coming up that you’d like to discuss? Please conclude by giving the fans a few parting words.
JOAO: It was a pleasure… Next step is to tour extensively in and out of Europe, build a solid fan base and work on a new album. All this support from the media has been great, and we are very thankful for that. But for us it is essential that this translates into new followers for the Fuzz Drivers. People that will want to see us live in their city and that will spread our sound to a bigger audience. We need your help to be able to make things happen!
By Roxy Baker
Portuguese rockers The Fuzz Drivers raise some eyebrows with a solid southern rock debut album! Read our review and interview with frontman Marcelo!
The Fuzz Drivers are a breath of fresh air in a somewhat stereotypical industry, and clearly demonstrate the phrase “Never judge a book by its cover”. In this case, it is my own judgements that have been tested, because as soon as I learned that these guys were from Portugal I went into typical typecast mode – perhaps as a form of defence – with an air of hesitation as to what I was about to hear. Eurovision-style rock perhaps?
Well, firstly I would like to thank the boys for blowing away the judgemental cobwebs from my brain! Just seconds into the album and my eyebrows are sky high with surprise…..and the smile creeps back to my face in appreciation! Phew!
What we have here is a mixture of classic and modern rock music, shoved in a food blender then roasted into a perfectly tasty sub-genre that pays tribute to the great characteristic rock writing formula whilst adding a pinch of modern flare. Brilliant!
Album opener Discordia is an apt example for what to expect for the rest of the album – energetic four-to-the-floor drum (Duarte Carvalho) beat verse allowing the dynamic and space for some iconic lyrical vocals (Marcelo Vieira), guitar fuelled riffage (Sergio “Mad Mag”) effortlessly complimented by bass guitar (Joao Lopes) leading into soaring hooky choruses, satisfying the hungry ear. What’s more to say?
Tracks like Shine, The Poet and the Thief and Until It Bleeds reminisce on the classic rock era whilst Carved in Time visits a more ‘Beatle-rock’ vibe with the clean guitar arpeggio riff, again adding that modern edge to the composition.
Mama Told You initially sounds like a 70’s rock version of the Fratellis ‘Chelsea Dagger’ but fortunately Marcelo’s impressive vocals detract from this likeliness as it heads into a multi-harmonious chorus. Into The Sun touches on some modern blues leaving Eats Me Up and White Lies as classic toe-tapping tracks with some superb guitar solos!
This is a great album and one I would easily recommend to both lovers of old and new music – it certainly has the power to appeal to the mass market! The production is top quality and the song-writing a clear illustration of the potential The Fuzz Drivers have for any future albums!
The album is available FREE from their website HERE. Go and get it NOW!
Meanwhile, while you are downloading your free copy of the album, read our interview below with frontman Marcelo!
Hey guys! So, what’s the story behind the band? Where’d it all start?
João, Sergio and Duarte are together since 2006, Marcelo answered an ad the band had posted in an online forum searching for a vocalist/lyricist. After a few email exchanges, the band sent two one-minute samples and Marcelo created and recorded melodies and lyrics for both songs in less than 24 hours! The chemistry was instantly there! Everything just flew in an amazing pace from there on! We have played together as a band for around two years now.
You’ve released your debut self-titled album as a free download from your website – how has the reception been so far?
The reception was great from the beginning, but we never had any intention of making money from digital downloads, especially on our debut release! So we made it available on all the top major online retailers and decided that after 2 months we would release the album for free. It was a great decision. We are having a huge wave of downloads and positive feedback from people all over the world and that’s exactly what we wanted. Hopefully the music speaks for itself but it needs to be available for people to find and listen to it! There’s been a lot of sharing too and that’s always a good thing!
Did you have any particular writing and recording techniques for this album?
All the music for this album was written by Duarte, Sergio Mad Mag and João Lopes and later lyrics and melodies and vocals were written by Marcelo.
The only rule we applied was: We have to do it our way, in our space, without pressure or constraint of any kind. We recorded and produced the music ourselves without following trends of basic concepts. It was basically: Let’s do it how it feels!
What are The Fuzz Drivers goals for 2013?
Our main goal right now is to be able to show our band to everyone! We are a live band, that’s what we do and that’s what we love to do, so what we want is to be able to perform and show our music to the world and bring people to join our big party and have fun with us.
Will we be seeing you perform in the UK at some point this year?
We are doing ALL we can to book a small tour on UK this summer, so yes, it is a strong possibility but we need all the help we can get!
Which member is the driving force behind the band….the one that holds the whip?!
Haha, fortunately our whip has four masters! We all share a common goal and we respect each other very much, so, there’s no need for a whip..YET!
Lastly, the band name seems to perfectly sum up your music – can you explain how you came up with The Fuzz Drivers?
Ha, that’s an easy one! “Fuzz” and “Drive” are closely connected to guitar effects created in the 60s (Fuzz) and 70’s (drive), and our music has a lot of influences from those decades. “Fuzz” is also slang for police, used by american gangsters in the 30’s, a time where the delta blues was growing, creating roots for modern rock.. so we just mashed it all up!
No que diz respeito à produção nacional, o ano de 2013 começa em grande estilo com a estreia homónima dos The Fuzz Drivers. Um disco de classic rock/hard rock mesclado de apontamentos de modernidade indispensável em qualquer coleção fazem deste quarteto mais um nome a ter em conta e a acompanhar. Via Nocturna foi ouvir o quarteto lisboeta.
By Erika Thomas on Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
The Fuzz Drivers are the fastest moving claim to fame to ever rock out of Portugal. The foursome comprised of Marcelo Vieira (vocals), Sergio “Mad Mag” (guitar), João Lopes (bass), and Duarte Carvalho (drums) have been playing together in different projects for quite some time. Vieira, is originally from Brazil and Carvalho is from Azeitão, while the hometown boys Lopes and Mad Mag are from Lisborn, where the band now resides.
Their arrival at being The Fuzz Drivers is a story in itself. “I bought my first record when I was 12, “Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack…that transformed my life forever!” exclaims Vieira. “I began singing when I was 15, which was all by accident. In reality I wanted to be a drummer, but some friends who were a backing band asked me to sing a few lines to Somebody Save Me by Cinderella. The minute I opened my mouth, they stopped playing! That’s when we discovered I could sing some high notes….That was it!” Vieira’s first band in Brazil was called Trama and he still remains best friends to this day. “I played in several bands throughout the years, honing my skills until I felt I was ready to create something new. I just needed to find the right people to team with, and here we are! The Fuzz Drivers!”
Mad Mag grew up in Alamada, Portugal, located 19 miles south of Lisbon. “I began making music in high school in a band called Black Sheep. We actually had a song with major air play on the radio in the early 90’s. My brother turned me on to so many great bands when I was just six years old. He was a giant AC/DC fan along with several others from the 60’s and 70’s like Hendrix and Deep Purple. He also introduced me to the world of rock, blues and country with bands such as Atlanta Rhythm Section, Lynyrd Skynrd and The Allman Brothers.” He began playing guitar at the age of ten and by the end of three years was learning songs by Stevie Ray Vaugh, Jimmy Page, Ry Cooder and several others. “I also took an acoustic journey to the roots of blues, rock and country. During this time I kept a close eye on The Black Crowes and their style. Shortly thereafter I met Duarte and João and we put it all together in a band. In 2010 The Fuzz Drivers were born.”
Lopes is a Lisbon native. “My first band experience was as a guitarist in a band with Duarte. I met Duarte when a friend of mine and I were trying to assemble our first band. By blind luck we ended up knocking at Duarte’s house (whose father we knew could play the bass) and managed to find ourselves not only a bass player but also a kick ass drummer!”
This band eventually broke up after many changes which included Sergio joining that band and Carvalho changing to the bass. “After that we decided to form a new band and this is how The Fuzz Drivers were born, where I kept on playing the bass.”
Azeitão, a small village south of Lisbon, is the homeland for Carvalho. “I began playing drums at the age of four and by age five I was playing in my father’s band. Later at age 13, I had my first drum teacher, Vasco Gomes, from whom I learned all the basics. Before that time, I had self-taught myself from albums ranging from Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Beatles and Pink Floyd. In 1999 I joined the Professional School of Music in Almada in the course of Music and New Technologies where I had drum lessons with teachers Acácio “Salero” Vieira and Carlos Cardoso.” After completing courses with some of the greatest teachers, Carvalho played in several bands and artists such as Carl Mendes, and later joining The Fuzz Drivers.
While three were playing together for a time, Vieira answered an ad the band had posted in an online forum searching for a vocalist/lyricist. After a few email exchanges, the band sent two – one minute samples to Vieira. “Marcelo created and recorded melodies and lyrics for both songs in less than 24 hours! The chemistry was instantly there! Everything flew in an amazing pace from there and the songs are on the album!” explains Carvalho. “We have played together as a band for around two years now, but we other three have been playing the local scene for a few years before Marcelo joined us. We have been rehearsing a lot since the release of the album, just four weeks ago! We are getting ready for a kick ass show for this album tour!”
The musical talents of this band will definitely take most by surprise. A Portuguese band serving up Southern Rock with flares from the 60’s and 70’s is a definite unexpected fortune for music lovers. “Our musical influence is from so many styles and bands. Ranging from Soundgarden to Queen, passing through Led Zeppelin to The Allman Brothers. We blend it together and the end result is our sound. Each of us have our own influences and have brought them to the band. One of those is Southern Rock, like Atlanta Rhythm Section and The Black Crowes…Great music knows no boundaries” states Lopes. The music for this album was written by Carvalho, Mad Mag and Lopes and later lyrics and melodies and vocals were written by Vieira.
The album released on January 31, 2013; (just four weeks ago) has brought the guys a rush to fame. “ We’ve had an overwhelming response to it all, considering it has only been four weeks. Still things are still pretty fresh, so there are people still discovering us”, smiles Vieira. “It’s really awesome and we are extremely appreciative”, says Carvalho. With such a massive response to their music, a tour would definitely be inevitable and greatly warranted. “We are a live band, so YES we will tour. We have just been added to the lineup of a great summer festival here in Portugal and we foresee several tours. We would love to tour the USA, however the logistics behind a tour preparation requires plans and resources not available to us yet. We know it’s the most kick ass experience any band can have and we are willing to work hard to make it happen. (Hint, hint to anyone in the US willing to work with us!)”, exclaims Vieira. There isn’t one particular city or even country we would like to play. We really wish we could visit as many countries as possible doing what we love. But of course it would be a dream to tour the USA, we could very well start in Georgia! I think we would fit right in!”
Media coverage and exposure has been pronounced and very welcomed by the band. “We want to build a solid fan base and what better way than via the media! All this support from the media has been great and we are very thankful for that. But for us it is essential that it translates into new followers for The Fuzz Drivers. Therefore, we definitely want to tour extensively and spread our music and our sound to a bigger audience” states Mad Mag. “Until you can see us live, you can purchase our album on our website, Amazon and on iTunes. We look forward to touring and seeing everyone there.”