BraveWords: Fuzzrd Release Music Video for “Viral Connection” Feat. Mark Slaughter
FuZZrd has released a second composition from the band’s debut studio album. The track, “Viral Connection”, features a special guest appearance by Mark Slaughter on the recording and in the music video, which can be screened below.
Prior, the band presented “Monster Carnival”, setting a tone of what’s to come for the band. That music video can also be viewed below.
Guitarist Brett Petrusek shares, “Working with Mark on ‘Viral Connection’ was a total blast. He has such an iconic vocal sound. It’s both angelic and gritty at the same time. It’s uplifting yet heavy, which is kinda what FuZZrd is all about: darkness and light, and the haunted place in between. When we first began collaborating on the track, we immediately started geeking out on all thing’s guitar. I was super stoked to have his world class voice supporting the track, but his guitar overdubs, and wicked outro-solo were a welcome unscripted bonus that took things over the top. He’s a sick player. He has an exceptional ear for melodies. And, he’s such a great dude. We had a ton of fun!” Drummer Scott Savage offers, “This was one of the songs that really got things rolling in a unique direction for the band. The dark and heavy intro guitar riff sets the tone for the pounding groove. It was one of the first songs we recorded as a band. As soon as we heard the playback, we all knew we were onto something special.” Guitarist Eric Vobejda states, “Thunder and lightning bottom end, a monster of a down beat of drums, and evil genius lyrics topped off with a healthy dose of Mark Slaughter. This song is a hidden gem. If you are a guitar fan, this song is for you and you’ll love the loud, heavy Gibson guitar sounds. Mark’s guitar and vocal contributions helped us make this song sound like a demonic Led Zeppelin deep cut that’s ready for battle. ‘Viral Connection’ is our art.” Last but certainly not least, bassist Rob Berg adds, “I appreciate how the song’s arrangement differs from other FuZZrd tracks. Lots of layers with interesting musical twists and turns. I love the production. It’s moody and totally pounding.”
Mark Slaughter shares, “I think the band is great, and it was a lot of fun working with them. They have a classic rock sensibility with a modern edge. It’s lean and it’s honest. They’re not chasing somebody else’s sound. They’re comfortable being right where they are. That’s where the best music comes from. It’s got to be in you. It’s got to reflect who you truly are.” Slaughter admits that “Viral Connection” provided an opportunity to stretch his wings artistically, and he enjoyed the challenge. He continues, “It’s hard and heavy, with these super heavy lyrics. It’s not what I normally would do, but I respect what Brett does and who he is. So, I just tried to support that. When he asked me ‘what would you do?’ initially I heard the countermelody on top of the main guitar riff, and then I accented the vocal melody with guitar on the choruses. I did what the melody was asking for, and I think it came out really nicely.”
The song “Viral Connection” was produced, engineered and mixed by Jeremy Taperro. Todd Fitzgerald served as the assistant engineer. It was recorded at Winterland Studios in New Hope, MN and at Noise Below in Bloomington, MN where it was also mixed. Mastered by Greg Reierson at Rare Form Mastering in Minneapolis, MN. The music video was produced and directed by Matt Grosso, and edited by Juan David Villa for St. Paul, MN based Cloverleaf Audio-Visual. Footage of Mark Slaughter was captured by Perry Bean in Nashville, TN.
Leave it to FuZZrd to find the bright side of Armageddon. The Minneapolis band has a knack for documenting searing personal experiences, strapping them to turbo-charged guitar riffs, and creating kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll in the process. The result? Tales of obsession, devotion, and redemption – all sung from the crater of a live volcano. And there’s room for some humor too. Asked about the band name (pronounced “FUZZ-erd”), lead vocalist/guitarist Brett Petrusek laughs and turns evasive: “It has six letters, just like the six knobs on an old Marshall amp. It’s actually kinda goofy, but we all need some goofy right now.” Bassist Berg sums it up a bit differently sharing, “You get these catchy, sing-a-long choruses, but the lyrics are pretty stark and disturbing,” he laughs. “If Black Sabbath and Motörhead took Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, rolled them into a joint and smoked it today, you’d be in a cloud of FuZZrd.”.
FuZZrd’s evolution is a straightforward tale. Petrusek and Berg had played together for years in the well-regarded Minneapolis hard rock outfit Downtread, recording three albums and playing a bunch of high profile shows throughout the Midwest. Looking to explore a more organic, stripped-down sound they connected with kindred spirits Vobejda (co-founder of the Twin Cities band Via) and Savage (from Minneapolis stalwarts Crashmatic) in late 2019.
The chemistry was instantaneous, starting with the interaction of the two guitarists. “I’m not a shredder like Brett,” says Vobejda. “I come from the classic punk background. I’m more like drunken Slash meets Kurt Cobain strung out. Somehow it all works out – an ugly thing that turns into a beautiful thing.” The rhythm section quickly dialed-in a lean, less-is-more symbiosis between Berg and Savage. “In this band there’s a yin/yang chemistry,” explains Berg. “In some other bands there isn’t much yin to the yang. But with this group we have a lot more open space to take liberties.”
FuZZrd benefits from contrasting styles that seem to mesh pretty damn well. “I’m not a metal drummer,” Savage admits. “I’m actually a groove drummer, and I’ve always been interested in serving the song, rather than showing my chops. I’m a huge fan of Prince, R&B and Cheap Trick. It was a big change for Brett because he was used to borderline out-of-control metal.”
The four members were ready to unleash the beast in 2020, but then COVID-19 intervened. Amid the crucible of 2020, the band was determined not to let a pandemic go to waste. FuZZrd decided to record their new tracks with producer/engineer Jeremy Tappero, who has made countless records in Minneapolis and is best known for his recent work with Soul Asylum (and a longtime ally and collaborator of Petrusek and Berg from their days in Downtread).
They’re stoked about the work-in-progress. “We’re all having so much fun with it,” says Savage. “I hate to say we’re taking advantage of the pandemic, but the down time has really been important for the band’s chemistry. This is a different way of doing a band. We haven’t even played a show yet! But we’re really loving what we’ve got.”
2021 marks an inflection point for FuZZrd and all the rest of us. A chance to rip off old bandages, turn the page, and confront what’s really important in life. You might as well find a soundtrack that perfectly captures the moment…and crank it up damn loud. FuZZrd is Brett Petrusek (Lead Vocals / Guitars), Robert Berg (Bass / Background Vocals), Eric Vobejda (Background Vocals / Guitars) and Scott Savage (Drums).
“Monster Carnival” video: