It takes major guts and a whole lot of balls to put on a festival especially when it's your first ever festival. Take the dude behind the First Ever – Borderland Fuzz Fiesta – that is taking place on Feb 21st 2015 in Tuscon, Az.
You have bands such as Wo Fat, Mos Generator, Fireball Ministry, Asimov and Powered Wig Machine to name but a few. Yeah, the FUZZ is definitely coming to Tuscon, AZ on that day. The whole place is going to be dripping in FUZZ.
When our good friend – Cat Jones – asked me if I wanted to interview the brave soul behind this festival – I said – Damn right I do. Cat duly obliged and here we are interviewing Wayne Ruddell. You may know Wayne from his kick-ass band – Powered Wig Machine. Well he's the genius behind this festival along with his brother Joey. So before the FUZZ takes over Arizona, Wayne has kindly agreed to talk to us here at Sludgelord HQ.
Q1 – Hi Wayne. How are things with you today. Thanks for doing this interview.
No problem, thanks for having me.
Q2 – So we're here to talk about – Borderland Fuzz Fiesta. Can you tell our readers the inspiration behind this festival.
Well the main inspiration behind BFF was to add another fest based in the southwest focusing on Stoner Rock, Doom, and Psych. Most of the best stoner themed fest were overseas, and we are hoping to change that.
Q3 – You have pulled together some killer bands on this lineup. Was it hard convincing the band to perform on the bill.
The hardest part wasn't finding bands to play, but finding bands to play within the budget of a first year fest. It was challenging, but all in all it worked out and I couldn't be more proud of the line-up this first year.
Q4 – So people can expect a lot of great Stoner Rock grooves and huge amounts of FUZZ!!!
Haha Yeah If you're a card-holding fan of the genres of stoner rock, doom, or psych and live in the Southwest, BFF is gonna be a hell of a party.
Q5 – Where and when did you get the idea to put on this festival.
The idea was actually given to me by my good friend David Rodgers (Godhunter, founder of the Southwest Terrorfest). He and I were talking before this year's SWTF and the idea came up about a stoner themed fest. My brother and I have been hosting a lot of stoner rock shows for the last two years in the state, and we really wanted to try our hand at a fest.
Q6 – Was it a hard job putting this whole festival together. Did you have help from other people who have put on festivals in the past.
I don't know if I lucked out or not, but it has been relatively smooth. Everything has just fallen into place. Dave from SWTF was really helpful with pointers on the logistics of throwing fest. We also had some help from Ari Aho who manages the Rock where the fest is taking place this year. Other than that Joey and I have been working Hans Solo.
Q7 - Obviously a lot of hard work and planning is needed to plan this sort of festival. How long did it take you to arrange this year's festival.
Yeah there is a lot of moving parts planning the fest. We put in about 5-6 months planning for BFF this year, and honestly I wish we had another month or so.
Q8 – Was it a hard job deciding which bands that would appear on the festival. Though I know some of those bands are very good friends of yours.
Deciding on bands is tough man. We had a pretty good idea who we wanted for this first year. Budget really dictated in the direction we went. There was so many great bands that emailed the fest after it was booked that I would have loved to fit on the bill. Hopefully we can get them on for next year.
Q9 – So how's the reaction been like to the festival when you first announced it. Have the ticket sales been good. I would love to go that one myself. Fireball Ministry, Wo Fat, Mos Generator and some band called Powered Wig Machine are appearing.
The reaction to the fest has been amazing. I am humbled to see so many people around the Southwest and other parts of the U.S. attending the fest this first year.
Q10 – Was finding the right location to hold the festival a hard task.
Finding a venue for a bigger event can be challenging, The Rock was perfect for what we had planned for BFF. We had the ability to add a second stage in the side room, which offers a more intimate setting than the main stage.
Q11 – So why did you choose the name – Borderland Fuzz Fiesta – for the festival.
Haha honestly I just wanted something different. I wanted the name to be against the grain and catchy, which also made sense for southern Arizona. Borderland Fuzz Fiesta (BFF) was perfect :)
Q12 – What are the long term plans for the festival. Or is it too early to tell.
Well we plan to make it a mainstay in Arizona for the next few years to come. We start booking for next year's fest in June. We have already decided to add two more days. More fun more fuzz! We probably will be looking for more and more help as our scope increasing each year. We are excited and hopeful at making something great out of it.
Q13 – Right enough festival talk. People may know you as members of Powered Wig Machine and Fuzz Evil. Can you tell our readers what is currently going on with those great bands as we are huge fans of them at Sludgelord HQ.
Thanks man we love your blog and have been big supporters of what you guys do. Right now both bands are on full throttle. Powered Wig Machine is releasing a loaded "Supa-Collider" vinyl, gatefold 180gram, on green translucent with black and orange splatter in late Feb around the fest on Battleground Records. On March 11th PWM will be supporting Uriah Heep at The Rialto Theatre. After that we plan on taking a break for a bit to record our third studio album that will be called, "Sundowner".
On the Fuzz Evil side, We just finished tracking our debut self-titled album at Primrose Studio. We are hoping to have it out on vinyl late summer. I am very excited to release this record. It might be some of the best stuff we have ever written. Aurther Seay (Unida, House of Broken Promises) made a guest appearance and dropped a nasty solo on the opening track "Good Medicine"
Q14 – You've put yourselves on the bill with Powered Wig Machine. Suppose that's one of the perks putting on the festival. Putting yourself into the firing line and performing a killer show. Does that create extra pressure for you. Playing at a festival you've personally organized and created.
Ideally it would be nice to sit back and make sure everything runs smooth,but sometimes you gotta get your hands dirty. You know what they say,"All work, and no play"
Q15 – Powered Wig Machine and Fuzz Evil are highly thought of within the Stoner Rock/Metal community. Has the responses from people and critics surprised you at all over the last couple of years or so.
It has been real humbling that last couple of years all the love we received for Powered Wig Machine, and Fuzz Evil. I remember a few years back getting so discouraged. It felt like we were invisible. I think every artist hits a low period before they make a break through. We a firm believers in hard work. We put our heads down and worked our asses off. Haha I just wanting to have a good draw in our small town on the AZ border. I never imagined the response would be as big as it is.
Q16 – We all have a musical journey. How did yours start. What inspired you to pick up your guitar and become a vocalist as well.
Well both of my parents were very musical. We always had tons of instruments laying around at our house. My father taught us the basics, and Joey and I taught ourselves how to play. We didn't have alot growing up,but we had each other,two acoustic guitars and shitty tape recorder. Both of our parents were very religious growing up. We use to smuggle in Sabbath,Zeppelin, and Thin Lizzy tapes to jam on our tape player. The only way we could hone our skills was to join this gospel style band at our hometown church. That is where we meet our Drummer for PWM Daniel Graves. It was a really Pentecostal church so we would be jamming these open ended heavy gospel grooves for 45 mins-hour . Eventually it was a bit much for them and we politely got ask to leave the band. Haha it was like in Back to the Future when Micheal J Fox starts ripping to that 50's song. "One day....your kids will love it." Vocally it was different. I grew up singing all the time in our house. I used to love singing along with the motown stuff on the radio. They had so much soul, and I knew that was it for me.
Q17 – Who are your all-time fave bands and musicians. Or ones that influenced your music career.
Vocally as a kid I really got into the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and James Brown. When I got older vocally I was most influenced by the iconic voices of Freddy Mercury, Dio, Ozzy of Course, Neil Fallon, Phil Laynott, and Danzig. As a guitar player they were certain guys that really shaped the way I play guitar. Tom Merello was huge for me. He wrote such monster grooves in Rage Against the Machine that had so much energy. I remember saving up to buy a Digitech whammy so I could get those nasty octave riffs he used to play. Josh Homme was another guy and still is one of my favorites from Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age. I could identify most with him because he isn't a shredder, or a flashy guitar player,but a great song writer. He is a incredible rhythm guitarist whose riffs are heavy and melodic. Perfect example is in there newest record "Like Clockwork" the solo on "I appear missing." Just Unreal. The last guy is Jimmy Page. I love the mystic that he had. His riffs were just so dark in a sense. No shame here I use alot of his riffs for solos in Fuzz Evil to get the Led out. The guy is the best.
Q18 – Are you planning on promoting any more gigs in 2015. Or is too early to tell us anything about that.
Nothing in the pipe yet for any others shows. At show point I would like throw some Borderland Fuzz Fiesta presents shows throughout the year to build hype for the fest.
Q19 – Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for your fans or people coming to the festival.
Hopefully we are planning to get on the road alot more in the next few years in the states and overseas. We are looking forward to meeting alot of you on the road and at the fest. If you see us around come say Hi!. We would love to meet you! Cheers!
Wayne – thanks for doing this. Best of luck with the festival. Hope you get drowned in the FUZZ and it's a mega success. All the best brother!!!
Words by Steve Howe and Wayne Ruddell
Thanks to Cat Jones at Southern Cross PR for arranging this interview.
For More Information:
Borderland Fuzz Festival Links
Fuzz Evil Links
Powered Wig Machine Links