Exactly one week ago today, some band called Fatso Jetson (who I had never heard of before) showed up at Bender's Bar & Grill in the heart of San Francisco's vibrant Mission District and proceeded to completely rip my sack off. I had initially shown up to see Illogical Bro Mike D's new band HORNSS (who were great as well), so this headlining band, playing "their first SF show in a decade", were really just frosting on the cake. Brother Peter and She-Bro Manslaughter were in attendance as well, and the suds were flowing, and Bender's is always great, and the tunes were loud, and the Broseph Factor was extremely high. All was well.
After picking our jaws back up off the floor at the end of Fatso Jetson's set, Peter and myself shared impressions of the aforementioned, which were almost identical in nature. We were both completely taken aback by the band, especially considering the disparate (and usually, displeasurable) elements they encompassed. This is a band that delves into such normally-undesirable genres as Dad Rock, White Dude Blues, surf, jazz, and jam-band fare, but still manages to completely melt faces. A complete anomaly. They even had a dude who played saxophone. AND HARMONICA. It was like, WHY AM I ENJOYING THIS SO MUCH? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
Chalk it up to charm, talent, and good old fashioned rock and roll, I guess. These guys were some of the nerdiest, antithesis-of-rock-star dudes I've ever seen perform, most of them probably in their 40's or 50's judging solely by appearance, and each of them commanded their instrument with equal parts grace, ferocity, and technical skill (the drummer was an especially intense spectacle to behold). The bassist and guitarist stood completely still for most of the set, but their unwavering focus and white-hot chops were enough to keep me in thrall for the entire performance. In short, these guys just rocked, really, really, REALLY fucking hard, in a way that defied the boundaries of genre, hipness, preference, or age.
But I digress. Later research would reveal Fatso Jetson to be an oft-credited pioneer in the "desert rock" genre, a more obscure cousin to bigger bands like Kyuss and Fu Manchu. Bridging the gap between the later noodlings of SST Records and the earliest rumblings of "stoner metal", Fatso has remained a sleeper cell in the Southern California rock scene for nigh unto a decade and a half, a wild card up the sleeve of a horde of pool halls, dive bars, and Mexican restaurants in the "uncool" parts of the greater Los Angeles area. I present today their first two full-length releases, Stinky Little Gods (1995) and Power of Three (1997), which, while perhaps not quite being the perfect examples of Fatso's live intensity, are nonetheless some fine examples of extremely kick-ass music--the perfect soundtrack to an afternoon spent driving around the desert in a souped-up hot rod, drinking warm beer and smoking doobies.
Their new album is a bit more frenetic and mind-melting. It's called Archaic Volumes and you motherfuckers need to BUY THAT SHIT.
STINKY LITTLE GODS (1995)
POWER OF THREE (1997)
Fatso Jetson on Last.FM