Time was...psychedelic music was about "dropping out..." FUZZ want to open your mind. Guitarist Charlie Moothart spoke to the 405 about the San-Francisco trio's gallant go-for-broke/tour-de-force/take-no-prisoners double LP (out October 23 on In The Red).

Fuzz II is a multi-faceted metal/psych deluge, tight and yet sprawling, haunting and yet inspirational, torrential with its riffage for one song and yet pared back for a bit more of a contemplative, paisley pop trip... and then the closer... a squall surging past the 10-minute mark and leaving the listener hanging onto the ship's sides for dear life, wave after crashing, cresting wave... FUZZ.

Wait, did you just think this was indie-rock wunderkind Ty Segall's side band...? Certainly not. Read on, rock lovers... listen closely (and live loudly).

It really sounds like you guys were aiming to "...make a classic..." here... I'm not quite sure what that phrase means anymore, but it just sounds like there's a lot of gusto and enthusiasm going into the crafting of Fuzz II. Like you wanted to really... and, forgive the journalist cliché, "...make a statement."

I definitely think so. It's been a long time since we'd recorded anything and this is the first thing we got to record with Chad (Ubovich--bass). There was a lot of material to work with. Some of it had been in my pocket for almost three years and even then, (Ubovich) brought some songs and Ty (Segall) brought some songs. (Segall) was the first to say, 'Hey, we're gonna have to make a double-record here...' We realized, eventually, that we weren't going to leave any of these songs behind, so we went full force. That was like a new challenge for us. So, definitely, in that way, it was making a statement: that we're not going to fuck around.

Speaking of Ty... it seems everyone who first mentions FUZZ wants to mention Ty. He's essentially become a pop star among the hipster music blogs. You guys are closer to him than anyone, so do you give him a hard time ever? Or, how do you block out all that external noise and focus?

That was a big topic on our last tour, actually. It's funny you should ask... But, first, and I don't want to sound harsh, but nobody hates that more than (Segall); especially for this band. There have been any conversations (Segall) and I have had where he's said: 'Hey, maybe I shouldn't play in this band, because I just like the music and I don't want people to view it as 'my band..'" The way I respond to that energy is, a.) I understand: people like (Segall), he's a recognizable character and people like to organize things in their brain that way, associating things with certain other things. But then, on this other hand, b.) I take that, also, as another challenge. If people are going to view things a certain way, I just hope that as we continue to put out music or as people continue coming to see our shows, that people realize, just as we've all three of us agreed: that this is a band and that this is a whole different force that you're going to hopefully walk away from realizing that this is not a side project. It's not just Ty's band... so, I like to view that as a challenge.

Talk about what you're doing, in terms of guitar acrobatics, on this record. How do you conjure those guitar freakout solos?

I just really enjoy playing the guitar. Also, music, it's obviously a form of expression and release and escapism, but it also can be a voice. And, it creates a mood. That's the way I try to go into making music and to playing music; that it's not just about the technicalities of what anybody in the band is doing, it's about how everything gels together. It's about what kind of feeling you're going to evoke out of people and how it feels to hear it and how it feels to play it; if it doesn't feel a certain way to play a song, then it's not going to stir a response.

Tell us about the record, its energy, its lyrics, its mood... It seems to be striking out, lyrically and instrumentally, at the status quo... as though it were this great dark cloud of a monster bearing down on us, driving us mad...

Heh, I think so. There's a wide range of things, lyrically, but I think there's a reoccurring theme of just modern society and thinking about where everyone's at and where things are going... I never like to focus too much on the negative, though I have my share of negative feelings. But at the same time, this is about just opening people's minds, even just to be able to think about what's happening around them, instead of what's not happening... we each have our sides of heavy thoughts and going for these heavy vibes, but with this band it's definitely just a release and an escape. But, even still, it's about encouraging an original expression, ya know... an open mind. It's a mixed bag of nuts, for sure.

Talk again about "...making a statement." This is a considerable "moment" for the band: it's second full length... a chance to end all the quibbling as to what this band is or who this band is... this is FUZZ.

Definitely! Going into the studio (Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA), and realizing how much material was there for us, I can speak for myself when saying that I definitely wanted to redefine what this band could be (with FUZZ II), so that everything in the future we could avoid ever being stuck in one genre or into one single idea. The studio experience was great and a lot of fun. But it's hard when you want to capture the feeling of freedom, yet you have time to pick apart all these little things afterward. I was trying to keep myself in an open mind and not think about what I was doing too much. When I'm listening back to it, I'm very proud of this record and I think we did a great job with it.

What about fuzz... as a melodic noise or a sort of dissonant entity... what draws you to that vibe or, what is it that has always drawn you to that sound?

One of the first records I can think of that had that vibe was (Jesus & Mary Chain's) Psychocandy. To me, that's just a beautifully disgusting and dark record and once you realize the possibilities of how you can operate in that environment (of fuzz), then it becomes a totally different experience. Growing up, you try to figure out what it all means in music, like, as a punk rocker, playing fast and loud and obnoxious, but is there a certain way to do these things to make it sound a certain way... but you start hearing different people and different bands and realizing where these people come from and what their whole thing was, then you start to appreciate what it means to be... well, I don't want to say 'dramatic..,' but you can explore the different sonic possibilities and manipulate them. I just think there's a beauty to (fuzz,) that you can traverse all these different emotional outlets with all these different things, pretty easily. Like I said, it's not strictly about technical abilities... it's about how you're making yourself and people feel. I thnk that's what's really cool about it.