Sporting an (almost) completely new line up and well into sorting some brand new tunes the Fyzz Wallis Band are shaping up well, ready to take on all that 2023 has to offer them. Gary Trueman chatted to the guys about how old songs sound different played by new band members and how near they are to recording new material.
This is a kind of version 2.0 of the band isn’t it? Would that be a good reflection of where you are a the moment?
Fyzz: “Either 2.0 or 2.5, because AJ and I did a gig with Chris (former band member) on drums. It’s been a slow transition but I guess it is kind of 2.0 in that it’s all new now, apart from me.”
Well it can’t really be the Fyzz Wallis band without Fyzz Wallis can it?
Fyzz: “No – not really.”
Can we let the new band members introduce themselves and talk a bit about their previous history.
Laura: “I’m Laura and I play the drums. I used to play in a band called Siren. I played guitar for them for many years. I’ve been here there and everywhere really, playing for bands and getting involved in different projects. I got to know Fyzz through the local music scene. I’ve been a fan of the band for quite a few years.”
So you’ve realised your dream!
Laura: “Yeah, absolutely!”
Fyzz: “Tell them about your drum workshop.”
Laura: “I have my own business called Off Beat Workshops where I teach drumming, mostly at festivals at the moment. So I get to spend my summer going around festivals getting people playing the drums which is pretty awesome. I work with a few local charities and school groups too.”
And the other new band member is…….
AJ: “I’m AJ and I play the bass guitar. I used to be in a band called I Got Spiders as lead singer and guitarist. I’m also in another project called Kunk at the moment.”
Let’s get back to the person who the band is named after. You’ve recently done some solo work. Is that still ongoing?
Fyzz: “Yes. I did a solo gig last Thursday actually which went OK. When Covid happened I did a lot of writing like a lot of creative people did, just to stay sane. That meant there was a big collection of songs that the band as it then was didn’t know. What became apparent after that was that the guys I was playing with didn’t have the time that they had before. Life changes, stuff happens. But I wanted to play it so I carried on doing solo gigs with the newer stuff I’d written. Some of it is more thoughtful and less band related I guess. I’m still happy to do that but I’m really happy to be doing this as well. We are doing some of those songs now as well as working on brand new songs.”
That leads nicely into the next question, that you are actively writing new songs with the new line up?
Fyzz: “What tends to happen with my stuff, and I’m really happy for this to change, is that I come up with a basic song first and then we arrange it together. So I’ll write something and if it gets the thumbs up then we’ll work on it together. Some of the songs that have been in the Fyzz Wallis Band set for a while, they’re now done how we (with new band members) play them. They are different.”
So you’re doing new arrangements of older songs as well to suit the playing style of the new band members?
Fyzz: “Yes, and then I have to remember which band I’m in. Whether it’s with these guys or whether I have a time warp moment. Some I play differently if I’m on my own. So I do have to try to use my brain a little bit. I get nudged though so that helps a lot.”
What do you change in the songs. Is it the tempo, or do you take sections out or replace them?
Fyzz: “There are a couple of songs that have bass intros and certainly AJ’s intro to Blood And Chocolate is theirs. It’s a new song in that way. The sound of the band itself is different because the way these guys play is different. There’s a lot of grunge pedal that happens with AJ. And I think Laura is a more assertive player than Chris (former FWB drummer) and is quite good at giving me cues as to what is happening next. That means we just sound different. Also I’m using my Gibson, well my Gibson knock off, rather than my Fender knock off. That sounds a little bit dirtier as well.”
You’re writing new songs so are you going to be recording those songs soon too?
Fyzz: “Yes, we’re already talking about that and arranging it. AJ and I had quite an excited conversation about the potential of having a string quartet in one of the songs but we’ll see what happens. With a new group of people you need a new language to talk about how you want it to be. We’re developing that language at the moment.”
Have you got many gigs booked for 2023?
Fyzz: “Yes! I’ve had three messages just today about playing, which I need to update the guys on. We’re in a broad collective across the Midlands called ‘Uncovered’ and we’re playing with two other bands from that in Downham Market.”
AJ: “I’ll need my passport to go there.”
Fyzz: “Haha. Norfolk – Yes you will. We’re doing a charity gig in March for Alzheimers. Oh, and we’re doing Twisted at The Ostrich in Peterborough. The return of Twisted. We’ve been asked to do Peterborough Pride. So yes, many things that people have asked us to play and it’s very nice.”
So let’s think of something a bit twisted to finish off with. If they were going to make a brand new movie about the Fyzz Wallis Band v2.5 who would each of you want to play you in the film and why?
Laura: “Steve Martin, for absolutely no reason. It’s the first name that came to mind. I do like Steve Martin as the dentist in Little Shop Of Horrors.”
AJ: “I would have to be played by Sarah Silverman. I think that would be good casting.”
Fyzz: “The only person I can think of is….. I may need help here. Four Weddings And A Funeral, the first scene where he’s with his mate who’s a short woman who says fuck, fuckety fuck…. her. Oooh…. Charlotte Coleman. We would need magic though because she sadly passed away. Very sad! She’s the only person I’ve ever seen in a film who I’ve thought could play me.”