This is all happening for the love of fuzz! A band made by fuzz pedals!
When their bands Venus Vegas and Tigerbeat went on tour together in 2001, the two singers, songwriters and guitarists Rick McPhail and Frehn Hawel probably never dreamed that they would eventually start a two-man band together.
But first things first: After the end of Venus Vegas, McPhail joined Tocotronic in 2004 and has enriched the bands sound since "Pure Vernunft Darf Niemals Siegen" with fuzzy guitar lines and soundscapes, started Glacier (of Maine) in 2006 and then his trio Mint Mind, with whom he released the album "Thoughtsicles" in 2020. Hawel's explosive garage rock band Tigerbeat imploded after two albums ("No.1" "13 Songs")in 2006, with The Last Things he released "Shake ́em Blues" in 2015.
Throughout the years, the two self-taught musicians met regularly at McPhail's The Upper Room, a hybrid of musical refuge, guitar-nerd's dream, rehearsal room and recording studio to check out fuzz pedals, amps and guitars together and talk about love, raising children, politics, their current bands and much more - but, strangely enough, never about making music together. They both thought about it, but neither dared to ask - so divine providence was needed:
In 2018, after a short musical break, Hawel had the idea to perform songs from all of his creative periods on stage with a drummer found online. Thanks to the Internet, the drummer dropped out shortly before the show - fortunately at the very exact moment when Hawel was in the Upper Room with McPhail, preparing his pedalboard for the new musical venture. McPhail's question, "You know I play drums, too?" finally got the ball rolling. After the first rehearsal together, it was already clear that this would continue beyond the scope of the one gig would go on. The bands name consists of both last names. As you know it from jazz, this naming immediately signals two like-minded people, who meet each other at eye level and with respect.
Since aimless jamming is not necessarily in their blood, they soon wrote new songs in the Upper Room. Songs were written, new sounds were created and shortly afterwards the recording button was pressed. The result is ten songs by two musicians who no longer have anything to prove to each other, but who love what they do all the more. Songs about long-term relationships, empty slogans, the pitfalls of our time - in short: about drama, love, madness. Guitar nerds get their money's worth here as well as garage rock fans and all those who can rely on a chorus to put a smile on their face and who share the experience that three and a half minutes of music can save souls.
Their debut album "Transmissions from the Upper Room" is out now on Black and Clear-Orange 12" Vinyl LP.
Transmissions from the Upper Room
12" Vinyl LP