at the Little Steven Underground Festival 2004

Since the first time I saw the Fuzztones in the eighties, I always said there are few bands past or present who could perform with more energy and conviction than The Fuzztones. Twenty years later, I still feel the same way. The Fuzztones overwhelming stage presence is due to several factors. Musically, every lineup of this combo has featured musicians who not only play with intensity, but are visually compelling. These players work hard to entertain those who’ve shelled out money to see them. Then there are the songs--a strong mix of originals and well chosen covers--which are sure crowd pleasers. Finally, there’s leader Rudi Protrudi. In a better world, his name would be spoken with the same reverence as an Iggy, Question Mark, or Sky Saxon. He’s the real deal. Rudi’s performances have a somewhat dangerous edge. One feels he’s constantly pushing the envelope. At the Underground Garage Festival this was certainly evident. On “Bad News Travels Fast,” Rudi tore into the vocals like a demented madman--taking each lyric/phrase to a new twisted dimension. Then on “Ward 81,” he picked up his guitar. It wasn’t working. Noticeably angry, he used his contempt to further heighten his vocal performance. When it was time for him to take a guitar solo, the repairs were made and he uncorked a blistering solo. While I’m sure Rudi was pissed at the world, he did take a negative and turn it into a positive.


Bo Diddley, New York Dolls, Pretty Things, Iggy and the Stooges

Photos courtesy of Mark