Garage band Knyghts hunt for right fit

Thursday, January 31, 2013
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Knyghts of Fuzz will play at Pauly's Hotel in Albany on Saturday.
Knyghts of Fuzz will play at Pauly's Hotel in Albany on Saturday.

Knyghts of Fuzz, Bourbon Scum

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Pauly’s Hotel, 337 Central Ave., Albany

HOW MUCH: $5

MORE INFO: 426-0828,

www.paulyshotel.com

— It isn’t always easy being a ’60s-styled garage rock band in Albany.

Brian Goodman, drummer, vocalist and leader of Knyghts of Fuzz, knows this first hand. When he put together the first incarnation of his trio in November 2007 and began looking for places for the fledgling band to play, he had a hard time finding the right fit — with the exception of the now-closed Positively 4th Street in Troy.

“What was really the issue was that we didn’t really fit anywhere,” Goodman said. “Luckily, at the time Artie Fredette had Positively 4th Street going, and we’ve been friends with him for a million years — all our bands have played gigs at his places. So we always had a gig at Positively 4th Street, but besides that we didn’t really fit in a punk club, and we didn’t fit anywhere else either. We would go into some real mainstream place, and they’d say, ‘You guys are too loud.’ ”

Soon after Positively 4th Street closed in 2010, the band began playing a happy hour set at Valentine’s every other month, which continued through last year. “We thought, if we’re so loud, maybe we’ll fit in the punk club; that might be an angle to go after,” Goodman said.

This year, the band has dropped the happy-hour sets in favor of later shows — their first performance of the year will be at Pauly’s Hotel on Saturday night, with local punk group Bourbon Scum.

At this point, Knyghts of Fuzz — Goodman, bassist Frank Novko and guitarist/keyboardist Ian Carlton — have gotten used to being one of the odd bands out on the local scene. The band has found musical allies where it can, regardless of genre, including Bourbon Scum, with whom the band recorded a split single late last year.

“We’re different bands, and there’s a huge age difference between the two bands and even the styles of music,” Goodman said, “but it seems to work well together. Their fans seem to like us and ours seem to like them. It’s a nice fit, but we really don’t fit with anybody else around here. I think we’re — The Mysteios are the only other band I know of around here that has a ’60s garage vibe.”

All three members of Knyghts of Fuzz have a long history on the music scene in Albany. Goodman previously drummed for the Staynz, Susan and the Surftones and 1313 Mockingbird Lane; Carlton continues to play with rockabilly group Rocky Velvet; and Novko still leads Big Frank and the Bargain Bingers as well as playing with Goodman in swing group Big Kombo.

The band’s garage roots rest with Goodman, who first discovered the style while growing up in Rochester through local band The Chesterfield Kings.

“I went to see them and that was it,” Goodman said. “One show from those guys and I looked at my buddy and said, ‘This is what I want to do.’ And I worked towards that; I played in a British Invasion band, playing anywhere from two to four nights a week, and from there I made that jump to harder garage.”

His first experience in a garage band was with The Projectiles, which released vinyl albums in both the U.S. and Europe. Throughout most of his career, first in Rochester and after 1994 in the Albany area, Goodman has focused on the style, with only a few exceptions (the Surftones were an instrumental group in the vein of The Ventures).

Originally, Goodman formed Knyghts of Fuzz with Novko and guitarist Bill Harrison, who left to join local rockers Slick Fitty shortly thereafter — but not before the band opened for The Fleshtones at its first gig. Goodman had first met Carlton through gigs with Susan and the Surftones and Rocky Velvet, and had been introducing the guitarist to garage music for some time before he asked him to join Knyghts of Fuzz.

“I was sucking him into buying all this garage music — I work at Last Vestige,” Goodman said. “I’d always be like, ‘You need this one, you gotta buy this one, that one.’ He’d come in and say, ‘Which one do I need to buy this week?’ and I’d hand him some garage record.”

Along with fitting right into the trio, Carlton also provided a record label for the band to release material on. His own Carlton Records has released the band’s first two split singles, both on vinyl — one with The Mysteios and the most recent split with Bourbon Scum. The band currently has a new single recorded, but is looking for a record label to release it, possibly in Europe.

Songwriting is often a group effort — the first single’s A-side, “U.G.L.Y.,” was written by Goodman and Carlton together. The band also peppers its sets with obscure covers from garage groups like 13th Floor Elevators and Moving Sidewalks.

“Something we learned way back — there’s so much obscure music of that time period that you can play that stuff, and unless they’re really record collectors or into that kind of stuff, nobody has any idea whether we’re playing a cover or an original,” Goodman said. “Ultimately, we want to play more originals than covers, but it takes time to get there.”

 

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